Resilient Female Hormone Function after Record-Breaking Antarctic Crossing!

Women are thought to be biologically sensitive to effects of extreme physical activity when accompanied by weight loss–possible negative consequences cited include bone fractures and fertility difficulties. Scientists from the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, United Kingdom, examined the effects of an extreme challenge in six women who skied over 1,000 miles in 61 days, while pulling sleds weighing about 176 pounds. All in an environment of very low temperatures and high winds. The investigators monitored several health markers before and after the expedition, including stress, reproductive and metabolic function and fat and muscle levels.

Findings indicated that muscle levels and hormone markers of stress, fertility and bone strength were preserved, despite enduring such extreme exercise and losing on average 22 pounds in body fat. Some tests even showed evidence of exercise-related benefits by two weeks after the expedition had ended. These findings contain some potentially myth-busting data on the impact of extreme physical activity on women.

These investigators have shown that, with appropriate training and preparation, many of the previously reported negative health effects of such challenges can be avoided. The low number of highly-selected women means the findings may not be applicable to all. More research is needed to compare these measures in women with men, and to explore whether factors like dietary content, adequate sleep or psychological preparation might have protected women against the negative effects of extreme exercise with weight loss.

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Is Weightlifting Good for Your Heart? If Yes, How Much Is Enough?

Aerobic exercise, such as running, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease events like heart attack or stroke; thus, it is commonly called “cardio” exercise. Weightlifting has been traditionally considered to improve sports performance in athletes. Yet, limited evidence exists to clarify whether weightlifting reduces heart attack or stroke risk, which represents major causes of death in the general population. In this study, the researchers investigated the possible relationship between resistance exercise with the risks of developing cardiovascular disease and premature death.

Preventive health exam records of 12,591 adults (average age 47) provided the data for this study. The study found even doing weightlifting exercises one time per week (or less than one hour/week) reduced the risk for a heart attack or stroke by 40-70 percent. This was true regardless of whether or not the subjects reported participating in aerobic exercise! This study fills an important knowledge gap about the benefits of weightlifting–supporting that it may reduce risk of heart attack or stroke, beyond the well-documented benefits of aerobic exercise

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Caffeine May Increase Cardiovascular Risk During Exercise

Regular exercise is known to be good for heart health, but the risk of a heart attack temporarily increases during an exercise session. Most heart attacks and strokes are caused by a blood clot that disrupts blood flow to the brain or heart. During exercise, there is an increase in the amount of certain proteins in the blood that promote blood clot formation.

At the same time, there is typically an increase in other proteins that are responsible for dissolving a clot. It is believed that this balance between clot formation and dissolution is important for preventing a heart attack. Caffeine is widely consumed by many people and can be used to improve athletic performance. However, caffeine may affect the heart and blood vessels in ways that are not healthy for some people.

This recent study conducted by scientists at Ball State University studied 48 young healthy men, evaluating the effect of caffeine on markers of blood clotting potential–with measures taken before and after exercise. This study showed that a single dose of caffeine increased blood clotting activity during exercise more than a placebo, but caffeine did not affect the proteins that dissolve blood clots. These results suggest caffeine may cause changes in the blood that promote clot formation and, thus, increase cardiovascular risk during exercise.

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Selection of Athletic Performance Training Shoe and Training NBA Players

In this segment Dr. Brian Cole of Midwest Orthopedics at Rush & Steve Kashul talk with Dalton Walker, Team Leader at Road Runner Sports of Chicago, about the science of determining the proper  athletic-performance shoe. Dalton explains how several factors including sport, gait and previous injury information will help determine the best fit and best outcome for the perfect shoe.

Also in this segment, Alex Perris, General Manager of RiverNorthCrossfit discusses his techniques as personal trainer and personal experiences training NBA players. Born and raised in New York City, Alex moved to Chicago in 2008 to become full time personal trainer to former Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah.

He still works with NBA players and other Pro Basketball players. Alex served active duty in the United States Air Force and specializes in general strength and conditioning training and holds CrossFit Level 1 and Level 2 certification. He is available for 1 on 1 training.

Sports Medicine Weekly on 670 The Score

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Power 5 conferences approve new measure to help bolster athletes’ mental health

A discussion with Natalie Graves, AM, LCSW about the Power 5 conferences to approve a new measure to help bolster athletes’ mental health. The legislation was one of several proposals voted on and approved by members of the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 during the NCAA convention in Orlando.

The conferences can approve benefits for athletes that other Division I schools don’t have to implement due to the costs, but their changes often end up getting adopted by other leagues. The new legislation was spurred by a growing concern among schools about providing access to mental health resources, including counseling for athletes, coaches and athletics personnel.

Natalie also talks about the hurdles mental health professional face when attempting toHome connect with athletes to offer these supportive services and what this decision means for the athletes as well as mental health professionals. Natalie Graves is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in mental health and wellness for athletes.

Graves earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Chicago State University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.  Visit

Natalie Graves, AM, LCSW

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Strengthen Your Immune System with MCTs

There’s no way around it—germs surround us all the time.  Singular medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that act as natural antibiotics, which means they boost your immune system and fight off harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. While completely harmless to our bodies, MCFAs are lethal to some of the most notorious disease-inducing microorganisms in existence. 

They Don’t Stand a Chance

MCFAs may help protect you against:
  • Viruses: influenza, measles, mononucleosis
  • Bacteria: throat infections, pneumonia, earaches, rheumatic fever
  • Fungi, Yeast, and Parasites: ringworm, candida, thrush, giardiasis

Silent Assassins

Due to its chemical structure, MCFAs are drawn to and easily absorbed into most bacteria and viruses. MCFAs enter the lipid membrane and weaken it to the point that it eventually breaks open, expelling the microorganism’s insides and causing imminent death. White blood cells then quickly dispose of the terminated invader’s remains.

Super Fatty Acids

With 8 grams of caprylic acid and 6 grams of capric acid per serving, MCT Oil harbors antimicrobial capabilities, while also being free from any undesirable or unsafe side effects.

  • Capric Acid: one of the two most active antimicrobial fatty acids
  • Caprylic Acid: a potent natural yeast-fighting substance

Research continues to prove MCFAs as one of the best internal antimicrobial substances available without a doctor’s prescription.

MCT Lean MCT Oil 

Add MCT Lean MCT Oil to your daily health regimen to help fight off illness during any time of the year! One of my favorite sources of MCFAs is MCT Lean MCT Oil.  It is rapidly absorbed, easy to digest, and quickly converted to energy to maximize athletic performance. You can add MCT Lean MCT Oil to any drink, smoothie, or shake and use it in place of highly processed and easily oxidized conventional vegetable oils in salad dressings and sauces.
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