Thursday, July 29, 2010

You most likely are lacking....

Just get your butt out from in front of the TV and go outside! You can find the full article by clicking here.

What Do You Lack? Probably Vitamin D

Published: July 26, 2010

Vitamin D promises to be the most talked-about and written-about supplement of the decade. While studies continue to refine optimal blood levels and recommended dietary amounts, the fact remains that a huge part of the population — from robust newborns to the frail elderly, and many others in between — are deficient in this essential nutrient.

If the findings of existing clinical trials hold up in future research, the potential consequences of this deficiency are likely to go far beyond inadequate bone development and excessive bone loss that can result in falls and fractures. Every tissue in the body, including the brain, heart, muscles and immune system, has receptors for vitamin D, meaning that this nutrient is needed at proper levels for these tissues to function well.

Studies indicate that the effects of a vitamin D deficiency include an elevated risk of developing (and dying from) cancers of the colon, breast and prostate; high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease; osteoarthritis; and immune-system abnormalities that can result in infections and autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Most people in the modern world have lifestyles that prevent them from acquiring the levels of vitamin D that evolution intended us to have. The sun’s ultraviolet-B rays absorbed through the skin are the body’s main source of this nutrient. Early humans evolved near the equator, where sun exposure is intense year round, and minimally clothed people spent most of the day outdoors.

“As a species, we do not get as much sun exposure as we used to, and dietary sources of vitamin D are minimal,” Dr. Edward Giovannucci, nutrition researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health, wrote in The Archives of Internal Medicine. Previtamin D forms in sun-exposed skin, and 10 to 15 percent of the previtamin is immediately converted to vitamin D, the form found in supplements. Vitamin D, in turn, is changed in the liver to 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the main circulating form. Finally, the kidneys convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D into the nutrient’s biologically active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, also known as vitamin D hormone.

A person’s vitamin D level is measured in the blood as 25-hydroxyvitamin D, considered the best indicator of sufficiency. A recent study showed that maximum bone density is achieved when the blood serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D reaches 40 nanograms per milliliter or more.

“Throughout most of human evolution,” Dr. Giovannucci wrote, “when the vitamin D system was developing, the ‘natural’ level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D was probably around 50 nanograms per milliliter or higher. In modern societies, few people attain such high levels.”

A Common Deficiency

Although more foods today are supplemented with vitamin D, experts say it is rarely possible to consume adequate amounts through foods. The main dietary sources are wild-caught oily fish (salmon, mackerel, bluefish, and canned tuna) and fortified milk and baby formula, cereal and orange juice.

People in colder regions form their year’s supply of natural vitamin D in summer, when ultraviolet-B rays are most direct. But the less sun exposure, the darker a person’s skin and the more sunscreen used, the less previtamin D is formed and the lower the serum levels of the vitamin. People who are sun-phobic, babies who are exclusively breast-fed, the elderly and those living in nursing homes are particularly at risk of a serious vitamin D deficiency.

Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University, a leading expert on vitamin D and author of “The Vitamin D Solution” (Hudson Street Press, 2010), said in an interview, “We want everyone to be above 30 nanograms per milliliter, but currently in the United States, Caucasians average 18 to 22 nanograms and African-Americans average 13 to 15 nanograms.” African-American women are 10 times as likely to have levels at or below 15 nanograms as white women, the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found.

Such low levels could account for the high incidence of several chronic diseases in this country, Dr. Holick maintains. For example, he said, in the Northeast, where sun exposure is reduced and vitamin D levels consequently are lower, cancer rates are higher than in the South. Likewise, rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, and prostate cancer are higher among dark-skinned Americans than among whites.

The rising incidence of Type 1 diabetes may be due, in part, to the current practice of protecting the young from sun exposure. When newborn infants in Finland were given 2,000 international units a day, Type 1 diabetes fell by 88 percent, Dr. Holick said.

The current recommended intake of vitamin D, established by the Institute of Medicine, is 200 I.U. a day from birth to age 50 (including pregnant women); 400 for adults aged 50 to 70; and 600 for those older than 70. While a revision upward of these amounts is in the works, most experts expect it will err on the low side. Dr. Holick, among others, recommends a daily supplement of 1,000 to 2,000 units for all sun-deprived individuals, pregnant and lactating women, and adults older than 50. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breast-fed infants receive a daily supplement of 400 units until they are weaned and consuming a quart or more each day of fortified milk or formula.

Given appropriate sun exposure in summer, it is possible to meet the body’s yearlong need for vitamin D. But so many factors influence the rate of vitamin D formation in skin that it is difficult to establish a universal public health recommendation. Asked for a general recommendation, Dr. Holick suggests going outside in summer unprotected by sunscreen (except for the face, which should always be protected) wearing minimal clothing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. two or three times a week for 5 to 10 minutes.

