Thursday, October 1, 2015

Vitamin D3 supplementation helps women build muscle, avoid falls even after menopause


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CLEVELAND, Ohio (September 30, 2015)–The benefits of vitamin D supplementation for postmenopausal women have been widely debated. But a new study from Sao Paulo, Brazil, now documents that vitamin D supplementation can significantly increase muscle strength and reduce the loss of body muscle mass in women as late as 12+ years after menopause. The study results will be presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), which begins September 30 in Las Vegas.

Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem in postmenopausal women worldwide, creating muscle weakness and a greater tendency for falling. The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted over a nine-month period. Muscle mass was estimated by total-body DXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry), as well as by handgrip strength and through a chair-rising test.

At the end of the trial, the women receiving the supplements demonstrated a significant increase (+25.3%) in muscle strength, while those receiving the placebo actually lost an average of 6.8% of muscle mass. Women not receiving Vitamin D supplements were also nearly two times as likely to fall.

“We concluded that the supplementation of Vitamin D alone provided significant protection against the occurrence of sarcopenia, which is a degenerative loss of skeletal muscle, says Dr. L.M. Cangussu, one of the lead authors of the study from the Botucatu Medical School at Sao Paulo State University.

“While this study is unlikely to decide the debate over Vitamin D, it provides further evidence to support the use of vitamin D supplements by postmenopausal women in an effort to reduce frailty and an increased risk of falling,” says NAMS Executive Director Wulf H. Utian, MD, PhD, DSc(Med).

Drs. Cangussu and Utian are available for interviews in advance of the presentation at the annual meeting.

Founded in 1989, The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) is North America’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the health and quality of life of all women during midlife and beyond through an understanding of menopause and healthy aging. Its multidisciplinary membership of 2,000 leaders in the field–including clinical and basic science experts from medicine, nursing, sociology, psychology, nutrition, anthropology, epidemiology, pharmacy, and education–makes NAMS uniquely qualified to serve as the definitive resource for health professionals and the public for accurate, unbiased information about menopause and healthy aging. To learn more about NAMS, visit


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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Thomas "Cornflake" LaManna takes on Ayi Bruce as headline bout this Saturday, September 26 in Beach Haven Memorial Park in Beach Haven, NJ

Plus six-time MMA Heavyweight champion "Brutal" Brendan Barrett, Ian Green, Arturo Trujillo, Dustin Fleischer, Meng Fanlong, O'Shanique Foster & Angel Concepcion

Beach Haven, New Jersey (September 22, 2015)--THIS Saturday, September 26, at Beach Haven Memorial Park (In between the Sea Shell & Engleside Resorts) at Engleside Avenue at the Beach in Beach Haven. New JerseyA terrfic card of boxing will take place beginning at 5:30 PM

In the main event, junior middleweight Thomas "Cornflake" LaManna will take part in a 6-round bout against veteran Ayi Bruce.

LaManna will be looking for his 2nd straight win as he won a 8-round unanimous decision over Joshua Robertson on August 7 in Atlantic City.

LaManna of Millville, New Jersey has a record of 17-1 with 7 knockouts.

Bruce of Accra, Ghana has a record of 23-10 with 15 knockouts is a former Ghanian super lightweight champion.

Bruce has also fought the likes of Albert Mensah (18-3-1), Emmanuel Taylor (7-0), Raymond Serrano (12-0), Gabriel Rosado (16-5), Dennis Laurente (40-4-5), Vitaly Demyanenko (19-0), Ishe Smith (22-5), Hugo Centeno Jr. (14-0), Glen Tapia (16-0) and in his last bout Erickson Lubin (10-0).

He holds wins over former contender Shamone Alvarez (21-2) as well as Hector Munoz (19-4-1). 

Fighting in the 4-round co-feature will be "Brutal" Brendan Barrett taking on Satario Holdbrooks (0-1) of Kannapolis, NC in a Heavyweight bout.

Barrett, of Little Egg Harbor, NJ, is a 6-time MMA Heavyweight champion, will be making his 2nd professional boxing appearance.

He is 0-0-1 as he fought a disputed draw with James Rankin on May 8, 2009 in Philadelphia.

