Vitamin K2: Your Heart's New Best Friend


[Read Time: 2-3 minutes] 
Vitamin K comes from the German word 'koagulation' after it was discovered in Germany to have a role in blood clotting. This is what it's most well known for but many don't even realize that they're different kinds of vitamin K and they each have their own specific roles.
VITAMIN K1
This type is found in dark green vegetables, matcha tea, and fermented soybeans called "natto".


This form goes directly to your liver and helps maintain healthy blood clotting. Low levels of this can result in bruising very easily.

VITAMIN K2 
Is made from the good bacteria in your large intestine from the above food sources. K2 has incredible health benefits that go far beyond blood clotting.

K2 doesn't go straight to your liver like K1, instead, it goes right to your blood vessel walls where it goes to work to remove excess calcium buildup and deliver it to the proper places such as your bones and teeth.

Besides moving calcium around to the areas of need, K2's other main role is it activates proteins that control cell growth. This means it has a very important role in cancer prevention. So if you're lacking in K2 you're at a much greater risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer.
WHY SUPPLEMENT?
Do you like natto enough to eat 50 grams a day? Probably not, which is why supplementation of vitamin K2 is a popular choice.

Keep in mind that Vitamin K2 needs to be supplemented alongside vitamin D3 as both work together to improve the effects of each other. They're both fat-soluble so take them with a meal or with your fish oil.

Why Bacon is HEALTHY for You

[Read Time: 2-3 minutes]

Why would bacon be healthy for you when it's filled with “artery-clogging" saturated fat, excessive amounts of sodium that raises blood pressure, and the “cancer-causing” nitrates/nitrites?
Would you believe me if I told you that all 3 of those points are myths and that bacon is healthier for you than you think?

SATURATED FATS
A majority of the public still think that saturated fats are linked to heart disease because they raise cholesterol. Saturated fats, without refined carbs and in the presence of enough omega-3, do not show to be harmful to your body (1). In fact, the sugar industry back in the 60’s paid off scientists to claim saturated fats caused heart disease (2).

SODIUM
People with salt-sensitive hypertension should avoid excessive sodium (salt) intake because it raises their blood pressure. However, in most people, there’s little to no association between salt consumption and hypertension (3). Sodium is an essential mineral which means it’s critical for our health. Excessive amounts risk kidney damage (4) and cognitive decline (5). The average American consumes nearly double the RDI. Anything in excess is harmful so use moderation, but don’t worry about the blood pressure increases.

NITRITES/NITRATES
Finally, the big horror story of eating bacon, according to mainstream health, nitrates. Used in the process of curing bacon, nitrates have been shown in only ONE study to increase the risk of cancers. This study has been discredited after being subjected to a peer review. Since then, there have been major reviews of the scientific literature that found no link between nitrates and cancers (6,7). What’s surprising is nitrates may even be beneficial for your immune system (8) and heart health (9) due to the conversion to nitric oxide.

It may come at a surprise to you but 1 serving of arugula, 2 servings of lettuce, and 4 servings of celery or beets have more nitrates than 467 hot dogs (10). What’s more surprising is your saliva has more than all of them combined. That’s because salivary nitrite accounts for 70-90% of our total nitrite exposure.

NITRATE-FREE SCAM
The “nitrite/nitrate-free” hot dogs and bacon are a scam and not worth the extra cost. Don’t be fooled because these products use “natural” sources from celery and beets and contain the same chemical. In fact, they may even contain MORE when cured using these “natural” preservatives. 

So eat your bacon and ENJOY it!

