Dean Karnazes: The Man Who Can Run Forever

Most runners have to stop when they reach their lactate threshold, but Dean Karnazes’ muscles never tire: he can run for three days and nights without stopping. What’s his secret?

Source: Dean Karnazes: the man who can run for ever

For those thinking “breed him” – it wouldn’t work.  The article said his lactate threshold is determined by his mitochondria, which is inherited maternally.  You would have to breed his mom or his sisters, but not him.  Additionally, it’s not that he’s immune to getting sore – he just doesn’t feel sore. And it is muscles only, so cardio and everything else is normal.

I’ve heard this sort of thing is common attribute in rowers.

Why Vitamins May Be Bad for Your Workout

Many people take vitamins as part of their daily fitness regimens, having heard that antioxidants aid physical recovery and amplify the impact of workouts. But in another example of science undercutting deeply held assumptions, several new experiments find that antioxidant supplements may actually reduce the benefits of training.

Source: Why Vitamins May Be Bad for Your Workout

TLDR: avoid high dosages of antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E) while training.

Scientists Discovered Why High Intensity Interval Training Can Match Endurance Training

Scientists have always struggled to understand exactly how short, few minutes, intense interval exercises can produce similar effects to much more time consuming endurance trainings.

High intensity interval training, also known by its acronym HIIT, has become very popular in recent years with beginners, professional athletes and patients with reduced muscle functions as it has clear health benefits. Now, researchers from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet discovered cellular mechanisms behind the positive benefits of HIIT and why endurance training is undermined by antioxidants.

Source: Scientists Discovered Why High Intensity Interval Training Can Match Endurance Training

Here’s what they’re doing 3 times a week:

  • You need a heart rate monitor (HRM) for…
  • 5-10 minute warm up
  • 4 minutes of exercise at a heart rate of suggested BPM (220-age)
  • 3 minutes of easy work, attempting to get the heart rate down to ~135 BPM
  • Repeat 3 times

Disclaimer: If you are at high risk for a cardiac event it might be best to see a physician before participating in vigorous exercise like HIIT. But for the majority, there should be no reason to avoid this type of exercise.  I’ve covered why raising your heart rate is good for you in the past.

The idea of max heart rate is debated (see this article), and can be very personal.  I’m told that if you can talk while maintaining a high heart rate, it’s OK for you.

Can You Lift Weights Faster Instead of Doing Traditional Cardio?

In a 2012 interview for “Faces of MN,” I discussed my answer to the not-infrequent question about what I do for exercise. When I answer that I lift weights and leave it at that, I’m often met with a hesitant follow-up question: “So…what do you do for cardio?”

My answer has long been, “I lift weights faster.”

Source: Can You Lift Weights Faster Instead of Doing Traditional Cardio?

Interesting read.  I was told by a swim coach that when runners were injured, they were told to increase swimming to maintain cardio.  It makes sense that, given the right exercise you can get cardio benefits.

Green Tea May Zap Cancer Cells In Your Mouth

A new Pennsylvania State University study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that green tea might kill oral cancer cells — and boost healthy cells.

…Oral cancer and green tea were first linked in a 2002 study that found that green tea could induce cancer cell death, and suggested “regular consumption of green tea could be beneficial in the prevention of oral cancer.” In these latest findings, the study authors determined that a compound in green tea triggers a process in the cancerous cells’ mitochondria that leads to early cell death.

… it is premature to say that green tea can prevent oral cancer. That being said, data from human epidemiological and animal model studies are promising and indicate that green tea and EGCG have a preventive effect.

Source: Green Tea May Zap Cancer Cells In Your Mouth

Green tea is OK for people on blood thinners, not the green leafy bits in the bottom of the cup.  Those green leafy bits have vitamin K.

Study: Y-Chromosomal Adam Lived 208,300 Years Ago

Mitochondrial Eve is estimated to have lived between 99,000 and 200,000 years ago.   After all this time, she’s still sensitive about her age.

Dr Eran Elhaik from the University of Sheffield and his co-authors used conventional biological models to show that Y-chromosomal Adam is 8,300 years older than scientists originally believed. They put Y-chromosomal Adam within the time frame of the Mitochondrial Eve.

…The findings contradict a recent study – published in the American Journal of Human Genetics in February 2013 – which had claimed the human Y chromosome originated in a different species through interbreeding which dates Adam to be twice as old.

Source: Y-Chromosomal Adam Lived 208,300 Years Ago, Says New Study

How many “greats” would go before our shared grandfather?   The average generation time is about 25 years, so…208,300 divided by 25….  About 8,300 “greats”.

…and his name was probably one syllable.

Why don’t they just call him Mitochondrial Adam? Like Mitochondrial Eve…

Mitochondria are organelles (little functional units within our cells) that actually have their own DNA. When human offspring is conceived, only the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA ) from the mother is passed down to the mitochondria of the offspring.This means that the DNA of the mitochondria in all of your body’s cells is maternally inherited. This fact makes it very useful to trace maternal lineages.

