Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Glucosamine or collagen?

     I’ve had a number of clients complain of knee pain. So this morning I spent some time researching a couple of supplements that I take for joint pain so I could make some recommendations.

    I’m not going to hold any punches back on this first recommendation. My first recommendation is to lose body fat and reach an ideal body composition for your height and build. Every extra pound of fat you have on your body increases the impact on your joints. You lose fat at the table not in the gym. Your diet is going to be the most important factor in reaching your ideal body composition.

    I’ve mentioned glucosamine in the classes many times as a supplement to use for joint pain. But I’d first like to cover a supplement that I haven’t mentioned that is probably more effective and beneficial than glucosamine. It seems collagen has had better results in clinical trails than glucosamine. I’ve taken collagen off and on over the years and really not paid much attention to it. I was recently given a couple sample of collagen at PaleoFX 2014. I was given samples from Vital Proteins of their collagen peptides. It is 100% South American pastured raised bovine hide collagen peptides. It is promoted as a all natural anti-aging drink powder dietary supplement.

    I don’t have a lot of joint pain so I haven’t really paid much attention to collagen as a joint pain/rebuilding supplement. I’ve taking it for its anti-aging reputation and other benefits. I had heard last year at the Superhuman Live Event that doctors were having great results rebuilding knee joints with injections of collagen in a procedure called Prolotherapy. It sounded interesting but it is costly and finding a doctor that is in this area is impossible. One would have to travel elsewhere to get the treatment.

    Collagen is the main structural protein of the various connective tissues in animals. It is the main component of connective tissue, it is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up from 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content.  Gelatin is collagen that has been irreversibly hydrolyzed.   

    Collagen supplies essential proteins that our bodies use to build and repair our bones, joint surfaces, skin, teeth, eyes, arteries, inter-vertebral disks, and much more. Collagen traditionally made its way into our diets through bone-broths, slow-cooked organ meats, kidney pie, baked beef heart, whole crustaceans, and whole fish soups and stews. But now, few people prepare foods with this source of meats. Collagen contains specific amino acids – Glycine, Proline, Hydroxyproline and Arginine.

    Collagen is unique and it has a couple of studies that have shown it to be effective in relieving pain and rebuilding joints. This 24 week study from 2008, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885, results of this study have implications for the use of collagen hydrolysate to support joint health and possibly reduce the risk of joint deterioration in a high-risk group. This study from 2000, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11071580, showed that collagen hydrolysate is of interest as a therapeutic agent of potential utility in the treatment of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Its high level of safety makes it attractive as an agent for long-term use in these chronic disorders. This is a good article that sums up the trials:


     You can find collagen at Walmart, Walgreens, and just about everywhere supplements are sold. The product that was used in some of this trials was Biocell Collagen. I don’t know if it is really better or not. That will be for you to decide. But I think it would be best to supplement with collagen ahead of glucosamine. Collagen has trials that say it works. Glucosamine the trials are still up in the air.

    Glucosamine sulfate is a naturally occurring chemical found in the human body. It is in the fluid that is around joints. Glucosamine sulfate is commonly used for arthritis. Scientists have studied it extensively for this use. It is most often used for a type of arthritis called osteoarthritis. This is the most common type of arthritis. There are different forms of glucosamine including glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and N-acetyl-glucosamine. These different chemicals have some similarities; however, they may not have the same effects when taken as a dietary supplement. Most of the scientific research done on glucosamine has been done on glucosamine sulfate.

     I currently have been taking glucosamine hydrochloride because my wife is allergic to sulfate. After looking at the studies and putting this article together I have decided that I’m going to switch to glucosamine sulfate. Just remember that if you are sensitive to sulfides or sulfates you might have to use glucosamine sulfate or N-acetyl-glucosamine. Also if you are allergic to shellfish you will need to use a different form of glucosamine because glucosamine sulfate is made out of shellfish. The sad part about that is that some researchers think that it might be the sulfate that is actually the beneficial ingredient.

    Here is the links to a couple of the big studies on glucosamine.


     Some of the latest research has shown exercise to be more effective in knee health than glucosamine.


   So my choice for now is to maintain an ideal body composition, supplement with collagen, and exercise. I’m going to switch to glucosamine sulfate and see if anything changes. If not I might drop glucosamine altogether. I don’t eat bone broth,organ meats, whole crustaceans, and whole fish soups often so I think collagen will be a good idea for me to supplement with to prevent cartilage loss.

