Fitness Factoids: Volume 79

Resistanmusclememoryce Training Enhances Memory

Resistance training has been proven to help improve insulin sensitivity, reduce the risk of developing diabetes, improve bone density, and reduce the risk of osteoarthritis, along with a number of other well documented benefits to our physiological health. However, a new study published in the journal Acta Physchologica shows that what we do in the gym can have a last impact on the most powerful muscle in our body – the brain. For the study researchers had a group of participants perform leg extension exercises followed by showing them a series of images designed to spark emotional triggers. Researchers then asked the group to return 48 hours later to undergo the testing procedures again, and found that the memory retention of the group was 10% greater than a control group that view the photos, but did not undergo the exercise regimen. The study demonstrates that a single bout of resistance training has the ability to significantly improve our memory retention, and raises questions about whether exercise offers a protective effect on brain size and memory as we age.



Energy Drinks Improve Athletic Performance and Increase Insomnia

Have you ever wondered why you haveredbull great workouts after drinking a gallon of Red Bull? As it turns out, energy drinks actually do increase athletic performance according to a new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. The study tracked athletes in a variety of sports of the course of four years and found that those who consume energy drinks before, and during, exercise perform on average 3-7% better than those who consumed a placebo. Energy drinks were shown to increase jumping ability, intensity, strength and power. However, those who consumed energy drinks often suffered from insomnia and periods of nervousness post training and competition according to the study. So, if you’ve been crushing your workouts in the gym, but find yourself peering through your curtains at 3 a.m. because you “thought you heard something out back”, it might be time to reconsider whether or not squeezing out that extra rep or two is worth spending your nights feeling more nervous than Charlie Sheen at a DUI checkpoint.



Artificial Sweeteners Impair Glucose Metabolism

The dangers that high amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates present to both our health and our physiques have been well documented. Elevated blood glucose levels from refined carbohydrates and excess sugars have been shown to cause diabetes, high blood pressure, increased risk for heart disease, and elevates a number of risk factors associated with irreversible brain diseases as we age such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. In order to avoid the dangers of dietary sugars many dieters look to zero calories artificial sweeteners as a way of satisfying their sweet tooth. However, evidence has shown that these artificial chemicals aren’t without their own set of dangers as well. A new study published in the journal Nature found that artificial sweeteners can have a devastating impact on our gut health and glucose metabolism. In as few as five weeks, mice fed artificial sweetener in their water began to show signs of impair digestion and glucose metabolism, which led researchers to believe that although the products are labeled as safe by the FDA, they may present adverse health risks that we were previously unaware of.



Marijuana Reduces Death from Traumatic Brain Injury

The decriminalization of medical marijuana is a topic that seems to becobraininjuryming less and less controversial. While marijuana opponents fight to prevent the drug from gaining momentum as a viable medical treatment, science continues to provide new insights on the wide range of benefits associated with marijuana and its use. A new study published in The American Surgeon found that THC, the active component of marijuana, appears to reduce the risk of death from traumatic brain injury in cases where patients suffer similar injuries. Previous studies have found that medical marijuana has the ability to have unique effects on the brain, including the ability to reduce the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study documented a 9% increase in survival rates among sufferers of traumatic brain injuries who had THC present in their system. And although the mechanism of action, or reason for the apparent increase in survival rates is not fully understood, research believe that THC imparts some sort of protective effect on the brain. And as we continue to gain insight into marijuana and its medicinal properties, perhaps the tide of public sentiment engulfing the hot button issue will continue to change.



Resveratrol Improves Acne Symptoms

Although some studies have called into question the effectiveness of resveratrol and its antioxidant properties, there’s a significant amount of empirical and clinical evidence that speaks to the contrary. Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in red grapes, and it thought to be responsible for a number of beneficial protective effects on various aspects of our health. A new study published in the journal Dermatology and Therapy found that resveratrol in combination with a popular acne medicine has the ability to improve the effectiveness of treatment. Benzyl alcohol is a common ingredient found in popular OTC acne treatments. Researchers found that when they combine benzyl alcohol with resveratrol and apply them to areas effected by acne that there appears to be a synergistic effect to the compounds. Researchers speculate that resveratrol may weaken the cellular walls of the bacteria known to cause acne, and the weakened cell walls allow the benzyl alcohol to have increased effectiveness after application. The new information could lead to a tremendous breakthrough in the way we treat acne, and could possibly lead to new developments of less harmful, more effective acne treatments in the future.



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