Youthfulness, vitality and a long, prosperous life have been sought after throughout human history. And now, it seems scientists may have discovered one of the keys to turning back the hands of time.
Researchers from Arizona State University and Texas A&M University have made a breakthrough discovery in plant DNA that could lead to stopping cancer cold and slowing the aging process, ABC affiliate News 15 Arizona reports.1
The research involves telomerase, an enzyme that produces the DNA of telomeres, which have been shown to play a role in the aging process. As your telomeres lengthen, they protect your cells from aging.
Take It From the Experts: Centenarians Share Their Secrets
While direct applications from the study to human health are distant, there are a number of things you can do now to improve your health span, according to one of the co-authors. In interviews and surveys with centenarians, certain themes came up time and time again when they explained why they’ve lived so long. The 10 most common reasons they gave for their long lives were:
Keeping a positive attitude
Eating good food
Participating in moderate exercise like walking, gardening swimming, etc.
Living clean (not smoking or drinking excessively)
Having family to interact with
Having a circle of friends
Being born with “good” genes
Staying mentally active and continually learning
Centenarians are the fastest growing segment of the U.S population, with numbers doubling every decade; by the year 2050, the number of people who will have reached the century mark is expected to pass 1 million.
Centenarians have 60% lower rates of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, yet scientific explanations for their health and longevity remain elusive. As a group, they are happy and optimistic and have extremely low rates of depression and other psychiatric problems, suggesting you may live longer by maintaining the right attitude.
Hopefulness and Positivity Affect the Heart
There are compelling links between cardiac health and mental health. For example, having untreated depression or anxiety disorder increases your odds of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. Stress hormones are again a primary culprit.
According to Julia Boehm, author of earlier Harvard studies looking at optimism and cardiovascular disease (CVD):2
“The absence of the negative is not the same thing as the presence of the positive. We found that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction and happiness are associated with reduced risk of CVD regardless of such factors as a person’s age, socioeconomic status, smoking status or body weight.”
With a later study,3 author Eric Kim told The Harvard Gazette:
“While most medical and public health efforts today focus on reducing risk factors for diseases, evidence has been mounting that enhancing psychological resilience may also make a difference.
Our new findings suggest that we should make efforts to boost optimism, which has been shown to be associated with healthier behaviors and healthier ways of coping with life challenges.”
The Significance of Sound Sleep
Getting adequate sleep is an important part of both mental and physical health. Too much or too little can lead to metabolic issues, as well as changes in mood and your ability to focus. Your circadian rhythm, which affects your sleep/wake cycle, holds implications for your brain, body temperature, hormones and cell regeneration among other things.4
“Irregular rhythms have been linked to various chronic health conditions, such as sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder,” say scientists from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.5
Italian researchers found that deletion of a specific gene related to aging also affects glucose homeostasis. According to their article, published in the journal Glia, “Disruption of the circadian cycle is strongly associated with metabolic imbalance and reduced longevity in humans.”6
Telomeres and telomerase activity are also controlled by your circadian rhythm,7 making proper sleep an important part of longevity. In a 2007 study involving 21,268 adult twins, Finnish researchers found that adults who slept more than eight hours per night, or less than seven, showed increased risk of death.8
Of course, the quality of your sleep is also important, not just the quantity. Good quality sleep, in the appropriate amount, can improve how you think and adapt to the demands on your time and changes throughout your day. There is evidence suggesting that a calm mind and active body are two important ingredients for longevity.
The meditative technique known as “mindfulness” has even been shown to have a beneficial effect on genetic expression. According to a 2018 article in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity,9 meditation has also been found to affect the enzyme telomerase, which some researchers believe is actively involved with the process of aging.
After Resting, Be Sure to Refuel
Additionally, there are many other strategies you can implement to improve your health and extend your life span. To live longer, you need to counteract the progressive loss of muscle mass by increasing your protein intake as you age. The elderly, bodybuilders and endurance athletes typically have higher than normal protein requirements for their age group.
It’s also important to cycle high and low protein intake. Ideally, combine protein restriction with time-restricted eating, followed by increased protein intake on strength training days.
Fasting 16 to 20 hours each day is likely ideal, as this allows your body to more thoroughly deplete the glycogen stores in your liver. Benefits of fasting include the suppression of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and the activation of autophagy, both of which play decisive roles in disease prevention and longevity.
You’d also be wise to avoid eating two to three hours before bed, as late-night eating will decrease your nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) level, which is crucial for health and longevity. Late-night eating will also make you pack on unwanted pounds, as the excess calories will not be burned but stored as fat.
Preventing Cognitive Decline
Naturally, if you’re going to live longer, you’ll want to be healthy for the remainder, and that includes maintaining your cognitive function. Specific nutrients that can help prevent dementia and cognitive decline include vitamin D, DHA, folate and magnesium. Additional nutrients of notable interest, which are readily available in supplement form, include:
Astaxanthin –; Commonly called “king of the carotenoids,” is a potent anti-inflammatory from specific types of microalgae and may be useful for treating joint and muscle pain. It also supports healthy vision and can be used as an “internal sunscreen.” Ergothioneine –; Found in porcini mushrooms, ergothioneine appears to play a specific role in protecting your DNA from oxidative damage. Along with glutathione, it may offer protection against age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and heart disease. PQQ –; Particularly important for the health and protection of your mitochondria, PQQ has been shown to help protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It also works synergistically with CoQ10, producing better results than when either one is used alone. Celery, parsley and kiwi are dietary sources of PQQ.
