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Caesar vs Pompei or Protein vs Carbs

Caesar

Julius Caesar

In the Battle of Pharsalus, the armies led by Julius Caesar defeated those led by  Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus to end the Roman Civil War. Now, you may wonder, what in the world does this have to do with health? Let me explain.

Pompey the Great as he was known, was a highly successful general in the Roman army and was leading an army to put an end to Julius Caesar’s grab at dictatorial powers. His army was 2-3 times larger than Caesar’s but he was wary of starting a direct battle with his counterpart due to Caesar’s noted military brilliance. What he decided to do was to choke off supplies of wheat to his enemy. Roman soldiers marched on bread and stopping the flow of wheat meant no bread. Caesar was now in a bind.

Instead of feasting on bread the men were forced to forage for vegetables and fruits and to eat animal protein. This did not sit well with his men but Caesar’s troops remained loyal despite the lack of bread. When Pompey was finally forced to commit to facing Caesar in a direct confrontation he believed that he had starved his adversaries out.

The Battle of Pharsalus took place in August or July of 48 BC. Pompey was sure that Caesar’s army would be weak but the exact opposite was really the case. They had feasted on proteins versus the normal breads so in actuality Caesar’s men were better equipped to handle a long battle which is exactly what happened. Despite being out numbered 3-1, Caesar’s men wore out their carbohydrate-fed opponents and routed them causing Pompey and many of his senatorial allies to flee.

Moral of the story? Even historically, eating a high protein diet before physical exertion is vastly superior to carbohydrate loading. When I was a competitive runner back in the late ’70s and early ’80s, much of the dietary focus was on complex carbohydrates which turned out to be a big mistake. Luckily in today’s world, we know better.

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Amino Acid Testing – #5

Today’s blog is the first in a five part series to uncover what I believe are the best tests to help increase fat loss, improve muscle production and achieve optimal health faster. I’m sure there will be disagreements and differing opinions, but I come at this from experience. Over the past 27 years, I’ve seen over 60,000 lab tests and feel that these tests really make a difference.

Today’s blog is an overview of what I feel is optimal to achieve maximum results. It would be impossible short of a 400-500 page book (it’s in the works) to give you all the information I’ve learned over the years. But, if you come to one of my classes (Sydney and Melbourne, Australia in February, Lake Tahoe at the end of April) I guarantee you will walk out with more immediately usable information than any class you will take.

#5 – Plasma Amino Acids

As many of you know, amino acids are the building blocks of hormones, muscle, collagen, neurotransmitters and so much more. They are every personal trainer’s best friend and are essential to good health. The problem lies in the quality of protein that most of us get in our diet and the co-factors that allow the amino acids we take in to be processed and metabolized properly.

Imbalances in amino acid composition are an issue I see all the time, regardless of the fitness of the individual. Over the years I dealt with world class athletes, weekend warriors, generally fit people and the full spectrum of the chronically ill and I have seen only a handful with truly balanced amino acid profiles. Having a properly balanced amino acid profile is not that hard to achieve but you have to know what it looks like to get maximum benefits.

People trying to get fit or maximize fat loss can gain a lot from a plasma amino acid profile. Here are some examples. In order to improve fat metabolism, you need adequate taurine. To build muscle you need the branch-chain amino acids (BCAA’s), leucine, isoleucine and valine. But there is a problem with branch-chains that I’ve seen over the years especially with highly fit individuals. Many of them have elevated BCAA’s which indicates a lack of proper metabolism.

Without giving away the farm information wise (you’ll have to come to my classes for that) here one issue with high levels of the BCAA’s is that they may cause a blockade at the site of the blood brain barrier and can interfere with the ability of tryptophan to enter into the brain which can cause a problem with serotonin metabolism and other tryptophan related pathways. In my classes, I review case studies with high BCAA’s in plasma and how to get them to metabolize properly. I also make the case why I recommend plasma or bloodspot testing over urinary amino acids.

Other amino acids that can make a huge difference in fat loss and improved health include glycine (a potent detoxifier), arginine (helps improve circulation) and lysine and methionine (helps to create carnitine which is essential in fat metabolism). Deficiencies in any of these can hinder your bodies ability to metabolize fat properly. Excesses can point out nutrient deficiencies in a biochemically individualized manner.

This is just a scratching of the surface of everything you can get out of an amino acid panel. The amount of information available is enormous. Because no one can hope to remember every nuance, I developed the Lab Assist™ Report which provides all the information possible to interpret the results in an easy to understand and easy to use format.

Tomorrow lab test #4.

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Amino Acids – We Need A Balance of Them

Amino acids are the building blocks of life. It is what also makes up proteins. Many plants that we eat contain amino acids but our main sources of complete proteins (containing all the essential amino acids) come from meat and fish along with eggs and some dairy. Each food has a different amino acid make up. Because of this, we need to eat a wide variety of foods so we can get a balance of the essential amino acids we need to maintain good health. Why this is so will become apparent as you read on.

Science has shown us that there are nine essential amino acids that we cannot make so we must get them from our diets. They are – Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan and Valine. Children though have a few more essential amino acids as their systems don’t make them efficiently yet. These are – Arginine, Cysteine, Taurine and Tyrosine. Having enough of each of these amino acids makes it possible to build other amino acids and more complex proteins like collagen.

Collagen is abundant in bones giving it flexibility. It is also found in skin, muscle, tendons, eyes, blood vessels, the gut and between your disks in your spine. All your hormones and neurotransmitters require proteins. For proper thyroid function you need tyrosine, your brain needs glutamic acid and GABA in proper balance, and the list goes on and on. Of course, your DNA and RNA, the genetic instructions that allow for life are made of specific amino acids. As you can see, you need amino acids to survive.

One of the most disturbing aspects of today’s Western diets is how few foods we tend to eat. The typical American for instance only eats about 8 to 10 foods. What does this have to do with amino acids? Plenty! The old adage that we are what we eat should be apparent here. If we eat just a few different foods we will be getting a narrow band of amino acids. Some will be more than we need and some we won’t get enough of. If we continue this way year in and year out, we won’t be able to make some hormones or neurotransmitters or we’ll make less of them than we need to stay healthy.

To top things off, the foods we eat today, are different than what we’ve been eating for millennium. Cattle, chickens and pigs eat grains that they never ate before and that changes their amino acid make up. Grass fed beef for instance has a very different amino acid makeup than what you would find in grain feed beef. I believe that many of the health issues we face today are because of the changes in the amino acid makeup of our foods.

So how do we reverse this trend? Supplementation with a balanced amino acid blend. There are a few ways to go. One would be a cold processed whey protein shake like the one Dr. John Young has. Or you can try the amino acid complex I developed called Synerplex. Synerplex uses a collagen based blend derived from chicken bone marrow. But neither can overcome a bad and narrow diet. You need to eat more naturally fed or organically grown foods to stay healthy.

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My Thoughts on Fish Oil Supplements

A question I’ve been asked quite often recently was my opinion on the recent studies that have come out which question the benefits of supplementing fish oil and cardiovascular disease.  Now, some in the natural health industry question the motives of the authors, figuring that it is a conspiracy by Big Pharma to stop people from being healthy, which may indeed be true; but I have a different point of view.

My enlightenment to the real reason why fish oil supplements may not be beneficial came from my good friend, Dr. John Young.  For anyone who has listened to him talk on Sirius/XM radio on Frank Jordan’s show Healthy, Wealthy and Wise, you probably know what I’m about to say.  Basically, what John taught me was that the oils needs to be hidden in proteins.

My mentor, John Kitkoski, constantly reminded me to look at how nature did things and understand that we, as humans, are not as smart as we think we are.  By trying to emulate the natural state of affairs we are more likely to get it right.  As Dr. Young would say, you don’t see oil oozing out of a piece of wild caught salmon because the oil is locked up in the protein of the meat.  The problem is, it is tough to get enough good oils from the foods available in your grocery store.  So what can you do to increase your intake of Omega 3 fatty acids and get the protein needed to utilize it properly?

My suggestion is whenever you take fish oils, or any other Omega 3 fatty acid supplement you do it with proteins like Dr. Young’s cold-processed whey protein or the amino acid (proteins are made up of amino acids) I developed called Synerplex Amino Acids.  Since many people may be allergic to whey, Synerplex Amino Acids provide a easy to absorb and good tasting (we have both flavored and unflavored varieties) way to get your proteins.  It uses a collagen base from chicken bone which mimics a food that has served mankind well for millennium, namely, bone soup.

The richness of collagen has been long known for its health benefits but people don’t feel like they can spend the time to make it. Synerplex Amino Acids provides you with all the goodness found in the marrow of bones without having to make a soup out of it. On top of that, I added important co-factor nutrients to it like magnesium, zinc, vitamins B12, B6 and pantothenic acid.

Another almost equally important supplement that should be taken simultaneously with any Omega 3 fatty acid supplement is carnitine (L-carnitine or carnitine tartrate). My dear friend and nutritionist, the late Robert Crayhon talked about how important carnitine is (he wrote the book, The Carnitine Miracle) as it is involved in a lot of enzyme reactions that impact the way Omega 3 fatty acids are metabolized.

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