Coach Alicia Fong

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Health tip for week May 23rd

Having sugar management issues?

I know how hard it is to stop eating sweets especially when you have cravings.  I have the same issue.  I wanted to get lean and I knew cutting sweets (desserts, chocolate, fruits and most protein bars) was a big step toward losing fat.  But it was so hard to stop when all I could think was chocolate.  One supplement that has helped me in the past is Alpha-lipoic acid.  After a week of taking this, my cravings stopped and I was able to stop eating sweets and my body got leaner.  Alpha-lipoic acid has many other benefits which I will discuss below, but first let me give you a definition and end this blog with a suggestion of which form of alpha-lipoic acid is best to take.

  • What is Alpha-lipoic acid?

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant that is made by the body and is found in every cell, where it helps turn glucose into energy. Antioxidants are substances that attack “free radicals,” waste products created when the body turns food into energy. Free radicals cause harmful chemical reactions that can damage cells in the body, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. They also damage organs and tissues.

Unlike other antioxidants, which work only in water (such as vitamin C) or fatty tissues (such as vitamin E), alpha-lipoic acid is both fat- and water-soluble. That means it can work throughout the body. In addition, antioxidants are depleted as they attack free radicals, but evidence suggests alpha-lipoic acid may help regenerate these other antioxidants and make them active again.

 In the cells of the body, alpha-lipoic acid is converted into dihydrolipoic acid. Alpha-lipoic acid is not the same as alpha linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid that may help heart health.

  • What are the benefits?

Insulin

ALA has an insulin like effect. It does not take the place of insulin, only mimics it. ALA has been shown to increase glucose uptake by mimicking insulin.

Individuals that display limitations in moderating blood sugar concentrations often have a serious problem with glycation caused by higher than normal levels of blood sugar due to low insulin production or insulin resistance. Glycation happens when blood sugar reacts quickly and spontaneously with proteins to form damaging cross-linking. This cross-linking causes severe tissue damage and leads to kidney ailments, plaque build-up in the arteries, and retinopathy. Lipoic acid curtails glycation and enhances the transfer of blood sugar into the cells by stimulating insulin activity

Diabetes

Alpha-lipoic acid can lower blood sugar levels, and its ability to kill free radicals may help reduce pain, burning, itching, tingling, and numbness in people who have nerve damage caused by diabetes (called peripheral neuropathy). Alpha-lipoic acid has been used for years for this purpose in Europe, and at least one study found that intravenous (IV) doses of alpha-lipoic acid helped reduce symptoms. However, the evidence indicating that taking alpha-lipoic acid orally will help is weaker. Most studies have been small and poorly designed. One 2006 study did show benefit from taking alpha-lipoic acid for diabetic neuropathy compared to placebo.

Taking alpha-lipoic acid does appear to help another diabetes-related condition called autonomic neuropathy, which affects the nerves supplying the heart. One study found that 73 people with autonomic neuropathy improved when taking 800 mg of alpha-lipoic acid orally compared to placebo.

 Liver Disease

Alpha-lipoic acid has been proposed as a treatment for alcohol-related liver disease, but so far there is no evidence that it works. Alpha-lipoic acid has been administered by IV along with silymarin to treat people who have eaten the poisonous mushroom Amanita, which causes liver damage.

Brain Function and Stroke

Because alpha-lipoic acid can pass easily into the brain, it has protective effects on brain and nerve tissue. Scientists are investigating it as a potential treatment for stroke and other brain disorders involving free radical damage. Animals treated with alpha-lipoic acid, for example, suffered less brain damage and had a four times greater survival rate after a stroke than animals who did not receive this supplement. More research is needed to understand whether this benefit applies to people as well.

Immune system

There’s even been quite a bit of research showing it can restore T cell function. T cells are a type of white blood cells that are of key importance to your immune system, and are at the core of adaptive immunity, the system that tailors your body’s immune response to specific pathogens.

  • Which form is better to intake?

Studies have shown that the naturally-occurring R(+) form is significantly more effective that the synthetic S(-) form. Dr. Peter Rouse suggests “Professional Complementary Health Formulas” brand.  This is a high-quality brand, only-doctors brand.  AF Performance is selling this brand and this product online.  And it is on sale for the next few weeks.   If you are interested in buying it, click on the picture.

Thanks for reading my blog and I apologize to all of my readers for not writing sooner.

R+ Alpha-lipoic Acid

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May 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Health tip for week July 26th

  • Foods you should never, never eat after exercise:  Any food that contains fructose, in other words, high sugar content foods.

Differences in what you eat after exercise produce different effects on the body’s metabolism.  Consuming sugar within the post-exercise window, will negatively affect both your insulin sensitivity and your human growth hormone (hGH) production.

A recent study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that exercise enhanced insulin sensitivity, particularly eating a low-carbohydrate meal.  nhanced insulin sensitivity means that it is easier for the body to take up sugar from the blood stream into tissues like muscles, where it can be stored or used as fuel. Impaired insulin sensitivity (i.e., “insulin resistance”) is a hallmark of Type II diabetes, as well as being a major risk factor for other chronic diseases, such as heart disease.

Interestingly, when the research subjects in this study ate relatively low-calorie meals after exercise, this did not improve insulin sensitivity any more than when they ate enough calories to match what they expended during exercise. This suggests that you don’t have to starve yourself after exercise to still reap some of the important health benefits.

In addition, as HGH Magazine explains, consuming fructose, including that from fruit juices, within this two-hour window will stimulate insulin secretion  which, in turn, contributes to a reduction in your human growth hormone (hGH) production.

So what to eat after exercise?  Protein immediately afterward, in the form of either a protein shake, protein bar, lean meat or eggs are the best option.  However, for those who opts for protein shakes, make sure the powder contains 100% whey and doesn’t have sugar.  Read the ingredient label.  Most protein powders sold in the market are high in sugar and probably 30% (in average) of whey.  You pay more for sugar than whey.

Be aware of the protein bars too, a lot of them in the market contain lots of sugar as well.  Read the ingredient label.

July 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments