In this digest:
- New Harvard study reveals impact of pesticides on fertility in men
- This is why I always look at the names and affiliations of individuals authors of studies in health and nutrition!
- Curcumin shown to slow down cognitive (mental) function decline
- Interval training vs. cardio: how they compare on cardiometabolic health
- Impact of endurance training/racing on immune system & amino acids
New Harvard study reveals impact of pesticides on fertility in men
I try to eat organic as often as possible. While some studies have shown that there isn’t a dramatic difference in nutrient content between organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables, other studies have shown that the pesticides and herbicides sprayed on non-organic crops do get into the bloodstream and interfere with our hormonal and digestive systems as well as our gut microbiome.
This new study from Harvard looked at the impact of pesticides from fruits and vegetables on semen quality in men. The results indicated that the lower the pesticide content in the fruits and vegetables consumed by men, the higher the semen quality (higher sperm count and sperm concentration).
Sometimes it’s difficult to eat organic all the time. If you’re interested in knowing which fruits and veg have the HIGHEST pesticide content and which have relatively lower concentrations, have a look at this table I posted a while back.
This is why I always look at the names and affiliations of individuals authors of studies in health and nutrition!
In 2015, the World Health Organization classified Glyphosate (a herbicide sprayed on MOST non-organic crops today) as a Class 2A Carcinogen (“probably causes cancer in humans”). Monsanto (the manufacturer of Glyphosate) has been trying to fight the WHO ever since.
For years now, studies and scientists have been talking about how glyphosate accumulates in human bodies. To make matters worse, some studies have shown that it accumulates in BREAST MILK, which is alarming to say the least.
However a new study was released a few weeks ago showing that there is NO concentration of glyphosate in breast milk. I was intrigued for 2 reasons:
- This study was made available “for free”, which is rare for high quality scientific studies.
- The “headline” is the study “screamed” the conclusion, which studies almost never do: “Glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid are not detectable in human milk”.
So I dug a little deeper, and low and behold: TWO of the study’s authors are Pamela Jensen and John Vicini, and guess who THEY work for? That’s right, Monsanto! Pamela is a “senior research scientist” at Monsanto, and John Vicini is Food Safety Scientific Affairs Lead. Oh and guess what, apparently Mr. Vicini (who is an animal nutritionist by training) is a close personal friend of Mark McGuire, another author of the study. Also I’m not sure how another author of the same study (Michelle McGuire) is related to Mark McGuire.
NEVER take studies at face value, especially since studies such as these are likely to make headlines on CNN.
Curcumin shown to slow down cognitive (mental) function decline
I’ve always been a big fan of Curcumin, and it’s one of the supplements I use on a regular basis. Curcumin is the active compound in Turmeric, a spice used in a variety of Asian, Persian and Mediterranean cuisines. It is what gives some dishes the famed “yellow colour”.
Various studies in the past have revealed Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties (reducing inflammation), which is the primary reason why I personally use it.
Nervous system inflammation is linked to a decline in cognitive (mental) function in humans, which is why it is no surprise that this new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition revealed that Curcumin supplementation slowed down cognitive decline in senior adults over a 6-month period.
Interval training vs. cardio: how they compare on cardiometabolic health
The debate has been going on for decades: what kind of exercise gives you better results for overall health, including weight management, insulin management, and cardiovascular risks?
I’m personally a fan of short bouts of intense exercise, and not long bouts of “moderate effort” exercise. My view is based on the countless studies I’ve poured over during the past few years.
Another study just came out from McMaster University in Canada, comparing “sprint interval training” vs. “moderate effort cardio” over a 3-month period. They looked at the impact on Peak Oxygen Uptake (how metabolically efficient you are), insulin sensitivity (how good you are at controlling blood sugar levels), and skeletal mitochondrial content (energy efficiency of your muscles).
The results were almost identical: short bouts of sprint intervals (20sec sprints, total of 10min or less 3x per week) achieved the same health benefits as long bouts of “cardio” (50min of continuous cardio 3x per week).
Impact of endurance training/racing on immune system & amino acids
As some of my readers know, I’m a big fan of “clean fueling” during endurance training/racing, with a focus on avoiding sugars (gels) and replacing them with amino acids.
There are 3 reasons I do that:
1. Training triggers inflammation, sugars trigger MORE inflammation, so by consuming gels/sugars, you’re overtasking the body’s ability to fight inflammation and repair.
2. By avoiding sugar during training, you improve your metabolic efficiency: your ability to burn fat for fuel rather than sugar (which results in lower muscle acidity, improved endurance, and faster recovery).
3. Studies have shown that when people “bonk” in a race, they still have PLENTY of glycogen: this means low sugar is NOT the reason for “hitting the wall”, but rather low levels of blood amino acids.
This new study from University of Innsbruck in Austria has revealed that “exhaustive aerobic exercise” leads to a depletion in a variety of amino acids as well as a significant increase in immune system activation.
The last point about “immune system activation” is critical: I take that into account when planning training programs, and this way I’m able to avoid overloading the immune system, which is the main reason why many endurance athletes tend to “catch a cold” at the worst possible time during their training phase.
Supplement help of course: supplements that support the immune system and improve recovery will play a role.