    That will end this blog post but I think I will follow it up soon with an article on cartilage repair. There are some new findings and treatments in cartilage repair.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

More on PaleoFX 2014

So what is Paleo? More correctly what is the Paleo Movement? How do we define it. It starts with self improvement through diet and exercise. But it doesn't stop there. To me Paleo is about giving up nonscientific thoughts about our origin, about what we are and our place on this earth. We are animals on this planet and we evolved with all the other animals on the planet. Its not only about improving our own looks, health, and performance. Its about helping others improve their looks, health, and  performance. Its about improving the earths looks, health, and performance. What did I learn at PaleoFX 2014? Paleo is now really a movement not just a diet and exercise program.

   What did I learn at PaleoFX 2014? I learned that Paleo is still growing and it is only going to get bigger. I learned that Paleo is more than a diet and exercise. Its about community and making this earth a better place to live.

   It was hard for me to go to PaleoFX this year. Money aside. Let's talk about the other reasons why I put off making reservations and my heart wasn't in it this year. It was because the paleo way of eating wasn't working for women. This sucks, I still haven't found what works for every woman every time. This is what I must have; a way of eating that works for every woman every time. This is a constant source of irritation for me. Why can't women drop the fat like men do? I think I have my  program dial in now. I have huge confidence in my ability to control my fat. But I have little to no confidence in my ability to help women lose fat. This makes me very angry.

   So after that rant let me follow it with this, I think leaky gut and unhealthy gut flora are to blame for the variations in results with the Paleo diet. I've been thinking this more and more. Listening to Dr. Michael Ruscio talk on "Why Paleo isn't working" further my belief in the idea that the gut is to blame for problems with losing fat and being healthy. 

   One of the things I want to write about is the candy cigarettes at PaleoFX. The expo floor was full of people peddling goodies. Some of you may remember Dr. Kurt Harris blasting the Paleo sphere about artificial sweeteners back in 2010 with his article, "Smoking Candy Cigarettes". Meat treats, pastry treats, and drinks that were soda replacements were everywhere on the expo floor. There were so many free samples I did have to buy a lunch. I filled up on free samples. It was great and thank all of you that supplied the samples. But that is what they were, candy cigarettes. Wholesome paleo treats to replace the commercial big agriculture treats of mainstream. There is no doubt that these products are far more healthy than what else is on the market. They are gluten free, diary free, grain free, soy free, and GMO free. They are certified organic. But for me this are still trigger foods. They are foods that take the place of the other truly healthy foods I should be eating like; green leafy vegetables, cruciferious vegetables, other true vegetables, and whole fruits.

    It worries me that these sort of treats will further prevent people from having success with the Paleo way of eating. You don't want to just replace commercial junk food with Paleo junk food. But at the same time I realize that these products make it easier for people to transition to a health Paleo way of eating (WOE). I used this sort of foods in my transition into a Paleo WOE. But I had to make the treats because at that time these sort of foods were not on the market. 

   The good news is there are several companies that are producing ready made meals for people following a Paleo WOE. These meal come in boxes or tins that you heat and serve. They are made with the finest ingredients available. They are all Paleo compliant. This can be of real benefit for newbies and those that are just too busy to cook from scratch. The cost may be a prohibiting factor though. This leads me to another thought on what I learned at PaleoFX. Food quality is king. 

    If you get nothing else from Paleo, learn that it is about eating the freshest most nutrient dense foods you can find. Eating foods that haven't been made by man. I've know this and taught this for a long time but it really hit home at the conference.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Events at PaleoFX 2014

Paleofx 2014 more thoughts

The categories from PaleoFX:

Health/Wellness (not specified but included physical, mental, and emotional)
Community Building
Cooking Demos
Think Tank
Families and Kids
Women’s Health

Here are some of the titles from the talks:

Why we really get fat and what to do about it.
Cherry tarragon breakfast sausages
The gut and gluten
Carbohydrate cycling for Health, Performance, and Longevity
Building Incredible Willpower
Hacking Stress
Miserably Healthy
Salmon Cakes
Sleep and performance optimization
When sugar is your Mother
The Road Ahead: Obstacles to Popularizing the Ancestral Health Movement
Ketogenic Diets for traumatic brain injury.
Examining the physiological effects of Crossfit
Building not burning Bridges in the Paleo Movement
US healthcare: in Crisis or Chaos?

