Category Archives: Womens Health

Quinoa is high in Protein and Stimulates Protein Synthesis from WODMASTERS

Phytoecdysteroids  in quinoa can help promote protein synthesis
Phytoecdysteroids in quinoa can help promote protein synthesis

I’m not sure where Quinoa falls on the dietary good-evil spectrum these days.  Many value it for its high protein and mineral content.  It can be a staple food for the health-minded vegetarian.  On the other side of the spectrum, Quinoa has been on the do-not-eat list for followers of the Paleo diet because advocates consider it to be a grain.  Paleo dieters have also been concerned that Quinoa contains saponins. Some have proposed that saponins may damage the intestines.  However saponins are beneficial anti-oxidants and some are health-protective.  For a more general discussion of Quinoa and why it should be an excellent addition to the paleo diet click here.

Quinoa is high in protein, flavonoids and phytoecdysteroids

Analysis of quinoa extract shows that quinoa contains:

  • 20% protein
  • 11% oil
  • 2.6% flavonoid glycosides
  • 1% phytoecdysteroids (this is very high compared to other plants)
Crossfit trainer amie taylor crossfit seven with phytoecdysteroids
Crossfit Trainer Amie Taylor of CrossFit Seven gets ready for the snatch

Protein, as we all know, is important for building strength and muscle mass.  Protein is also important in preserving muscle mass and functionality in older people.  Protein intake may be important to long-term health.  Its not just an issue for athletes and body-builders. Flavonoid glycosides are health protective anti-oxidants.   Quinoa contains high amounts of phytoecdysteroids.   These are thought to be part of a plants phytoecdysteroids.  However, they may be good for people.  There are many different phytoecdysteroids. The dominant phytoecdysteroid in quinoa is 20HE.

Beneficial effects of phytoecdysteroids

There have been a number of studies showing different positive effects of phytoecdysteroids or of qunoia extract.

  • Quinoa extract lowered blood glucose in obese, hyperglycemic mice
  • Phytoecdysteroids increased protein synthesis in animals with and without exercise
  • 20HE (the predominant phytoecdysteroid in quinoa) has anabolic-like properties that promote protein synthesis
  • 20HE Increased muscle fiber size
  • Phytoecdysteroids Inhibited tumor growth
  • Quinoa extract increased metabolic rate and may be an anti-obesogen
Phytoecdysteroids  in quinoa can help promote protein synthesis
Crossfit masters athlete Angie Bender at CrossFit Seven supports WODMASTERS. Join us! Wear the shirt!

How phytoecdysteroids work is not completely understood.  They do not seem to act in the same way as anabolic steroids.  So far, phytoecdysteroids show very low toxicity in mammals but limited (if any) testing has been done in humans.

Dinan L (2009). The Karlson Lecture. Phytoecdysteroids: what use are they? Archives of insect biochemistry and physiology, 72 (3), 126-41 PMID: 19771554

Báthori M, Tóth N, Hunyadi A, Márki A, & Zádor E (2008). Phytoecdysteroids and anabolic-androgenic steroids–structure and effects on humans. Current medicinal chemistry, 15 (1), 75-91 PMID: 18220764

Foucault AS, Even P, Lafont R, Dioh W, Veillet S, Tomé D, Huneau JF, Hermier D, & Quignard-Boulangé A (2014). Quinoa extract enriched in 20-hydroxyecdysone affects energy homeostasis and intestinal fat absorption in mice fed a high-fat diet. Physiology & behavior, 128, 226-31 PMID: 24534167

Chewing gum as a means of keeping teeth strong

Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become progressively thin, brittle and frail.  Most of us are probably well aware that osteoporosis can be a debilitating or even crippling.  Exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, builds bone and protects against osteoporosis and frailty later in life.  Unfortunately, only bone under stress seems to benefit.  For example, runners, who carry their own body weight, tend to have stronger leg bones than cyclists.

Osteoporosis and teeth: keeping teeth strong

Fewer may be aware that osteoporosis can affect the condition of our teeth too.   Osteoporosis can cause thinning of the bone material anchoring teeth.   Keeping teeth strong may help prevent tooth loss and other dental problems.

wodmasters birth of venus kettlebell shirt.  Good for healthy teeth and keeping teeth strong
Womens workout shirt: Botticelli’s Birth of Venus hoists her kettlebells against a stylized American background.

Can exercise help in keeping teeth strong and health?

