‘Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss’: How it Works

When I first heard the term ‘Intermittent Fasting’, I thought it was a bit silly. Since the practice of ‘fasting’ has been around for thousands of years, I wondered why people had to suddenly put the word “intermittent” in front of it. The obvious answer is that intermittent fasting connotes continuous measured intervals of fasting and feeding as a diet plan. This distinguishes it from other types of fasting, which usually aren’t adhered to in a regular and ongoing basis.

By loose definition, intermittent fasting is not so foreign or extreme as it might first sound. Given that we ‘fast’ the entire time we sleep each night, we’re already engaging in intermittent fasting, save for the few midnight snack enthusiasts out there.  And if you’re the type (as I am) who prolongs your morning hunger until your first meal is what most people label “lunch”, then you’ve got intermittent fasting (at a moderate level) already mastered.

Many such breakfast skippers might already be practicing an official intermittent fasting plan without realizing it. By simply foregoing late-night meals as well, there ends up being a relatively short ‘feeding window’ each day. If that window is no more than eight hours, the 16/8 intermittent fasting plan is being followed.

Of course, those who write entire books on ‘intermittent fasting for weight loss’ wouldn’t want you to think it’s that simple.


Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

When adherents of intermittent fasting successfully lose body fat, it’s likely for two reasons. First and foremost, fewer calories are consumed when eating is restricted to fewer daily and weekly hours. It’s that simple. If we don’t allow ourselves to eat nearly as often, total food intake often gets slashed.

Another, just slightly esoteric reason intermittent fasting “works” is that it likely improves insulin sensitivity. Regular prolonged periods of hunger tend to do that over time. The effect is ‘metabolic elasticity’; a state in which the body becomes more efficient at using stored energy (fat) for fuel. This effect is greater when intermittent fasting is combined with intense exercise.

As with so many things, answering the question of whether intermittent fasting “works” depends on an adherent’s dedication to an eating plan that’s been personally determined a good fit for him or her.


Intermittent Fasting Types


Daily Window

This is what the 16/8 technique mentioned above falls under. With daily window fasting, one simply assigns a relatively small ratio of hours for eating and then fasts the remaining hours. For example, using 16/8, many intermittent fasters prefer to skip breakfast, eat between the hours of noon and 8 PM, then fast again between 8 PM and noon the next day.

But this window can be broken into any ratio one prefers; 18 hours fasting/6 hours feeding – 20 hours fasting/4 hours feeding, etc. I knew one person to take it so far as to gorge at an all-you-can-eat buffet for nearly two hours and then fast the remaining twenty-two. That is, until the buffet manager had him all but restricted from the premises.

Alternate Day Fasting

As the name implies, this means fasting every other day. The fasting days consist of either complete abstinence from food, or allowance of eating only a few hundred calories. The former usually requires a lot of discipline; the latter being more sustainable for most people. 

Evidently, combining workouts with this plan might have synergistic benefits. An animal study showed that alternate day fasting results in stronger and harder muscles in trained animals. In the experiment, mice that ran on a treadmill became stronger if they’d fasted every other day compared to another group of animals that trained without fasting.

Of course, the aforementioned benefit of combining workouts with fasting might transcend all types of fasting schedules.

The ‘Warrior Diet’

The so-called ‘Warrior Diet’ entails fasting during the daytime hours and feasting on a big meal at night. The daytime fasting will typically include intake of small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables. This is followed by an evening meal fit for a king (or more aptly, a ‘warrior’).

The Warrior Diet probably draws from the idea that it resembles the likely pattern of daily feeding to which nomadic tribesmen were relegated. People fasted all day during the hunt for food and then feasted around the fire at night.  It’s no surprise then that this ‘intermittent fasting for weight loss’ plan calls for food choices that resemble ‘Paleo eating.’

The 5:2 Diet

This plan calls for eating normally for five days a week and fasting for two. The fasting days can be consecutive or a split of any two days one wishes (Mon and Thurs, for example). Any type of food can be eaten on non-fasting days while the two restrictive days only allow for consuming about 25% of one’s daily maintenance calories.

The biggest pro of the 5:2 Diet is its flexibility. There are no food restrictions during the five non-fasting days. This allows for normal social eating and maybe moderate intake of desserts or alcoholic beverages. This flexibility can lend itself to sustainability in following the plan.


Not sure why this one earned its title. As far as I can tell, all these intermittent fasting plans are “eat, stop, eat.” Maybe what gives this one the title is that when it says “stop eating”, it really means it; there appears to be no sneaking in a few hundred calories on fasting days.

‘Eat-Stop-Eat’ demands complete abstinence from food for a 24-hour period, once or twice a week. The plan does allow for consumption of unsweetened coffee, tea, or other non-caloric beverages. But aside from that, it’s a call for complete starvation mode.

‘Eat-Stop-Eat’ can produce negative side-effects familiar with many intermittent fasting for weight loss plans. These include dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and general irritability. However, these effects are reported to subside as the body becomes increasingly accustomed to the practice.

One way to ease into 24-hour total fasting is to build toward it with daily window fasting. A beginner could start with a 16/8 daily window schedule. When that’s become easy, he or she could move to an 18/6. From there it’s on to a 20/4 schedule before attempting a 24-hour period without any food.


Intermittent Fasting Studies

The question you might have at this point is whether there are any studies to back the validity of claims made by proponents of intermittent fasting. Is ‘time-restricted feeding’ the fat-scorching miracle it’s cracked up to be? Or is it no more effective than traditional slimming diets that consist of cutting daily calories by 20 percent or so?

At least one study showed the effectiveness of the ‘Daily Window’ method. In the experiment, obese subjects were put on a 12-week, daily time-restricted eating schedule in which they could eat only within the eight-hour period of 10 am to 6 pm. Within that time window, the subjects were allowed to eat whatever they wanted. A control group of similarly obese individuals kept their usual eating schedule which ran from about 9:30 am to 8:30 pm.

The study resulted in the time-restricted feeders losing an average of 4.5 lbs. of fat. This was due to their calorie intake reducing by 20% despite their not being required to count any calories. The control group saw no changes. Apparently, just a three-hour reduction in the time window of daily eating results in an effortless slashing of calories and shedding of fat.

A study done on the ‘5:2 Diet’ compared the effects of this approach to that of a traditional weight loss method. The experiment had 150 people with a BMI of over 25 divided into three groups. One group served as a control that underwent no changes. A second group went on a traditional diet in which daily calories were cut by 20% below maintenance. The third group went on the 5:2 Diet, keeping up maintenance calorie intake for five days a week while cutting down to just 20% of maintenance calories for two weekly “fasting” days.

After twelve weeks, the group on the 5:2 fasting diet appeared to have lost more weight than had the group on the traditional daily calorie-cutting plan. In particular, the 5:2 fasters had lost more belly fat than the traditional dieters had. However, when the two groups were compared after 50 weeks, there was virtually no difference in results; both had lost about the same amount of body fat.