In a 6-round bout:

Ian Green (6-0, 4 KO's) of Paterson, NJ will take on K Lon Spencer (4-2, 3 KO's) of Beaumont, TX in a Middleweight bout.

In 4-round Bouts:
Dustin Fleischer (3-0, 3 KO's) of Monmouth, NJ battles Ira Frank (1-0, 1 KO) in a fight between undefeated Welterweights.

Meng Fanlong (2-0, 1 KO) of Chifeng, China will take on Michael Mitchell (3-5-2, 1 KO) of Paterson, NJ in a Light Heavyweight tussle.

O'Shanique Foster (7-0, 4 KO's) of Orange, Texas will fight Darius Jackson (0-1) of Anderson, SC in a Lightweight bout.

Angel Concepcion (6-0) of Newark, NJ faces pro debuting Sidney Outlaw of Pennsylvania in a Light Heavyweight bout.

Arturo Trujillo (6-0, 3 KO's) of Paterson, NJ boxes Alex Asbury (0-2) of Charlotte, NC in a Middleweight bout.

The fights begin at 5:30 PM with the doors opening at 4:30 PM with tickets ranging from $125 (rows 1 & 2), $100 (rows 3 and 4). $75 (rows 5-7) and $50 for General Admission and be purchased by clicking

The entire will be announced shortly.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Running injuries increase in the fall, often because of technique, failure to see signs


Newswise — Rachel Paulson was three miles into a 10-mile trail race in mid-July when she began to experience severe pain in her left hip. “I kept pushing and got through it, but once I finished and started walking there was no putting any weight on it,” says the 34 year-old Chicago police officer, who lives on the city’s far northwest side.

A few days later, she was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her left hip. While the injury didn’t require surgery, it’s forced Paulson to stop running — or even walking long distances — until it heals, preventing her from taking part in a pair of half-marathons for which she’d been training.

Paulson suspects she sustained the injury while working out with a marathon training group in late June. “The workouts were more intense than I was used to, and I didn’t let my body heal after them,” she says.

She ignored the pain she began feeling — which she attributed to a groin pull — and kept adding miles to her runs. “It becomes addicting,” she explains. “You want to keep going and do more and more. I got into that mode and wasn’t paying attention.”

A tough time of year

Injuries like Paulson’s become increasingly common in the Chicago area come September, as runners increase their distances while training for the Chicago Marathon in October. “People are getting into mileage that they’re unaccustomed to, especially first-time marathoners,” says Josh Blomgren, DO, a sports medicine physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush and an assistant professor of orthopedics and family medicine at Rush University Medical Center. Blomgren has been part of the Chicago Marathon’s medical team since 2007 and also is team physician for the Chicago Fire and a co-team physician for the Chicago White Sox.

“A lot of people approaching these longer distances have some relative weakness or muscular imbalance that gets exploited in those longer runs,” Blomgren explains. “We start to see muscle form and running form break down, which leads to a lot of overuse injuries. They’re relying on secondary muscles to carry the work load and they’re not used to it.”

“Most of the time it’s due to their technique,” adds Julia Bruene, MD, a sports medicine physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush who also has provided medical support at the Chicago Marathon and is a team physician for the White Sox. “If their gait when they run isn’t perfect, they’re more prone to injury.”

Blomgren and Bruene both stress that pain that continues during rest periods between runs is a warning sign, and runners who experience such pain should seek treatment. “If the pain doesn’t get better after a few days and lingers even after rest, that would be when to be concerned,” Blomgren says.

Stress a point

That kind of continuing pain may be a symptom of a stress fracture, a crack in the bone caused by repeated stress, such as long distance running. No wonder that stress fractures are most common in the lower legs and feet.

“Sometimes, we’ll see them in the shins, and people mistakenly think of them as shin splints, which actually is muscle tightness in the shin area that improves once you start running,” Bruene observes.
“The stress fracture typically is going to cause a specific place to hurt, and on examination it will be very tender in that spot,” Blomgren says. The usual treatment for stress fractures is six weeks of rest from running, sometimes with the fractured area immobilized in a brace or cast.

Of course, curtailing training for six weeks at this point means a runner won’t be able to participate in the Chicago Marathon, which can be a major disappointment. While runners may be tempted to continue training, as Paulson did, the doctors warn that they run the risk that the bone will continue to weaken and even actually break.