In contrast, Y chromosomes (a chromosome is a big bundle of DNA) are always paternally inherited. When egg and sperm meet prior to fertilization, the egg is always carrying an X chromosome, but the sperm could be carrying either an X or a Y chromosome.

Depending on which chromosome the sperm is carrying (X or Y) the offspring will be male or female. If the sperm carries X, then the fused zygote will have XX producing a female and if the sperm has Y then the fused zygote will be XY producing a male.

TLDR: Mitochondrial DNA is inherited through the female ancestral bloodline, while Y chromosomes are inherited through the male bloodline. You get to the common female ancestor through mtDNA, and to the common male ancestor through the Y chromosome.

The Irony…

…of calling them Adam and Eve, but they lived thousands of years before the Bible suggests.  It’s not that things in the Bible didn’t happen, but it’s an unreliable narrator – we’re finding gaps in time when comparing things like star position, tide implications and such.  But I digress…

Adam is too much of a misnomer. Not exactly the “first man” – why not call him Y-Chromosomal Genghis?

  1. There is still a lot of baggage with the name “Genghis” in many places in the world
  2. More people understand the concept of Adam than how Genghis Khan spread his DNA so successfully. And if they did, it brings us back to point #1 [obligatory Fight Club reference] because he raped his way across a continent…

Potential Future Treatment: Mitochondrial DNA Transplant

For the first time ever, researchers in New Zealand have shown that mitochondrial DNA can move between cells in an animal tumor. It’s an extraordinary finding that could lead to an entirely new field of synthetic biology and the treatment of hundreds of diseases.

…Unrelated to nuclear DNA, mitochondrial DNA encodes our genetic profile and encodes key proteins within mitochondria that convert energy from food into energy that’s crucial for brain and muscle function. Prior to the new study, scientists thought these genes stayed within cells, except during reproduction.

Source: A Mitochondrial DNA Transplant Could Help Treat Hundreds Of Diseases

Study: Serious Cycling ‘Keeps You Young’

A study of fit amateur cyclists aged 55 to 79 found that many were physically and biologically much younger than most people of the same age.

The 81 male and 41 female participants underwent extensive tests of their heart, lung, neuromuscular, metabolic, and hormonal functions.

Their reflexes, muscle and bone strength, and oxygen uptake were also measured, as well as mental ability and general health and well-being.

The results showed that among the cyclists the effects of ageing were far from obvious, with younger and older members of the group having similar levels of muscle strength, lung power and exercise capacity.

Source: Serious cycling ‘keeps you young’

Funny – I heard something similar about running.  So I figure some form of cardio exercise is good.

Study: Run to Stay Young

Running may reverse aging in certain ways while walking does not, a noteworthy new study of active older people finds. The findings raise interesting questions about whether most of us need to pick up the pace of our workouts in order to gain the greatest benefit.

Walking is excellent exercise. No one disputes that idea. Older people who walk typically have a lower incidence of obesity, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes, and longer lifespans than people who are sedentary. For many years, in fact, physicians and scientists have used how far and fast someone can walk as a marker of health as people age.

But researchers and older people themselves also have noted that walking ability tends to decline with age. Older people whose primary exercise is walking often start walking more slowly and with greater difficulty as the years pass, fatiguing more easily.

The good news for people who don’t currently run is that you may be able to start at any age and still benefit, Dr. Ortega said. “Quite a few of our volunteers hadn’t take up running until they were in their 60s,” he said.

Source: Run to Stay Young

Distance running does not come naturally to me.  I was a 100 m sprinter in school.  There’s some debate that sprinters are an oddity, because hunting would have suited distance runners along with some physiology clues.  Some still use subsistence hunting, where you don’t catch your prey – you just run it to the point of its exhaustion.  Me?  I’d be making myself useful picking berries and other resources…

Running is probably the easiest, cheapest sport to get into.  But not everyone knows how to run properly, which the article does not mention, and leads to injuries.  For new runners, I really suggest at least taking the occasional clinic if not joining a running group.  It helps motivation to have people to run with and you’re safer too.  But technique critique and improvement are what will minimize injuries when you’re like me.

I still run …but only when chased 😉

Exercise: THE Anti-Ageing Pill

Muscle loss is no longer seen as just a side effect of disease and frailty – it’s also a prime cause. As well as contributing to falls, muscle loss has serious knock-on effects on metabolism (see “Life-saving muscle”). In future, muscle-boosting drugs could aid those unable to maintain muscle mass through exercise such as weight training. Although researchers stress this isn’t about bodybuilding, but keeping muscles in your limbs at a healthy level.

Source: Exercise may be the best anti-ageing pill

I rather dislike that the article goes on about drugs/pills/medication research.  Doing some exercise – running is actually quite good for you but you do need to do at least an hour for a benefit.  A yoga or Pilates class would likely do wonders.  They stress that exercise does not mean over-exaggeration to the point of taking up body building.

The article mentions calcium – here’s a link with a run down of calcium details, including food source information.  It’s likely to be difficult for those who avoid dairy, and vegan is an additional complication due to avoiding fish.

The key will always be to figure out what works for you.