REFERENCES
1. SF & HEART = https://goo.gl/9jsHCm
2. SUGAR INDUSTRY = https://goo.gl/ucxpP1
3. SALT & BP = https://goo.gl/2PrLGt
4. SALT & KIDNEY = https://goo.gl/9UcZEW
5. SALT = https://goo.gl/mqWh1R
6. CANCER 1 = https://goo.gl/LcVnKE
7. CANCER 2 = https://goo.gl/Yhh66g
8. IMMUNE = https://goo.gl/w5Jg7f
9. HEART = https://goo.gl/s8ou5V
10. HOTDOGS = https://goo.gl/tDaa6Z

The Importance of the Psoas

[Read Time: 2-3 minutes]
When health experts talk about which muscles in your body are important for optimal health, you usually hear them list the glutes, hamstrings, and abdominals. But rarely is the psoas muscle (pronounced "so-as") mentioned as much as it needs to be. 

The psoas is a very large muscle that connects the top half of your body to the bottom. If you didn't have this muscle, well, you'd probably be separated in half. It originates from your 12th thoracic vertebra to your fourth lumbar vertebra and inserts on the inside of your femur.
The psoas flexes your legs up which is needed for walking, running, climbing stairs, dancing, and anything that involves the coordination of your torso and legs.

This muscle is essential for correct posture as it affects the stability of your spine. If there is any type of dysfunction, whether it be from a weak or tight psoas, it can cause the surrounding muscles to overcompensate and become fatigued. This explains why a tight psoas muscle could be the cause of your low back or pelvic pain.
The movements that aggravate your psoas include:
  • Sitting for an extended period.
  • Standing and twisting from your torso without moving your feet.
  • Performing too many sit ups without an equal amount of back extensions.
That's right, your psoas is used to help you finish that last half rep of a sit-up. 

In summary, many experts don't seem to understand the importance of the psoas and sometimes give their patients the wrong diagnoses and treatments for a condition that has nothing to do with their original problem.

The problem many people face is their psoas is either too tight or too weak on one side. To determine this, you need to find a skilled healthcare practitioner that knows exactly how to test it and determine what to do to make each psoas symmetrical.

No Grain, No Gain: Exposing the Whole Wheat Myth

[Read time: 2-3 minutes] 
Did you know that two slices of whole wheat bread can cause a bigger and faster blood sugar spike than a spoonful of table sugar? Yes, even with all that fiber it can still do that to our body.

Whole wheat bread is claimed to be far healthier than white bread, but is it really? Well, for starters, neither contains high levels of fiber or micronutrients.

But, WHOLE WHEAT has more fiber than white.
Yes, whole wheat bread has a higher fiber content than white -- but it pales in comparison to fruits and vegetables; the better sources of your daily fiber. You should definitely not go to whole wheat bread for your fiber when a single pear has 6 grams and is packed full of additional vitamins and minerals.
Yeah, well...WHOLE WHEAT isn't processed and has way more nutrients.
Yes, white bread loses its micronutrients during processing — but those micronutrients are “enriched” or added back in at the end.

A hidden downside to whole wheat bread is its higher phytic acid content. Phytic acid binds to dietary minerals, such as iron and zinc, and can reduce their absorption in your body.

So, why does the media promote whole wheat as the much healthier option?

Easy, for the money.  No grain, no gain.

In 2015, the Whole Grain food market sales were estimated to be $29.4 billion. It's expected to reach $46.2 BILLION by 2022. (1)

Essentially, they created a mythological health paradigm and sold it to the public as a healthier option.

How'd they do it, you ask?

1. Education - They placed their huge revenue source at the bottom of the food pyramid and then promoted it religiously at an early age in school. Eat your carbs so you have lots of energy! Let's face it, wheat is very easy to grow and has a much higher shelf-life with all the genetic modifications done to it. Why not mass produce and subsidize it?

2. Contrast - They needed white bread to stay on the shelf so they could sell the much more expensive wheat. They needed the inferior version to make the comparison that whole wheat is much healthier.

3. Perception of Value - Even though whole wheat products require less processing than white, the retail price is still much higher. Consumers will gladly spend 20-30% more if the packaging had a heart printed on it and said the words '100% whole-grain' and 'heart healthy'. 


Believe it or not, history has flipped its view on bread. For example, the Greek and Romans really liked their white bread; the color was one of the main tests for quality. There were three grades of bread made in these times: black, brown and white. (2)

Guess which one was reserved exclusively for the rich?

