Two Master Hormones

When examining the effects of leptin on the human body, most people are primarily interested in its effect regarding weight reduction, rather than some of its other lesser known general biological functions. Indeed, it was leptin’s role in regulating energy intake in the body that led to leptin’s initial discovery, as well as the vast bulk of the research efforts aimed at comprehending its physiological effects and the way it can be managed through external factors.

Leptin space filling molecular model – Courtesy Nevit Dilmen

To bring matters down to an overly-simplified level, leptin operates in conjunction with two other significant hormones in the body, as far as energy intake is concerned. Leptin itself is often referred to as the “satiation hormone”, which means that it serves as a sort of “off-switch” to the central part of the brain. This off-switch function signals the brain that the body is sufficiently fueled up, and can therefore operate its full range of functions without interruption or reduction. Metabolism rates are ratcheted up to their highest level, the desire for additional caloric intake is suppressed, and mental processes operate at peak efficiency.

What one might call leptin’s twin, Ghrelin, is a collection of cells in the midsection of the body that sends the opposite signal to the brain—namely, that energy intake is below the current level of energy conversion and thus the body needs to dial down its metabolic rates and hurry up with the gravy. Put simply, one signal says “I’m full” and one signal says “I’m hungry.”

Leptin is not alone in its struggle with Ghrelin cells, however. It has a sidekick in the form of the hormone amylin, which assists in signaling the brain that the body is stoked up and ready to go. The reason these two hormones are regarded with such hope as far as obesity treatment goes, is that amylin has shown promise in its ability to overcome the great perceived weakness of leptin.

That weakness lies in the fact that the body, under certain conditions, starts to “turn off” its response to the signal provided by leptin. Physiological changes, such as the onset of diabetes and high triglyceride levels, can cause the body to develop a resistance to leptin, which renders ineffective any therapy in the form of externally-supplied leptin to attempt to boost circulating levels in the body.

The brain simply doesn’t listen, even when leptin is shouting with highly-increased levels. Amylin appears to partially restore the body’s response to leptin, at least in clinical trials involving obese mice, and thus the duo offers some hope of finally creating a clinical treatment for the physiological impact of obesity, rather than continuously operating on the mental and psychological level.

The interaction of these three hormones – leptin, ghrelin and amylin- shows that there are definitely genetic factors to obesity which can be exacerbated by dietary and lifestyle choices,  but are nevertheless subject to pharmaceutical control. Additionally, leptin is important in the Venus Factor weight loss program. Of course such a regimen needs to be combined with an effort to get those factors which help turn off leptin signals, such as Type-2 diabetes and elevated triglyceride levels in the bloodstream, back into balance as well. In the following video, a nutrition expert discusses how to keep these three hormones balanced.

Raw Honey as a Preferred Treatment for Herpes Lesions

In conventional medicine, doctors normally prescribe Zovirax™ (Acyclovir) ointment or other topical medications to treat an outbreak of herpes. As in many cases, nature has come up with a better treatment method than the use of anti-viral compunds. Honey has a long tradition of being a good healer of wounds. Now, recent research has shown that honey works as well as and actually better than, an anti-viral for cases of both herpes on the lip, and genital herpes.

According to research reported in “Medical Science Monitor” (Aug., 2004) a controlled study was done on the usage of either Zovirax™ or raw honey in a group of 16 individuals with recurrent herpes attacks. The researcher treated 16 patients suffering from recurrent herpes sores, with either topical application of Acyclovir cream for one attack incident or honey for another attack. The subjects applied the honey by soaking gauze pads in raw honey and pressing the soaked pads into the sore for 15 minutes, four times a day. The acyclovir ointment was applied directly to the sore (and left on) six times daily.

For herpes sores on the lips (Herpes Simplex Type 1), overall healing time with honey was 43 percent better than with Acyclovir. For herpes sores in the genital region (Herpes Simplex Type 2), healing time was 59 percent better with honey than with acyclovir ointment. None of the volunteers experienced any side effects, except three of the subjects developed local itching with use of Zovirax™.