Kick the Chemicals to the Curb
Naturally, there’s also the issue of toxic exposures, which can take a toll on your health, so avoiding toxins is a given, right along with eating a wholesome diet of organic, unprocessed foods.
This includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners, soaps, personal hygiene products, air fresheners, bug sprays, lawn pesticides and insecticides, just to name a few, and replacing them with nontoxic alternatives.
A group of scientists from Southeast University and Changzhou No. 7 People’s Hospital in China recently published a study10 about the role of plastics in our environment and how long-term exposure affects our health. They found that high concentrations of nanoplastic particles reduced the life span of roundworms.
They believe that different levels of exposure may have effects on locomotion and immune response, indicating that nanopolystyrene is likely toxic to all types of organisms.
“Our results highlight the potential of long-term nanopolystyrene exposure in reducing longevity and in affecting health state during the aging process in environmental organisms,” they wrote. Next week I will post my interview with leading researcher James Clement on his book, “The Switch,” that will go into far more fascinating details on this topic.
When we talk about “;getting enough electrolytes,”; we usually mean the big three: sodium, potassium, and magnesium. There are many others, including calcium, chloride, and bicarbonate, but the big three are the ones targeted by supplement and sports nutrition companies.
In part, that”;s because sodium especially, but also potassium and magnesium, are lost through sweat. Athletes need to replenish these electrolytes during and after hard workouts or endurance outings in order to maintain optimal hydration and performance. Sodium and potassium work together to manage fluid balance throughout the body and facilitate muscle contractions and nerve firing. Magnesium is critical for cellular energy production and the transport of sodium and potassium across cell membranes.
I”;m not going to go into a lot of detail about the other functions of electrolytes in the body since Mark recently covered the topic in his Electrolytes 101 post. Suffice it to say that if you don”;t maintain the proper levels of electrolytes, you”;re in a world of hurt.
Should I Be Taking Electrolyte Supplements?
Not everyone needs to supplement with electrolytes, but everyone needs to get the right amount. Your kidneys do a good job keeping electrolytes in balance by retaining or excreting specific electrolytes as needed. However, the kidneys can only do their job if you provide enough electrolytes to begin with, and there”;s the rub. Even Primal folks who consume abundant produce and animal products may struggle to get enough electrolytes from their food due to mineral-depleted soil. Paleo godfather Loren Cordain speculates that potassium intake in particular lags behind our biological needs.1
Furthermore, if you”;ve jumped on the ketogenic train, you need more electrolytes than the average person. When you drop your carb intake, insulin secretion decreases accordingly. This triggers ketone production as well as a rapid flush of electrolytes. Failure to replenish lost electrolytes, particularly sodium, is probably the number one culprit behind the dreaded keto flu.
Sports drinks are not the best way to up your electrolyte intake, though. Most of them are designed to provide energy (read: sugar) and hydration first and foremost. They probably won”;t offer the amount of electrolytes you want, plus they usually contain other undesirable ingredients you don’t need. Luckily, it”;s easy to up your electrolyte intake with better, more Primal-friendly sources.
I know meditation is good for me, but I don”;t know how to start.
I”;ve tried to meditate before, but my mind is too busy.
It sounds easy, but it feels hard.
Not sure what the hype is all about? Find out why millions of people have been meditating for thousands of years.
Meditate with us for 21 days, complete with video meditations, a tracker, and community support!
How Much Sodium, Potassium, and Magnesium Do You Need?
Sodium: The current recommended daily intake for adults is 1,500 mg per day, but that”;s probably not enough for most people. The sweet spot seems to be between 4 and 6 grams per day for adults who do not have salt-sensitive hypertension or kidney disease.
Potassium:2 The FDA”;s recommended daily intake (RDI) is 4,700 mg per day.
Magnesium:3 For adult females, 310 mg per day up to age 30, 320 mg per day thereafter. For adult males, 400 mg per day up to age 30, 420 mg per day after that.
Keto Dieters”; Electrolyte Requirements
Keto dieters should aim for:
3 to 5 grams (3,000 to 5,000 mg) of sodium 1 to 3.5 grams (1,000 to 3,500 mg) of potassium 300 to 500 mg of magnesium
These are in addition to what you get from food. If you are already getting at least the RDI of potassium from your diet, you might choose not to add more. However, as I said, it”;s unlikely that you consistently get enough.
How to Get Electrolytes without Sports Drinks Start with Food
Getting electrolytes from your diet is preferable to supplementing. Start by estimating your typical daily electrolyte intake, ideally by tracking your food for a few days using an app. I prefer Cronometer, but any app that provides detailed nutritional information will do. Don”;t forget to track beverages, too.
If you find that you”;re not hitting your targets, try adding more electrolyte-rich foods first, then supplement as needed.
How to Get Sodium in Your Diet
(Note: All the nutrition information below comes from Cronometer.)
Bacon and other cured meats, canned fish, or salted nuts can contribute up to a few hundred mg of sodium per serving. Smaller amounts naturally occur in some produce like beets and carrots, and in seaweed and fresh seafood. Dairy products also contain sodium, and even your drinking water contributes a little.