There is some evidence that exercise can improve or protect dental health.  The only study found in a literature search of Web Of Knowledge saw less tooth loss among older Japanese men who exercised daily (Yoshida et al. 2001.)  This doesn’t quite tell us enough, because of other variables that are also associated with more or less tooth loss such as hygiene, frequency of professional care, dietary habits and smoking. The study did not look at any exercise that might specifically target facial bone or jaw muscles.  Few forms of exercise will target the bones or muscles that support our teeth (although some do manage to make an exception here.  Look around and check facial expressions during heavy lifts).  Still, the study indicates that exercise may help protect against tooth loss or weakness. It is important that jaw and facial bones stay healthy.  If they degrade they will not be able to hold onto your teeth.  Unfortunately, there has been very little research on exercise and tooth loss.

Is chewing gum good exercise for the bones supporting teeth?

Chewing gum good for teeth.  Experienced as Hell Tank Masters Athletes Protein Chewing gum may strengthen jaw bones and could protect chewers from tooth loss or improve the outcome of periodontal disease by providing exercise.  Little work has been done in this area.  The only chewing gum-specific study I could find was by a research team in Russia who studied the effect of chewing gum on bone density in 93 periodontal patients (Loginova et al. 2006.) Bone density in these patients increased on the active chewing side.   For optimal effect make sure to switch your gum from right to left periodically.  Goes for the rest of your training too. The full paper is available in Russian. Yoshida Y, Hatanaka Y, Imaki M, Ogawa Y, Miyatani S, & Tanada S (2001). Epidemiological study on improving the QOL and oral conditions of the aged–Part 2: Relationship between tooth loss and lifestyle factors for adults men. Journal of physiological anthropology and applied human science, 20 (6), 369-73 PMID: 11840690 Loginova NK, Veĭsgeĭm LD, & Churina SV (2006). [Influence of course use of chewing gum on alveolar bone density]. Stomatologiia, 85 (2), 22-4 PMID: 16710273

Does Low Estrogen Make Women Unresponsive to Anti-Depressants?

Depression may be caused by poor Serotonin handling

Depression stinks.  It hurts.  And it hurts others too.   Taking care of yourself, and your moods, is important.  A positive outlook and sense of optimism can carry you a long way.  And it will help you bring along those you care about.  Its easy to get frustrated with someone who is depressed.  “why don’t they snap out of it?”  This article reports on some very interesting research on depression and female hormones.  It is especially interesting for women whose hormones are shifting.  (in peri-menopause or menopause.)

shirt by wodmasters for crossfit women
Beautiful shirt at WODMASTERS makes you feel as cool as you look.

 

First, a little background:

  • Serotonin is a neurotransmitter
  • Serotonin allows neurons to communicate with each other.  And sometimes help produce emotions.
  • Depression in some people may be caused by too little serotonin
  • Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)  work by keeping serotonin active and keeping nerves functioning well.
  • Prozac, Zoloft, and Citalopram are examples of SSRIs.

There are differences in Serotonin Receptors

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers.  They travel from one neuron to another by docking at a receptor.  The receptor is a molecule that is designed especially for its transmitter.  Serotonin needs a serotonin receptor if it is going to work.   The shape of the receptor is very important.  But not every person has the same receptor shape.  There are some people whose receptors don’t seem to fit as well.  And they are more likely to suffer from depression.  And anxiety.

Estrogen and Progesterone may be needed for SSRIs to be effective

Estrogen and progesterone influence the serotonin system including serotonin receptors.  One of the genes responsible for the serotonin receptor is called 5HTT.  So far it looks like you can have either a “short”  version or a “long” version.  The short version (s-5HTT) looks like the problem version.  Monkeys have similar systems.  Like Crossfit women.  Researchers used monkeys to see how important estrogen and progesterone are the response to SSRIs.   Monkeys with the shorter gene for the serotonin receptors did not have as strong a response to SSRIs.  Monkeys with low estrogen and low progesterone were the least responsive.  Crossfit women too?

Take away for CrossFit Women and all Women.

If you are post-menopausal or hovering around that neighborhood you may not respond well to SSRIs.  Especially if you have the short version of the serotonin receptor gene.   This is one reason why hormone replacement therapy might make some women less depressed.

 

Michopoulos V, Berga SL, & Wilson ME (2011). Estradiol and progesterone modify the effects of the serotonin reuptake transporter polymorphism on serotonergic responsivity to citalopram. Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology, 19 (6), 401-8 PMID: 21843009