“It can get to the point that it’s a complete fracture, and even a large compound fracture that won’t heal with rest and will require surgery,” Bruene says. “Someone who goes through that could have avoided surgery if they’ had just stopped and seen a physician.”

Taking a knee

Another affliction is so common to runners that it’s named for them. Runner’s knee is a condition in which the kneecap isn’t properly centered in a groove in the thigh bone in which slides up and down during leg motion. It’s accompanied by knee pain and stiffness around the kneecap during running, going up or down stairs, or sitting for a long time.

Like stress fractures, runner’s knee requires and will heal with rest. Runners should curtail their leg work until they can bend and straighten the knee painlessly and feel no pain when walking or jogging.

Outrunning your food

Some women runners may train so hard it results in a condition known as the female athlete triad, which results from a woman not eating enough food to supply the required by her level of exercise. The condition can occur in conjunction with an eating disorder, but also can be brought on by high levels of exercise alone.

The resulting drop in estrogen production can lead to reduced bone density, which in turn can result in stress fractures. The lessened estrogen levels also result in irregular menstrual cycles or ceased menstruation altogether.

“I have patients who are young college soccer players who think it’s normal,” Bruene says. “In fact, it’s a big red flag that someone’s training too much or not consuming enough calories. That can be the first sign before anybody has bone density issues.”

Assuming eating disorders aren’t an issue, the solution is simply to eat more healthy calories. “Food is fuel. Food is not your enemy,” Bruene says.

Better in the long run

While seeking treatment may mean postponing that 26.2 mile achievement, it also can end up making someone better in the long run, literally. “With these patients, I spend the majority of my time counseling them about why the injury happened and how it happened and strategies to get them running safely so that it doesn’t happen again,” Blomgren says.

“Sometimes we do a gait analysis, and then a physical therapist works with the patient to correct the deficiencies in one area or another, how the foot is hitting the ground, how the knee is reacting, how the foot is reacting,” Bruene adds.

Rachel Paulson has been seeing Blomgren every three weeks to evaluate the progress of her recovery from her injury. She hopes to be able to resume training in time to complete a half marathon at the beginning of spring.

When she does, she’ll take a different approach: “It’ll be slow and steady,” Paulson says.

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Tai chi benefits documented in new meta-analysis


The ancient Chinese exercise Tai Chi is linked to improved physical capacity among older adults with certain common long term conditions, indicates a pooled analysis of the available evidence, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Among people with breast cancer, heart failure, osteoarthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), these improvements were not at the expense of worsening pain or breathlessness, the findings show.

Tai Chi consists of slow, gentle, flowing movements that aim to boost muscle power, balance, and posture. It also includes mindfulness, relaxation, and breath control.

The researchers wanted to find out how effective Tai Chi was in long term conditions that are common among older adults. So they trawled electronic research databases for relevant studies published up to 2014, on the use of Tai Chi in people with cancer, osteoarthritis, heart failure, and COPD.

They wanted to find out if Tai Chi relieved symptoms, and improved physical capacity and quality of life in all four long term conditions.

Out of 1102 articles, 33, involving 24 studies and 1584 participants, were suitable for inclusion; 21 studies were included in the pooled analysis.

The average age of participants ranged from the mid 50s to the early 70s, while the average length of the Tai Chi training programme was 12 weeks, with most sessions lasting an hour. Tai Chi training was usually offered two to three times weekly.

The results showed that Tai Chi was associated with trends, or definite improvement, in physical capacity and muscle strength in most or all four long term conditions.

This included improvements in the six minute walking test; muscle strength, as measured by bending and stretching the knees; the time it takes to get up and move known as the TUG test; and quality of life.

Tai Chi was also associated with an improvement in the symptoms of pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis and in breathlessness in COPD. And it was associated with improved sit to stand times among patients with osteoarthritis.

This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, added to which the only cancer included in the analysis was breast cancer.

But the findings back those of previous research, and provide a reasonable starting point to look at the value of exercise programmes, such as Tai Chi, for people with several co-existing long term conditions, say the researchers.

