NCWC: How Gluten can Affect Your Brain, Gut, and Skin

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How Gluten can Affect Your Brain, Gut, and Skin

David Jockers DC, MS, CSCS

Ditch Gluten to Improve Your Brain, Gut and Skin

Most people associate gluten sensitivity issues with digestive problems such as Celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome.  While gluten does have a very negative effect on the digestive system, it also inflames other regions of the body.  The other regions that are often most effected are the brain, joints, and skin.

It is estimated by many researchers, including Dr Kenneth Fine, PhD, that 81% of the population has some level of gluten sensitivity.  This means that the body produces antibodies to some sort of gluten derivative.  This could be to the protein gliadin and its various forms or to a mechanism called molecular mimicry where the body produces antibodies to proteins that are similar to gliadin in its various forms.

Many researchers and health care practitioners believe that everyone on the planet is better off removing gluten from their diets.  When individuals remove gluten they notice significant improvements in brain function, energy levels, breathing, immunity, pain levels, and skin health.

Kicking Gluten Improves your Brain

When we eat foods containing gluten, we increase a protein molecule called Zonulin.  Zonulin works as a gatekeeper in both the intestine and the blood brain barrier.  The more zonulin in the gut, the more permeable the intestinal cells become and the risk of developing leaky gut syndrome increases.

High levels of zonulin also loosen the tight junctions in the epithelium of our blood cells.  This allows toxins and other molecules to slip through the blood brain barrier.  When the blood brain barrier is permeable, it activates an inflammatory response in the brain.

 Your Brain Doesn’t Feel Pain but It Still Suffers

The brain itself does not feel pain and chronic inflammation is experienced with symptoms such as brain fog, slow mental processing, anxiety, depression, emotional disturbances, etc.  Over time, a brain that is chronically inflamed leads to neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.

Individuals may also form specific antibodies to gluten molecules that mimic other regions of the body.  One of the most common of these molecular mimicry patterns is Glutamate Decarboxylase (GAD) antibodies.  GAD is an enzyme that helps metabolize glutamate and it is key for energy production in major regions of the brain.

Individuals with GAD antibodies often form cerebellar ataxia where they are unable to maintain balance and have very poor coordination.  GAD antibodies are also implicated in type I diabetes, adult auto-immune diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and stiff man syndrome.

When we metabolize gluten, we produce the opiates gluteomorphin and prodynorphin as a result.  These opiates have an addictive effect and can often lead to food addictions to sugar and gluten containing carbs.  People often struggle to come off of these foods due to the addictions.

Dropping Gluten Gives You More Energy

A gluten sensitive individual will constantly be triggering their adrenals to pump out stress hormones every time they consume gluten.  The immune system has to crank up and go into hyper-inflammatory mode, which utilizes a lot of vital resources as well.  This taxes the body of raw materials and sets it up for adrenal exhaustion and chronic fatigue.

By eating an anti-inflammatory diet that takes out food borne stressors like gluten, genetically modified foods, sugary foods, and pasteurized dairy, you allow the adrenals to come down.  This results in better sleep, more energy, and improved stress and emotional balance.

Cutting Gluten Improves Breathing, Joints, and Skin Health

One of the patterns of molecular mimickry is antibodies to transglutaminase.  Transglutaminases are enzymes found throughout the body that bind proteins together and they are also key to the digestion of wheat.  When the body forms an immune response to the gluten molecule, it often creates sensitivity to transglutaminase molecules as well.

Transglutaminase-2 (TG-2) is found in the intestinal lining and antibodies to TG-2 are a marker for celiac disease.  TG2 is a well-known marker for osteoarthritis as well.  This is one of the reasons why individuals with celiac disease also have advanced degeneration in their spine.  Many individuals with non-celiac gluten sensitivity also have major problems with joint pain, rheumatoidism, and osteoarthritis.

Transglutaminase-3 (TG-3) are found in the skin and antibodies can lead to chronic acne,eczema, and dermatitis.  Transglutaminase-6 (TG-6) is found throughout the central nervous system and antibody formation leads to neurological disorders.  Transglutaminase-7 (TG-7) is found in the lungs and antibody formation leads to asthma and other pulmonary challenges.

Give up Gluten and Look and Feel Better than Ever

When you give up gluten and sugar and minimize grains and other inflammatory agents you will notice that you look and feel significantly better.  Your skin will get clearer, your hair will be shinier, your joints will be stronger and your brain will be sharper . Your memory will improve and you will  feel more emotionally balanced.

The benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet far outweigh the momentary glutinous or social benefits associated with eating gluten, sugar, and other inflammatory foods.  Your greatest asset is the body God gave you, and you have to take proper care of it to live out your full potential in life!

Sources For This Article Include:

Kharrazian, Datis, Why do I still have thyroid symptoms when my blood tests are normal? Pgs 24, 26, 27-32, 39, 60-61, 65, 131 Elephant Printing LLC ©2010

NCWC: Dr. Oz answers some questions regarding Garcinia Cambogia (HCA)

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Garcinia Cambogia (HCA): Is This Right for You?