Another study shows intermittent fasting can improve insulin sensitivity independent of weight loss. It can do this even for people who’ve built up long-term insulin resistance to the point of being pre-Type-2 diabetics. Researchers subjected eight such men to a restricted-time eating plan and juxtaposed the results with those from the men’s normal eating patterns.

The men in this study ate normally for five weeks. That meant eating three meals per day between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM. After a “wash-out” period, they were put on a 5-week early time restricted feeding (eTRF) program.  That meant eating ONLY between the hours of 8 AM and 2 PM. The men consumed the exact same amounts of food during the two phases and remained static in body weight.

But the eTRF schedule resulted in improved insulin sensitivity, β cell responsiveness, blood pressure, oxidative stress, and appetite. The improved insulin sensitivity was shown through significantly lower insulin levels after blood glucose administration. The eTRF method resulted in less insulin required to control the men’s blood sugar.


Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss: Pros and Cons


Intermittent fasting has become a popular means of losing weight in the last decade. The reason for its popularity is its simplicity; there’s no need to count calories or measure macronutrients. Just knowing when and generally what to eat, as well as when to abstain from food, is about as complicated as these plans get. That’s a major benefit.

But simple shouldn’t be confused with ‘easy.’ For many people, prolonged abstinence from eating is more difficult than imagined. The resulting headaches and fatigue are challenging. For that reason alone, traditional calorie-cutting diets are probably the better choice for many people.

But how one goes about implementing an intermittent fasting program might be as much a determiner of success as choosing one general fat-loss method over another. A good recommendation for beginners who want to try it is to start slowly. Allow the body to adjust to intermittent fasting with a daily window of fasting through the late morning and eating dinner no later than three hours pre-bedtime. Only when the body has built greater insulin sensitivity through such a moderate approach would I recommend moving on to more demanding methods like ‘Eat-Stop-Eat.’

My take on intermittent fasting is biased by my experience with and advocacy of natural bodybuilding. I’m a proponent of daily window/early time restricted feeding. This type of eating schedule makes sense to me as it would optimize the circadian rhythm of natural growth hormone release. In the same vein, I’m less a fan of ‘The Warrior Diet’ and its call for an all-day fast followed by a big nighttime meal. Eating a large pre-bedtime meal antagonizes the body’s natural nocturnal growth hormone release and can reduce the fat-burning benefits a boost in that hormone’s output can provide.

But aside from that caveat, the effectiveness intermittent fasting for weight loss is probably partly attributable to a net increase in daily growth hormone that regular fasting generally creates.

‘What is a Keto Diet’…and what are its Pros and Cons?

If you’re asking ‘what is a keto diet’, we feel your curiosity. It’s not exactly self-explanatory in name. And although it’s an abbreviation for ‘ketogenic diet’, that’s not too helpful in providing hints of the details either.

In this article, we’ll look at the basics of what a keto diet is and weigh its pros and cons. We’ll look at it objectively as neither proponents nor opponents of the method. By reading it, you’ll gain the information necessary for deciding whether the Ketogenic Diet method of fat loss is ideal or even suitable for you.


‘Ketones’ for Body Fuel

The keto diet is all about reducing carbohydrate intake to such rock bottom levels that the body shifts to using ‘ketones’ for energy. Ketones are chemicals made in the liver from fat. They’re triggered into production when glucose and insulin get very low. Ketones can be used as fuel by the brain, muscles, and other tissues when the body’s preferred energy source (carbohydrate) is too low.

The keto diet calls for macro-nutrient ratios of at least 70% of daily calories coming from fat along with 20% from protein. That leaves no more than 10% of calories supplied by carbohydrates. This results in low enough carb levels so as to trigger the body’s burning of fat for fuel (ketosis).

It typically takes the body about 3 to 7 days to adjust to this. Until then, adherents describe symptoms often referred to as the “keto flu” which includes fatigue, nausea, dizziness, insomnia, upset stomach, dehydration, bad breath, and difficulty concentrating.

So what is the keto diet if not without its share of controversy?

The purported benefits of this extreme diet are stabilized blood sugar, reined-in carb cravings, increased satiety, and even an eventual improved ability to focus. Some proponents even claim the keto diet can solve a range of problems like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and autism. This idea could have merit given the diet’s call for reducing or eliminating many pro-inflammatory foods.

So, will you lose body fat by being in “ketosis?”

Most likely, you will. The initial weight loss would probably be water weight. When carbohydrates are stored in the body, they carry a lot of water with them. By suddenly slashing carb intake down to just 10% of daily calories, a few pounds of water will flush out. But over time, the remaining weight loss will likely be from body fat reduction as this eating method naturally cuts calorie intake.


How You’d Eat on a Keto Diet

If you were to adopt a keto diet, your shopping list should include lots of foods containing high quality protein and healthy fats. Think along the lines of lean grass-fed cow beef, chicken thighs/breasts, eggs, and unsweetened full-fat yogurt as good protein sources. For fat intake, think of olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, raw almonds, and grass-fed cow butter as good sources.

You’d obviously avoid processed and sugary foods on a keto diet. But in addition, you’d avoid grains, beans, legumes, light dairy, most fruits, and starchy vegetables.

To put the macro breakdown in perspective, imagine a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet. Since there are 9 calories in each gram of dietary fat, you’d cover 1,400 of those calories with 156 grams of fat (156 x 9 = 1,404).

Recalling that there are four calories per gram of protein and carbs (respectively), the remaining 600 calories of energy would be split between them with protein taking the bulk.

Let’s say you’re a 200-pound man with 25% body fat (that’s high, I know). This makes it simple; you’d have 150 pounds of lean mass. If you were to shoot for .9 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass, you’d need 135 grams of protein per day (150 x .9 = 135). That would cover another 540 daily calories with protein intake (135 x 4 = 540).

Now you’d have just sixty calories you can fill with carbohydrates. That’s equivalent to about a single slice of rye bread.  If you could stick with such an extreme diet, you’d almost certainly reduce that 25% body fat level.

But the question becomes whether you’d be able to sustain such a stringent eating plan over the long run.


Keto Diet: The Pros

Let’s take a look at the favorable aspects of this eating plan…

  • High fat intake (in place of carbohydrates) creates a feeling of satiety, making it easier to reduce daily calorie intake without cravings.
  • The body becomes more efficient at burning body fat. By stripping away carb intake, the body is forced to become better at burning fat as fuel.
  • It could reduce bodily inflammation. By requiring adherents to slash carbohydrates from their diets, a lot of pro-inflammatory junk food goes out the window. That’s a good thing.
  • It ‘resets’ insulin sensitivity. The body’s cells become resistant to insulin due to out-of-control long-term carb binging. A keto diet, with its near elimination of carbohydrates, could correct this metabolic problem.
  • It can specifically lower ‘visceral’ fat. Research shows that low carb diets tend to reduce fat surrounding the organs of the abdominal area – a particularly hazardous type of body fat.