References
1. http://www.strategymrc.com/report/whole-grain-and-high-fiber-market
2. http://www.cerealialudi.org/en/alimentazione/pane-e-panettieri-nellantica-roma/

Greek Yogurt - The Laughing Cash Cow



[Read Time: 1 minute]


What is Greek Yogurt? Is it healthy for you? Why is it called that? 
I think the better question to ask is:

“Where did this Greek Yogurt craze come from?"

Or even better...

"Why is everyone all over STRAINED yogurt in the first place?!"

Yes, “Greek Yogurt” is regular yogurt that has whey protein strained or removed from it.
But, why would they want to remove whey? Isn’t that needed to build big muscles, bro?
It can be, but it’s needed to sell you overpriced protein shakes. What do you think is the waste product when cheese factories process cheese? That's right, WHEY protein. Both products are hugely profitable and based on nothing more than clever marketing.
Clever marketing that in 2012, the $4.1 billion US yogurt industry attributed most of its sales from this cash cow called 'strained yogurt'. Whey protein, on the other hand, is set to hit $13.5 billion by 2020.

What's in your fridge?

References
1. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/22/companies-adjust-as-america-develops-taste-for-gre/
2. https://www.bccresearch.com/market-research/food-and-beverage/whey-protein-products-markets-report-fod072a.html

3 Reasons Why You've Been Wasting Your Money On Fish Oils


[Read Time: 2-3 minutes]
There are just a few supplements on the market that are essential for living a healthy lifestyle. Fish Oil being one of them, but you've been wasting your money this whole time.
Wasting my money? What does that even mean?
Hate to tell you this but you should just throw away what you have in the fridge as what you have may be rancid and causing your body more harm than good.

You see, fish oil is BIG business for supplement companies. When you have hundreds and hundreds of brands that compete against each other on the price the overall quality of the fish oil is reduced to help with costs. This doesn't benefit you, the consumer.

Let's learn why you've been wasting your money:

#1. Your fish is in the ethyl-ester form and you had no idea.
Most the fish oil you see on store shelves is in the ethyl ester (EE) form as opposed to the natural triglyceride (TG) form which is the most beneficial and most bio-available for us. In processing and removing the toxins from the fish oil, the TG is broken into EE. 

This type does not exist in any food source in the world as it is biochemically altered. It is expensive for companies to convert the EE back to the natural TG form so this step is almost always skipped. Nature knows best so converting it back to the natural form is essential. Always, always, always look for Triglyceride Form on your fish oil bottle. If it isn't there then DON'T BUY IT!

#2. Your fish oil is under-dosed and won't even benefit a toddler.
A common trick most supplement companies use is boldly printing 1,000 mg on the front of the bottle. Then you go to flip it over and discover there's only 300 mg of EPA/DHA and the rest is 700 mg of soybean oil. This is unhealthy and definitely not good to consume.

Also, the EPA/DHA isn't even broken down so you don't have the correct ratio that is needed.

Correct ratio?
Yes, there is a correct ratio and it should always be 3:2. Nowhere in all the vast oceans of planet earth will you find a high DHA fish swimming around or even a high EPA one. This is yet again another clever marketing technique by companies to maximize profits. How so? Well, they make more money if they can sell three separate products as opposed to just one with the correct EPA/DHA.

#3. Lastly, you get fish burps and think it's normal.
Wrong. Just wrong. Believe it or not, you don't have to go through life with daily fish burps. Just take a quality fish oil that isn't rancid. That's right rancid, rotten, spoiled. You see fish oil is very easily oxidized, which means it can spoil very quickly. That explains why you will never see anyone cooking with it.

Try this experiment next time you go fishing: reel in the fish and leave it sitting out in the sun for a couple hours and report back to me on how it smells. If you buy cheap fish oil at a CVS/Walgreens and got a case of the nasty fish burps then you got yourself a bottle of rancid fish oil. Probably explains why it was $9.97.