Slathering skin with sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will reduce exposure to ultraviolet-B rays by 95 to 98 percent. But if you make enough vitamin D in your skin in summer, it can meet the body’s needs for the rest of the year, Dr. Holick said.

Can You Get Too Much?

If acquired naturally through skin, the body’s supply of vitamin D has a built-in cutoff. When enough is made, further exposure to sunlight will destroy any excess. Not so when the source is an ingested supplement, which goes directly to the liver.

Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity include nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness and weight loss, as well as dangerous amounts of calcium that can result in kidney stones, confusion and abnormal heart rhythms.

But both Dr. Giovannucci and Dr. Holick say it is very hard to reach such toxic levels. Healthy adults have taken 10,000 I.U. a day for six months or longer with no adverse effects. People with a serious vitamin D deficiency are often prescribed weekly doses of 50,000 units until the problem is corrected. To minimize the risk of any long-term toxicity, these experts recommend that adults take a daily supplement of 1,000 to 2,000 units.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Update from Eric #3

As some of you may or may not know a good friend of Ashley and I is out exploring the world until Sept or so. As I receive emails from him I will post them on here because they are very interesting. Enjoy.
Hello from Indonesia!

Selamat siang-

We’ll, Indonesia was a blast and if there is one word I would use to describe it, it would be “lush”. They say it is the “last great adventure on Earth” and I can certainly understand why. Here one can go in search of the orangutan, rhino or komodo dragon OR take in some amazing snorkeling and diving amongst it’s 17,000 islands OR visit places where they still hunt with bow and arrow and in some cases just stopped ‘taking heads’ a few decades ago OR ride some of the best waves on the planet. Adventure is here!

My first days here did not begin so well. Upon arriving in Bali I was questioned by the immigration officer as to why my ‘Arrival Card’ did not list my hotel. While not technically required, I understood and proceeded to open up my guide book so I could give him a name of a hotel in order to satisfy the ‘requirement’. Unsatisfied with this approach, the officer’s true intentions came about when he said with a smile “gimme $20 bucks”. I did, got my bags and then later got my $ back. Then I was kicked out of a cab after (rightfully) accusing a driver of going down wrong streets in order to jack up the meter and then was accused of not paying for a night at my first hotel when trying to check out (they later apologized). Good grief! I felt as though a black cloud loomed over my head. Obviously these things happen all the time when traveling, but when they all happen in a short amount of time it can be a real turnoff.

I didn’t get to see 17,000 islands, nor did I get to the remote region’s of Papua (although I’d love to), but I did have quite an adventure moving around this archipelago. I hit a few towns on the island of Bali, took in some R&R on the Gili Islands, checked out some ancient monuments on the island of Java and viewed the orangutans in their natural habitat at Tanjung Puting National Park in Kalimantan. That was definitely the highlight.

I also acquired a taste for Gamelan, which is a style of music typically from Bali and Java. A gamelan is like an orchestra made up of instruments such as metallones, xylophones, gongs and drums. Its sound is described as hypnotic and dreamy. Check it out, it’s good stuff.

I’m actually in Bangkok and I’ll be here for a few more days as I arrange my visa for Myanmar. A famous writer wrote ‘Myanmar is quite unlike any land you know about’. While I don’t think it makes the itinerary for many traveling around Asia (I’ve only met a handful of folks who’ve been there), it does get rave reviews, so I’m pretty excited to see what it’s all about.

Also, while all good things must come to an end, I’m deciding to extend my ‘end’ to my trip by a month or so. After Myanmar I’ll be making a quick run of Laos and Cambodia.

Pics are out on FB. Enjoy!

Hope all is well with everybody back home. I hear it’s a scorcher. Stay cool!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Barr Trail Race

All I can say is that today I am hobbling around. I seem to always get more sore from the short stuff and more tired afterward from the long stuff. Today I am really sore in the calves and the feet from running my first race in the MT100's but the energy levels are good. Not sure if I will use these shoes again in a race. They seem to hurt my feet when trying to run fast down hill.

I really had no time goals or ideas for what to shoot for at this race since I have never ran it before. I figured I would just jog up and then try my best to bomb down somewhat hard, which is what I did. You can see in the pictures that I looked more worked heading down then up.

Heading up

Heading down

I hit the turn around which is about 6.3 miles and 3800ft higher than the start at over 10,000 feet above sea level around 1:23ish then bombed down in 44ish mins. I passed 6 people running down and was not passed by anyone which is great in my mind since I am not a strong downhill runner.

I finished the race in 2:07, not bad but not great. Now I have a time to shoot for next year, breaking 2 hours.