Want to burn fat quicker and more efficiently? One available option is a natural extract from a plant that’s native to Indonesia: garcinia cambogia.

What Is Garcina Cambogia Extract?

Garcinia cambogia is a small, pumpkin-shaped fruit, sometimes called tamarind. Though native to Indonesia,

it is also grown in India, Southeast Asia, and West and Central Africa. It has long been used in traditional

South Asian dishes, including curries and chutneys. Many also use the fruit for curing fish and preservation.

Adding this ingredient to meals is considered to be effective in making meals more “filling.” In some villages

in Malaysia, garcinia is used to make a soup that is eaten before meals for weight loss because of garcinia’s

appetite-blocking abilities.

This plant offers one of the least expensive herbal supplements on the market. The ingredient from the rind

of the fruit could hasten your weight-loss efforts. The natural extract is called hydroxycitric acid (HCA), and

researchers claim that HCA can double or triple one’s weight loss.

With proper weight-loss efforts (dieting and exercising), the average person taking HCA lost

an average of four pounds a month.

Garcinia may also be great for emotional eaters. Those who participated in the study showed an increase in their

serotonin levels; hence, it may also improve mood and sleeping patterns.

How Does Garcina Cambogia Work?

The HCA extract from garcinia cambogia supplement aids in weight loss by doing two things: It helps to block fat,

and it suppresses your appetite.

HCA blocks fat by inhibiting a key enzyme that your body needs to make fat from carbohydrates: Citrate lyase.

Usually carbohydrates or sugars that are not used immediately or stored in other forms are converted into fats.

When HCA inhibits citrate lyase, the fat-making process is halted and the production of LDL (bad cholesterol)

and triglycerides decrease.

HCA also suppresses appetite by increasing serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in your brain that

makes you feel good. It’s a target of many antidepressant medications. Having low levels of serotonin may make

you feel depressed or anxious; it drives many people into emotional or reactive eating. By increasing serotonin levels,

HCA improves mood and suppresses the drive to react to stressful situations with food. As you eat less, your body

senses this and it releases stored fat in your fat cells.

Many studies have shown promise. One randomized placebo-controlled study followed 60 obese persons for 8 weeks.

With a calorie-restricted diet (1200 kcal/day) and an HCA dose of 1320 mg/day, the experimental group lost an average

of 14 pounds (compared to 6.1 pounds in the placebo group). The participants also noted reduced appetite.

Is It Safe?

The plant and its fruit have been eaten safely for years. The HCA extract is also likely safe in normal amounts.

However, don’t take this supplement if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are taking a diabetic medication

(like insulin or glyburide), talk to a doctor before taking this to make sure this is right for you, otherwise this supplement

may allow your blood sugar to fall even lower than normal.

Those taking a statin (a cholesterol-lowering drug) should use this supplement with caution because it can increase the

risk of harmful side effects, like rhabdomyolysis or muscle degradation. Those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of

dementia shouldn’t take HCA because of the risk of worsening dementia.

How Much Should I Take?

You can buy garcinia cambogia extract in health food stores or online. When looking for a supplement,

look for “garcinia cambogia” or “GCE” with at least 50% HCA (active ingredient potassium). Some experts believe that the

newly available HCA potassium salts are more effective than the other HCA formulations.

Take 500-1000 mg before each meal, and make sure to take no more than 3000 mg total per day.

When looking for supplements, make sure you can see and review the list of ingredients. Do not purchase if you can’t see

any ingredients. Furthermore, there should be no fillers or artificial ingredients.

With no other changes, you may lose 2-4 pounds within one month. However, it is highly recommended that the person

taking HCA also find time for moderate exercise a few times a week and eat properly portioned meals. Let the power of

the HCA supplement work along with making healthier choices.

Most importantly, The Doctor Oz Show will not and does not promote any particular brand. If you see any ads or receive

any e-mails that claim Dr. Oz is promoting or recommending a specific brand, ignore it and let The Dr. Oz Show know about it.

Also, understand that no pill is more effective than maintaining a regular exercise regimen and a healthy diet.

Reference-Dr. Oz

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NCWC: 50 Foods You Really Should Be Eating & Your Voice Commands Your Mind, Body & Spirit

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50 Foods You Really Should Be Eating

Dave Golokhov, AskMen

Think popping a multivitamin once per day is good enough to cover all of the bases your diet is missing?

Think again. Your body doesn’t absorb nearly as many minerals and vitamins from that pill as you might

believe. Instead, give your body a powerful boost by adding some natural superfoods to your diet.

1. Kale

If Popeye knew about kale, he’d never have bothered with spinach. This robust, dark leafy green is chock-full of nutrients like iron, vitamins A, C and K, fiber, antioxidants and is a great detoxifier (particularly for your liver).