The list is very long for a full list and description go to:


   I was at PaleoFX from Thurdays to Saturday. I had to get home and missed all of Sunday. I also attended a couple of the movement/exercise classes so I missed out on at least 4 lectures during that time. But this is the list of events and sessions I attended:

Thursday I attended the Opening Night Party, Powered by Pecha Kucha. It was a great party with paleo drinks and Heavy hors d’oeuvres.

Heavy Hors d'oeuvres Menu:
Presented by Caveman Cafeteria
Carmines Spicy Italian Sausage Stuffed Crimini Mushrooms***Chafer roll top-palm plate
Rock Shrimp Ceviche, Coconut-Lime Marinated***palm bowl
Chicken satay with pineapple red fresno coconut flake **chafer-palm plate
Italian style braised lamb shank-Rosemary sprigs-Chafer-plates
House Made Paleo Bacon Candied***toothpicks, serving platter room temp, banana leaves, Orchids
Stuffed Artichoke Heart bruschetta*****platter cold, grilled artichokes, balsamic reduction, Olive oil

This is a list of the sessions I attended on Friday:

Carbohydrate cycling for Health, Performance, and Longevity by John Kiefer

Primal Playout Intensity session with Darryl Edwards

Evolve, Move, play with Rafe Kelley

Hacking Stress (Under Pressure) with Jolly, Ben Greenfield, Nora Gedgaudas,
                                                    Sara Eye, and Evan Brand

Building not Burning Bridges in the Paleo Movement with Robb Wolf,
                                                     Mark Sission, Dr. Deborah Gordon, Diana
                                                     Rodgers, and Jonathan Bailor

Adrenals; Key to Restoring Optimum Health with Dr. Daniel Kalish

Ketogenic Diets for Traumatic Brain Injury: Keeping the Baby with the
                                             Bathwater by Robb Wolf

   Friday night we had supper at the Whole Foods Headquarters with some other PaleoFX quest. It is a huge store, bar, and restaurant. They were having a movie on the second story patio that night. They were showing “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. Weird, Huh? You would think they would be showing “Forks over Knives”.

    Here’s the list of sessions I attended on Saturday:

Ask the Paleo Experts Mastermind with Dr. Terry Wahls, Dr. Kirk Parsley, Chris
                                 Kresser, Dallas Hartwig, and Nora Gedgaudas.

What to do When Paleo Fails with Dr. Michael Ruscio

Primal Playout Intensity session with Darryl Edwards

Evolve, Move, play with Rafe Kelley

The Ketogenic Athlete (How Low Can We Go?) with Ben Greenfield, Dr. Rocky
                                     Patel, Nate Miyaki, John Kiefer, and Joe Johnson

Living a Happy and Intentional Life with Michelle Norris, Darryl Edwards,
                                    Dean Dwyer, Hilary Bromberg, and Dr. Nicole Avena

The Robb and Mark Show with Robb Wolf and Mark Sission

   Saturday Night was the Farm to Table Charity Dinner Benefiting Urban Roots Austin at Brazos Hall on the Roof. 

Paleo Menu Created by Pink Avocado Catering


Roasted Tomato & Brisket Tart
Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

Baby Green Salad
Apples, Roasted Beets, Raspberries, Roasted Fennel, Lemon Herb Dressing

Braised Beef Short Ribs
Wilted Kale, Roasted Mushrooms

Grilled Pork Chop
Apple Butter, Wilted Arugula, Topped with Crispy Bacon

Crispy Brussels Sprouts
Bacon, Drizzle of Balsamic

Fudge Balls
Some with Shaved Coconut
Some with Nuts on Skewers
Chocolate Dipped Fruit

Live music was provided by Abbi Walker. Abbi Walker is a fresh, edgy, country and southern rock artist with the talent and personality as big her home state. Raised in South Texas as a Preacher's kid, Abbi was heavily influenced by gospel music, Southern culture, and Texas grit. An independent artist and songwriter, Abbi is confident, funny, and as sassy as they come. She was really good.

    Stay tuned for the next blog which will be what did I learned at PaleoFX.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

PaleoFX 2014 some photos

PaleoFX 2014 was incredible. 1,500 attendees, over 120 speakers, and 5 stages. I'm not sure how many vendors were there but it was huge. The downstairs area at the Palmer Event Center was packed.

