Tight Muscles, NAC, 3000 Steps, Waist-to-Hip, Stress Tests, and Much, Much More

published2 months ago
7 min read

Good afternoon Nikkola Newsletterers!

Before getting into this week's newsletter, I've got something exciting to share with you! At least, I'm excited. I hope you will be, too.

I'm adding a new 9-week VIGOR Training Fast Start course, officially, next week. But, if you'd like to jump in now, you'll get access to the first, introductory lesson right away, and the second lesson should be available by the end of the week.

I considered offering the course as a stand-alone option for $500, but decided, at least for now, I'd just include it with the VIGOR Training membership, so you get access for only $49 per month. The outline for the course is as follows:

  1. Goal Blueprint
  2. The 3 Pillars
  3. Strength Science
  4. Fasting-Protein Fusion
  5. Supplement Accelerator
  6. Sleep Master
  7. Hormone Optimizer
  8. Plateau Breaker
  9. Lifestyle Boosters

I plan on each lesson lasting about 30 minutes, but if I decide I need to spend more time on some of these topics, I'll do so. I want to cram as much of what I've learned through experience and education over the past 22 years into this 9-week course. You're going to get a lot out of it!

If this sounds good to you, join Resilient or Vigorous below. And if you know someone who could benefit from it, please pass this along.

Enjoy today’s carefully curated newsletter!

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📖 Deep Dives

Why are my muscles so tight? Whether you’re a couch potato or a fitness fanatic, all of us deal with tight, stiff muscles from time to time. But what causes muscle tightness? Is it good or bad? What exercises, therapies, or muscle rubs reduce muscle tightness? Keep reading (or listen)...

N-acetylcysteine (NAC): Benefits, Usage, and Side Effects. N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is one of those supplements many people have heard of, but few understand. From supporting immune function to detoxification, and healthy mood to inflammation, NAC provides numerous health benefits. N-acetylcysteine is an amino acid found in onions and eggs. Like l-theanine, it’s considered a non-proteinogenic amino acid, meaning it does not directly affect tissue growth and repair. Nonetheless, it plays a role in numerous other aspects of a healthy metabolism. Keep reading (or listen)...

Berberine Phytosome by Thorne

"Wait, didn't you just include berberine in a recent Nikkola Newsletter?" Yes. Yes, I did. With so many people looking for a natural way to support healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and body composition, I wanted to include it again. Check out the new study I highlight below as well.

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🩺 Health

Move along. Seriously. Move along. It's good for you. Adding a modest 3,000 steps to your daily routine can significantly lower blood pressure in older adults. This is especially noteworthy considering that approximately 80% of older Americans are grappling with hypertension, a condition linked to severe health problems like heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes. Conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the study dispatched pedometers and blood pressure monitors to participants, revealing that on average, both systolic and diastolic pressures dropped by seven and four points, respectively. What's more, such decreases correspond with up to a 36% reduced risk of stroke and an 18% lower risk of heart disease. This real-world evidence echoes what many of us in the health and fitness sector have been preaching for years: Never underestimate the power of simple, consistent movement.

The waist-to-hip ratio is a better measure of health risk than BMI. I remember when we first launched a medical advisory board while I was in my corporate fitness position, and we discussed the best population-based measure to identify whether someone was overweight or obese. While measuring body fat percentage is the most accurate, it isn't practical for large groups. Many of the doctors wanted to stick with BMI. I was adamant that the waist-to-hip ratio is more accurate. And a measuring tape costs less than most scales, so it's more cost-effective. A new study shows that Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR) is a potential marker for mortality, outperforming BMI and Fat Mass Index (FMI). WHR, easy to measure, exhibited a stronger, possibly causal link to all-cause mortality, consistent across BMI quantiles. Particularly, men with higher WHR faced higher mortality risk. Unlike BMI, the WHR-mortality link didn't wane with age, suggesting central adiposity's pivotal role. To measure the Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR), first measure the circumference of your waist at its narrowest point, usually just above the belly button, then measure your hips at their widest point, usually at the bony prominences. Divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement to obtain your WHR. A WHR of 0.9 or less in men, and 0.85 or less in women is considered normal, while a higher WHR indicates abdominal obesity and a potential higher risk for heart-related ailments.

