I admit it: I took metformin for a week, the leading prescribed drug for treatment of type 2 diabetes (59.2 million units prescribed) in the United States alone and taken by 80 million people around the world. This medication has been around for more than half a century and is often touted as a wonder drug for individuals with type 2 diabetes as well as for those living with other health challenges.
My reasons for taking metformin were highly personal: I have a genetic predisposition for both prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes (I’m not diabetic but I swing in and out of pre-diabetes based on my daily blood sugar readings), and I’m getting older (who isn’t!). I did copious amounts of research and it seemed on all three counts (prostate cancer prevention, managing type 2 diabetes (increasing insulin sensitivity), and anti-aging), it truly was a wonder drug. Oh, and I had also read that pretty much every billionaire in Silicon Valley was on it – mainly for it’s purported life extension benefits (as it can mimic the effect of calorie restriction – see more below).
Before I went on it I wanted to get some key blood indicators taken, specifically:
So I did that.
The plan was to have these indicators measured before taking metformin and then again, one month later. I really wasn’t looking at metformin as a drug – I was looking at it more as a “superfood”. Could it really have all these purported benefits with no real side effects? Why wouldn’t I take it? After all, I don’t take any other drugs so I had no real risk of the “cocktail effect” whereby it could have possibly interacted with other medications. Read More
I started incorporating fasting about a year ago into my weekly health and fitness program. I had done a number of extended fasts over the years but the logic and practicality always escaped me. You would fast in order to cleanse and detoxify but then what happens? Invariably most people would go back to the same habits until the next New Years resolution or some other new fasting fad comes along.
I wanted to incorporate fasting in a manner that would provide consistent and proven health benefits in a practical way that was also sustainable; so that’s how I started practicing what is called “Intermittent Fasting” (IF).
For me the initial reasons I started IF reasons were fivefold:
- I have a genetic disposition to prostate cancer;
- I have a similar genetic predisposition to type II diabetes, so I needed to manage my blood sugar levels and keep them in a normal range;
- I’ve had high grade PIN (prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia) for the last 12 years, which studies show can progress to prostate cancer in 30% of men;
- I wanted something to help control IGF-1 (insulin growth factor 1), which is a marker for prostate cancer, aggressive prostate cancer progression, and other metabolic disease; and
- I have a genetic disposition to inflammatory disorders so managing inflammation is a key part of my exercise, lifestyle, and nutritional program. If you’ve read my book you’ll know that inflammation has had me in a coma with Encephalitis, nearly cost me my left leg with Osteomyelitis, and nearly killed me with chronic Pericarditis. See a theme here? “..itis = inflammation” – and inflammation is bad.
I was also fascinated with the anti-cancer benefits of fasting; especially through denying cancer cells one of the key ingredients they need for surviving and thriving – sugar. If you are interested in this, you can learn more watching William Li’s TED talk which has over 4 million views.
Through Dr. Li’s talks and other research I became convinced that if you were at risk for prostate or other cancers, then IF should be a fundamental part of a nutritional and cancer prevention program.
Fasting for me has nothing to do with weight loss. In fact that’s the least of the benefits I’m personally looking for – although fasting does have weight management benefits by activating fat burning over carbohydrates as the primary source of fuel/energy. Leptin, the hormone that regulates fat storage as well as hunger signals, and ghrelin, another hormone that tells your brain the body is hungry, are also normalized by routine fasting, so that’s an additional benefit for those looking to lose weight. Read More
I like to chill out, but probably not in the sense you’re used to.
My kind of chilling means daily and regular cold therapy – situations in which I purposefully place my body in a cool to cold environment. Am I crazy? You might think so, but once I explain all the health benefits of cold therapy, there’s a good chance you’ll be reaching for the ice cubes.
First of all, forget the old wives’ tale about how being cold gives you a cold; it’s just not scientifically true. In fact, methodical exposure to cold may help boost levels of human growth hormone and testosterone, improve insulin resistance, manage inflammation, boost mental health, improve sleep, assist with weight loss (by activating the burning of brown fat), and make you feel stronger overall. Who wouldn’t want all of those benefits! Read More
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