“Tai Chi can improve some physical performance outcomes in four chronic conditions…but not at the expense of worsening pain or dyspnoea [breathlessness],” they write, adding that it “may provide a suitable exercise stimulus for people with several comorbidities,” and could be used as a complementary therapy in some long term conditions.


See our other posts about tai chi

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Beet juice boosts muscle power in heart patients​​​: WUSTL researchers


Scientists have evidence that Popeye was right: Spinach makes you stronger. But it’s the high nitrate content in the leafy greens — not the iron — that creates the effect.

Building on a growing body of work that suggests dietary nitrate improves muscle performance in many elite athletes, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that drinking concentrated beet juice — also high in nitrates — increases muscle power in patients with heart failure.

“It’s a small study, but we see robust changes in muscle power about two hours after patients drink the beet juice,” said senior author Linda R. Peterson, MD, associate professor of medicine. “A lot of the activities of daily living are power-based — getting out of a chair, lifting groceries, climbing stairs. And they have a major impact on quality of life. We want to help make people more powerful because power is such an important predictor of how well people do, whether they have heart failure, cancer or other conditions. In general, physically more powerful people live longer.”

Based on research in elite athletes, especially cyclists who use beet juice to boost performance, the study’s corresponding author, Andrew R. Coggan​, PhD, assistant professor of radiology, suggested trying the same strategy in patients with heart failure.​​​​​​​​​​​​​
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In the September issue of the journal Circulation:
Heart Failure, the scientists reported data from nine patients with heart failure. Two hours after the treatment, patients demonstrated a 13 percent increase in power in muscles that extend the knee. The researchers observed the most substantial benefit when the muscles moved at the highest velocities. The increase in muscle performance was significant in quick, power-based actions, but researchers saw no improvements in performance during longer tests that measure muscle fatigue.
Patients in the study served as their own controls, with each receiving the beet juice treatment and an identical beet juice placebo that had only the nitrate content removed. There was a one- to two-week period between trial sessions to be sure any effects of the first treatment did not carry over to the second. Neither the trial participants nor the investigators knew the order in which patients received the treatment and placebo beet juice.
The researchers also pointed out that participants experienced no major side effects from the beet juice, including no increase in heart rates or drops in blood pressure, which is important in patients with heart failure.

Heart failure can have various triggers, from heart valve problems to viral infections, but the result is the heart’s gradual loss of pumping capacity.

“The heart can’t pump enough in these patients, but that’s just where the problems start,” said Peterson, a cardiologist and director of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital​. “Heart failure becomes a whole-body problem because of the metabolic changes that happen, increasing the risk of conditions such as insulin resistance and diabetes and generally leading to weaker muscles overall.”

While the trial was not designed to find out whether patients noticed an improved ability to function in daily life, the researchers estimated the size of the benefit by comparing the improvement in muscle power with what is seen from an exercise program.
“I have compared the beet-juice effect to Popeye eating his spinach,” said Coggan, who specializes in exercise physiology. “The magnitude of this improvement is comparable to that seen in heart failure patients who have done two to three months of resistance training.”

The nitrates in beet juice, spinach and other leafy green vegetables such as arugula and celery are processed by the body into nitric oxide, which is known to relax blood vessels and have other beneficial effects on metabolism.

With the growing evidence of a positive effect from dietary nitrates in healthy people, elite athletes and now heart failure patients, the researchers also are interested in studying dietary nitrates in elderly populations.

“One problem in aging is the muscles get weaker, slower and less powerful,” Coggan said. “Beyond a certain age, people lose about 1 percent per year of their muscle function. If we can boost muscle power like we did in this study, that could provide a significant benefit to older individuals.”

This work was supported by The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the Washington University Mentors in Medicine and C-STAR programs, and Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences grant UL1 TR000448 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Coggan AR, Leibowitz JL, Spearie CA, Kadkhodayan A, Thomas DP, Ramamurthy S, Mahmood K, Park S, Waller S, Farmer M, Peterson LR. Acute dietary nitrate intake improves muscle contractile function in patients with heart failure: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Circulation: Heart Failure. September 2015.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.
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Clean eating is viewed as a lifestyle versus a diet or fad


Chicago, September 15, 2015 — Clean eating is what is making the perimeter of grocery stores a popular spot, but a new report by The NPD Group, a leading global information company, finds that many consumers feel that clean eating can include some processing and packaged foods. NPD’s How Consumers Define Clean Eating report shows that 61 percent of primary grocery shoppers feel packaged foods are acceptable when eating clean, and 44 percent of shoppers say some processing is also acceptable.