Keto Diet: The Cons

Let’s take a look at the not-so-favorable aspects of this eating plan…

  • Adjusting to a keto diet is often unpleasant. Since the brain is accustomed to using glucose as fuel, a sudden switch to ‘fat-as-fuel’ likely won’t sit well with it. Adherents to the diet often report brain fog, dizziness, headaches, and “bad moods” as initial side effects.
  • It can lead to a quick plateau. As with all low-carb diets, the first two weeks result in big weight loss due to the flushing of water and glycogen. This can result in a ‘false positive’ as the actual shedding of body fat can be a relatively slow process thereafter.
  • It doesn’t go well with athletics. If you’re an athlete, bodybuilder, power-lifter, or just a very active person, you might want to steer clear. Some research has shown that going this low in carbs will negatively affect physical performance.
  • It might be a wild card in terms of affecting a person’s cardio system. Raising dietary fats to these levels could wreak havoc on one’s lipid profile. Granted, much of this fat will be converted to glucose to be used as fuel. But it’s speculative as to whether an adherent’s lipid profile will land in a healthful place. Monitoring of it would be essential.
  • Bad breath is a common side effect. All those ketones in the blood result in acetone being released with each exhale. Friends and family members might describe your breath as smelling like nail polish remover.


Keto Diet Conclusions

The keto diet falls under a “carbs are evil” category of eating plan for which a handful of other currently popular diets fall. These plans remain popular as they fulfill the human desire for immediate positive reinforcement. Since many people equate ‘weight loss’ with fat loss, the immediate drop in water weight spurred by low carbohydrate intake results in a quick conclusion that the diet is “working.”

Of course, fat loss can come from long term adherence to a keto diet. But the degree to which it’s due to “burning fat as fuel” as opposed to mere calorie restriction naturally arising from the measurement of macro-nutrient intake is open to debate. “Going Keto” results in a dieter becoming ‘controlled’ in their calorie intake, even if that control is a simple offshoot of measuring an extreme shift in macronutrient balance.

Whether a keto diet is right for you depends on results of your weighing its pros against its cons. In addition, it depends on your long-term goals and how long you realistically think you can nearly ban all traces of carbs from your life.

If you’re like a lot of people and don’t think that’s realistic, you’re probably better off avoiding the keto diet. Either that or have a modified, less restrictive diet planned as a fall-back after you’ve used a Keto Diet to shed fat and improve insulin sensitivity.



‘Best Supplements for Men Over 40’: Fifteen for Health, Muscle, and Testosterone  

If you’re a man over 40, you want the best bang for your buck when choosing supplements for the health, strength, and muscle of a mature man. But picking the best supplements for men over 40 cannot be a one-size-fits-all formula. It works best when somewhat self-prescriptive to one’s individual needs and goals.

With that in mind, we can narrow down the choices by identifying a set of stand-out dietary supplements. These are the ones shown to make a difference in challenges specific to reaching our 5th decade – the best supplements for guys 40 and above.


Men over 40 Need to tackle 3 Main Challenges

The age of 40 is an interesting time for a man. When we hit this age, we’re mature; not a kid anymore. But we’re typically still youthful enough to “pivot” if we’ve lived the wild life and let ourselves go in our 20s and 30s.

Pivoting into healthier life choices usually includes improved eating habits. However, many of us find it challenging to ‘eat healthy’ in our busy and fast-paced world. This is where some well chosen dietary supplements can really help out.

And the areas usually requiring the most help are three-fold. We need to improve and/or maintain our general health, boost/sustain testosterone, and reverse/counter age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia).

  • Improve/Maintain Health
  • Boost/Sustain Testosterone
  • Reverse/Prevent Sarcopenia

Incidentally, these three areas happen to possess a lot of overlap. Improving and maintaining general health can boost testosterone. A higher average testosterone level can definitely slow down sarcopenia. And evidence even shows that successfully reversing sarcopenia (building muscle) can positively affect long-term health by lowering risk of cancer.

So let’s look at the 15 best supplements for men over 40, along with the reasoning for each supplement making the list. We’ll begin with ten supplements that can directly affect all three areas – testosterone, muscle mass, and health. Then we’ll look at ten for which one or two of these three areas are directly affected.

Be sure to consult with your doctor before adding any supplement to your diet, as well as about appropriate dosages.


1. Fish Oil (Health, Testosterone, Sarcopenia)

If you don’t like eating salmon at least twice a week, you probably can’t go wrong using a fish oil supplement. Taking in some fish oil each day helps you get enough anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids to balance out the pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids present in processed foods and cooking oils. This helps promote heart health and overall cardiovascular strength for men over 40.

In addition, Omega-3s from fish oil have been shown to be important for maintaining optimal cognitive function.

Fish oil increases cell permeability which, among other things, can improve insulin sensitivity. Since the opposite (insulin resistance) is at least associated with testosterone decline, fish oil might indirectly help maintain testosterone levels.

Now there’s evidence that fish oil is ‘anabolic’, especially in older men. One study showed that two capsules of fish oil per day can significantly increase muscle size in people over age 60. But there’s certainly nothing saying we can’t gain that advantage well before we turn 60.


2. Vitamin E (Health, Testosterone, Sarcopenia)

This vitamin is the most powerful antioxidant for countering lipid peroxidation. That means Vitamin E fights free radicals created by cellular respiration within lipid plasma membranes. One area where lipid peroxidation occurs heavily is within the testes during the production of testosterone.

For this reason, by the age of forty, lipid peroxidation might be a primary cause of age-related testosterone decline. Adequate levels of Vitamin E appear to be the best defense against the threat of this drop. One study showed that 400 IU daily of Vitamin E supplementation resulted in a 30% increase in the testosterone of middle-aged men within eight weeks.

That might not sound impressive, but here’s the clincher.

When human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) was administered after the eight weeks of Vitamin E supplementation, endogenous testosterone rose rapidly by up to 82%. That’s enough to show evidence of Vitamin E’s importance in defending the testes against lipid peroxidation, thus maximizing/maintaining natural testosterone in guys over 40.


3. Vitamin C (Health, Testosterone, Sarcopenia)

This most famous of vitamins just might help to protect the body’s testosterone producing machinery. Used in combination with Vitamin E, they create an antioxidant fortress that can protect the leydig cells from some of the damage associated with aging.

At least this can be extrapolated from animal studies. One such study showed that high levels of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) significantly reduced lipid peroxidation levels in the testes of rats. It resultantly caused a significant boost in epididymal sperm concentration and plasma testosterone.

Since Vitamin C is also known to significantly lower cortisol, it’s a terrific supplement for helping fight sarcopenia and boost general health.


4. Vitamin D3 (Health, Testosterone, Sarcopenia)

The ‘sunshine vitamin’ is another nutrient that can help boost all three areas of concern for men over forty. It’s actually a misnomer to call this a vitamin as it acts more like a hormone in the body. Regardless, unless you’re a sun worshipper or you live near the equator, there’s a good chance you’re not getting enough skin absorbing ultraviolet rays to keep Vitamin D levels high enough for optimal health.

One meta-study revealed that people with high levels of Vitamin D tend to live longer than those with lower levels. Another study showed that the higher a cancer patient’s Vitamin D level, the better chance of their surviving the disease. Yet another study has shown an association between high Vitamin D and protection from heart failure, a common threat to men’s health after age forty.