2. Chia Seeds
Prized by the Mayans and Aztecs, this superfood is once again becoming a star in the modern-day diet. Add these to your diet to get a boost of fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium — and it’s also a complete protein that’s easy to add to salads and smoothies.

3. Spinach
Your mother always told you to eat this vibrant, leafy green if you want to grow up big and strong. What she didn’t mention is that it’s also great for preventing prostate cancer, is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K, is loaded with antioxidants and is a good source of protein.

4. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard grades highly among the ranks of nutrient-packed leafy greens, but the best part might be the taste. Kale can be tough, collards are heavy and some people hate spinach, Swiss chard tastes similar to the very neutral romaine lettuce. Best of all, it has all of the same nutrients as its brethren.

5. Collard Greens
Collard greens don’t get the type of love that kale does, but they still bring the same nutrients to the table, like vitamins C and K. Collards also give you vitamin E, folate and manganese, and similarly, are known as a cancer-fighter.

6. Bee Pollen
Bee pollen is an incredible superfood that is considered to be one of the most complete foods you can eat. It is a richer source of protein than any animal source (percentage-wise) and it contains all of the essential amino acids as well. Throw in massive amount of enzymes (over 5,000), phytonutrients, vitamins (A, B, C and E), and a ton of minerals, and you’ll be giving your body a big boost. Some of those benefits include increased energy, muscle growth, a stronger immune system, and an enhanced sex drive.

7. Moringa Leaf
Moringa leaf is still a well-kept secret, but those who are up on it are aware that this is one of the most nutrient-packed plants ever found. You’ll get a good dose of iron, calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, protein, and amino acids. And all of this from a leaf!

8. Cacao Beans
Chocolate lovers can indulge all they want in cacao beans without feeling guilty. Although the chocolate that is near and dear to us all is made from this wonderful ingredient, the truth is that after heating, processing, adding a ton of dairy and sugar, and putting it in candy-bar wrapping, this superfood turns super unhealthy. Stick with the beans — either as a snack or by adding them to smoothies, and you’ll be giving your body one of the highest antioxidant-rich foods around.

9. Blueberries
Blueberries are great for the brain, as they help improve your memory, as well as prevent the onset of any cognitive problems that tend to come with age. The best part is that this popular fruit is commonly available in the frozen section, and most of its important antioxidants are preserved even through freezing.

10. Turmeric
Turmeric powder is a spice that’s often found in curries that has plenty of health benefits. It’s not only known for its yellow pigment; it also helps combat free radicals, is great for inflammation and protects against memory loss. Although it’s better recognized in its powder form, nowadays, a number of markets will carry the turmeric root as well, which looks very similar to ginger root.

11. Garlic
Sure, it’ll make your breath stink, but otherwise, it’s worth it. This age-old superfood is renowned for giving your immune system a boost and warding off many types of cancer.

12. Acai
This tiny purple berry is packed with antioxidants that’ll help fend off cancer, heart disease and even aging. It’s one of the rare fruits that contains oleic acid, which is the same healthy fat that’s found in olive oil, and even has the ideal essential amino acid complex, which is integral to muscle regeneration.

13. Lingonberries
Meet one of the newest berry superfoods on the block: lingonberries. They’re loaded with plant polyphenols, which means these tart little red berries contribute in a number of fashions. They can lower inflammation, fight staph infections, replace antioxidants, add red blood cells and increase liver enzymes.

14. Beets
Beets can be messy to work with, but those who go through pain get the gain at the end. Beets are a unique source of betalains, which is a phytonutrient that can combat tumors. Make sure you don’t throw away the beet greens, as they are high in lutein, which is related to and has similar benefits as vitamin A.

15. Black Beans
Black beans make this list because they’re a very underrated source of protein. One cup provides around 15 grams of protein, and the best part is that you don’t have to deal with any of the saturated fats that you might get from animal protein sources, like red meat.

16. Oats
Oats might seem like a boring breakfast option, but they’re a great choice for those who need to lower their cholesterol. Whole grain oats help do exactly that, and help with the maintenance of your blood-sugar levels. Just add some blueberries, cinnamon or honey to liven up the oats.

17. Avocado
Avocado is another one of those paradoxical high-fat foods that’s still good for your body. That’s because it contains good fats, as well as oleic acid, lutein, folate, vitamin E and glutathione. All of those assist in deflecting heart disease and cancer.

18. Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil may not be the most delicious of items you’ll pull out of your fridge, but among health nuts, it’s a delicacy. Taking daily doses of cod liver oil is known to prevent arthritis and reduce muscle and joint pain. It also has the healthy fats, which means it’s good for lowering cholesterol, maintaining mental health and preventing heart disease.

19. Broccoli
Maybe mom wasn’t completely accurate when she said broccoli makes you smart — but you’d be smart to eat it. The superfood we’ve loved to hate as a kid helps detoxify the body and is a vegetable with one of the highest vitamin C concentrations. It’s also developing into a game-changer in the role of cancer prevention.