The booths this year were laid out very nicely.

Some shots of Austin from the hotel. The Primal Escape atop the 5 story parking garage.

Thursday night cocktail party to kick off the event.

Will Bennett, Ben Greenfield, and Jonathan Bailor at the party.

Keith and Michelle Norris with their opening speeches.

Dangerously Hardcore John Kiefer speaking on carbohydrates.

Panel on Building Bridges to others in the real food community.

Robb Wolf having a little fun in his presentation.

Friday night on the second floor patio of Whole Foods Headquarter watching the sunset.

Sean Croxton as moderator of the "Ask the Paleo Experts" panel. Nora Gedgaudes, Dr. Terry Wahls, Dallas Hartwig, Chris Kresser, and Dr. Parsley.

Dr. Ruscio speaking on what to do if the Paleo way of eating fails. What are some possible issues you might have that are preventing Paleo from improving your health and helping you lose fat.

On break at PaleoFX. Will Bennett brought his slack line to the event. We had fun trying it out. I did so poorly that no picture of me was taken. Will Bennett wasn't a speaker this year but I look for him to be one in the near future. Will is an apprentice to Mick Dodge. Some of you might have seen the Discovery Channel series, "The Legend of Mick Dodge". You can see Will in some of the episodes.

The Ketogenic Athlete panel; Ben Greenfield, Dr. Rocky Patel, Nate Miyaki, Joe Johnson, and DH Kiefer.

Primal Play class me carrying Ben Greenfield his wife Jessa is beside us.

Ben and I playing plank patty cake during the Primal Play Class in front of the Palmer Event Center on our elbows on the concrete.

Darryl Edwards the Fitness Explorer leader of the Primal Play Class got a head wound during the class. It took 25 stitches to close his wound. But he waited until after he had finished the class to go to the doctor an have it sewed up. Primal people are tough!

Darryl Edwards showing his incredible strength against Will Bennett and another big guy during the primal play class.

Rafe Kelley in the blue shirt was the instructor of the Evolve, move, and play class

One of the best and most popular presentations of the event was the Mark and Robb Show. An open forum to ask these top experts in the Primal/Paleo field any question. Abel James of the Fat Burning Man Show was the moderator.

Saturday night at Brazos on the second floor dining area for the charity dinner. Which featured an incredible paleo menu, catered by Pink Avocado, to benefit a wonderful cause the Urban Roots Austin.

Unfortunately the dinner was the last event for me. I didn't stay for the presentations on Sunday. I had 2 and a half days of great fellowship with people from the Paleo/Primal tribe. I can't wait until next year.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Metabolic Test Day

I had some metabolic test done the other day with Metfit. We measured my RMR, RQ, and partial VO2. We didn’t run me all the way out on the VO2 test. We were mostly looking for the crossover spot. This is where you switch over to burn carbohydrates as your primary fuel source.
   We started with the Tanita scales to get my weight and percentage of body fat. I weighed 170lbs and my body fat was measured at 7.2%. I’m 5‘ 10.5“ tall. My age is 53.

Here is the Tanita scales used to measure weight and percentage of body fat.

Me standing on the scales.

Here are the results from the measurement. 170lbs and 7% Body Fat.

Next I got hooked up to the Korr metabolic cart to get my RMR.

   I tried to read a book while doing the RMR test. It takes about 20 minutes to do the test. This is the number of calories I burn at rest. If I did nothing else but sit I would burn this number of calories. This test also shows my Respiratory Equation Ratio (RER). RER shows what percentage of fats and carbohydrates you are burning as a fuel source.

    The last test we did was to find my crossover point. This where we find out at what heart rate do I start using more carbohydrates as a fuel source than fats. This is a very important number to know. knowing this number can allow you to retrain your body to burn more fat at a higher heart rate. This number will tell you what heart rate to run at so you are burning primarily fats as your fuel source. This way you can preserve you glycogen stores until later in a race. You can also use this number to help you lose body fat.

    The testing showed that I was a good fat burner. My RMR was 16% higher than the average person my size and age. This is more good news. It projected my RMR at 1915 Calories. My RER was .79 which means I am burning more fats than carbohydrates while resting. I’m burning 70% fat and 30% carbohydrates at rest.