NPD’s study, which surveyed over 5,000 consumers to understand what clean eating means to them and how it impacts consumption and shopping behaviors, shows that there are several key aspects of clean eating that are more prominent than others. Generally, clean eaters emphasize items that are absent in foods or beverages versus what they contain.  Of most importance to these consumers are foods that do not contain chemicals, preservatives or additives, and no pesticides, and these consumers appear to be adamant about their choices since 80 percent of clean eaters say this is their lifestyle as opposed to a diet or fad.

People who are core followers of clean eating currently represent only about five percent of primary grocery shoppers, skewing female and younger.  While this is a small portion of the population, clean eating may have more staying power than typical diets since consumers view it as a lifestyle. And, some consumers already practice clean eating but may not even know they are following some of the clean eating guidelines. In addition, half of clean eaters have been following this lifestyle for over a year, which suggests that this is a lifestyle that can be sustained and therefore can grow in the coming decades, according to the NPD report.

“Clean eating from a product development standpoint may seem discouraging for CPG manufacturers,” says Darren Seifer, NPD Group food and beverage industry analyst. “But the good news is packaged goods can still fit the bill with these consumers and attract them to the center of the store.”


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The hot global fitness trends: a new report


Dallas, TX, September 15, 2015. Today, ClubIntel, The American Council on Exercise (ACE), and International Health, Racquet and Sportclub Association (IHRSA) released the inaugural International Fitness Industry Trend Report, “What’s All the Rage?” This study explores the offerings of fitness professionals and gym operators around the world, and quantifies the data to reflect growth in trends over the past two years.

With the collective goal to shed light on what equipment, programs, services and technology the fitness industry is adopting and how these adoption rates are changing over time, ACE, IHRSA and ClubIntel gathered behavioral data from a broad spectrum of industry professionals and business segments across the globe—representing over 11,000 health and fitness businesses. The study explores more than 90 industry trends across three broad categories—programs, services and training protocols; equipment and facilities; and technology—and determines if they are emerging, niche, growing, maturing or declining.

“This is a first-of-its kind report to measure the behavior outcomes across the entire industry, which gives fitness professionals around the world a better understanding of what their peers offer, what’s in demand, and what’s projected for growth,” said ACE President and CEO Scott Goudeseune. “Having access to data of this caliber can help professionals to better understand the opportunities that exist within the industry and assist them in developing a competitive business strategy to grow their businesses.”

“The International Fitness Industry Trend Report provides real-world feedback on what fitness club operators and professionals are actually utilizing in the marketplace,” said IHRSA President and CEO Joe Moore. “The report provides an in-depth analysis of niche, emerging, and mature trends based on comprehensive responses from leading club operators and fitness professionals.”

The key findings from the report include:

Personal training has the highest adoption rate of any program or service in the fitness industry.
Traditional functional fitness equipment and accessories (medicine balls, BOSU, stability balls) and flexibility/mobility equipment (foam rollers, stretch trainers and myofascial release devices) proved to be today’s hottest equipment.

 Boot-camp training, small-group training, HIIT group exercise classes and functional resistance training have all achieved a high level of adoption and continue to show above average growth.
Social media is the only well-adopted technology trend. The industry has yet to fully embrace technology as a means to enhance the member/client experience and improve productivity and efficiency. Technology opportunities such as online pricing transparency, online registration and reservations for programs, selling memberships online, virtual training and club mobile applications all have opportunity to gain significantly greater adoption with the industry.

 Senior fitness programs are among the top ten most frequently adopted industry trends.
Treadmills and elliptical trainers have experienced resurgence in growth in the past two years.
Notably, a significant majority of the trends across all three categories fell into either the emerging or niche categories. The data in the report is segmented by global region, business model and scope or size of the enterprise.

For a free overview of the study findings, click here to download the executive summary of The 2015 International Fitness Industry Trend Report. The full report will be released at the beginning of October and can be purchased from the ClubIntel store at

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