20. Green Tea
Green tea gives your metabolism a kick in the butt by speeding it up. People who drink it burn more calories throughout the day (roughly 50 to 100 more). It also helps regulate glucose levels in the body (good for those battling diabetes), helps reduce bad cholesterol and slows the brain’s aging process.

21. Walnuts
Boost your mood by adding more walnuts to your diet. Not only do these guys have a healthy amount of zinc, manganese and copper, they’re also loaded with serotonin, which is a chemical in our brain directly tied to happiness and feeling good. As a matter of fact, walnuts have among the highest values of serotonin you can find.

22. Almonds
Almonds are one of the most popular superfoods on this list that most people already consume. What could possibly be bad about a high-fat food that’s good for your heart? These guys are loaded with good fats which promote heart health and lower bad cholesterol. Almonds are also a quality source of manganese, vitamin E, magnesium and tryptophan.

23. Pine Nuts
This tiny-but-tasty nut sometimes gets lots in the shuffle, but it’s a super contributor all across the board. From vitamin A and lutein, which help improve eyesight, to vitamin D (stronger bones), to vitamin C (robust immune system) to iron, protein and magnesium, make sure you take your dose.

24. Quinoa
Vegetarians and vegans have been up on quinoa for years, but now everyone else is catching up. It offers a great source of non-animal protein with about eight grams in one cup. It’s also a good source of fiber and iron.

25. Yogurt/Kefir
Not all bacteria is bad for you. Your body needs some of the good kind to help the digestive tract and yogurt has those. Your colon will be happy (and function better) if you add more of these intestine-friendly bacteria to your diet.

26. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a hot commodity these days, as bakers and fryers have been reaching for this fat rather than butter, margarine or processed oils. It’s lauded for its lauric acid, which helps prevent some heart problems like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. In short, the saturated fats in coconut oil are not as harmful to you as the ones in commercially processed oils.

27. Coconut Water
Coconut water is an excellent alternative to a sports drink. Many people champion its hydrating powers, as it does a good job replacing lost fluids. It’s also a great source of potassium (more than four bananas).

28. Ginger Root
Ginger root is a staple in Indian and Chinese cuisine. It’s been known to do wonders for the stomach, namely easing stomach aches, eliminating gas and soothing the intestinal tract. Don’t just use it in stir fries, though; throw a little knob into your morning smoothie to give it some kick.

29. Cayenne
Cayenne does more than just spice things up. It adds vitamins A, C and K, and is best known for its high amounts of capsaicin, which is good for fighting inflammation. Those trying to trim down a bit might want to add some more cayenne to their diet, as it can curb appetite and raises your body temperature, which will help you burn some extra calories.

30. Apple Cider Vinegar
Some people swear by the detoxifying effects of apple cider vinegar. It helps balance your body’s alkaline pH levels and can stimulate cardiovascular circulation.

31. Bulgur
Eating whole-grain foods is believed to reduce a number of cardiovascular risks. That’s why this 100% whole-wheat grain is a good addition to your diet. It’s a sound source of fiber, protein, iron, and vitamin B-6.

32. Pistachios
Looking to lower your cholesterol? Here’s one option that’s not in pill form: pistachios. They’re stocked with phytosterols and soluble fiber, both of which have been shown to lower LDL (bad cholesterol).

33. Red Peppers
Red bell peppers often get overlooked as a superfood, but they’re loaded in their own right. There’s more than three times the daily recommended vitamin C intake per pepper, plus vitamin A, antioxidants and lycopene, which reduces the risk of prostate cancer.

34. Papaya
If you’re feeling the onset of a cold, reach for this tropical fruit instead of an orange next time. One papaya has more than three times the daily recommended intake of vitamin C and is also stocked with flavonoids, vitamin B, potassium, magnesium and fiber. All in all, it’s good for the cardiovascular system and reduces the risk of colon cancer.

35. Black Garlic
Black garlic is made by treating regular garlic with heat and humidity for about a month. Because of the gentle aging process, its health benefits are maintained, but its flavor is much more palatable than regular garlic. This version is sweet with hints of balsamic, tamarind and molasses.

36. Cinnamon
Seeing this one on the list isn’t an excuse to go scarf down multiple cinnamon buns. However, this age-old spice has been known to reduce the risk of cancer, cholesterol and also helps regulate blood-sugar levels.

37. Flax Seeds
Small in size but large in returns, flax seeds are easy to add to salads, cereals and soups. They are best known for being a good source of fiber, which helps keep your exits smooth. But they’re also a good source for omega-3 fatty acid and lignans, which reduce breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.

38. Goji Berries
Typically, we associate oranges with vitamin C, but Goji have nearly 500 times more (per ounce) than those round orange guys. They also pack a vitamin B-complex punch, as well as vitamin E and a slew of antioxidants.

39. Spirulina
Spirulina is an algae that’s loaded with all sorts of super benefits. It’s a high-quality source of protein, gives you the Omegas (3, 6 and 9), a slew of vitamins (A, B-2, B-3, B-6, B-9, C, D, E) and has 26 times the calcium of milk. It has a rank taste, though, so it’s best to try to hide it in smoothies.

