All posts by The Victor Crew

4 Easy Ways to Help Increase Serotonin Levels

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter or hormone that maintains mood and well-being. It helps regulate appetite, sleep, learning, memory and cognition.

Sounds like something we could all use more of, doesn’t it? You aren’t wrong. Low serotonin levels are linked to depression.

What can you do to increase your serotonin levels?

For one, you can exercise regularly. Anything you enjoy will do. From simply taking walks, to yoga, cycling or weight training. 30 minutes three times a week is a recommended minimum to see results for increased serotonin.

Second, a better diet can. Serotonin is created by the body from tryptophan which comes only from one’s diet. The body cannot produce it. Some common, high-tryptophan foods are: eggs, sa

Getting more light is a third thing you can do to help. You’ve probably heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It is a type of seasonal depression caused primarily by lack of light. If you can’t make it out in the day time there are many sun lamps on the market. 20-30 minutes of from 2 feet away, not looking at the light directly, should help increase serotonin levels.

A fourth thing to try is getting a massage. Massages decrease cortisol, the alarm hormone (that causes the fight or flight response). Unreleased cortisol can cause anxiety by keeping you on “high alert” and increase your heart rate. Massages will lower cortisol and increase serotonin.

New Study Suggest High Intensity Exercise Not Dangerous for Seniors

New research determined that high-intensity exercise isn’t a risk factor in mortality among older adults.

The research was published by the MJ medical Journal. It found both high intensity interval training and moderate intensity continuous training demonstrated no increase of risk in mortality among adults 70-77.

The study collected date on about 1,500 men and women (split about evenly among the two) in Norway over five years.

After the completion of the five-year research plan, the mortality rate for the combined HIIT and MICT groups just 4.5%. This was half the expected outcome, researchers expected 10%. This, based on the Norway’s yearly mortality rate of 2% for people 70-75 years of age.

Researchers stated they this met their expectations they based on observational studies that showed active older adults have higher health quality of life than those who are inactive.

The researchers did point out, however, that the study may be biased as 87.5% of participants self-reported “overall good health” before participating in the study.

 

Cold Weather May Help Burn Fat, New Study Finds

A new study has found that increased vitamin A and cold temperatures may encourage fat burning.

The study, appearing in Molecular Metabolism, sought to uncover the effects of vitamin A and cold temperatures had on changing white fat (how the body stores extra calories) to brown fat which starts the fat burning process and heat generation.

Most—90%–of the body’s fat stores are white fat. This is store in abdomen, bottom, and upper thighs.

The study found that cold temperatures increased vitamin A levels which starts the process of converting white fat to brown fat which, theoretically leads to fat burning and weight loss. Vitamin A is mostly stored in the liver.

In the study mice were used as subjects. When subjected to colder temperatures their vitamin A levels and its blood transporter (retinal-binding protein) which resulted in a higher rate of fat burning when the white fat began to transform to brown fat when the body began to try and keep itself warm.

On the other side of the coin when the vitamin A transporter was blocked in the mice they were not able to protect themselves from cold meaning their bodies couldn’t convert white fat to brown.

 

Berkeley, CA Restricts Junk Food Sales In Retail Checkouts With New Ordinance

Berkeley, California is set to become the first city to ban the selling of junk food and candy in the checkout aisles. This is part of a larger health initiative. The new legislation is expected to be effect March 2021

The Healthy Check Out Ordinance was approved in a unanimous vote by the city council. It will require that any store bigger than 2,500 square-feet needs to have 25 square-feet of healthier items within a three-foot radius of the registers. This effectively making it impossible make room for the junk food and candy which has traditionally lined checkout spaces.

Berkeley shoppers can expect to see “junk” replaced by whole grain alternatives to snacks, lower calorie beverages and perhaps even fresh fruit when the checkout. The city council noted that shoppers are more likely to give in to junk food at the end of their shopping trip when they are tired and their willpower may be low.

25 large retailers in Berkeley are likely to be affected. These include brands like Whole Foods, Walgreens, CVS and Safeway.

The city council wanted to make it clear that this is not a ban. These stores are free to sell candy, junk food and soda but within the restrictions of the new ordinance and not at your child’s eye level when you are checking out.

They also pointed out the tests around the country in different stores have shown an increase in healthier buying choices when such restrictions are put into place.

 

Mental Health Break: Fat Bear Week is Back!

Amid anxiety about the pandemic and the coming election we could all use a break, a distraction. This is the one we all deserve. The so-called “Fat Bear Week” is back. This is an annual competition held by Alaska’s Katmai National Park. The goal? To crown the chubbiest bear in the Brook River.

This will be 7th annual Fat Bear Week. It is what some would call a full-on competition with chubby brown bears going tummy to tummy in bracketed tournament. The voting begins on 30 Sep. 2020. You can participate here https://explore.org/fat-bear-week .  The final winner will be picked on 6 Oct. 2020.

Newcomers to the competition should understand that for bears gaining weight before hibernation is very important for their health. The National Park Service stated there is no shame in winning this contest as those large amounts of body fat in brown bears is a sign of good health and having a strong chance of survival.

Alaskan Brown Bears are the world’s largest of the variety and usually weigh between 600-900 lbs. They are typically half their weight by the time the come out of hibernation in spring.