What about Vitamin D and testosterone?

A study done on 2,300 men who were just over age sixty revealed that only 11% had adequate Vitamin D levels. What’s more, the men in the study showed a correlation between Vitamin D and testosterone; the higher the blood levels of Vitamin D, the greater the levels of both total testosterone and free testosterone.

What about Vitamin D for combating sarcopenia?

One study revealed an association between high Vitamin D levels and greater muscle mass. This might be due to Vitamin D’s tendency to lower myostatin. In addition, a test tube study showed that Vitamin D actually helps speed up muscle growth.

Although these experiments show that adequate Vitamin D is beneficial compared to low levels – by the same token, too high of Vitamin D can be as detrimental as a deficiency.  Therefore, it’s important to get blood levels tested and adjust supplementation accordingly.


5. Magnesium (Health, Testosterone, Sarcopenia)

This mineral isn’t only among the best supplements for men over 40; it’s among one of the best minerals for people to supplement, period. It’s estimated that up to 70% of the population is deficient. And although green leafy vegetables whole grains should be great sources, soil depletion of minerals almost guarantees many of us need a supplemental daily hit of magnesium.

For guys over 40, magnesium supplementation can boost testosterone. This has been shown in at least a couple of studies. One revealed that a gram of magnesium per day can raise testosterone by 25%. However, this study was done on young athletes (aged 18-22).

Another study was done on elderly male subjects (aged 65-92). This one showed an age-adjusted association between magnesium levels and the anabolic hormones testosterone and IGF-1. Although there’s no proof of cause-and-effect, the correlation showed that the higher the blood magnesium, the higher those anabolic hormones. Researchers think this is because magnesium increases antioxidant enzymes and reduces cellular inflammation.

More testosterone means more muscle strength and mass. But there’s also direct evidence of magnesium combating sarcopenia. An epidemiologic study reveals a correlation between magnesium levels and muscle strength among older people. The more magnesium 60-70 year-olds have in their blood, the more muscle mass and strength they maintained.

Being above the 40-year old mark is a great time to make sure you’re getting enough magnesium.


6. Olive Leaf Extract (Health, Testosterone, Sarcopenia)

This relatively little-known supplement can have major benefits for men over forty. While the monounsaturated fat of olive oil is widely touted, the benefits derived from extract of olive leaves (oleuropein) are just recently becoming realized.

One animal study showed that oleuropein can boost testosterone, reduce cortisol, and increase anabolism. Researchers think this effect is due to the extract’s ability to raise adrenalin and noradrenalin. This, in turn, resulted in a boosting of luteinizing hormone (LH) which stimulates testosterone production in the testes.

Better yet, a human study revealed that oleuropein can increase insulin sensitivity. The study was a 12-week experiment in which researchers gave 46 healthy men (aged 35-55) 51.1 mg. of oleuropein per day.  When the researchers measured the men’s insulin response to glucose at the end of the period, their insulin sensitivity was statistically improved over placebo.

Greater insulin sensitivity means oleuropein can contribute to reduced body fat, increased muscle, and better health.

In addition, oleuropein is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory qualities to boot. It’s an all-around great additive for men over forty to put in their supplementary arsenal.


7. Tumeric/Curcumin (Health, Testosterone, Sarcopenia)

When men pass the age of forty, many of the abuses we’ve allowed our bodies to sustain over the years begin rearing their ugly heads in the form of inflamed joints and tendons.

Along to the rescue comes the spice phenol tumeric. More specifically, it’s the curcumin that’s in the spice that provides the benefits. Curcumin has been shown effective in tamping down the inflammation that causes joint pain. It can also help raise testosterone and counter sarcopenia. And on a more macro level, its general health boosting qualities are becoming ever more widely recognized.

One animal study revealed that curcumin can increase testosterone by protecting the testes against oxidative damage. This is important given that men are constantly told their testosterone drops 1% annually after age 40. While many who mention this never provide a reason or remedy, studies like this just might grant both.

There’ve also been animal studies showing curcumin to be either anabolic or anti-catabolic. Although the exact mechanisms haven’t been identified, the result is more net muscle in either case.

Furthermore, a study on the cognitive-enhancing effects of curcumin showed it improved memory ability in people aged 50 to 90.

The best tumeric/curcumin supplements are probably those with the black pepper extract piperine added to them. That’s because curcumin is poorly absorbed by itself and research shows that a ‘piperine delivery’ helps circumvent this problem.

Tumeric/curcumin falls into our category of supplements providing a three-pronged benefit for men over forty.


8. EMIQ – Enzymatically Modified Iso-Quercetin (Health, Testosterone, Sarcopenia)

Here’s a results-producing supplement of which many people are unaware. Nevertheless, we rank it high among supplements for men over forty as it can have a positive effect on health, testosterone, and sarcopenia.

Studies reveal that the anti-oxidant flavonoid quercetin can boost testosterone, reduce cortisol, improve stamina, and even increase muscle growth. EMIQ is a highly bio-absorbable form of quercetin, making it easier to get health-boosting effects of quercetin with low doses of EMIQ.

One animal study showed that EMIQ has an anabolic effect on overloaded (resistance trained) muscles. The experiment resulted in muscle gain even in animals that were given EMIQ but not subjected to muscle overload. This might be due to quercetin significantly reducing cortisol levels and improving mitochondrial activity in muscle cells.

There’s also evidence that quercetin can boost testosterone. This has been shown in animal studies in which subjects were given high doses of onion juice. The onion juice lowered the level of oxidative stress in the animal’s testes, an effect researchers attribute, at least in part, to quercetin in onions.

Given the anti-oxidative effect of quercetin in phospholipids, EMIQ can be an effective supplement for men over forty in fighting lipid peroxidation.


9. Ashwagandha (Health, Testosterone, Sarcopenia)

This herb from India is often used for fighting anxiety and reducing cortisol. That’s because ashwagandha is an adaptogen, a botanical that can help the body in managing stress. Just its cortisol blunting quality is enough to be of value to the man over 40 that feels stress overload creeping into his life.

But ashwagandha is a possible testosterone booster and muscle builder as well. One study showed that 5 grams per day raised testosterone by 40% within 90 days. Another experiment revealed that weight trainers who took a 600 mg. ashwagandha supplement gained significantly more muscle than a placebo group. This could be due to either the herb’s testosterone boosting effect or its anti-catabolic effect, or both.

Added to this are the evidence that ashwagandha reduces blood sugar, inflammation, and even the symptoms of depression. This becomes a must-try supplement for certain men over forty.


10. Probiotics (Health, Testosterone, Sarcopenia)

These are bacteria that our bodies actually need; so-called “good bacteria.” In fact, our intestines are naturally teeming with probiotics, affecting how well we digest and absorb certain nutrients in our diets.

The right balance of these types of bacteria has recently been found to affect health, and even testosterone and muscle strength, at least in animal studies. One such study showed that the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC 6475 preserved the youthful gonad size and testosterone production of aging rats. Another animal study showed that Lactobacillus plantarum TWK10 increased muscle mass and exercise performance in mice.

Although probiotics can be bought in supplement form, the most reliable source might be the addition of a good probiotic yogurt in your diet. Research shows that homemade yogurt is the best source, seconded by a high quality store-bought probiotic yogurt.


11. Vitamin K (Health, Testosterone)

This vitamin actually comes in two forms, K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is naturally available in green leafy vegetables. Vitamin K2 is most heavily present in fish eggs, cheddar cheese, and fermented foods like German saurkrout and Japanese natto.

While both forms of the vitamin are critical for blood coagulation, vitamin K2 is important for the functioning of certain enzymes. These enzymes are vital for everything from skeletal calcium uptake to testosterone production.

Vitamin K2 is further divided between two different types called MK4 and MK7. Both forms are required for general health, but MK4 is associated with higher testosterone production based on an animal study. When rats were given higher amounts in their diets, testicular enzymes that convert cholesterol to testosterone were increased. This resulted in significantly higher testosterone levels compared to the control group.

Intake of MK4 and MK7 can be increased by eating more fermented food, along with grass-fed cow butter and/or fish eggs. But if these foods aren’t accessible or palatable, Vitamin K should be on a guy’s watch list of best supplements for men over 40.


12. Coenzyme Q10 (Health)

This important antioxidant is produced naturally by the body. But coenzyme Q10 production decreases with age. This results in levels dropping after age forty. And although ‘CoQ10’ is present in some foods we eat, those sources are unlikely to provide compensation for age-related decline.

Studies have shown that supplementing with CoQ10 can reduce inflammatory factors that contribute to metabolic disorder.

In addition, animal studies reveal that insulin resistance might be at least partially attributable to reduced mitochondrial CoQ10 levels. Restoring the animal’s levels of this antioxidant with supplementation resulted in improved insulin sensitivity. The human equivalent of the dose for this effect was 160 mg. of CoQ10 per day.

There’s also evidence that CoQ10 can protect against the chances of heart failure caused by left ventricular hypertrophy. This is likely due to the antioxidant’s ability to generate cellular energy via a recharging of the mitochondria.

Since statin drugs can reduce natural levels of CoQ10, this is a supplement that guys over 40 who are prescribed those drugs should definitely discuss with their physicians.


13. Creatine (Health, Sarcopenia)

This ubiquitous supplement has already been used by multitudes of men over age 40. It was likely sitting in the pantry of many such guys while they were struggling to put on solid weight in their teens and early twenties.

It turns out that creatine might be more beneficial to us now than when we were younger. That’s due to the discovery that supplemental dosages of the compound could provide neuro-protective benefits. What’s more, an animal study reveals that combining creatine with CoQ10 might provide greater neuro-protective benefit than either supplement by itself.

In that study, mice were genetically modified to take on characteristics that closely resemble those of Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. Based on the theory that the courses of these diseases are simply sped up versions of normal aging, the effect the supplements would have on the study’s subjects might reveal anti-aging benefits.

The animals given either creatine or CoQ10 showed significantly less disease progression than the animals in the control group. Furthermore, each of these two groups had a longer lifespan than those in the control. But the test group given both creatine and CoQ10 showed the slowest disease progression and lived 22% longer than the mice given neither supplement.

On the muscle sparing front, creatine has been discovered to be a myostatin inhibitor. Myostatin is a protein within muscle itself that limits its growth. By limiting myostatin, we can enhance muscle protein synthesis and hypertrophy (growth).

So while we once thought creatine was only good for improving repetitions during workouts, it might very well be effective in reducing the chance of both sarcopenia and neurodegenerative disease.


14. Epicatechin (Health, Sarcopenia)

Many of us are already aware that there are health benefits of eating dark chocolate. But it’s cocoa’s antioxidant (epicatechin) that’s most important in giving the bittersweet food these characteristics.

One study showed that epicatechin might be an excellent flavonoid for combating sarcopenia. In the experiment, supplementation with epicatechin inhibited myostatin and boosted follistatin. This happened in both human and animal subjects. Since myostatin impedes muscle growth and follistatin supports it, this resulted in improved hand strength in the study’s elderly human subjects.

Animal studies show that epicatechin can combat the effects of aging and extend lifespan. This is likely due to its ability to increase both the AMPK enzyme and the super-oxide dismutase antioxidant.

When combined with creatine supplementation, epicatechin boosts muscle building efforts via both supplement’s myostatin inhibiting effects.


15. Vitamin B12 (Health)

This vitamin is necessary for normal energy levels and nervous system functioning. Thus, a deficiency can contribute to fatigue and cognitive impairment. And since the best food sources include beef, eggs, and poultry, most guys over 40 probably think they have this covered since they’re naturally on the carnivorous side.

But many men show a deficiency of B12 after age forty. The underlying culprit is absorption; the vitamin becomes harder to derive from food as we age. Certain medications can exacerbate this problem even further. Therefore, men over forty who are on medication and/or avoid eating animal protein sources should definitely get their B12 levels checked.

The toxicity threshold for this Vitamin B12 is high and excess levels are stored by the body. For these reasons, it should be on every man’s watch list of best supplements to take after age forty.


The Bottom Line on Supplements for Over-40 Men

Any dietary supplementation program needs to be specially tailored to a person’s specific needs and objectives. It also should only be pursued with the consent of one’s personal physician or medical professional.

But knowledge is power, and that’s what the list of 15 ‘best supplements for men over 40’ represents. It’s the power of acquired insight regarding which available supplements might be chosen and combined in a safe manner to address particular dietary shortcomings or meet personal health goals.



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How to Increase Growth Hormone Naturally: 15 Tactics

Human Growth Hormone is widely considered to be the linchpin of youth hormones. It rejuvenates skin, bone, cartilage, and muscle tissue. It also burns body fat. Here are 15 tactics to increase growth hormone naturally, which might help you stave off some aging itself.

Growth Hormone: What is it?

Human growth hormone (somatotropin) is a single-chain polypeptide consisting of 191 amino acids. It’s produced and released naturally by the anterior pituitary gland. GH stimulates cell growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration.

It’s an anabolic hormone; not as anabolic as testosterone, but does help stimulate muscle strength and hypertrophy.

Growth hormone triggers the release of another hormone by the body called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). This hormone is produced in the liver and is similar in molecular structure to insulin (as the name implies).

Many of the benefits of boosting growth hormone are technically due to the resultant higher levels of IGF-1. This is important to know because IGF-1 levels are less fleeting and much more stable than growth hormone.

Consequently, if you want to have your growth hormone level tested, you’d actually get a more accurate reading by having your IGF-1 level tested.

… But more about all that later.

Let’s delve into the details of how to increase growth hormone naturally, exploring how we might reap the benefits of both acute and long-term higher levels of this ‘ebb-and-flow’ youth hormone.


Natural Growth Hormone’s Unanswered Questions

Let’s be honest about natural growth hormone. We keep hearing that it drops as we age.

Then we find out we can stimulate its release with better body composition and certain tactics. We’re told that the resulting higher GH levels can slow down aging.

But any thinking person understands that this depends on to what degree aging is an effect of reduced growth hormone and to what degree it’s a cause of it. Maybe it’s both. But not even the PhD’s have broken down that ratio. 

Another question is whether acute boosts in endogenous GH work in relative correspondence to the age related decline in average levels of the hormone. Many studies on acute stimulation of GH have been done only on younger subjects. Some have been done using middle-aged and older ones. For studies in which only young subjects were used, we can only assume the positive effect transcends age.

In a nutshell, endogenous growth hormone as it relates to aging is still somewhat a mystery.

Age aside, it’s also not known whether periodically stimulating higher GH pulses results in higher average levels.

We know that some long-term changes in physiology, such as reduced body fat, result in higher average GH levels.

That’s because the opposite condition, holding excess body fat, results in reduced GH levels.

But we don’t know if one-off methods, even done regularly, raise our average growth hormone levels.

For example, if I do a set of wind sprints with nothing in my stomach but 20 grams of creatine, I might send my growth hormone levels into the stratosphere for an hour or two.

If I do this regularly, we might assume it will greatly raise my average growth hormone levels.

But that’s a major assumption. Given the body’s penchant for homeostasis, we don’t know for sure.


How to Increase Growth Hormone Naturally: Easiest-to-Hardest Tactics

Not everyone who wants to discover how to increase growth hormone naturally has a proclivity for exercise. Not everyone is in the kind of condition required to exercise strenuously enough to release growth hormone.

That’s okay; there are some tactics that are relatively easy for stimulating the body to release more growth hormone.

Other methods are much more difficult.

Thus, the list of 15 tactics is provided in order from easiest to most difficult. This makes sense given the body’s benefiting from the easier tactics might strengthen it for more difficult ones. On that note, be sure to consult your physician before engaging in a new exercise program or adopting a dietary supplement regimen.


How to Increase Growth Hormone naturally: First 7 (easiest) Tactics

Obviously, the methods of boosting growth hormone that demand the least amount of physical effort are through use of dietary supplements. That’s why our list of initial tactics involves not much more than simply swallowing some capsules or protein powders.

It’s important to note, however, that natural surges in growth hormone are usually amplified by a low glycemic state. Therefore, taking such supplements might be most effective on an empty stomach and not followed by food intake for a while.


     1. Supplement with L-Arginine

One study revealed that high daily doses of the amino acid Arginine Aspartate increased nighttime growth hormone levels by as much as 60%. The subjects in the study took up to 250 mg/kg of bodyweight, which translates to about 20 grams of arginine for a 180-pound man.

After one week of oral administration of arginine, the subject’s slow-wave sleep related GH peak was 60% higher without accompaniment of alteration in sleep organization. This suggests a neuroendrocrine action of the supplemental arginine.

     2. Supplement with L-Glycine

The amino acid Glycine might be among the most underrated of all supplements. Research shows that it’s anabolic, anti-catabolic, and it rejuvenates old cells.

It also improves sleep and boosts growth hormone. Whether it does these two things independently of one another isn’t quite clear since improved sleep itself can result in higher growth hormone.  One study revealed that a dose of 4 grams and 8 grams (respectively) boosts growth hormone. But a dose of 12 grams of glycine resulted in the biggest surge of endogenous growth hormone.

     3. Supplement with Gelatin

Gelatin protein is naturally high in both Arginine and Glycine. It should be no surprise then that a study showed the body has a big surge of growth hormone soon after the ingestion of a hefty serving of gelatin.


Gelatin has been shown to be the protein that’s most conducive to raising natural growth hormone.


How “hefty” a serving? The research revealed that .6 grams/kg of bodyweight taken on an empty stomach with no carbohydrates resulted in a huge GH spike two hours later. That’s about 48 grams of gelatin for a 180-pound man.

This was compared to soy protein, whey protein, and milk protein. These protein sources raised GH levels too, but not nearly to the level that gelatin protein did.

     4. Supplement with Ornithine

Although there’ve been mixed results in using the amino acid L-Ornithine as a growth hormone booster, one study showed it potently boosted post-exercise levels by a factor of 6. A dosage of 170 mg/kg bodyweight was used prior to a bout of strength training in the study. That’s almost 14 grams for a 180 pound man.

But Ornithine might work just as well as a nighttime GH releaser. One study revealed that 400 mg of L-Ornithine HCI taken every night before bed improved sleep quality and duration in a group of subjects aged 30–60.

Improved depth and duration of sleep itself can dramatically increase growth hormone levels.

     5. Supplement with Glutamine

A study demonstrated that just 2 grams of L-Glutamine raised growth hormone by as much as 78%. This occurred in the absence of any exercise inducement of the hormone’s release.

     6. Supplement with Nighttime Melatonin

Melatonin is the hormone that induces sleepiness and is released naturally by the pineal gland in response to darkness. Since the body’s biggest surge of growth hormone occurs during nighttime sleep and sleep is dependent on melatonin, this makes endogenous melatonin important for natural growth hormone.

Sometimes supplemental melatonin is beneficial as an over-the-counter sleep aid. If a melatonin supplement is used, however, it’s important to know that many U.S. brands of the product are excessively dosed.

One 1996 study revealed that a supplemental dose of .3 mg of melatonin might be optimal. This tiny dosage appeared to raise nighttime melatonin blood levels to a high/normal range. Since the effect of supplemental melatonin on endogenous growth hormone remains unclear, using a very low dosage for sleep enhancement, when needed, might be the best way to go.

      7. Supplement with 20 Grams of Creatine

This tactic is listed last among the easiest tactics for one simple reason – ingesting 20 grams of creatine is usually not easy. Unless you have a cast-iron stomach, creatine monohydrate can cause nausea and other digestive discomfort, especially at high doses.

With that caveat, it appears that a dose of 20 grams of creatine increased growth hormone 83% above placebo levels within a span of 2 to 6 hours of ingestion. This was comparable to a GH increase from exercise, but no exercise was included in this study.


How to Increase Growth Hormone naturally: 8 (less easy) Tactics

The pituitary gland’s release of big growth hormone pulses during the day appears to be stress responsive. When we’re hungry, exercising intensely, or exposed to temperature extremes, the hypothalamus is triggered to release growth hormone as an apparent compensative factor.

In addition, low blood sugar is a growth hormone catalyst. High blood sugar is a growth hormone inhibitor.


     8. Use a Sauna for at least 30 Minutes

A Finnish study dating back to 1976 revealed that sitting in the extreme heat of a sauna could trigger an acute growth hormone boost of up to 140%. Most follow-up studies that confirmed this finding used saunas with temperatures of about 80 degrees Celcius (176 F) and 5 – 20% humidity.

     9. Avoid Eating for Three Hours before Nighttime Sleep

Up to 50% of daily growth hormone released by the hypothalamus gets discharged in the first two hours of deep sleep. But a key point to remember is that insulin is antagonistic to growth hormone’s release. Generally speaking, as blood sugar drops and insulin dissipates, an internal environment for a rise in growth hormone is created.

