Natural Insights on Exercise and Weight Management

Betsy's Health if your ultimate vitamin connection in Houston

We’re always looking for ways to get the most from our exercise and diet regimens, and in the following two articles from Natural Insights for Well Being, we get some useful tips on promising early finds in the latest research on several supplements, as well as information on nutrients that supported exercise goals in two studies.

You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.  —George Burns


Early-Stage Discoveries: Grape, Blueberry, Ginger, and a Healthy Diet*

We report some of the most promising findings from lab studies and the latest innovative theories.

Grape and blueberry for immunity

Linus Pauling Institute researchers studying 446 compounds found two in particular, resveratrol from grapes and pterostilbene from blueberries, which may boost the immune system. In plants, these compounds fight fungal pathogens and in the lab, when combined with vitamin D, significantly increased anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory immune activity in human cell cultures.

Ginger improves weight and lipid profile

Researchers followed overweight rats on a high-fat diet with or without orlistat (Alli®) or ginger powder. After four weeks, compared to no treatment, both orlistat and ginger groups had lost weight, had lower total lipids, cholesterol, triglycerides and levels of LDL, the “bad” cholesterol. Also, orlistat decreased—while ginger increased—HDL, the good cholesterol.

Healthier diet means better aging

People who ate more whole grains, more vegetables than fruits, healthy fats, lean proteins, with less focus on calcium/dairy tended to have “ideal aging,” compared to those who ate a more Western-style diet, with more bad fats, sweets, fried, refined, and highly processed foods. To determine ideal aging, researchers looked for a link between diet in midlife and future aging and overall disease. Those who most closely followed a healthier diet were far less likely to die from heart or other diseases, were in better physical and mental shape, and were twice as likely to age healthfully.

Reference: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research; September, 2013, Published Online

Article copyright Feb. 2014 by Natural Insights for Well Being.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.

Betsy’s Note: Those on blood thinners, remember that ginger, grape and blueberry also thin blood.  Consult your healthcare provider.


More Strength*

Nutrients increase muscle strength, decrease pain and damage

Amino acids after intense exercise

Weekend warriors not used to strenuous exercise can damage muscles and become sore days or hours afterward. Several amino acids, the building blocks of protein, help maintain protein integrity in muscle. This study tested three “branched-chain” amino acids: valine, leucine, and isoleucine; plus another amino acid, taurine, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Participants took a placebo, the branched-chain amino acids alone, taurine alone, or all four amino acids together, for two weeks before and three days after eccentric elbow flexor exercises. Doses were 3,200 mg branched-chain amino acids and 2,000 mg taurine, three times per day.

While there were no effects for placebo or for branched-chain amino acids alone or taurine alone, those who took branched-chain amino acids together with taurine had less muscle pain and lower levels of delayed muscle soreness and muscle damage.

Discussing their findings, researchers said taking the four amino acids together could help beginners stick to an exercise program and help competitive athletes train at higher levels.

Reference: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition; October, 2013, Published Online

Taurine  boosts strength and recovery

In this study, 21 healthy-weight men, average age 21, took taurine or a placebo for two weeks before performing eccentric elbow flexor exercises. Doctors measured strength levels and signs of muscle damage before, during, and after the supplement period.

Compared to placebo, those who took taurine had less muscle soreness and damage, and a greater increase in muscle strength.

Reference: Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism; 2014, Vol. 39, No. 1, 101-4

Article copyright May 2014 by Natural Insights for Well Being.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.

Betsy’s Note: Please be aware that amino acids, especially in concentrated doses, may be contraindicated with several physical conditions and various medications.  Also, always follow bottle directions unless advised otherwise by your licensed doctor.  Consult your healthcare provider.


Just because the weather is about to turn colder doesn’t mean we have to hibernate!  Keep moving and keep ahead of the temptation holiday eating and socializing brings.

In health,

*These articles are presented for educational purposes only.  They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Also, it is always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new supplement.