By and large, though, most of the sodium you consume in a day comes from the salt you add to your food. Different types of salt contain different amounts of sodium. A teaspoon of sea salt has about 2,100 to 2,300 mg of sodium, whereas a teaspoon of kosher salt only has between 1,100 and 1,900 mg.
Primal eaters should feel free to salt their food liberally. Your food will taste better if you do! Also, adding a generous pinch of salt to your drinking water enhances the body”;s ability to absorb the water so you stay hydrated. (Add a squeeze of lemon to mask the taste.)
Foods Rich in Potassium
Primal eaters usually don”;t include many of the highest-potassium foods in their diets: legumes, dried fruits, bananas. No worries! A medium-sized banana contains 422 grams in a medium-sized fruit. There are plenty of Primal-friendly options that beat it. Here”;s just a sampling:
These don”;t beat bananas, but they still get honorable mentions:
Coconut water (8 ounces, 240 ml): 410 mg Ground beef, 85% lean, raw (4 ounces, 113 g): 333 mg Sockeye salmon, raw (3 ounces, 85 g): 306 mg Canned anchovies (Wild Planet brand, one can, 85 g): 235 mg Broccoli, raw (1 cup chopped, 91 g): 288 mg
Potatoes are still controversial in the ancestral health space, but they contain more potassium than any of the foods listed above. A medium-sized baked potato (131 g) clocks in at 512 mg of potassium. Eating the skin nets you an additional 400 mg! If you don”;t want to eat white potatoes, and you”;re not aiming for very low carb intake, a medium-sized sweet potato (150 g) delivers 713 mg of potassium.
As you can see, though, it takes quite a lot to hit the RDI of 4,700 mg per day, even if you eat plenty of these relatively high-potassium foods.
Best Foods for Magnesium
With both magnesium and potassium, you”;ll get some from most Primal foods. Some of the higher-magnesium foods are:
Remember, you don”;t need nearly as much magnesium as you do potassium or sodium.
Supplement Electrolytes as Needed
You can purchase magnesium and potassium as individual supplements. Check your daily multivitamin/multimineral formula, too, to see how much you”;re getting there.
The easiest way to add sodium is from good ol”; salt. Losalt is a lower-sodium salt that contains 1800 mg of potassium and 688 mg of sodium per teaspoon.
You can also buy electrolyte powders that you add to water. Read the labels to see how much sodium, potassium, and magnesium you are getting with each product and to make sure they don’t have added sugar. Some products don”;t contain all three electrolytes, which might be desirable or not depending on what you need. Others contain all three but in paltry amounts. My personal favorite is LMNT, which contains good amounts of the big three in the correct proportions.
What about Baking Soda?
Some evidence suggests that baking soda is anti-inflammatory and can buffer acidosis, which is why it’s becoming increasingly popular among athletes and folks with autoimmune issues. It also seems to boost ketone production.4
The chemical formula for baking is sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). One-quarter teaspoon contains 315 mg of sodium, plus bicarbonate, another electrolyte. The downside to using baking soda as a supplement is that it can cause significant GI distress if you overdo it. Start small!
A Note on Safe Supplementing
It”;s almost impossible to overdo electrolyte intake when you”;re talking about the minerals that naturally occur in real food. However, supplementing is a different story. With any electrolyte, you can run into problems by taking too much. That”;s why I suggest tracking your food intake first–;so you know how much more of each you actually need.
In particular, excessive potassium can lead to heart arrhythmias. When taken correctly, potassium supplements are generally considered to be safe for adults whose kidneys are healthy. As always, ask your doctor if you”;re not sure if they”;re right for you.
Pierce Fulton has sadly passed away, his brother revealed on social media.
The 28-year-old EDM producer’s older brother, Griff, shared a statement about Pierce’s passing, which was due to a “tragic struggle with his mental health.”
“It breaks my heart to share with you that Pierce passed away on Thursday evening following a tragic struggle with his mental health,” the statement began. “Pierce was so incredibly full of life, love & unimaginable creativity. He was kind, caring, thoughtful, silly & sweet. The most magical person that we were all so blessed to know, hear & see. He was an expert at absolutely anything he set his mind to & had this incredible ability to retain knowledge unlike anyone I’ve ever known. The only word that truly can describe his abilities is genius.”
Griff continued that Pierce “could captivate a room of strangers in the blink of an eye with only one hope – to make everyone feel loved, comfortable & welcomed. He traveled the globe for the better part of a decade doing what he loved & cemented powerful friendships with so many wonderful people along the way, accomplishing more in his career in music than most could dream to accomplish in a lifetime. He loved you all so much & wanted to give you everything he had; and he had so much to give.”
Pierce made a big impact on the music industry with his breakout single “Kuaga (Lost Time)” in 2015, and his final album, Keeping the Little Things, was released last August.
His family thanked fans, extended family and friends for their support and have also created the email address firstname.lastname@example.org for fans and friends to send any memories or thoughts about Pierce.
They have also vowed to start an organization aimed at creating “real & lasting positive change” for those battling with their mental health.
Before we tell you how to lose belly fat, we’d like to say this:
There”;s nothing wrong with belly fat.
In fact, in many cultures, it”;s desirable to have some extra squish.
Certainly, at various points in history, luscious roundness was the look. (Google “;Renoir”;s bathers”; or “;Rubens”; nudes.”;)
And yet, in modern popular culture–;despite some progress celebrating more diverse body shapes–;we still overwhelmingly glorify the six-pack and the itty-hourglass waist.
(Not that there”;s anything wrong with those shapes either.)
Either way, many of our clients come to us wanting to lose belly fat.
Which is why we”;re covering the topic.
Fair warning: This story will be different than what you usually find on the web in a magazine. That”;s because we”;re going to give you practical, realistic, big-picture answers.
(And those answers might not be what you expect.)
Indulge in some navel-gazing, and explore this topic with us.
Why belly fat even matters
You might”;ve noticed: Regardless of body fat, people are shaped differently.
And it turns out, where we store fat matters.
Visceral fat vs. subcutaneous fat
If you sliced someone”;s belly open (gross), you would find fat in two places.
The padding just under the surface of the skin: This type of fat, called either subcutaneous fat or peripheral fat, is relatively benign.1,2
Deep in the abdomen, often surrounding vital organs like the liver, stomach, and intestines: Called visceral or central fat, this contributes to chronic inflammation, the formation of arterial plaque, and blood clots.3 It”;s also associated with an increased risk for metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.4,5
Generally, if someone has more subcutaneous fat, they”;ll also have more visceral fat–;but not always. Occasionally, a person can appear quite lean, with little subcutaneous fat, but still have higher levels of visceral fat.
Okay, but why do I have belly fat?
Well, as you”;ve probably heard, where we store fat relates to hormones, genetics, and certain medical conditions.
Things that can increase visceral fat include:
A higher body fat percentage: Although genetics and hormones will determine how fat is distributed, people with more body fat are more likely to have higher amounts of belly fat. Being a man: Compared to premenopausal women, men are more likely to carry extra fat around their midsection. That”;s because their visceral fat stores seem to absorb a greater proportion of dietary fat.6 Being postmenopausal: Mostly due to hormonal shifts, women tend to experience a shift in body fat distribution post-menopause, with a decrease in leg fat, and an increase in abdominal fat.7 Aging: As fat cells age, they secrete more inflammatory factors and also get redistributed from subcutaneous stores to visceral depots.8 Having chronically high levels of cortisol: Visceral fat soaks up and breaks down excess cortisol.9 Having certain gene variants: Several genes have been linked to body fat distribution. (If you”;re into that kind of stuff, the genes are: TBX15, HOXC13, RSPO3, CPEB4, and LRP5.) While all people carry these genes, certain versions of these genes predispose a person to carry fat around their midsection, compared to their hips and legs.10,11
We can”;t do anything about our age, sex, or genes. (Sorry). But we do have control over a few other things.
And we”;re about to get into just that.
“;Belly fat”; after pregnancy: It might not be what you think it is
Immediately postpartum, women will lose about 13 pounds (bye baby, placenta, and other tissues).
After that, more weight loss may slowly occur as the uterus returns to its regular shape, and fluid levels normalize.12
Many women find, however, that their bodies, especially their bellies, look different–;even if they return to their pre-pregnancy weight.
This is likely because their abdominal tissue stretched to accommodate their fetus. Now it”;s fluffier, and doesn”;t compress tissues and fat as well as it used to.
Lingering diastasis recti–;a separation of the abdominal muscles–;can also make the abdomen look more rounded.
(If diastasis is giving you problems, see a pelvic physiotherapist. They can assess the degree of diastasis, give you safe ways to move your body, potentially repair some of the abdominal separation, and improve symptoms.)
Though strengthening key core muscles (like the transverse abdominis) can help both issues, it takes time.
With so many other changes going on in your life (remember sleep?), this news can be tough to swallow.
At the same time: Your body just did a really amazing thing.
So while there”;s nothing wrong with wanting to work on your body after pregnancy, make sure you approach that work with love, compassion, and a heck of a big high five.
How to lose belly fat, in 6 steps
If there”;s a trick to incredible results, it”;s this: the ability to practice basic (sometimes boring) health behaviors over and over again.
Hear us out.
What we”;re about to share will probably trigger your inner “;I know this already”; voice. You might roll your eyes and think there”;s nothing new here. Nothing “;cutting edge”; or “;sparkly.”;
But, if you use these steps, you”;ll see results.
Results you can actually sustain.
And hey, that would be pretty thrilling.
1. Know why you want to change your belly.
This will help you set clear goals and stay motivated.
Maybe you”;re thinking, “;This is easy. I”;m here because I want to lose belly fat! Step 1 is now complete!”;
Easy there, partner. Let”;s get specific:
Has your doctor told you to lose weight for health reasons? Are you pretty healthy, but feel like your pants are getting tighter, and you just wanna know what”;s up? Are you looking to get totally shredded, with visible abs?
Whatever your reasons, you”;re welcome here.
However, if you”;ve decided to slim down for your health, let”;s dig a little deeper because, beyond a certain point, getting a leaner midsection isn”;t healthier.