Raw Honey

Raw Honey can be used to treat Herpes lesions

There is one caveat to those who are enamored of using honey to treat their herpes sores: not all honeys are created equal. Processed, refined honey that you typically find in grocery stores is NOT appropriate for use in wound care. Typical “Grade A” honey found in grocery stores can actually exacerbate a herpes sore infection! Instead, use good raw honey, unrefined, or “Manuka” honey, derived from New Zealand.

Honey works its magic by its ability to:

  • Enable fluid to be drawn away from your wound
  • The high sugar content of honey suppresses microorganism growth
  • Worker bees secrete an enzyme, called glucose oxidase, into the nectar, which then induces release of low levels of hydrogen peroxide, a strong oxidizing agent

Some supplements that are known to help recovery from herpes lesions include:

  • Lysine
  • Resveratrol
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D3
  • Aloe Vera
  • Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
  • Garlic

Indeed,  alternative methods are known that appear to mirror the mechanism of action of raw honey as a palliative measure for herpes. In one approach similar to the use of honey called bio-oxidative therapy, how to get rid of herpes is reviewed.  

We will probably see some form of Herpes Simplex virus cure in about 10 years and elimination of this virus in 20 years. First a vaccination will be developed, that locks the virus in your body’s nerves restricting shedding or outbreaks. After that, researchers will develop a treatment that unlocks the virus from the nerves and allows it to be killed off by antibodies. Until then, alternative treatments, like that reviewed by, are still workable and effective.



Useful iPad Health Apps

The nice thing about a tablet PC like the iPad is it is just made for on-the-go practical applications. In the field of health apps, the iPad excels. There are some very good, helpful apps that have been found to be extremely popular for the iOS user community. These are:

Apple iPad

WebMD for iPad

WebMD assists you with your health improvement and decision-making efforts by providing mobile access 24/7 to mobile-optimized health information and decision-support tools including WebMD’s Symptom Checker, Drugs & Treatments, First Aid Information and Local Health Listings. WebMD also gives you access to first aid information

Fitness Free

Fitness Free has over 300 exercises you can choose from, and slowly add them to your fitness log as you complete them.

Spark People

Spark People is the iPad version of the website It is very graphical, and helps you keep track of your food and calorie intake. It helps you plan weight watching meals, keeps track of your exercises, and progress towards your weight goals. Also, you can link to your online account.

The Snack App

For snack lovers, The Snack App helps you keep track of snack food calories. Snack App is very visual and easy to read.

Pink Pad Free

This is a menstrual period and health tracking app, which is very easy to navigate. Pink Pad Free is for a woman’s menstrual cycle, weight, and physical well-being. It also sends menstrual & fertility notifications.


Designed by pediatricians, KidsCheckup includes descriptions of medical treatments for common childhood conditions like orthopedic problems, asthma, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, and cancer. It covers popular topics like asthma attacks, chicken pox, coughs, and chest pains.

Everyday Health

A general health reference guide, well designed and easy to use general health info that describes over 50 common health conditions such as allergies, eating disorders, yeast infections, etc. There are hundreds of daily health tips, and expert answers from doctors & pharmacists.

Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker

After you log in and register, input your weight loss goals and exercise habits, Calorie Counter goes and taps in to a large food database. You get nutritional facts about your food. You input the meals eaten. Calorie Counter keeps track of caloric intake and progress towards your goals.

Glucose Buddy

For iOS users with diabetes. Glucose Buddy is a data storage utility in which users can manually enter glucose numbers, carbohydrate consumption, insulin dosages, and activities. It is graphically oriented, and you can sync info to your account online.

Several iPad video lessons websites are available for those who need some assistance with usage of the iPad. Several are reviewed at .