Rancid fish oil actually promotes inflammation which is the exact opposite of what we wanted in the first place! By saving a few bucks you literally paid to cause your body harm. So, take this post with you when you go shopping and invest in real fish oil.

The 7 Most Common Myths About Creatine

[Read Time: 6-7 minutes]

Last week, while I was mixing my post workout shake, some dude approached me and asked what I just dropped in there. Once I spoke the dreaded word 'creatine' I saw the life leave his face. It's almost as if I said it was heroin mixed with steroids mixed with nuclear waste because he was literally having a panic attack explaining to me the science behind how bad it is for you.
Yeah, well my friend told me it causes water retention and you could blow up like a balloon.
I love hearing these responses. Especially the ones about creatine being a steroid. That's like saying whey protein is a steroid and every small child drinking cafeteria milk is on a cycle. But, believe it or not, creatine is the most researched, most effective, and the safest supplement on the market.
So why does it still get a bad rap then?
Read on to find out all the answers!


MYTH #1 CREATINE WATER RETENTION IS BAD FOR YOU
Truth: False. Creatine is deposited within the skeletal muscle cells where it essentially gets trapped. This then draws water into the cells causing the overall size to increase. This is NORMAL. When this happens there's an activation of stress response proteins which then influence muscle protein synthesis and your muscles eventually grow. The 5 pounds of water weight gained is negligible when the benefits outweigh it, significantly.


MYTH #2 CREATINE DAMAGES YOUR KIDNEYS

Truth: Wrong. For those that have two healthy functioning kidneys, definitely not. Most of what you've heard is anecdotal with several other variables being excluded. One study had a man with only kidney supplement creatine for over a month (20 g/day for 5 days followed by 5 g/day for the next 30 days). Blood work was done and it showed no problems at all. Another study wanted to determine the long-term effect of creatine supplementation on kidney function. They took 23 NCAA Division II football athletes and divided them into a control and a creatine group. The creatine group was given 5 to 20 grams every day for over 5 years. Once completed, blood work showed there was no significant differences between the creatine group and the control.

MYTH #3 CREATINE LOADING IS MANDATORY
Truth: No, you don't need to load creatine. Many studies didn't even use a loading phase and still had positive outcomes. This study showed there were no strength differences in one-rep max when loading creatine vs not loading. So there really is no point in loading creatine then since all that matters is the end result, especially when half of what you take in gets excreted anyway. According to researchers at St. Francis Xavier University, when supplementing with dosages of 0.1 g per kg of body weight, approximately half of that gets urinated out. So stop wasting money and just follow the 5 grams per day protocol.

MYTH #4 CREATINE CAUSES MUSCLE CRAMPS
Truth: Negative. Creatine muscle cramping is anecdotal and has zero clinical evidence to support this myth. It is a fallacy driven by the media and still supported by the general public. Recent studies have shown creatine to be beneficial in hot and/or humid environments. How so? It aids in thermoregulation, maintaining hematocrit levels, reducing exercising heart rate, and even influencing plasma volume during the onset of dehydration. Arkansas State University did a study where they found that creatine use by 61 Division I athletes during three years of football training camp and competition showed no effects on the incidence of muscle cramps, injury or illness. These athletes used 15.75 grams per day for the loading phase for five days, and another 5 to 10 grams per day as maintenance. The creatine group was the same and even lower in terms of muscle cramps and injuries reported.

MYTH #5 NEWER FORMS OF CREATINE ARE BETTER
Truth: BREAKING NEWS: Creatine Monohydrate is the cheapest and is the only form to have published studies done to prove its efficacy. No other form has enough evidence to claim it is better. And since we know that about half of whatever you ingest gets excreted anyway it's best to just stick with what has been proven by research time and time again. A study out of Texas A&M University showed that even the buffered form of Monohydrate (Kre-Alkalyn®) has no evidence to support the claims of fewer side effects and improved efficacy. What's more surprising is the muscle creatine content was actually greater in the Monohydrate group. So you're basically spending more money to get less creatine. That's not how you maximize your gains, bro.