Yes, larger midsections–;over 37 inches (94 cm) for men, and over 31 inches (80 cm) for women–;are correlated with:13,14,15,16
Type 2 diabetes Cardiovascular disease Dementia All-cause mortality
And yet, plenty of people fall well under these waistline parameters–;and feel pretty fit and healthy too–;but they”;re unhappy with their bellies.
(By the way, plenty of people fall above these parameters and are also healthy–;and happy with their shape.)
While there”;s nothing wrong with wanting to change your body for aesthetic reasons, it”;s worth considering:
Sometimes when we go through tough stuff–;a divorce, dealing with a sick parent, a job loss–;we look for other ways to feel better and more fulfilled. Like, “;getting ripped.”;
And getting a flat (or flatter) stomach won”;t fix those problems.
In fact, sometimes getting hyper-lean creates new problems and stress.
Because of that, lots of clients have found value in learning to accept their softer sides, rather than fight them.
Some did that through learning to view their bodies through the eyes of a loved one–;such as a toddler who cuddles up to “;stomachy”; because it”;s so squishy and comfy. Or, they”;ve learned to appreciate their bodies for what they can do.
So, know your reasons for wanting to change.
And whether that change is worth the effort.
2. Accept (even if begrudgingly) that there”;s no trick to spot-reducing belly fat.
We all want the easy way out of stubborn problems.
Especially when life (laundry, sick relatives, rebellious teenagers, injuries, and what”;s that smell in the heating duct) feels challenging enough.
Plus, there”;s no shortage of books with titles like The Belly Shrinking Diet or magazines promoting “;4 Exercises to Give You Abs in 4 Weeks”; to make us think that spot-reducing is not only possible, but easy.
But just like you can”;t lose fat only off your left tricep, you also can”;t lose it just from your belly.
Belly fat loss goes along with overall body fat loss, which usually goes along with changes to diet and exercise.
Why are we telling you this? Because the sooner you give up on what doesn”;t work, the sooner you can move on to what does.
Note: We”;re excluding surgical and pharmaceutical treatments from our strategies to lose belly fat. To date, these are the only reliable methods to “;spot-reduce”; fat from the abdomen. Liposuction and body contouring can surgically remove fat from the belly, and hormone replacement therapy can change how fat is distributed in the body.17
Can you lose belly fat fast?
How quickly you can lose belly fat depends on how quickly you can lose fat all over your body.
To lose an inch of fat around the waist, it takes about 4-5 pounds of overall weight loss, according to our analysis of over 1000 clients.
With consistent effort, our clients generally have lost between 0.8 to 2 pounds a week.
Meaning, within a month or so of reasonably consistent healthy habit changes, people can lose up to an inch off their waists.
Meanwhile, minimally-processed foods–;like lean proteins, colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds–;are more satisfying.
Specifically, we”;ve found, in coaching more than 100,000 clients, that most people have an easier time losing fat when they consume:
1-2 fists of veggies per meal, which helps fill you up on fewer calories 1-2 palms of appetite-regulating protein-rich foods (chicken, yogurt, tofu, or eggs) per meal Fiber-rich whole grains, fruit, and legumes in place of refined foods most of the time
Specific amounts vary from one person to another.
Now, you”;re probably thinking, “;That”;s not that helpful, PN.”;
You”;re right, but we have a solution for that: our free nutrition calculator below. Click the “;get started”; button, answer a few questions, and it”;ll instantly give you the calories, protein, carbs, and fat you need to achieve your goals (along with a nutrition plan that shows you what to do).
Nutrition Calculator How much should you eat? Let’s find out.
Trans fats, an ingredient often found in processed foods, may actually cause belly fat:
In one study, rats were fed either a high saturated fat diet, or a high trans fat diet. After eight weeks, rats on the high trans fat had significantly more visceral fat, compared to the rats of the high saturated fats diet.18
(And the only reason we don”;t have a similar study in humans is because the negative health effects of trans fats are so indisputable that such a study would be unethical.19,20,21)
Trans fats are often listed as “;partially hydrogenated oil”; on ingredient labels, and are found in many shelf-stable baked goods, crackers, and cookies. So try to reduce or eliminate those foods.
4. Eat slowly, until 80 percent full.
You might assume people need a strict food tracking method to start losing fat, but we just haven”;t found that to be the case.
This is especially true when they learn to listen and respond to their internal sense of hunger and fullness, a skill known as internal appetite regulation.
By relaxing, eating slowly, and tuning into their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations, most people can make phenomenal progress.
This is truly a ninja skill when it comes to weight management.
You can”;t burn away belly fat with abdominal exercises or vibrating waist belts.
[Shakes fist at infomercials.]
And while you might have read that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to boost visceral fat loss,22 there”;s an important caveat:
Exercise only works if you do it consistently–;and long term.23
In other words, one exercise-until-you-hurl session isn”;t gonna flatten your belly. Neither will two. Or three. Or seven. Or fifteen.
It takes session after session after session–;week after week, month after month–;to see and maintain results.
So if you love HIIT workouts more than ice cream, great. Keep it up.
On the other hand, if the idea of sprints and burpees makes you want to hide in your closet, know that you”;ve got options–;lots and lots and lots of options.
Ideally, to lose belly fat, you”;d combine some form of resistance training with some form of cardio.
But you ultimately want to exercise in a way that”;s doable, pain-free, and enjoyable–;because that”;s the exercise you”;ll do regularly.