🏋️‍♀️ Exercise

If you're older than 60, you might want to ask your doctor about doing a stress test, even if you don't have symptoms of heart disease. A new study revealed that abnormalities in treadmill exercise stress tests, typically used to diagnose coronary artery disease, also predicted non-cardiovascular causes of death like cancer, besides cardiovascular-related deaths. The abnormalities such as low functional aerobic capacity were associated with increased mortality. This insight came from analyzing 13,382 patients with no baseline cardiovascular issues over a median period of 12.7 years. The findings suggest a broader diagnostic utility for exercise stress tests, urging clinicians to not only focus on ECG results but also on other exercise test data to encourage patients towards better physical activity, even if cardiovascular risks aren't significant​​.

Exercise in a pill could be closer to reality than you might imagine. A groundbreaking drug, SLU-PP-332, by University of Florida researchers, mimics exercise effects, aiding weight loss and muscle activity in mice. The drug deceives muscles into a pseudo-exercising state, elevating metabolism and endurance without actual exercise. Unlike appetite-curbing drugs like Ozempic, SLU-PP-332 fuels a natural metabolic route generally triggered by exercise, emulating marathon training effects. Targeting ERR proteins, pivotal in energy-intensive tissues, it optimizes metabolic pathways, promising obesity and muscle loss treatment. The next phase involves refining SLU-PP-332's structure for advanced trials, stepping closer to a novel exercise-mimicking weight management solution. While a drug like this could be really helpful for those who are immobile, it clearly offers no benefit for building muscle or bone density, which are the two most significant lifestyle-related factors that affect your health later in life.

💊 Supplements

New research delivers yet another win for berberine, specifically Berberine Phytosome™, as a game-changer for metabolic health. The two-month study on overweight subjects with impaired fasting glucose (IFG) unveiled striking results. Not only did berberine supplementation significantly reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, but it also made a noticeable impact on lipid profiles. Total cholesterol, HDL ratios, and triglycerides all improved. Even more compelling, the supplement drove down visceral adipose tissue and overall fat mass, aligning with prior research that berberine can also be a potent ally in weight management. With cardiovascular risk markers like the ApoB/ApoA ratio also declining, Berberine Phytosome™ could be your next go-to for a more comprehensive approach to metabolic health. For supporting normal blood sugar and cholesterol, berberine is undoubtedly the best available natural option out there.

Kratom has been making headlines lately. I've never used it and it's not readily available in the U.S., but if you were curious about what it is, here's a quick summary: Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, particularly in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The leaves of this tree contain compounds that interact with the body's opioid receptors, albeit less intensely than traditional opioids like morphine. Used for centuries in its native regions, kratom has recently gained attention in Western countries as an alternative treatment for chronic pain and symptoms of anxiety and depression. When consumed in moderate doses, kratom can offer pain relief without some of the severe side effects and dependency issues commonly associated with pharmaceutical painkillers. However, it's crucial to consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment planning, as the FDA has not officially approved kratom for medical use, and its long-term effects are still not fully understood.


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🌎 Other News & Stories Worth Reading

‘No Real Debate’ After New Study Shows mRNA From COVID Shots Contaminates Breast Milk. A new peer-reviewed study provides “pretty conclusive proof” that mRNA from the COVID-19 vaccines migrates into breast milk — “probably for the first 48 hours after vaccination,” according to internet lecturer John Campbell, Ph.D. Campbell, a retired emergency room nurse, teacher and author of two nursing textbooks, reviewed the study, published Sept. 19 in The Lancet, in a video presentation. According to the study, the breast milk of 10 of 13 women who took the vaccine tested positive for mRNA up to 45 hours after the vaccine was administered. Keep reading...

Covid vaccines DO cause unexpected vaginal bleeding in women - even if they haven't had their period in YEARS, study finds. The Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca Covid vaccines cause unexpected vaginal bleeding in older women and women on birth control, a study has confirmed. While changes in bleeding and periods in menstruating women post-shot have been known for years, few studies have looked at the impact on women who don't normally menstruate, such as the elderly and those on birth control. But a new study - that looked at data from more than 20,000 women in this category - found the risk of vaginal bleeding increased two to three times in the four weeks after Covid vaccination compared to before the shot.

In faith, fitness, and fortitude,
Tom Nikkola, CSCS

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