MYTH #6 CREATINE MUST BE TAKEN AT A SPECIFIC TIME
Truth: Wrong again. When you supplement it you increase your body's supply of creatine phosphate. This creatine phosphate is stored in your body so it doesn't matter when you take it. Whether it's the morning, afternoon, or evening it won't make any significant difference. You can, however, maximize your creatine uptake and improve muscle hypertrophy by taking it with a 1:1 ratio of protein to carbs, but still, no real evidence suggest that there's the best time to take creatine.

MYTH #7 YOU CAN GET ENOUGH CREATINE FROM EATING FOOD
Truth: It's possible, but you'd have to eat 2.2 pounds of uncooked beef in order to get the clinical dose of 5 grams of creatine. According to the NHANES III survey of American adults, the average man consumes 1.08 g and the average woman consumes 0.64 g of creatine per day from their diet. When you cook meat, you destroy a big part of the creatine. That's one of the main reasons why there is supplementation and why it needs to be recognized as safe and effective.

References
1. Effect of short-term high-dose creatine supplementation on measured GFR in a young man with a single kidney. Gualano B, Ferreira DC, Sapienza MT, Seguro AC, Lancha AH Jr. Am J Kidney Dis. 2010 Mar;55(3):e7-9. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2009.10.053.
2. A buffered form of creatine does not promote greater changes in muscle creatine content, body composition, or training adaptations than creatine monohydrate. Jagim AR, Oliver JM, Sanchez A, Galvan E, Fluckey J, Riechman S, Greenwood M, Kelly K, Meininger C, Rasmussen C, Kreider RB. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Sep 13;9(1):43. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-43.
3. Effects of long-term creatine supplementation on liver and kidney functions in American college football players. Mayhew DL, Mayhew JL, Ware JS. Int J Sports Nutr Exerc Metab. 2002 Dec;12(4):453-60
4. The effect of 7 days of creatine supplementation on 24-hour urinary creatine excretion. Burke DG, Smith-Palmer T, Holt LE, Head B, Chilibeck PD. J Strength Cond Res. 2001 Feb;15(1):59-62.
5. The effects of creatine monohydrate loading on anaerobic performance and one-repetition maximum strength. Zuniga JM, Housh TJ, Camic CL, Hendrix CR, Mielke M, Johnson GO, Housh DJ, Schmidt RJ. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Jun;26(6):1651-6. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318234eba1
6. Effect of two and five days of creatine loading on anaerobic working capacity in women. Eckerson JM, Stout JR, Moore GA, Stone NJ, Nishimura K, Tamura K. J Strength Cond Res. 2004 Feb;18(1):168-73.
7. Effects of High-Dose Creatine Supplementation on Kidney and Liver Responses In Sedentary and Exercised RatsSouza RA, Miranda H, Xavier M, et al. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine. 2009;8(4):672-681.
8. Putting to rest the myth of creatine supplementation leading to muscle cramps and dehydration. Dalbo VJ, Roberts MD, Stout JR, Kerksick CM. Br J Sports Med. 2008 Jul;42(7):567-73. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2007.042473. Review.
9. Creatine supplementation during college football training does not increase the incidence of cramping or injury. Greenwood M, Kreider RB, Melton C, Rasmussen C, Lancaster S, Cantler E, Milnor P, Almada A. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb;244(1-2):83-8.
10. creatine-protein-carbohydrate supplement enhances responses to resistance training. Cribb PJ, Williams AD, Hayes A. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Nov;39(11):1960-8.
11.  The concentration of creatine in meat, offal, and commercial dog food. Harris RC, Lowe JA, Warnes K, Orme CE. Res Vet Sci. 1997 Jan-Feb;62(1):58-62.
Jones, CA et al. American Journal of Kidney Diseases, Volume 32, Issue 6, 992 - 999