40. Maca Root/Powder
No, it’s not just a running gag from the fourth season of Arrested Development. Maca is typically found in powder form these days, as juice bars use it to give their smoothies a boost. This nutrient-rich root has been used by Native Americans for thousands of years, and it helps out your endocrine system, which should — among many other things — increase your energy, boost your sex drive and balance your hormones.

41. Pumpkin Seeds
Don’t throw these guys out when you’re scooping them out of squashes or pumpkins; they’re a gold mine when it comes to nutritional value. These edible seeds are rich in magnesium, zinc, and even tryptophan, which helps you sleep.

42. Wheatgrass
While the taste is sometimes hard to swallow, the juice extracted from wheatgrass has wonderful effects on the body. It does everything — stimulating the thyroid, boosting the red blood cell count, detoxifying the blood and gastrointestinal tract, fending off cancer and providing beneficial enzymes to the body.

43. Camu Camu
Camu Camu is a trendy superfood that’s making the rounds in North America. That’s because we love our vitamin C — the most used supplement in North America — and camu camu is loaded with it. One teaspoon is 1,180 times your recommended daily intake.

44. Chlorella
Those looking to detoxify/remove some of those heavy metals in the body might want to try chlorella. This single-cell algae is one of the best detoxifiers you’ll find. Inside your body, it binds to metals, chemicals and pesticides in your digestive tract and pulls them out.

45. Lucuma
This tropical South American fruit is packed with antioxidants and B vitamins. It’s been known to boost your immune system and prevent a number of ailments — including cancer. It’s a sweet fruit, so it’s an easy add to smoothies if you’re using the powder form.

46. Maqui Berry
Most berries are high in antioxidants, but this Chilean berry is one of the richest sources you’ll find. It also offers a healthy dose of vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium and anti-inflammatory properties.

47. Hemp
We’re not talking about the kind you smoke; that’s hemp’s seedier cousin, marijuana. Hemp seeds are great for your body, as they help with digestion. With its protein and fiber contents, hemp is more filling than you’d think. It also contains Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as essential amino acids.

48. Sacha Inchi
We’re a little slow on the Inca peanut: Amazon rainforest inhabitants have been using this superfood to boost their bodies for centuries. It’s one of the richest sources of Omega fatty acids you can find, and it’s also filled with fiber, antioxidants and protein — plus it contains every amino acid.

49. Makuna Honey
Manuka honey is prized for its antibacterial properties. As odd as that sounds, this rare form of honey — produced from the Manuka trees in Australia and New Zealand — is known for its healing powers. The best part is that, unlike Buckley’s Mixture, this stuff tastes pretty good.

50. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil has long been considered a healthy oil because it helps decrease the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that people who regularly consume olive oil have lower levels of cancer than those who instead opt for butter or other high-saturated fats. Just make sure that you don’t use olive oil on high heats, as it breaks down and then flips into a very unhealthy choice for your body.
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1. Get Your Protein

There are about 32g of protein in a 4-oz. serving of turkey, making it a very good source of these essential amino acids.

Just one serving of turkey provides 65 percent of your recommended daily intake of protein. Eat a turkey sandwich

for lunch and you’ll almost have your daily protein covered. Its protein content makes turkey a healthy meat choice.

2. Protect Yourself From Cancer

A little-known health benefit of turkey is that it contains trace minerals thought to aid in cancer prevention.

Turkey contains selenium, which is essential for the healthy function of the thyroid and immune system.

Selenium also has an essential role to play in your antioxidant defense system, helping to eliminate

cancer-friendly free radicals in the body.

3. Get Your B Vitamins

Turkey is considered a good source of vitamins B3 and B6, rated because of the density of these vitamins

in the meat. A serving of turkey meat has 36 percent of the daily allowance of B3 and 27 percent of your

recommended intake of B6.

4. Benefit From Less Saturated Fat

Saturated fat is necessary for biological functions, hormone production, padding for organs and energy.

While saturated fat is necessary for a healthy body, most moderately-active people need to avoid overindulging.

Turkey has under 12 percent of the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat per 4-oz. serving.

5. Choose Organic, Pasture-Based Turkey

Grass-fed turkey raised under organic conditions convey the most health benefits. Grass-fed turkeys offer

higher nutrition and are superior to birds given antibiotics or raised without access to natural pasture.

Consider looking for a local, grass-based poultry farm when shopping for organic turkeys.


>>Written by Maria O’Brien | Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA

STRETCHING: Dynamic vs. Static

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Stretching: The Truth

Published: October 31, 2008

WHEN DUANE KNUDSON, a professor of kinesiology at California State University, Chico, looks around

campus at athletes warming up before practice, he sees one dangerous mistake after another.

“They’re stretching, touching their toes. . . . ” He sighs. “It’s discouraging.”

STRAIGHT-LEG MARCH (for the hamstrings and gluteus muscles)Kick one leg straight out in front of you,with your toes flexed toward the sky. Reach your opposite arm to the upturned toes. Drop the leg and

repeat with the opposite limbs. Continue the sequence for at least six or seven repetitions.

SCORPION (for the lower back, hip flexors and gluteus muscles) Lie on your stomach, with your armsoutstretched and your feet flexed so that only your toes are touching the ground. Kick your right foot

toward your left arm, then kick your left foot toward your right arm. Since this is an advanced exercise,

begin slowly, and repeat up to 12 times.

HANDWALKS (for the shoulders, core muscles and hamstrings) Stand straight, with your legs together.

Bend over until both hands are flat on the ground. ‘‘Walk’’ your hands forward until your back is almost

extended. Keeping your legs straight, inch your feet toward your hands, then walk your hands forward

again. Repeat five or six times.

If you’re like most of us, you were taught the importance of warm-up exercises back in grade school,

and you’ve likely continued with pretty much the same routine ever since. Science, however, has

moved on. Researchers now believe that some of the more entrenched elements of many athletes’

warm-up regimens are not only a waste of time but actually bad for you. The old presumption that

holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds — known as static stretching — primes muscles for a workout

is dead wrong. It actually weakens them. In a recent study conducted at the University of Nevada,

Las Vegas, athletes generated less force from their leg muscles after static stretching than they did

after not stretching at all. Other studies have found that this stretching decreases muscle strength

by as much as 30 percent. Also, stretching one leg’s muscles can reduce strength in the other leg as

well, probably because the central nervous system rebels against the movements.

“There is a neuromuscular inhibitory response to static stretching,” says Malachy McHugh, the

director of research at the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma at Lenox Hill

Hospital in New York City. The straining muscle becomes less responsive and stays weakened for

up to 30 minutes after stretching, which is not how an athlete wants to begin a workout.

THE RIGHT WARM-UP should do two things: loosen muscles and tendons to increase the range of

motion of various joints, and literally warm up the body. When you’re at rest, there’s less blood flow

to muscles and tendons, and they stiffen. “You need to make tissues and tendons compliant before

beginning exercise,” Knudson says.

A well-designed warm-up starts by increasing body heat and blood flow. Warm muscles and dilated

blood vessels pull oxygen from the bloodstream more efficiently and use stored muscle fuel more

effectively. They also withstand loads better. One significant if gruesome study found that the

leg-muscle tissue of laboratory rabbits could be stretched farther before ripping if it had been

electronically stimulated — that is, warmed up.

To raise the body’s temperature, a warm-up must begin with aerobic activity, usually light jogging.

Most coaches and athletes have known this for years. That’s why tennis players run around the

court four or five times before a match and marathoners stride in front of the starting line. But

many athletes do this portion of their warm-up too intensely or too early. A 2002 study of collegiate

volleyball players found that those who’d warmed up and then sat on the bench for 30 minutes had

lower backs that were stiffer than they had been before the warm-up. And a number of recent

studies have demonstrated that an overly vigorous aerobic warm-up simply makes you tired.

Most experts advise starting your warm-up jog at about 40 percent of your maximum heart rate

(a very easy pace) and progressing to about 60 percent. The aerobic warm-up should take only 5 to

10 minutes, with a 5-minute recovery. (Sprinters require longer warm-ups, because the loads exerted

on their muscles are so extreme.) Then it’s time for the most important and unorthodox part of a

proper warm-up regimen, the Spider-Man and its counterparts.

“TOWARDS THE end of my playing career, in about 2000, I started seeing some of the other guys

out on the court doing these strange things before a match and thinking, What in the world is that?”

says Mark Merklein, 36, once a highly ranked tennis player and now a national coach for the

United States Tennis Association. The players were lunging, kicking and occasionally skittering,

spider-like, along the sidelines. They were early adopters of a new approach to stretching.

While static stretching is still almost universally practiced among amateur athletes — watch your

child’s soccer team next weekend — it doesn’t improve the muscles’ ability to perform with more

power, physiologists now agree. “You may feel as if you’re able to stretch farther after holding a

stretch for 30 seconds,” McHugh says, “so you think you’ve increased that muscle’s readiness.”

But typically you’ve increased only your mental tolerance for the discomfort of the stretch.

The muscle is actually weaker.

Stretching muscles while moving, on the other hand, a technique known as dynamic stretching or

dynamic warm-ups, increases power, flexibility and range of motion. Muscles in motion don’t

experience that insidious inhibitory response. They instead get what McHugh calls “an excitatory

message” to perform.

Dynamic stretching is at its most effective when it’s relatively sports specific. “You need

range-of-motion exercises that activate all of the joints and connective tissue that will be needed

for the task ahead,” says Terrence Mahon, a coach with Team Running USA, home to the Olympic

marathoners Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor. For runners, an ideal warm-up might include squats,

lunges and “form drills” like kicking your buttocks with your heels. Athletes who need to move

rapidly in different directions, like soccer, tennis or basketball players, should do dynamic

stretches that involve many parts of the body. “Spider-Man” is a particularly good drill: drop onto

all fours and crawl the width of the court, as if you were climbing a wall. (For other dynamic

stretches, see the sidebar below.)