   My VO2 tested rated my fitness level as superior. My crossover point was at a heart rate of 144bpm. By calculations my crossover rate should be about 127bmp.

To me this is one of the most important pieces of data from the testing. This is my RMR/RER testing and it shows that I am an efficient fat burner. I am tapped into my fat stores as I sit and do nothing. I'm getting 70% of the energy I'm burning from my fat stores. This comes from a good diet and proper exercise. Its important to me because I can't use a formula to calculate RER. I have to have a machine to measure the RER. I can use the Harris-Benedict equation to calculate RMR somewhat accurately. But doing it with the Korr machine is more accurate.

This is Tanya's results. It shows that she is burning only 49% fats. The other 51% of energy is coming from carbohydrate stores. The means as her blood sugar drops her brain is going to demand more sugar. She is going to feel hungry faster than I am because her brain will sense the blood sugar drop and signal the hormones that tell her to eat. They are going to make her crave carbohydrates. Chronic Cardio at too high of a heart rate in a calorie restricted state is what will cause your body to become inefficient at accessing your fat stores. How can we retrain our body to use fats more and become a fat burning machine? Its not green coffee bean extracts Dr. Oz.

This is my VO2 test where we found my crossover point. The point is highlighted in green. My target heart rate is 144bpm. This number is important to me because I can work on improving this number so I can run at a higher heart rate and stay in a fat burning mode.

This is Tanya's VO2 test and it shows her target heart rate highlighted in green. Her target heart rate is 126bpm. This is important for her because this is the heart rate she will train at to reset her body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates.

Here is an overview of some of the results. I've circled a couple of important pieces of information. My RMR is 1915 calories per day. This is if I did nothing by sit all day. The other thing I circled was my comparison graph. My RMR is 16% higher than most people my size and age.

This is Tanya's overview. Her RMR is 1166 calories per day if she was to do nothing but sit all day. The really bad news is that this is 15% lower than most people her age and size. Eating a healthy diet with the right amount of calories and exercising in her target heart rate zone will improve these numbers.

   I think Metabolic Testing is important for anyone wanting to lose body. It is also important for athletes so they can improve their performance. Because with out these numbers you are really sort of guessing at some important numbers. Because without this testing you can't know your RER.

   I'll be posting another blog to follow up this story in the near future. I'll be posting again on this subject in 6 weeks when we retest to see how we have improved our numbers.

Friday, April 4, 2014

My 8 week challenge is over

    Today was the end of my 8 weeks. I've transformed my way of eating completely to the True Primal Way of Eating. It begins with vegetables. Lots of greens, cruciferous vegetable, and all the other true vegetables. Then add berries, fruit, tubers, beans, mushrooms, and rice. Next is fatty fruits and nuts. Things like avocado, olives, nuts, and seeds. Then once you have reached your ideal body composition you can add some of the other stuff like meats, diary, grains, and alcohol. But the last items will always be at a very minimum amount. Pleasure foods that you eat occasionally.
    I weighed in at 185.5lbs on February 9th. Today I weighed 167lbs. That is a difference 18.5lbs. It is my belief that everyone that takes my 8 week program should lose at least 16lbs. It takes a lot of work and discipline but it is very doable. One client lost 40lbs in 8 weeks. On my Omron hand-held body composition device I showed 14% body fat at the start. Today the Omron read 10%. body fat. But on Wednesday when I did my metabolic efficiency testing on a more accurate device my body fat read 7% body.
    Here's some pictures of the progress from my weight tracking software.

  This is the main panel. You can see how much I weighed today, 60 days ago, and 1 year ago.

This a 90 day snap shot chart of my weight.

This chart goes back 730 days or something like that. Its a limit on the software. I've been tracking my weight since 2002. If you look at the first picture in the bottom right corner you will see that I've been tracking for 4307 days.

 This is me on Wednesday standing on the scales for the metabolic efficiency test. I weigh in my underwear normally. But here I'm in my gym clothes.

 This is the readings from the scales. 170lbs, 7% Body Fat, and 53 years old (What the Heck!).

    Everyone can accomplish these same results. You have to be willing to change your diet and eating habits and follow the program. Give up meat, diary, grains (especially wheat), processed oils, processed foods, and fast foods. Go vegan for 8 weeks off and on. You will change your body comp and feel amazing.