(Sweaty salsa, anyone?)
Can supplements reduce belly fat?
Periodically, a new supplement promises remarkable results.
But do any of them actually work?
Below we explore what the research has to say about the effectiveness of five supplements often promoted for fat loss:
Compound Will it help? Findings
Phosphatidylserine (PS) Not likely PS was proposed to decrease stress, and thereby also visceral fat. However, there”;s little support that PS decreases either the stress response or abdominal fat.24
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) Not likely There”;s no reliable evidence that CLA helps with site-specific or general weight loss.25
Green tea extract Maybe, but minimally There is some evidence that green tea extract improves weight loss.26 However, support that it specifically targets belly fat is minimal, and only in non-lean individuals.27
Caffeine Not likely There is moderate evidence that caffeine suppresses appetite that leads to weight loss, and increases metabolic rate temporarily. But the weight loss isn”;t specific to belly fat.28,29
Capsaicin Not likely There is some evidence the capsaicin may increase metabolic rate temporarily. However, this doesn”;t translate to belly fat loss.28
If you just read this list and felt a big “;womp woommp”; of let-down, we don”;t blame you.
Through clever marketing campaigns and dramatic anecdotal success stories, we”;re constantly being sold on the miracle pill.
Sadly, it just doesn”;t exist.
The good news:
Now that you know this, you can stop wasting your money, and empower yourself to practice the daily nutrition, movement, and lifestyle habits that do work.
6. Approach all of the above with self-compassion, instead of criticism.
Self-compassion is an attitude of generosity, honesty, and kindness towards yourself. It helps you see yourself clearly, and then take steps to help yourself.
But being nice to yourself to lose belly fat? Well, it sounds like a load of hooey, doesn’t it?
Research shows self-compassion is linked to healthier eating and more consistent exercise habits30,31–;as well as lower rates of anxiety and depression, less perceived stress, and greater well-being overall.32,33,34
Conversely, self-criticism is linked to unhealthy eating behaviors, as well as higher rates of anxiety and depression.35,36
(Ok, fine. Not hooey.)
So what does self-compassion look like in practice?
There are three main elements:
Mindfulness: This is when you”;re aware of what you”;re doing, thinking, feeling and experiencing, but you”;re not judging yourself for it.
Example: “;I”;m feeling bad about my belly. And I notice that I also feel frustrated and impatient to change…;”;
Common humanity: Acknowledging that you”;re not alone–;that everyone goes through what you”;re dealing with at some point.
Example: “;That”;s okay. So many people struggle with aspects of their appearance.”;
Self-kindness: Being generous and decent to yourself.
Example: “;Take a deep breath. This body has carried me through a lot. Maybe I can do something small to care for it right now.”;
We just told you about six ways to reduce belly fat.
But they”;re just the start.
A healthy body is the result of many habits that support all dimensions of your life. It includes your relationships, your mental well-being, your emotional health, your surroundings, and your spiritual life. At Precision Nutrition, we call this deep health. It”;s a whole-person approach that addresses all of the dimensions of life–;and not just the physical.
You don”;t want to have ripped abs but feel awful inside, right? That”;s why your deep health journey might lead you to change your environment, explore your values and your identity, and line up lots of support from family, friends, medical practitioners, and maybe a coach (if you have access to that kind of service).
Finally, know that there are some things about your body that you may not be able to change (thanks aging, hormonal changes, and other life adventures).
So, while we encourage you to pursue your best body and life with all the zest you have…; well, we”;ll still like you if you decide not to change at all.
18. Dorfman, Suzanne E., Didier Laurent, John S. Gounarides, Xue Li, Tara L. Mullarkey, Erik C. Rocheford, Farid Sari-Sarraf, Erica A. Hirsch, Thomas E. Hughes, and S. Renee Commerford. 2009. “;Metabolic Implications of Dietary Trans-Fatty Acids.“; Obesity 17 (6): 1200-;1207.
Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes–;in a way that”;s personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances–;is both an art and a science.
The symptoms of severe COVID-19 frequently include hypercoagulability, or an increased tendency to produce blood clots. While the pathophysiology is not completely understood,1 the characteristic changes have been identified.2 Researchers have found anticoagulant therapy helps improve health outcomes from an illness that can trigger a variety of thromboembolic complications.
Data also show that people who are deficient in glutathione experience some of the more serious symptoms.3 Interestingly, one study4 published in Nature in January 2021, evaluated the differences in the prothrombotic potential between COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections not triggered by a coronavirus. The thrombotic rates were not different between the two groups in mild disease.
However, hypercoagulability in COVID-19 was a dynamic process and the highest risk occurred in severely ill people. The complications of hypercoagulability include the shortness of breath and severe lung complications it triggers.
In one study,5 patients admitted to Padova University Hospital in Italy for acute respiratory failure showed “markedly hypercoagulable thromboelastometry profiles,” which “correlated with a worse outcome.”6
It appears one of the differences between those who have a mild illness and severe illness is related to the body’s ability to reduce the hyperimmune response that leads to a cytokine storm and the hypercoagulability that often accompanies it. Glutathione plays a role in the fight against the severe inflammatory response triggered by SARS-CoV-2.7
Glutathione Plays a Crucial Role in Severe COVID Illness
Studies published in ACS Infectious Disease8 and Antioxidants9 proposed that glutathione plays a crucial role in the body’s fight against the severe inflammatory response triggered by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The research group in the ACS Infectious Disease study called it the “most likely cause of serious manifestations and deaths in COVID-19 patients.”