“Bigger Leaner Stronger” Examines Some Bodybuilding Myths

In “Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body” (2013) by Michael Matthews, an acknowledged master bodybuilder examines several bodybuilding myths. Mr. Matthews suggests a much smarter and more effective anabolic bodybuilding effort is possible using an effective nutritional program and intelligent bodybuilding exercises. Mr. Matthews explores the 6 biggest muscle building blunders. They are:



Mistake #1: More Sets = More Growth

Too many sets can lead to over-training, which leads the athlete to feeling lethargic, over-tired, and run-down. Basically, too much muscle is being broken down to allow bodybuilding to occur correctly. Too many sets also release too much cortisol. Cortisol is known to stop muscle growth. You stop over-release of cortisol by keeping training sessions short.

Mistake #2: You have to “Feel the Burn” to grow muscle

When your muscles are “burning,” you do feel a buildup of lactic acid, but this buildup is not necessarily equivalent to building msucle. In fact, lactic acid impairs muscle growth, and leads to tissue breakdown.

Mistake #3: Wasting Time with the Wrong Exercises

Most gym machines and contraptions are just that – mechanical devices built to make a profit for some company. The real way to stimulate muscle growth is by lifting weights against the force of gravity. Also, you don’t have to go around regularly rotating types of exercise. Just focus on lifting weights or dumbbells.

Mistake #4: Lifting Like an Idiot

There is a best way to lift weights, and many weight lifters have never been trained to lift weights the proper way. By turning weight lifting into an exercise in an improper fashion, not only is this an inefficient way to build muscle mass, but one opens the door to a host of injuries, including tear of ligaments, tendons, and joints, and possibly debilitating injuries.

Mistake #5: Lifting Like a Wussy

Most men do not put in enough effort into their weight training. By instinctively avoiding even small amounts of pain, there is not enough stress placed on the body to produce any decent muscle gain.

Mistake #6: Eating to Stay Small, or Get Fat

Muscle growth occurs outside the gym, not inside. This requires sufficient nutrition, and rest. Most guys are way off, when it comes to nutrition. This is where a smart anabolic bodybuilding cookbook, such as Dave Ruel’s Anabolic Cookbook, comes in handy. Most either don’t eat enough calories, or eat too much. Similarly, most men don’t eat enough protein, or eat too little. Worse, some bodybuilders just eat bad foods, leading to no results at all. The trick is to know what to eat, and when.You don’t need to toil for hours in the gym every day, in an attempt to build muscle mass by doing sets, drop sets, giant sets. You don’t need to undertake hours of cardio exercises in an attempt to eliminate belly fat.

You DO need to undertake a nutritional meal plan which will complement your intelligent bodybuilding exercises.  “Bigger Leaner Stronger” is a worthwhile investment in understanding how to do effective bodybuilding, from an acknowledged master. In,  an excellent bodybuilding nutrition plan is provided as an integral part of a successful bodybuilding plan.

Reviews of the Thermogenic Impact of High Protein Diets

The thermogenic effect of food (TEF) is the energy required for the body’s digestion, absorption, and disposal of ingested nutrients. The magnitude of TEF depends on the composition of the food consumed. Of the three types of food, the TEF can be broadly summarized as follows:

  • Carbohydrates: 5 to 15 % of the energy consumed
  • Fats: at most 5 to 15 % of the energy consumed
  • Protein: 20 to 35% of the energy consumed

Thus, metabolic processing of protein requires the greatest expenditure of energy, with estimates ranging as high as 35% of the derived total energy being needed for the initial protein breakdown. Dietary fat, on the other hand, is very easily processed, and when turned into body fat, there is very little thermogenic effect, perhaps only 2 or 3%. Finally, the amount of energy required to process carbohydrates falls between that of protein and fat. It is also known that the thermogenic effect of food is increased by both aerobic exercise of sufficient intensity and duration and also by anaerobic weight training.

Upon seeing the above breakdown of the TEF figures for the various classes of foods, one can see why a figure of 10% is generally used to account for the thermogenic effect of food. Thus, for instance if you want to replace 1000 calories burned through activity, you need to eat 10% more, or 1100 calories, to account for the TEF effect. If you eat 1000 calories, 10% of these will be burned off by the thermogenic effect, leaving only 900 calories effectively available for use.

