general health

Pupils ditch chairs to stand at desks

What is the easiest way to be more active without adding lots more work to do? A lot of people feel standing at work instead of sitting is the answer. I happen to agree and I like how pervasive this new trend is starting to be.

Even a Melbourne school is encouraging students to stand during lessons. Standing does so much more for you than sitting getting your postural muscles involved in your daily life. Ensuring they are strong enough for the day. Putting pressure on your skeleton ensures it develops properly. It creates a need for stronger bones which is fulfilled by making better use of the calcium in your diet which is added to your bones. It even burns a few more calories as well.

Overall is makes sure you have more strength and energy when you get home at the end of the day because you’ve been that bit more active. Over time your body is just better prepared for an active life than if you are sedentary all day.

Kind of common sense isn’t it but embedding this into our culture is key. So schools are an excellent start.

How Much Glucose Does Your Brain Really Need?

I understand that our brains can only obtain energy from sugar. The can’t get it from protein and fat like the rest of our body. So when I found an article considering How much glucose does your brain actually need? I knew I needed to make a record for future reference.

This is something I learnt through bio psychology and my PE A Level. Over time I have developed a theory that I feel can explain both why migraines occur and from this who you can do to help prevent them. The concept is relatively simple but, to understand it fully, it helps to know more about how your body and brain work then your average person. The idea is that peak performance, or the physiology of maximum intensity exercise as it was termed at university, has a lot to do with your bodies ability to manage its resources, particularly water and sugar. Essentially the most improvement in athletic achievement comes from sparing sugar and using water well. If the brain can only use sugar and being fit ensures your body is efficient with sugar making it last longer then being unfit will do the reverse leading to insulin resistance and basically letting you run out of sugar. That would tire your brain and potentially hurt it leading to pain. Just like any other part of the body.

In reality it is more complex than this but hopefully the essence makes sense. If you really do consider your brain like a muscle then training it like one will help prevent injuries. If you consider headaches as an injury and migraines as a severe injury then you could formulate a plan to reduce the pain causing dynamic that leads to them. It’s just a theory but since there is no cure for migraine and it is excruciating and debilitating I feel that anything with a hope of working is worth trying.

The detail I will add later. If you want to know more please add a comment. For now I’m just stating my intentions. There is a lot more detail and research I have found that I can add and flesh out the idea.

So I share this article now as a background providing a general understanding of the brain with the potential to understand how this could lead to a migraine.

What factors make us kick the bucket?

I hear so much about what risk factors there are to make us die sooner and all the things we should do or not do but because I like to research both sides of the story I always find things that contradict each other.

I’m coming round to the view that the overall risk really depends on where we are in our lives at any particular time. I don’t know if I can put this concept across well enough but I’ll try. (more…)

Feast and Famine: Is that what our bodies expect?

I was in the Open University library a couple of weeks back. I had the urged to pop down the human biology section and see what caught my eye. I know I shouldn’t admit to that because it’s far too sad, but that’s how much this stuff fascinates me.

Anyway I picked up a book named ‘Human Biology and Health: An evolutionary approach‘ and I was hooked at the first. I can’t remember every detail but basically began forming a few theories based on what I have already read. I also used other references but can’t for the life of me find them. So I’ll just have to launch in.

What does it do?

The theory I was working on is basically a way toxins can build up in the body and how they can be got rid of. With this knowledge we can adjust our lifestyles to take advantage of this. Eliminating toxins from our body should be a great way of minimising their bad effects. Much like taking out the trash.

How does it work?

The way this works is because the body has certain mechanisms in place to get energy from cells that aren’t needed by the body or are marked as dangerous. This mechanism is not used if you eat plenty. Thus those who eat less than others are more likely to use it and thus get rid of bad things from their body. I think I’ve held off putting this out there in case anyone reads this too literally. You still need to eat enough high quality food to thrive. My approach is through using intermittent fasting so I flush my body with great food regularly so I’m always healthy. Then when I think it’s full of nutrients I fast for a day or so to encourage my body to break up the bad cells for food and get rid of their contents.

More detail please!!!

Ok, here I’ll explain this in a little more depth.

From human biology and health I came across a possible explanation why people who eat little could live longer.  The theory began with how toxins build up in the liver and ultimately cause it to fail. The process would work like so:

  • Toxins in food get absorbed in the gut and sent to the liver.
  • The liver doesn’t get rid of toxins so they get more concentrated.
  • Toxin build up causes problems and these mount up.
  • Organs start failing.
  • Then you die.

Then I came across research that showed that our body actually obtains energy from devouring its own cells. It’s also not a random act. The immune system is constantly patrolling our body through killer B and T cells. Any bad cells that can’t be devoured on the spot are marked for deletion. Since we’ve normally lived in periods of feast and famine you body seems to assume that during the next period of famine these cells will be lost and the body will be cleaned.

The main problem these days in western societies is that few of us have problems getting enough to eat all year round. Thus it’s entirely possible that we’re all slowly building up bad pollutants and cells in our bodies and over time their effects show as all the diseases and problems that affect western society. Before modern times our lifestyles got rid of these toxins. These days they don’t and they build up and cause problems.

What’s the evidence?

Obviously that’s a big claim and I can’t vouch for exactly how much it all stacks up. It does make sense in a logical way though. That our bodies mark up cells for deletion is something I’ve heard a lot before. That they’d be the first to go if we couldn’t get enough food. That makes sense too. That only recently has there been enough food for all. That’s well known. That all those who reach truly exceptional ages over a hundred are all on the thinner side and seem to eat frugally in general. That seems to be the case too.  I have noticed many times that while larger people can be very healthy there seem to be less and less of them that make it to an older age. That said I’m not sure if they just get thinner as they get older so maybe they were larger when younger but not when older.

What also makes sense is that cells that have become cancerous would, in theory, be ejected from the body in this way reducing the likelihood that a cancer could take hold. It also implies that without this mechanism the risk of all related diseases would be higher. That seems to be the case according to health statistics.

I do wonder if our bodies are essentially well adapted for feast and famine and thus our constant feast is something we’re not suited to. If that’s the case then coming up with safe ways to implement a famine (I’d prefer just a simple fast of a morning or a day) could be useful. As long as we’re aware of the risks and don’t get carried away. Don’t forget just living your life according to hunger. That often works for me. If I’m not hungry I don’t eat. If I am I do.

Another easy and useful way to create a famine like situation is being active which helps for two main reasons.

  1. Firstly, moving makes your body work the way it’s supposed to. Exercise creates a demand for energy within the body forcing the food from the famine to be put to use and forcing the cells to use the food properly to get stuff done.
  2. Secondly, being active every day burns a few more calories. It doesn’t mean much in the short term but adds up to a lot over the long term.

This sounds like a very simple answer to a complex problem. The beauty is it that it uses what is currently known to explain how we could survive in the tough conditions we’ve faced over the years. There could easily be a lot that I haven’t thought of or I could have misinterpreted things. Either way I look forward to your comments and seeing if this theory holds water over time.

Learn more about the effect of physical inactivity on disease worldwide and what you can do to help prevent obesityinsulin resistanceheart disease and Diabetesdementia and alzheimers and even Cancer through exercise.
Feast and Famine: Is that what our bodies expect? first appeared on my original blog. Cell Your Sole is my new focus for health posts so I’m re posting relevant articles here.