In that study,10 they theorized the higher infection rate in older individuals and those with comorbidities suggest these groups are sensitive to environmental factors. Certain medical conditions have been identified that increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. These include chronic lung disease, Type 2 diabetes, heart conditions, obesity and smoking.11
Specifically, the researchers12 homed in on an impaired redox homeostasis and concurrent oxidative stress in individuals of advanced age and with comorbidities. Redox homeostasis is a process that helps ensure a proper cellular response to stimuli.
When this is dysregulated, oxidative stress can lead to “cell death and contribute to disease development.”13 Glutathione plays a crucial role in the inflammatory response, which the researchers theorize is a feasible means in the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. They wrote:14
“The hypothesis that glutathione deficiency is the most plausible explanation for serious manifestation and death in COVID-19 patients was proposed on the basis of an exhaustive literature analysis and observations.
The hypothesis unravels the mysteries of epidemiological data on the risk factors determining serious manifestations of COVID-19 infection and the high risk of death and opens real opportunities for effective treatment and prevention of the disease.”
The paper published in Antioxidants also concluded that a common denominator appeared to be the impaired redox homeostasis system. They proposed glutathione may be “critical in extinguishing the exacerbated inflammation that triggers organ failure in COVID-19.”15
In the paper, the scientists presented a review of biochemical mechanisms that are counterbalanced by glutathione and the pathways that may explain endogenous glutathione depletion in older people and those with comorbidities known to increase the risk of severe illness.
Glutathione Mediates Reduction in Lung Inflammation
One medical student put this theory to the test when his 48-year-old mother was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was prescribed hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin that helped to improve some symptoms but her breathing remained labored. When she had severe respiratory problems, her son contacted Dr. Richard Horowitz, a specialist who was treating his sister for Lyme disease.
He suggested adding glutathione to help reduce the inflammation and protect the lung tissue. The results were dramatic. Within one hour after receiving a 2,000 milligram dose of glutathione, her breathing had improved. She continued taking the glutathione for five days and did not relapse. Horowitz published two case studies, documenting the results of oral and IV glutathione.16
In May 2020, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center posted a trial to ClinicalTrials.gov17 announcing a study using N-acetylcysteine (NAC) in patients with COVID-19. This was first-of-its-kind research.
The team planned to enroll patients with severe disease and evaluate the use of 6 grams of NAC administered intravenously each day in addition to other treatments. The study was last updated in March 2021; the team postulated that:
“… a medication called N-acetylcysteine can help fight the COVID-19 virus by boosting a type of cell in your immune system that attacks infections. By helping your immune system fight the virus, the researchers think that the infection will get better, which could allow the patient to be moved out of the critical care unit or go off a ventilator, or prevent them from moving into a critical care unit or going on a ventilator.”
At approximately the same time Memorial Sloan-Kettering announced their study, Dr. Alexi Polonikov from Kursk State Medical University in Russia published papers18,19,20 proposing glutathione plays a crucial role in the body’s ability to respond to a COVID-19 infection. In a short YouTube video, pulmonologist Dr. Roger Seheult21 explains the science.
In addition to using glutathione during an illness, Polonikov postulates that glutathione may be used as a preventive agent. Based on an exhaustive literature analysis, he later gave an explanation for why he believes glutathione deficiency is a plausible reason for serious illness from COVID-19.22
“(1) oxidative stress contributes to hyper-inflammation of the lung leading to adverse disease outcomes such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, multiorgan failure and death;
(2) poor antioxidant defense due to endogenous glutathione deficiency as a result of decreased biosynthesis and/or increased depletion of GSH is the most probable cause of increased oxidative damage of the lung, regardless which of the factors aging, chronic disease comorbidity, smoking or some others were responsible for this deficit.”
Seheult23 and Polonikov24 explain how oxidative damage plays a role in severe illness with COVID-19. In a second video,25 Seheult explains how COVID-19 sets the stage for significantly increased oxidative stress by raising levels of superoxide, a damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Glutathione — A Master Antioxidant
This increase in superoxide occurs in people who have high levels due to chronic diseases that are comorbidities for COVID-19. These include heart disease,26 Type 2 diabetes27 and high blood pressure.28
When the virus uses the ACE2 enzyme, it generates angiotensin II,29 which in turn generates superoxide.30 The ROS can be reduced with glutathione peroxidase31 as it oxidizes glutathione in the process of reducing H2O2 to water. A deficiency in glutathione creates a buildup of ROS, as Polonikov describes.
