Author: valdesfraost

How to Keep Kids Healthy & Fit: 6 Daily Tips

This time of year, it can be a little more difficult to stay active and healthy. That’s why I’m sharing 6 tips we implement daily to keep our kids healthy and fit.

Number 4 might surprise you, so be sure to read on.

1. Get Outside

This time of year it’s getting downright frigid in the Chicago area, but I still bundle the kids up to get fresh air and exercise. It might not be for long, but enough for rosy cheeks and my sanity. I also have a weather shield cover for our BOB dualie that keeps the kids protected while Cooper gets some exercise alongside us.

2. Follow a Bedtime Routine

Stick to a consistent bedtime. Sleep, and plenty of it, is crucial to staying healthy.

Sure, there will be some later nights with the holidays, maybe parties or family visiting, that inevitably lead to later bedtimes, but we do our best to make sure the kids have adequate sleep. Tired kiddos are more susceptible to getting sick.

3. Move

No surprise here, right? I mean, this is a fitness blog. Kids need to (want to) be active, so every day, we are moving. It’s easy to visit parks in the summer, and let them climb, jump and run. In the winter, we still get outside, but allowing them to burn off steam inside is okay too. Sometimes, we set up an obstacle course downstairs. Or, have them use a mini trampoline to get the wiggles out.

4. Shoes Off Inside

Okay, so why this? Well, our shoes track in a lot of bacteria and germs from grocery stores, public restrooms, retail outlets, schools, etc. In many cultures, it’s the norm to leave your shoes outside. We didn’t start doing this until we had kids. We began thinking about what was contaminating their little hands when they were crawling on our (not so clean) floors, and it grossed us out.

Now, our policy is shoes off inside. Plus, it keeps the house cleaner, and that’s a bonus. As a mom, I don’t need more things to clean, you feel me?

5. Dense, Real Nutrition

This a game changer for us. We have always eaten a fairly clean diet as a family. However, I knew there was a better option. You can read how my husband and I changed our nutrition, but what a beautiful thing to be able to hand that very nutrition to our kids too!

I didn’t share my protein shakes with my kids prior to introducing our new nutrition, but that was silly. Why was I putting something into my body that I wasn’t comfortable giving my kids?! Problem solved, and now they start their days off with undenatured grass fed whey protein shakes and also use the multi vitamins, meal bars, snacks, and more.

6. Drink Water

In the winter, it’s noticeably drier especially with the heat running, so we remind our kids to keep hydrating even when they don’t feel like it. When we are properly hydrated, our bodies function optimally. At snacks and meals, our kids drink water too. Cole never took to milk, so we just switched to water.

Happy Kids

While I’m far from an expert, I did want to share what we try to do on a daily basis to keep our kids healthy and active. Healthy kids are happy kids!

What are some tips you incorporate on a daily basis to keep your kids, or yourself, healthy and active year round?




The post How to Keep Kids Healthy & Fit: 6 Daily Tips appeared first on Blonde Ponytail.

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Caffeine as a Testosterone Booster? 70% Increase in the Big T Without Concomitant Performance Benefits, Though

I am curious if caffeine gum producers will start marketing them as testosterone boosters, now. People’s willingness to waste money on temporary increases of a figure on their labwork is amazing, after all.

It has been a while that I’ve dissected a “testosterone booster”; for a good reason, that is. After all, there’s no convincing evidence that a 40% increase in natural testosterone levels will have any effect on the way you look or perform. So, even if you happen to find a product that will actually work, your chances that you will get a return on that investment are… well, more jacked than that T-booster is going to get you 😉

With that being said, I will, obviously, make an exception from the “ignore the monthly T-booster study”-rule and intend to cover the results of a recent study by scientists from the Leeds Trinity University. Why is that? Well, it’s about a testosterone booster most of you are already using, anyway.

You can learn more about coffee and caffeine at the SuppVersity

For Caffeine, Timing Matters! 45 Min or More?

Caffeine Helps When Taken Intra-Workout, too

Coffee can Help You Get into Ketosis

Post-Workout Coffee Helps With DOMS

Coffee Brewing 101 (Optimal Health)

Quantifying the Benefits of Caffeine on Ex.

As a SuppVersity reader, you will remember that the study at hand, in which Reynolds et al. tested the effects of chewing caffeine gum (CAF: 400 mg; 4.1 ± 0.5 mg/kg) or a placebo gum for five minutes on the performance and hormonal response to exercise, is by no means the first study to suggest that the ‘right’ dosage of caffeine can promote the exercise-induced increase in testosterone.