Even golfers, notoriously nonchalant about warming up (a recent survey of 304 recreational

golfers found that two-thirds seldom or never bother), would benefit from exerting themselves

a bit before teeing off. In one 2004 study, golfers who did dynamic warm- up exercises and

practice swings increased their clubhead speed and were projected to have dropped their

handicaps by seven strokes over seven weeks.

Controversy remains about the extent to which dynamic warm-ups prevent injury.

But studies have been increasingly clear that static stretching alone before exercise does little

or nothing to help. The largest study has been done on military recruits; results showed that

an almost equal number of subjects developed lower-limb injuries (shin splints, stress fractures, etc.),

regardless of whether they had performed static stretches before training sessions. A major study

published earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control, on the other hand, found that knee

injuries were cut nearly in half among female collegiate soccer players who followed a warm-up

program that included both dynamic warm-up exercises and static stretching.

(For a sample routine, visit And in golf, new research

by Andrea Fradkin, an assistant professor of exercise science at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania,

suggests that those who warm up are nine times less likely to be injured.

“It was eye-opening,” says Fradkin, formerly a feckless golfer herself. “I used to not really

warm up. I do now.”

You’re Getting Warmer: The Best Dynamic Stretches

These exercises- as taught by the United States Tennis Association’s player-development program –

are good for many athletes, even golfers. Do them immediately after your aerobic warm-up and

as soon as possible before your workout.


(for the hamstrings and gluteus muscles)

Kick one leg straight out in front of you, with your toes flexed toward the sky. Reach your opposite

arm to the upturned toes. Drop the leg and repeat with the opposite limbs. Continue the

sequence for at least six or seven repetitions.


(for the lower back, hip flexors and gluteus muscles)

Lie on your stomach, with your arms outstretched and your feet flexed so that only your toes are

touching the ground. Kick your right foot toward your left arm, then kick your leftfoot toward your

right arm. Since this is an advanced exercise, begin slowly, and repeat up to 12 times.


(for the shoulders, core muscles, and hamstrings)

Stand straight, with your legs together. Bend over until both hands are flat on the ground.

“Walk” with your hands forward until your back is almost extended. Keeping your legs straight,

inch your feet toward your hands, then walk your hands forward again. Repeat five or six times. G.R.

More Articles in Sports » A version of this article appeared in print on November 2, 2008, on page MM20 of the New York edition.

Dynamic Flexibility vs. Static Stretching for Warm Up

By Jon Ransom, PTA, ATC and Timothy Brinker, PT, OCS, FAAOMPT-Director Hillsboro Physical Therapy

A proper warm-up routine is very important to the health and performance of an athlete. If the body is not adequately

prepared for the demands of the upcoming sport or activity, injury is more likely to occur.  In addition, it is impossible

for the body to perform to the peak of its ability without warm, flexible muscles.

In the past, static stretching was the preferred method of pre-activity warm-up, and is still used to a large extent.

Static stretches are performed with a prolonged hold and are used to increase the length of soft tissue and the

flexibility of a specific muscle.  This form of stretching has the most profound effect on a specific tissue known

as collagen. Collagen is the cellular framework found in our muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Recent research

has found that static stretches have a neuromuscular effect on the muscle’s performance and may decrease

strength in the stretched muscle group for up to one hour.  It is our belief that this induced weakness could

contribute to an increased risk of injury.  Static stretching still has its place, and is still an important aspect of

an athlete’s overall health.  Static stretches help to reduce injury by maximizing flexibility and improving biomechanics.

Static stretching is very useful and beneficial to be done not only after activity, but also to increase and maintain

muscle length and flexibility.

Recently, however, there has been more warm-up programs that utilize a dynamic approach.  Dynamic warm-up

focuses more on the neuromuscular system of the muscle complex. These dynamic activities will aide in short term

flexibility gains and the resting tone through stimulation of the Golgi tendon organs. These organs are hidden

deep in the muscle and measure muscle tension to protect it from injury.  These organs are likely to over react

if not appropriately conditioned and prepared for activity.  For example, the knee accelerates forward during running

and the muscle tension increases rapidly. The Golgi tendon organ can stimulate a protective/reflexive muscle contraction

at the time of rapid stretch/acceleration, this mechanism has been theorized to be the mechanism of a muscular strain.

Dynamic warm-ups can have a dampening effect on this Golgi tendon complex, making them less reactive during normal

activity levels, and without decreasing strength as noted in static stretching.  Dynamic warm-ups can increase

muscular flexibility for the short-term through the neuromuscular system and potentially reduce injury though

decreasing reflexive muscle contractions.

The reasons listed above point to dynamic activities being ideal components for pre-activity and sport warm-up.

There has also been recent research on the effect of dynamic warm-up specifically for soccer activities.

These research articles have found that dynamic warm-up can enhance performance in such areas as sprinting,

dribbling with cutting, kick power through increased hip range of motion, and kick velocity. While static stretching

was found to be detrimental to the performance of these same activities.

Pictured below are some dynamic flexibility exercises that can be added to any pre-activity warm-up program.

These exercises will prepare all of the main muscle groups to perform at their best and significantly decrease

the chance of injury. Also pictured below are some static stretching exercises that can be utilized outside of athletics

and post activity to further decrease chance of injury. Listed below are a few of the articles that

support dynamic warm up over static stretching.

Dynamic flexibility exercises

Deep Lunges with Rotation

Deep Lunge Deep Lunge w/Rotation Deep Lunge w/Rotation

Lunge forward with either foot, keeping knee over 2nd toe, and rotate upper body towards forward leg.

Return to standing and repeat immediately with other leg. Exercise should also be done rotating upper body away

from front leg. Do about 10 reps of each.

Side-to-Side Lunges

Side Lunges Side Lunge Side Lunge

Start in low squat position. Slowly shift body back and forth from left to right, staying as low as possible.

Shift to left until right leg is straight, then to right until left leg is straight. Do about 10 reps to each side.

Dipping Birds

dippingBird1 Dipping Bird

Step forward with right foot, bend forward at the waist, and reach left hand to the right foot without bending right knee.

Return to standing, then step forward with left foot, bend forward at waist, and reach right hand to the left foot

without bending knee. Do about 10 reps for each leg.

Sprinter Stretch

Sprinter Stretch

In push-up position, with trunk slightly bent, cross right foot over left foot and pump left foot up and down.

Do about 10-15 repetitions, then put left foot over right and repeat.

Static Stretches

Gastroc/Soleus Stretch

Gastroc/Soleus Stretch

Lean forward against wall or bench with front leg bent and back leg straight with heel on ground.

Slowly lean body forward until stretch is felt in back calf muscle. Hold stretch for 30 seconds without bouncing.

Repeat for other leg. Do 2-3 repetitions for each leg.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

Standing Hamstring Stretch

While standing, rest one foot up on bench or step.

Both the foot on the step and the one on the ground should be pointing straight forward. Slowly lean forward at waist

until stretch is felt in back of leg that is up on step. Hold stretch for 30 seconds without bouncing.

Do 2-3 repetitions for each leg.

Satan Pose

Satan Pose

In lunge position with right knee on ground, grab right foot with right hand and pull foot back until stretch is felt

on front of right leg. Then slowly lean body forward onto left leg until stretch is felt on front of right hip.

Hold for 30 seconds. Do 2-3 repetitions for each leg.

Standing IT Band Stretch

Standing IT Band Stretch

While standing, cross right foot over left foot. Then shift hips to left until stretch is felt on outside of left hip.

Move right foot out away from body further if more stretch is needed. Hold for 30 seconds.

Repeat same steps to stretch right leg. Do 2-3 repetitions for each leg.

Sunrise Stretch

Sunrise Stretch

Lying on right side with knees bent up to waist level, place right hand on top of left knee and slowly rotate upper body

to the left, keeping left arm straight. Rotate body until stretch is felt in mid back. Move left arm up towards head more

until stretch is felt in front of shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat for other side.Do 2-3 repetitions for each side.

Figure 4 Piriformis Stretch

Figure 4 Piriformis Stretch

Lying on back with knees up, rest right foot on top of left knee. Reach both hands behind left thigh and pull left leg

back until stretch is felt in right buttock. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat for other side. Do 2-3 repetitions for each leg.

Articles that support dynamic warm up over static stretching

Amiri-Khorasani, M., Abu Osman, N.A., & Yusof, A. (2011). Acute Effect of Static and Dynamic Stretching on

Hip Dynamic Range of Motion During Instep Kicking in Professional Soccer Players.

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, February 24, 2011.

Kistler, B.M., Walsh, M.S., Horn, T.S., & Cox, R.H. (2010). The Acute Effects of Static Stretching on the

Sprint Performance of Collegiate Men in the 60- and 100-m Dash After a Dynamic Warm-Up.

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24 (9), 2280-2284.

Gelen, E. (2010). Acute Effects of Different Warm-Up Methods on Sprint, Slalom Dribbling, and Penalty Kick

Performance in Soccer Players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24 (4), 952-954.

McMillian, D. J., Moore, J.H., Hatler, B.S., & Taylor, D.C. (2006). Dynamic vs. static-stretching warm up:

The effect on power and agility performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 20 (3), 492-499.

Nelson, R.T., (2006). A comparison of the immediate effects of eccentric training vs. static stretch on hamstring

flexibility in high school and college athletes. North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 1 (2), 56-61.

Fowles, J.R., Sale, D.G., & MacDougall, J.D. (2000). Reduced strength after passive stretch of the human plantarflexors.

Journal of Applied Physiology, 89 (3), 1179-1188.