GZ has a great review of the race by clicking here.

Here is another great breakdown of the race by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hardrock video

This is a great video that a Hardrocker made this year. You can see some of the crazy sh*t that I had to run with JT over. Oh yeah, JT is at the beginning of this video with the brimmed military style hat. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pacing at Hardrock

Not a lot to say but it was a kick ass time. I will wait until JT puts up his race report before I write one. In the mean time here are the photos that I took out on the 48 mile of the course that I was on. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Can neck measure indicate body fat better than BMI?

This may or may not be much better than just BMI alone, only time will tell. You can read the story by clicking here, I also have copied it below for you.

Can neck measure indicate body fat better than BMI?

By Madison Park, CNN
July 6, 2010 8:19 a.m. EDT

Taking neck measurements is inexpensive, easy to obtain and could indicate health problems like sleep apnea, says one study.

Taking neck measurements is inexpensive, easy to obtain and could indicate health problems like sleep apnea, says one study.


* Body mass index widely criticized as being flawed and not measuring body fat
* New study suggests neck circumferences could be used to supplement BMI
* Wide neck circumference associated with obesity conditions such as diabetes

(CNN) -- Flawed, limited and inaccurate. The complaints against the body mass index are many.

Among them: The BMI, which measures weight relative to height, doesn't accurately calculate body fat. It deems athletes or muscular people to be obese and underestimates body fat in older people.

But it's inexpensive and simple, so the BMI continues to be the public health agencies' standard for assessing for obesity.

A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics suggests another simple, straightforward measurement could be used to supplement the BMI: neck circumference.

A wide neck circumference is associated with obesity-related conditions such as sleep apnea, diabetes and hypertension, according to research. Neck circumference has been explored in studies for potential obesity and heart problems in adults.

Lead author Dr. Olubukola Nafiu and his colleagues examined 1,102 children and recorded their heights, weights and neck circumferences to determine whether this measurement could be another way to assess obesity in children.

They measured necks using a flexible tape at the most prominent part of the neck. For older males, that area was the Adam's apple.

Fact Box
Based on age, a neck of this circumference or larger could indicate overweight or obesity, researchers say:
Age 6: 11.2 inches
Age 10: 12.6 inches
Age: 14: 14.2 inches
Age 18: 15.4 inches

Age 6: 10.6 inches
Age 10: 12 inches
Age 14: 12.6 inches
Age 18: 13.6 inches

Source: Pediatrics

The authors found that a 6-year-old boy with a neck circumference greater than 11.2 inches was 3.6 times more likely to be overweight or obese than a peer below that level. Using the data, they devised neck measurements at which children could be at higher association with overweight and obesity.

Taking such a measurement is inexpensive, easy and could be predictive of health problems such as sleep apnea, Nafiu wrote in the article. He's an assistant professor of pediatric anesthesia at the University of Michigan School of Medicine Health, Ann Arbor.

One of BMI's shortcomings is that it "does not accurately define central body fatness," Nafiu said. Neck circumference could give better clues to body fat composition, he said.

Studies have shown that regional adiposity, which is fat collected around the midsection, is often a good indicator for obesity-related complications, including hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. The correlation between regional adiposity and a high neck circumference is strong, said Nafiu. This could give doctors more information than BMI alone.

"We've been using BMI to advise parents and patients for making healthy choices," he said. "Unfortunately, often we tell someone their BMI is 27 or 30, most of the time it doesn't mean much. To tell you that your neck is wide, these are some of the risks associated to it -- that we feel people would be able to relate to it better than BMI."

The idea of using circumferences of various body parts has been around for awhile, said Jim Pivarnik, director of the Center for Physical Activity and Health at Michigan State University.

"It's not widely used," he said. "It doesn't mean it's not correct, but it's not widely used."

One of the challenges is the difficulty of accurate measurements. Waist circumference "is harder to measure than you might think," said Dr. Cora Lewis, a professor of medicine and public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"There's the issue of figuring out where you measure," she said. "If someone is obese, should the waist measurement come under or over the fold?"

Despite its flaws, Lewis said the BMI still gives information.

"It's a good place to start," she said. "Lots of people bash it, but what else are we going to use?"

The alternatives, such as air chambers that measure a person's mass and volume to calculate the composition of muscle and fat and underwater scales, are expensive and impractical, Pivarnik said.

The neck circumference could an initial screening tool someday, Nafiu said. But he wrote additional studies are needed to evaluate how useful it is in detecting abdominal fat.

"If a neck circumference is above what you regularly see, that raises a red flag," he said. "You want to ask further questions, then see other indices of body fat -- BMI, abdominal circumference and other parameters."