Four Most Valuable [4MV] Weekly Tips For Living Longer Better | Newsletter

[4MV] People with diabetes at higher risk of developing Long-Covid ✔ Recent study [Harvard Health]

published5 months ago
9 min read

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I trust you're safe, fit and well.

All strength to Ukraine 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦

Heard on the street.

Last week I noted that scientists have enlisted AI to map out a landscape of 33 million possible microbe communities to help understand how our gut-brain axis works.

This week I read that researchers are pondering whether or not our gut microbiome contributes significantly to age-related hearing loss! These bugs may turn out to be a key to healthy aging.

What foods do we really need to worry about in terms of harming our teeth? Except for sugary food, I'm not sure that we need sweat over this - provided we clean them regularly, and irregularly after eating something sticky - see item #2.

Covid is living with us, and evolving, at the same time as the world collectively turns away from mass public health protection measures. This is especially bad news if you are pre-diabetic because post-Covid you may well discover that you have become diabetic - see item #1.

Here are the topics I have chosen for you to help you live longer better:

⭑ Covid pushes pre-diabetics into full diabetes - findings
⭑ Maintaining healthy teeth is vital for healthy aging - foods to avoid
⭑ Good cardiovascular health found to significantly lower risk of stroke ✔
⭑ Get more from your resistance exercises - time under tension ✔

01 Diabetes Risk Increases After COVID19 Diagnosis [Harvard Health]

I'm a type 2 diabetic and this article grabbed my attention. Obesity increases the risk of developing diabetes and worsens outcomes in Covid.

Australia and the US are in the grip of an obesity epidemic with dire public health outcomes - both in human terms and economic terms.

The relationship between obesity and long-term damage from Covid is a vicious circle.

It is becoming apparent that people who recover from coronavirus face a significantly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to new research. Being obese increases that risk.

There is still much uncertainty about how Covid affects diabetes, Some current studies show that Covid affects the pancreas. This is serious as pancreatic damage is likely to lead to insulin irregularities, and hence to diabetes.

Additionally, a recent study found that people already with diabetes were at higher risk of developing more severe symptoms of Covid. Being obese increases this risk.

In fact, people with type 1 diabetes were twice as likely to develop severe symptoms of Covid as those without diabetes.

People with type 2 diabetes were also at higher risk of developing serious symptoms of Covid. However, people with type 2 diabetes who took insulin were not at greater risk of developing severe symptoms than those who did not take insulin. This may be because the insulin controlled their sugar level as a person with diabetes is twice as likely to develop Covid if they have a high blood sugar level.

Additionally, compared with those who didn’t get sick, people who recovered from Covid were 28% more likely in the months after the virus to develop diabetes. Obesity increases this risk.

In other words:

  • Obesity increases your risk of getting Covid;
  • Increases your risk of getting diabetes independently of Covid;
  • Increases your risk of having severe long-lasting consequences from Covid; and,
  • In particular increases your risk of developing diabetes after Covid.

What it means for us: Firstly, if you have diabetes then take precautions to avoid coming on contact with the virus e.g. hand washing and wearing a mask.

Secondly, since obesity is a precursor of diabetes, and both diabetes and obesity decrease your ability to fight off an infection, ensure that you are maintaining a healthy weight.

Thirdly, if you have had Covid and are experiencing persistent symptoms - so-called Long Covid - then seek medical advice and ask about your blood sugar, weight control, and the potential of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Most people who experience mild Covid aren’t at risk of developing diabetes, but researchers recommend that people who'd had the infection stay alert to any warning signs such as increased appetite ✔ frequent urination ✔ or fatigue ✔.

Finally, if you have diabetes but not certain how well you are controlling your blood sugar then start measuring. Use an app to note your reading 7 times daily - upon rising, after breakfast, before and after lunch and dinner, and before bed. Then talk with your doctor. You made need insulin, and this may reduce the consequences from contracting Covid.

Related, read my article: The Surprising Benefits of Black Tea Daily

02 The Worst Foods and Drinks for Your Teeth

This article in the NY Times is a good reminder of how to look after our teeth better. Certain drinks — like sugary sodas, juices, energy drinks and milkshakes — are offenders.

When assessing how likely a given meal, snack or drink is to harm your dental health, there are two main things to consider: the sugar and acid content of the food or drink, and how often you have it.

Sugar is bad for teeth because it feeds bacteria that causes tooth decay. Acid can also damage teeth by eroding their enamel. So foods and drinks with high levels of sugar or acid can be harmful to your dental health.

How often you have these foods and drinks matters too. If you indulge in sugary or acidic snacks every day, your teeth will be subjected to a lot of wear and tear over time – which can lead to cavities, erosion and other dental problems. But if you enjoy them occasionally as part of a balanced diet, they won’t cause as much damage.

Milkshakes are made with milk, which is high in calcium. Calcium is important for strong teeth and bones. However, milk also contains lactose, which is a sugar. When lactose is fermented by bacteria in the mouth, it produces lactic acid. This lactic acid can break down tooth enamel.

So, milkshakes are acidic, but they also contain calcium, which is good for teeth. This means that milkshakes are a mixed bag when it comes to dental health. They can be bad for teeth if they are high in sugar and if they are not brushed away promptly. However, the calcium in milkshakes can also help to strengthen teeth.