Thus, it makes sense that in order to maximize sleep-induced GH release, abstaining from meals for 2 – 3 hours before bedtime can reap immeasurable reward. It certainly helps reduce body fat.

     10. Reduce Belly Fat

The previous tip (#9) dovetails perfectly into this one – reducing abdominal visceral fat. That’s because avoiding food before sleep each night is a key component in how to lose belly fat.

As it turns out, lower abdominal visceral fat results in higher sustained growth hormone levels.

One study revealed that both abdominal visceral fat and fasted insulin are important predictors of integrated 24-hour GH levels in healthy adults, independent of age and gender.

Unlike the other tips on this list, #10 is not about triggering an acute spike in growth hormone. Rather, it is for raising chronic daily baseline levels. In other words, this is one we can count on for providing long-term higher levels, regardless of age.

     11. Exercise with Long Cardio Sessions

While some studies have discovered that short intense exercise produces the highest growth hormone output, one study showed otherwise. It compared blood GH levels in a group of recreational athletes on five different occasions and found that long, slow cardio sessions resulted in the highest growth hormone release.

These two-hour cardio sessions were compared with a) No Activity (control), b) One hour Strength Training Session c) Two hour Strength Training Session, D) One hour Cycling at 70% VO2 Max.

The long cardio session resulted in 39% greater GH levels than the moderate cardio session.  The moderate cardio session resulted in 5.4% more growth hormone than the moderate strength session.

Regardless of whether long, slow cardio sessions are best for fat loss, they certainly might be the best in the context of exercise-induced growth hormone boosters.

     12. Weight Train Using ‘Slow Negatives’

Slow performance of the eccentric (negative) portion of a weight lifting repetition is the key to spiking up growth hormone levels through weight training. At least that’s the finding of a 2014 study published in the journal ‘Biology of Sport.’


Weight training with slow (3-4 sec) negative reps has been shown to cause a %1,700 spike in growth hormone release.


The study contrasted the effect on blood lactate and growth hormone levels of bench presses done using normal negative repetitions (.5 sec eccentric) versus slow negative repetitions (3 sec eccentric). This resulted in the total time under muscle tension for the performance of the slow eccentric exercise bout (4 sets of 8 repetitions) being 96 seconds versus the fast eccentric movements being 16 seconds.

That difference in muscular tension led to significantly higher blood lactic acid levels which triggered a 1,700% higher exercise-induced growth hormone release.

     13. Engage Regular Fasting

Yes, I’m purposely avoiding the overused buzzword ‘intermittent fasting’ because it’s currently reached faddish levels of internet mention. However, regular short fasting periods are an excellent way of boosting endogenous growth hormone.

The reason is straightforward. Regular fasting lowers average blood sugar and insulin levels. This provides an ideal endogenous environment for higher growth hormone release.

A very simple method of implementing a fasting routine that can boost growth hormone is by restricting daily eating to a narrower period of time. For example, one study revealed that obese subjects who ate only between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm were able to effortlessly reduce calorie intake and lose body fat despite being allowed to eat whatever they wanted within that time window.

Such an eating schedule might have the indirect benefit of enhancing nighttime growth hormone release and prolonging residual high morning growth hormone levels.  This might account for some of the fat loss observed from such an eating routine.

     14. Take a GABA Supplement before Weight Training

It’s a plausible idea that combining certain tactics shown to boost growth hormone can lead to extra high pulses of it. The most frequent area of such combination is using GH releasing supplements just prior to physical exercise.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that has a sedative effect on the nervous system. It also raises growth hormone release. Because of this, researchers wanted to know what would happen if they combined a 3-gram dosage of GABA with resistance exercise. The result was a quadrupling of pituitary GH release.

More specifically, the researchers tested the growth hormone levels of eight men under four different conditions –

  1. At rest/No Supplementation
  2. At rest/Supplemented with GABA
  3. Post exercise/No Supplementation
  4. Post Exercise/Supplemented with GABA

The resistance exercise the men engaged in covered major muscle groups with compound exercises like leg presses, bench presses, shoulder presses, and lat pull-downs. It also included exercises like barbell curls, triceps extensions, and calf raises. This was all done at workout weights of about 70% of 1-rep maximums.



The result was a 480% spike in growth hormone from training with 3 grams of GABA versus the GH spike from training without supplementation. There was also a 150% spike in GH from supplementing with GABA at rest versus being at rest with no supplementation. But it’s worth mentioning that exercise alone caused a huge spike in GH above supplementation without exercise.

     15. Use Interval Training with Decreasing Rest Time

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) results in high acute growth hormone release. That’s an already oft-repeated phenomenon. But performing HIIT in a very specific manner can dramatically raise endogenous GH release to even higher levels. That’s the finding of a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Researchers got 12 athletes to perform four treadmill sprints on two separate occasions. During each of these two sessions, the subjects ran 1,000 meters and took 9 minutes of total rest between each of the four sprints. However, in the first session, the sprints and rest sessions started short and became increasingly longer. In the second session, the sprints and rest sessions started long and became increasingly shorter.

During the first interval session, the athletes started with a 100-m sprint and 2 minutes of rest, followed by a 200-m sprint and 3 minutes of rest, then a 300-m sprint and 4 minutes rest. They then finished with a 400-m sprint.

In the second session, everything was reversed. They started with a 400-m sprint (4-min rest), then a 300-m sprint (3-min rest), then a 200-m sprint (2-min rest), and finished with the 100-m sprint.

The HIIT with decreasing distance/rest times raised both lactic acid and growth hormone levels significantly higher than did the HIIT with increasing distance/rest times.


How to Increase Growth Hormone Naturally (Conclusion)

Along with using certain dietary supplements, there are two endogenous conditions that appear to be paramount in how to increase growth hormone naturally. One is a low glycemic level (low blood sugar). The other is high lactic acid levels (exercise).

Aside from intense exercise, deep sleep is the greatest daily stimulus for high regular pulsatile releases of growth hormone. Deep nightly sleep in a low glycemic state might be the best way to optimize this.

Reducing body fat might be the best tip for how to increase growth hormone naturally in terms of long-term average levels. Fortunately, many of the tips for raising acute GH levels are also productive for shedding body fat.

Thus, cherry picking and implementing methods for greater and more frequent acute growth hormone bursts might eventually improve one’s average growth hormone levels through synergism.





  1. Besset, A. Bonardet, G. Rondouin, B. Descomps and P. Passouant. ‘Increase in sleep related GH and Prl secretion after chronic arginine aspartate administration in man.’ European Journal of Endocrinology (99 18-23) Jan 1982
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  14. James Jamieson, Dr. L.E. Dorman, Valerie Marriott. ‘Growth Hormone: Reversing Human Aging Naturally (The Methuselah Factor)’ Safegoods and LNN, (Pgs. 1-94) 1997

Strength Training for Longevity

Many people have long recognized the association of regular physical exercise with health, vitality, and longevity.

However, those positive effects are typically attributed to cardio exercise. It’s not intuitive for us to associate strength and strength training with longevity.

But as it turns out, the connection is real. Regular strength training raises the odds of extending one’s life.