Some diets have been advocated as being effective for fat and weight loss, based on their relatively high proportion of protein. This includes both the Atkins Diet, and some more recent “metabolic diets” such as “Metabolic Cooking” – .

In a thorough meta-analysis of high protein diets, and its effects on weight loss, available at , (Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2004), entitled “The Effects of High Protein Diets on Thermogenesis, Satiety and Weight Loss: A Critical Review,” it was concluded that

“Our review suggests that higher protein diets may significantly increase total weight lost and possibly percentage of fat lost when compared to a lower protein diet in the short term. Possible mechanisms include an increased satiety and decreased subsequent energy intake with higher protein diets. All 5 investigations that utilized an ad lib intake found significantly increased weight lost with the higher protein regimens in the short term studies (6 months or less).”

salmon - a good source of protein - mentioned at

Salmon – a food source high in protein

The final conclusion of this review is “Although the optimal amount and sources of protein cannot be determined at this time, the weight of evidence suggests that in dietary practice, it may be beneficial to partially replace refined carbohydrate with protein sources that are low in saturated fat.”

One can thus conclude that diets that include a larger than usual amount of protein may be successful due to the inherent thermogenic effect of protein. Indeed, a diet similar to Metabolic Cooking can explain its success, at least in the short term, as due to this thermogenic effect of protein. These findings may explain the relatively successful “Paleo Diet,” otherwise called the Cave Man diet.

Causes of Anxiety Disorder

The connection between anxiety disorders and a sensitized state is a theory explaining panic attacks, developed in the 1980’s by Steven Reiss and Richard J. McNally. They defined this sensitized state as ‘anxiety sensitivity’ and roughly 1,100 published studies have confirmed this theory. In short, Reiss and McNally conclude that a small, but consistent, percentage of the population experience high anxiety sensitivity, making these individuals more susceptible to an anxiety disorder.

An anxiety sensitivity index (ASI) was create as a tool with which people can measure their stress sensitivity using a self-scoring technique. The ASI is used to assess anxiety disorders in many thousands of patients every year.

Nowadays, a comprehensive test, known as the ASI-R, or  “Anti-Sensitivity Index Revised,” is used to understand the basic dimensions and hierarchical dimensions of anxiety sensitivity. ASI-R includes 36 questions, using a scale from 1 to 5. In ASI-R, 1 indicates strong disagreement and 5 indicates strong agreement. The ASI-R has several sub-scales which pinpoint the following disorders:

  • fear of having cardiovascular symptoms
  • fear of having respiratory symptoms
  • fear of having gastrointestinal symptoms
  • fear of having publicly observable anxiety reactions
  • fear of displaying dissociative and neurological symptoms
  • fear of having cognitive dyscontrol
Claire Weekes Portrait

Dr. Claire Weekes

Dr. Weekes described the sensitized state as a person feeling jittery and susceptible to any mild shock, whether internal (such as a rapid heartbeat) or external (such as a door slamming).

Frequently, individuals with anxiety sensitivity interpret the bodily sensations associated with stress as a sign of impending health problems.  The average person would pay little attention to these sensations. However, an anxiety attack sufferer has a different interpretation. A tight chest becomes a breathing problem. A pounding heart is imagined to be a potential heart attack, and a racing mind becomes transmuted into a fear of mental illness.  The individual with anxiety sensitivity can only react with fear and/or panic.

 For instance, one of the scariest effects of a panic attack is the fear of suffocating or smothering. It’s experienced very commonly during a panic attack, to feel a sense of tightness in the chest and throat. Anxiety develops from the fear that your breathing will stop, and you will not recover. This is, however, irrational. A panic attack can’t lead to a cessation of respiration.


One approach to overcoming anxiety disorders and panic attacks is use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) such as Panic Away. Although a significant fraction of anxiety disorder sufferers do use medications prescribed by their physicians, both the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the British National Health Service (NHS) endorse CBT as a preferred modality of treatment for anxiety disorder. 

By employing a cognitive based therapy for anxiety disorder, one also treats the causes of the panic attacks, rather than the symptoms. This is all explained here - .