The powerful antioxidant function in glutathione has earned it the nickname “master antioxidant.”32 Antioxidants help keep other molecules from oxidizing. Most proteins are constructed from a set of 20 amino acids. The precise arrangement and sequence results in the specific biological activity associated with that protein.33
However, glutathione is created from three amino acids — glutamate, glycine and cysteine — to form the glutathione molecule. One function of glutathione is to recycle other antioxidants. This helps increase the effectiveness and recycle the molecules. On the other hand, deficiencies in certain vitamins such as C, E and A can cause a glutathione deficiency.34,35,36,37
Comorbid Risk Factors Linked to Glutathione Deficiency
In a review of the literature38 evaluating the effect of lung disease in COVID-19, researchers wrote that, in 2002, data showed glutathione protected against chronic inflammation during respiratory disease. They postulated that directly increasing glutathione levels in the lungs “would be a logical approach to protection against chronic inflammation and oxidant-mediated injury in lung disease.”39
In addition to protecting lung tissue, glutathione has been studied in many of the comorbid conditions associated with severe COVID-19. For over a decade, researchers have noted that people with obesity,40 heart disease41 and Type 2 diabetes,42 and who are elderly,43 have a higher incidence of glutathione deficiency associated with those conditions.
Past studies45 have also found it can reduce viral replication, including the influenza virus. Importantly, NAC also helps counteract hypercoagulation46,47 as it has both anticoagulant and platelet inhibiting properties.48 This is in large part due to the sulfur in NAC that reduces the interchain disulfide bonds by Von Willebrand factors that contribute to clot formation.
Once the Von Willebrand factor sulfur bonds are broken, the clot starts to dissolve, and the blood vessels open allowing for exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
According to the authors of one paper, “NAC is an effective and safe alternative to currently available antithrombotic agents to restore vessel patency after arterial occlusion.”49 Two additional papers50,51 show the same thing.
Strategies to Support Your Glutathione Levels
As he discusses in the video, Seheult believes there is more to the damage by COVID-19 than oxidative stress.52 He points out that the clots in patients with confirmed COVID-19 are rich with platelets, indicating another mechanism involving disulfide bonds. He goes on to explain:53
“And, as we’ve already talked about N-acetylcysteine and reduced glutathione will break these disulfide bonds and cause them to lyse and potentially relieve the obstruction and the hypoxemia with COVID-19. Again, this is all a hypothesis, but it looks as though it’s fitting together.”
Foods that have a positive impact on glutathione production include cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, green tea, curcumin, rosemary and milk thistle.54 Getting quality sleep may also help.55
Different types of exercise can influence your levels as well. In one study,56 researchers enrolled 80 healthy but sedentary volunteers to measure the type of exercise that may have the greatest effect. They found that aerobic training in combination with circuit weight training showed the greatest benefit.
1 Recent data analysis found areas with the highest influenza vaccination rates among elderly had:
The lowest COVID-19 mortality rates
The highest COVID-19 mortality rates
An October 2020 data analysis found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide. Areas with the highest vaccination rates also had the highest COVID-19 death rates. Learn more.
Identical COVID-19 mortality rates as areas with low flu vaccine rates
Half the mortality rate of areas with the lowest flu vaccine rates
2 A corporate-funded COVID Commission Planning Group is being set up to create and support an investigative commission like that for 9/11. Heading up the planning group is Philip Zelikow, who holds which of the following positions?
Head of Google’s artificial intelligence unit
Vice president of Schmidt Futures
Member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program Advisory Panel
Philip Zelikow, former executive director of the 9/11 Commission, is a member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program Advisory Panel, and a strategy group member of the Aspen Institute, a technocratic hub that has groomed and mentored executives from around the world about the subtleties of globalization. Learn more.
Former vice chair of the Rockefeller Foundation
3 Implantable biosensors reportedly detect disease outbreaks, biological attacks and pandemics up to three weeks earlier than current methods, but in exchange you may have to:
Sign up on a waiting list
Meet certain eligibility requirements
Pay an excessive amount of money
Give up your privacy
The biosensors may detect disease outbreaks, biological attacks and pandemics up to three weeks earlier than current methods, but you have to give up your privacy in exchange. Learn more.
4 The plan of modern technocracy is to:
Use bioterrorism to take control of the world’s resources, wealth and people
The technocrats’ plan, as laid out in various papers and reports, is to use bioterrorism to take control of the world’s resources, wealth and people. Learn more.
Use pandemic responses to strengthen democracy around the world
Equip robots with human brains
Eradicate transmissible diseases
5 Based on the evidence, the goal of pandemic measures such as lockdowns and home-based work and education is to:
Prevent all COVID-19-related deaths
Usher in the Great Reset
The goal of this pandemic is to usher in the Great Reset, a strategy developed and promoted by the World Economic Forum. Previously referred to as the New World Order, this “reset” of the global economy and society as a whole has been carefully planned for decades. Learn more.
Reduce all-cause mortality
Improve working-class finances
6 Decentralized web options are the solution to rampant censorship, which is why we need to develop:
Increased outlets for artificial intelligence
Additional funding for gain-of-function research
Decentralized censorship-resistant internet and social media platforms
Decentralized options are the solution, which is why we need to develop decentralized censorship-resistant internet and social media platforms. Learn more.
New search engines that are easier to use
7 To improve your health, regardless of your health problem, you first and foremost need to:
Water fast for a week or more
Follow a vegan or vegetarian diet
Switch to a whole food diet
Processed food is the core reason for why people get chronic diseases. Real food is medicine, and there’s no medicine that can undo the damage of processed food. To improve your health, regardless of your problem, you first and foremost need to eat real food (whole food). Learn more.