Do Pre-Workout Supplements Actually Help?

Pre-workout supplements make big promises to boost your performance, and with those promises come high price tags. You supposedly get a burst of energy, fatigue less easily, and increase blood flow, all to help you get more out of your workout. The thing is, these supplements are really just powerful stimulants.

Source: Do Pre-Workout Supplements Actually Help?

I know some who buy the raw ingredients cheap, and mix them themselves. They work out after work, so they don’t have to worry about caffeine messing with their sleep.

Prescription Medications Get Trapped in Disturbing Pee-to-Food-to-Pee Loop

If you think your “organic” crops are free of synthetic chemicals, urine for a shock. 😉

In a randomized, single-blind pilot study, researchers found that anticonvulsive epilepsy drug carbamazepine, which is released in urine, can accumulate in crops irrigated with recycled water—treated sewage—and end up in the urine of produce-eaters not on the drugs. The study, published Tuesday in Environmental Science & Technology, is the first to validate the long-held suspicion that pharmaceuticals may get trapped in infinite pee-to-food-to-pee loops, exposing consumers to drug doses with unknown health effects.

Source: Prescription meds get trapped in disturbing pee-to-food-to-pee loop

It’s a red flag for me when the researchers add an unknown variable right in the middle of the study (they “ran out of vegetables grown with reclaimed water” and used grocery store vegetables instead, which they assumed would be a mix) rather than start the study over, especially when the study is only over the period of two weeks and a relatively small number of participants.

The issue of filtration in reclaimed water is key.  And we have recycled drugs from patients urine before.

  • Joke’s on you: I don’t eat salad!
  • It’s not really food coma, it’s just recycled valium!

I had to get that out of my system 😉

The Science Behind a Good Cup of Coffee

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks worldwide, with countless cups of the dark, alluring elixir brewed up each day. And, lucky for those coffee-guzzlers out there, mounting data suggest it’s good for you; moderate coffee drinking has been linked to lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, liver diseases, diabetes, and an overall lowered risk of dying too soon.

But, as coffee-lovers happily continue sipping their morning fix with a dash of self-satisfaction, it’s worth noting that not every cup of coffee is equal. Brewed coffee can vary wildly in its flavor and chemical make-up, particularly the chemicals linked to health benefits. Everything that happens before the pour—from the bean selection, roast, grind, water, and brew method—can affect the taste and quality of a cup of joe.

So far, there’s little to no data on the health impact of drinking one type of coffee over another. In studies linking coffee to lowered risks of disease and death, researchers mostly clumped all coffee types together, even decaffeinated coffee, in some cases. But, there is a fair amount of data on individual components of coffee that are flavorful and beneficial—and how to squeeze as much them as possible into your mug. Here’s what the science says:

Source: The science behind a good cup of coffee

I see no point to decaffeinated coffee. It’s like having sex without an orgasm.

How to Get Better Sleep (and Need Less Every Night)

Many of us struggle to get enough sleep every night, but is the sleep we get any good? While it’s important to get enough sleep, better sleep is a greater ally than more hours of sleep. We sat down with a sleep expert and a stack of studies to help you get a better night’s sleep and need less in the process. Here’s how.

Source: How to Get Better Sleep (and Need Less Every Night)

A big part for me is dealing with stress.  Sometimes work comes home with you, or things were generally crappy.  You have to figure out what works for you to get past it.

Top 10 Tricks to Get the Most Out of Your Caffeine Hit

Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages are enjoyable for the taste alone, but sometimes you might be thinking about their caffeine content more than the flavor. Here are the top 10 things you should know about this wonderful drug and how to use caffeine more efficiently.

Source: Top 10 Tricks to Get the Most Out of Your Caffeine Hit

I was taught that the darker roasts had less caffeine as it was leeched out by the roasting process, so that milder coffees actually gave you more of a jolt than espresso roasts, if prepared the same way.

Caffeine is known to double the impact of certain pain medications (not unlike the grapefruit effect). For those taking few different medications during the day for chronic pain, the dose can be halved by taking it with coffee.  Less drug, more coffee, no downside!

Artificially Sweetened: How Politics Massaged the Science in the New Dietary Guidelines

The [US] federal government just released a new set of dietary guidelines, and as always, they’re a work of both science and politics. They include controversial changes: for instance, sugar now has a limit, and cholesterol does not. Here’s your guide to what’s new, what isn’t, and where the experts disagree.

Source: Artificially Sweetened: How Politics Massaged the Science in the New Dietary Guidelines

I know of not one person who actually gives any credance to what the fools at the USDA say. Certainly not enough to measurably change their diets.  But school lunches, WIC, and military meals are based on this. Dieticians base their advice off the guidelines. And media of all kinds is full of news about how people should be paying more attention to the new cholesterol and sugar guidelines.

Do we all go and look up exactly how many cups of vegetables we should be eating? No. But they do have a major effect on what the country eats.  After all, if everybody ignored the guidelines, industry wouldn’t be so eager to influence them.

“Cycle” Your Caffeine Intake to Reduce Your Tolerance

Caffeine has a wide variety of effects in the body. Mechanistically, some of the effects are direct (such as Caffeine acting as an Adenosine Antagonist, the molecule literally blocks the receptor) and others are indirect (any effects on dopamine are ‘downstream’ of the reaction with adenosine, like the latter aspects of a Domino cascade). When tolerance develops to caffeine

Source: Do I need to cycle caffeine?

If you have “brutal” headaches when you don’t get your regular dose of caffeine, that’s when you need to cycle it down.

How to Use Caffeine to Improve Your Athletic Performance

Caffeine is a performance-enhancing drug that’s legal, cheap, and easy to get: chances are you had some this morning. More importantly, it actually does make you better at sports, which is more than you can say for a lot of supplements marketed to athletes. You just have to know how to use it strategically.

Source: How to Use Caffeine to Improve Your Athletic Performance

To get the exercise benefits, you’ll want between 3 and 6 milligrams of caffeine for every kilogram you weigh.  So how do you make your dose?  See:

Handy Chart!

Are Energy Drinks Bad for You?

Red Bull may give you wings, but at what cost? To some, energy drinks are dangerous elixirs, while others consider them magic potions of vitality? The truth about how they affect your body is not so black and white.

Source: Are Energy Drinks Bad for You?

I’ve never had an energy drink.  Closest thing would be a Gu gel…

The specific mention about long term ginseng use is interesting with the mention about impact to blood thinners.  Ginger is a low dose of vitamin K, ginseng is entirely different.

Do You Really Need a Good Night’s Sleep to Exercise Well?

“Get a good night’s sleep” is classic advice before a big race or event. But if you stayed up late picking out your best shoelaces and then woke up early to make it to the start line on time, have you ruined your chance at a good performance?

Source: Do You Really Need a Good Night’s Sleep to Exercise Well?

The answer?  It depends™, on the activity.  There’s a lot of strategy in cycling, so I’m not that inclined to believe that cycling is the same as running.

The classic runners rule is also the triathletes rule.  Partly because lots get up between 2-4 AM to eat breakfast before going back to bed to actually get up for the triathlon.