Gaining and maintaining muscle strength is actually an ideal pursuit for the prospect of longevity.

How does being stronger help us live longer?

In a word: irisin.

Irisin is a protein that’s released by muscle. The more muscle we possess, the more irisin is released into our blood.

And it just so happens that high irisin levels are associated with a longer life span.

When researchers measured serum levels of irisin in a group of 79 centenarians (aged 100–104), they found high levels of irisin.

When the researchers compared those with the serum irisin levels of a group of young people (aged 27–39), the centenarian’s levels were higher.

The researchers also took irisin samples from a group of 27-39 year olds who’d had myocardial infarction (heart attack).

There was an even greater disparity between the high levels of irisin the centenarians possessed and the low levels the young ‘cardiac-challenged’ adults displayed.

This study’s findings led the researchers to conclude that more research is needed in uncovering the connection between irisin and longevity.

In the mean time, it likely provides a clue as to why stronger, bigger-muscled guys tend to live long, provided they don’t augment their muscle building with drug use.


Strength and Longevity: Cohort Study (Irisin in Action?)

Becoming a stronger man could help you stave off certain life-threatening diseases.

That’s the finding of a prospective cohort study out of Sweden.

A ‘prospective cohort study’ is one in which researchers follow a group of similar individuals over a period of time – usually years, sometimes decades.

The individuals in the study (“cohorts”) will typically differ with respect to certain factors being examined. This is to determine how those factors affect rates of a specific outcome.

In this case the ‘differences in factors’ was relative strength.

The “specific outcome” was likelihood of death from all causes.

Pretty simple; very straightforward.

The researchers stated their objective this way: “To examine prospectively the association between muscular strength and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer in men.”

The subjects were 8,762 men ranging in age from 20 to 80 years. They were studied from 1980 to 2003.

The results were then corrected for “physical activity, current smoking, alcohol intake, body mass index, baseline medical conditions, family history of cardiovascular disease, and cardio-respiratory fitness”

That way, the researchers could totally isolate the association between strength and mortality.

What were their findings?

In their own words: “Muscular strength is inversely and independently associated with death from all causes and cancer in men, even after adjusting for cardio-respiratory fitness and other potential confounders.”

Bottom line: Strong men displayed a reduced risk of dying.

In addition, there was a 33% less likelihood of strong men dying of cancer than there was of weaker men dying of the disease.

There is mounting evidence that one of the best insurances you have against early death is to get stronger.

‘Strength training for longevity’: Just one more great reason among many to lift weights, build muscle, and gain strength.



  1. Emanuele E., Minoretti P., Pareja-Galeano H., Sanchis-Gomar F., Garatachea N, Lucia A. ‘Serum irisin levels, precocious myocardial infarction, and healthy exceptional longevity.’ The American Journal of Medicine (Volume 127, Issue 9, Pages 888–890) Sept 2014
  2. Ruiz JR, Sui X, Lobelo F, Morrow JR Jr, Jackson AW, Sjöström M, Blair SN. ‘Association between muscular strength and mortality in men: prospective cohort study.’ British Medical Journal, (Volume 337, Issue a439, pages 92-95) 2008.

Building Muscle after 50: a Difference

Building muscle is difficult for many people. It often involves a lot of work without commensurate payoff.

But much of the struggle – the inherent difficulty – is unnecessary.

This is something I’ve concluded after a lot of observation. I’ve been involved in muscle building for thirty years.

That’s a long time to observe; a long time to test things and gather information.

It’s a long time to be dedicatedly involved in bodybuilding, which I’ve been.

Something I long-ago realized is there’s an underlying reason for most of the difficulty people encounter with muscle building.

There’s one mistake in approach that accounts for most of the resulting frustration.

It’s the 80/20 Principle as applied to errors. Thus, it’s the 20% of input (erred mindset/action) accounting for 80% of stagnation (bad results).

Ready for it?

Okay, here it is…

People struggle because they forget that successful muscle building is a two-step process. It’s a process of breaking down muscle tissue AND… successfully recuperating that tissue.

… But here’s the catch: The second half of the equation is as important as the first half. The recuperation between workouts is as important as the workouts themselves.

That’s where most of us miss the mark.

Oh, people will swear that they know it intellectually. They’ll say that they know all about what they usually label “recovery” between workouts.

But in practice they don’t really know if they’re “recovering”, much less fully recuperating.

What’s the difference between ‘recovering’ and recuperating?

‘Recovery’ just means you’ve regained your systemic energy and motivation to train a muscle again.

Evidence of recovery means nothing about whether the muscle tissue is stronger than before you trained it last time.

‘Recuperation’ means the muscle has actually repaired all the damaged tissue, plus gained some.

That ‘plus gained some’ part is VERY important. There needs to be enough recuperation since your last workout that compensatory protein synthesis has occurred.

Any less recuperation than that will end up wasting time. You’d just train the muscle again before it’s ready.

It will be a waste of energy too.

It’s a waste of your precious resources if your reason for working out is to build muscle size.


Recuperation is ‘Different’ for Mature Muscle

Throughout our lives, we produce cellular inflammation inside our bodies.

We produce oxidative responses. It’s just part of living, a by-product of burning oxygen.

Sometimes we produce more of it, like when we eat badly, party too much, and burn the candle at both ends.

Sometimes we produce less of it, like when we’re eating healthy, getting enough rest, and using anti-oxidants.

Muscle building (and all exercise) actually generates ‘free radicals’ and an inflammatory response inside our bodies.

Research reveals that when we were young (like twenty-something), inflammatory response from exercise helped us build muscle.

That’s why when young bodybuilding guys are given antioxidants it slows down their post-workout recuperation.

But if you give antioxidants and anti-inflammatory supplements to older people, it helps their recuperation.

This makes sense. When we’re twenty-something, we haven’t accumulated much oxidative damage. And our body’s endogenous anti-oxidants are at all-time highs.

When we’re fifty-something or above, we’ve got some accumulated inflammation, and less endogenous anti-oxidant defense.

When we’re forty-something or above, we’ve got even more accumulated inflammation and a further drop in endogenous antioxidants.

Thus, a difference for successfully building muscle over 50 involves using effective anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.

… Which were things to actually avoid when attempting to build muscle at a young age.



Yannis Michailidis,  Leonidas G Karagounis,  Gerasimos Terzis,  Athanasios Z Jamurtas,  Kontantinos Spengos, Dimitrios Tsoukas,  Athanasios Chatzinikolaou,  Dimitrios Mandalidis,  Renae J Stefanetti,  Ioannis Papassotiriou. ‘Thiol-based antioxidant supplementation alters human skeletal muscle signaling and attenuates its inflammatory response and recovery after intense eccentric exercise.’ The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Volume 98, Issue 1, Pages 233–245) July 2013

Bobeuf F1, Labonté M, Khalil A. Dionne IJ. ‘Effects of resistance training combined with antioxidant supplementation on fat-free mass and insulin sensitivity in healthy elderly subjects.’ Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice (Volume 87, Issue 1, Pages e1–e3) Jan 2010