What this means for us:

  1. The nutrients in some fruits and vegetables can benefit teeth, even though they may contain sugars or acids that can damage teeth.
  2. Chewy and sticky foods may be more of a concern for people with deep grooves in their teeth or teeth that are tightly in contact with each other.
  3. As long as people brush their teeth twice a day and floss every day, the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables will outweigh the risks of dental damage.

Related: How To Keep Your Weight Off With Daily Walks — 5 Fun Level-ups That Everyone Can Do

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03 Higher Cardiovascular Health May Partially Offset Increased Genetic Risk For Stroke

This article's title is struggling to not be too definitive. That's because the American Heart Association (AHA) is that kind of body. What the title should say is "exercise helps you live longer, and we told you so"!

Even for people at high risk for stroke, adopting a healthy cardiovascular lifestyle may significantly lower the risk of stroke in their lifetime, according to this research. Genes and lifestyle factors together play a role in stroke risk. However, the new study found that for people at high genetic risk for stroke, living a healthy lifestyle could lower their risk by up to 42 percent.

This finding concurs with another study carried out recently in the UK. The study, published in the journal Stroke, used data from the UK Biobank, a large-scale health resource, to analyze the genetic data of more than 400,000 people of European descent. The participants were followed for an average of eight years.

The researchers used a genetic risk score to assess each person's risk for stroke. They also looked at lifestyle factors, such as smoking, diet, physical activity, and alcohol consumption. They found that people with a high genetic risk for stroke were more likely to experience a stroke during the follow-up period than those with a low risk.

What this means for us: In 2010 the AMA has published Life’s Simple 7: a composite measure of seven modifiable cardiovascular disease risk factors which we can all positively influence: smoking status, physical activity, healthy diet, body mass index, total cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels.

On June 29, 2022, the AMA expanded and relaunched the recommendations to Life’s Essential 8, adding sleep as an additional component of heart health.

The components of Life’s Essential 8 include diet (updated), physical activity, nicotine exposure (updated), sleep health (new), body mass index, blood lipids (updated), blood glucose (updated), and blood pressure. Each metric has a new scoring algorithm ranging from 0 to 100 points, allowing generation of a new composite cardiovascular health score (the unweighted average of all components) that also varies from 0 to 100 points.

Specifically, for physical activity, the Essential 8 guidelines use self-reported minutes of moderate or vigorous PA per week. The scoring metric is as follows, for minutes of moderate (or greater) intensity activity per week: (Points & Minutes) 100 pts for ≥ 150 mins, 90 pts for 120–149 mins, 80 pts for 90–119 mins, 60 pts for 60–89 mins, 40 pts for 30–59 mins, and 20 pts for 1–29 mins. Otherwise zero points.

Your recommended goal is 100 points. That is,150 minutes of brisk walking, jogging, swimming, biking, elliptical training, rowing or weight lifting will do the trick. In practice this means doing something every day. Consistency is king.

TIP: it's easy to time your exercise, just use the Google Fit app and carry your phone. The app automatically registers your movements.

04 How to Use Time Under Tension to Build Muscular Strength

Our exercise of the week is ... not so much an exercise as a technique. You may have heard of "time under tension". My Power Hour gym instructor used to remind us about TUT regularly.

The idea is that there is an optimum length of time to have your muscles under load. Not too short, not too long, and it can be both in contraction and extension.

Why? Because you will obtain more muscle mass and strength with a TUT of around 40 seconds.

While some researchers question the benefits, that's mainly because they are looking for a good headline.

There is a great deal of scientific evidence that supports the idea that greater time under tension leads to increased muscle protein synthesis. For example one study showed that myofibrillar protein synthesis was significantly higher in subjects who performed a strength training session with greater TUT than those who performed one with lesser TUT.

This indicates that if you're looking to maximise muscle growth, you should aim for exercises with longer TUTs.

What this means for us: You can use this knowledge in several ways to improve the results you are getting from strength training:

  1. Slow down what you are doing now, so that each set takes ~40 seconds. That could be doing 10 pushups more slowly, or 6 overhead barbell presses more slowly, or 4 pull-ups more slowly, or 10 squats more slowly.
  2. Another way is by briefly holding your position mid-exercise, such as during a rep of the superman or Bulgarian split squat. This will increase the amount of time your muscles are working, which will lead to better results in terms of strength and size.

As a rule-of-thumb think about you'll want to spend about five to seven seconds on each rep of whatever exercise you are doing. For example, a pushup with 4 seconds descending, hold 2 seconds at the bottom, and explode up - 6 reps.

By following this TuT protocol you will can also benefit in two other very useful ways:

Firstly, slow resistance training e.g. 40 seconds TUT, has been found to to improve tendon health and structure (and can help you from chronic tendon conditions).

Secondly, the 40 seconds can make training more enjoyable by providing a challenge that is both mentally and physically stimulating and this promotes intentionality, which:

  • Helps you develop body awareness and learn the proper mechanics of the movement.
  • Allows you to focus on your form and technique rather than worrying about how quickly you're moving.
  • Helps prevent injuries by allowing you to take your time and build up strength and flexibility gradually.

All up, I think you'll enjoy playing around with TUT and experiencing those slow movements.

Good luck!

In case you missed it...

Related: The Exact Slow Pace You Must Run and Cycle To Max Fat-Burning

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