Figure 1: We do have good evidence that high dose caffeine can be too much of a good thing… at least if you measure “good thing” via the testosterone to cortisol ratio which will decrease after 800 mg by 14%; ± 21% (Beaven. 2008).

I fact, caffeine increases testosterone dose-dependently, albeit with a concomitantly augmented increase in cortisol of which broscience indicates that it would counter the additional increase in “T” Beaven et al. observed with 800mg vs. 400mg of caffeine.

I am not sure if Reynolds et al. were aware of Beaven’s previously discussed paper (see Figure 1), but with 400mg per gum, the UK-based scientists nailed what’s probably the optimal dosage.

In their study, the scientists aimed at investigating the use of caffeinated gums during half-time in team on sports physiological (blood lactate, salivary hormone concentrations) and performance
(repeated sprints, cognitive function) parameters. To this ends, they recruited players from the professional academy rugby union (n=14) for a double-blind, randomized, counterbalanced study.

” Following pre-exercise measurements , players chewed a placebo (PL) gum for five min before a standardized warm-up and completing repeated sprint testing (RSSA1). Thereafter, during a 15 min simulated half-time period, players chewed either caffeine (CAF: 400 mg; 4.1 ± 0.5 mg·kg-1) or PL gum for five min before completing a second repeated sprint test (RSSA2)” (Reynolds 2017).

Much to their own surprise, the authors did not record significant effects on either reaction time or exercise performance (40m sprint times).

Figure 2: Mean ± SD salivary testosterone (large panel) concentrations throughout the caffeine (CAF; dashed line, black markers) and placebo (PLA; solid line, hollow markers) gum trials and individual half-time responses to the CAF trial (dashed line represents mean response). Shaded region = timing of gum intake (Reynolds 2017).

The salivary testosterone levels, on the other hand, went through the roof… for the short period of time between the first and the second sprint test, that is and – as previously pointed out – alongside significant, albeit non-caffeine dependent increases in cortisol levels.

Hypothetical serum testosterone levels in the course of the first seven days after the injection of endogenous testosterone (blue) compared to the regular diurnal rhythm (green) and the levels in response to a pretty potent (+70%) natural testosterone booster (red; all data has illustrative value, only)

Putting things into perspective: The transient nature of the T-elevation is yet not the only reason to doubt why “practitioners [would even seek] enhancing testosterone concentrations” (Reynolds 2017) in this way. Even with “[f]urther research” of which the authors say that it “is required to optimize the use of caffeinated gums (e.g., dose, timing etc.) during the half-time period. It is unlikely that the concomitant increase in testosterone – as pronounced as it may be – has any relevant physiological effects. The effect on bioavailable T is, after all, fundamentally different from what you’d see with the injection of gear… but I’ve discussed that in enough detail in my article series on building muscle; so I’ll simply refer you to the corresponding article | Comment!


  • Beaven, C. Martyn, et al. “Dose effect of caffeine on testosterone and cortisol responses to resistance exercise.” International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism 18.2 (2008): 131.
  • Russell, M., et al. “The Physiological and Performance Effects of Caffeine Gum Consumed During A Simulated Half-Time By Professional Academy Rugby Union Players.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2017).

Caffeine as a Testosterone Booster? 70% Increase in the Big T Without Concomitant Performance Benefits, Though syndicated from

Fasted AM Cardio – No Measurable Physiological Benefits in Terms of Fat Loss & Body Composition, Meta-Analysis Says

Rope skipping is an excellent choice for HIIT cardio training… albeit, just like for so many others, the effects of doing it fasted have never been investigated.

It has been debated for decades and still, the Australian researchers Daniel Hackett and Amanda D. Hagstrom are the first to attempt to answer the question “whether training in fasted compared to fed states leads to greater weight loss and whether this practice results in beneficial or detrimental changes in body composition” (Hackett 2017) by the means of a systematic review and meta-analysis.

How’s that? Well, if I tell you that Hacket & Hagstrom found only five RCTs to be included in their analysis there’s probably no longer a need to answer this question.

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The scientists included all studies that were (1) randomized and non-randomized comparative studies; (2) published in English; (3) included healthy adults; (4) compared exercise following an overnight fast to exercise in a fed state; (5) used a standardized pre-exercise meal for the fed condition; and (6) measured body mass and/or body composition. Risk of bias in individual studies was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool.

There were a total of 96 participants (60 males and 36 females) aged 21–27 years (Table 1). Three studies included only male participants  while the other two studies had only female participants [19,20]. The majority of participants had an exercise background such as track and field  or regularly played sports . Participants for one study were described as being previously sedentary. The exercise interventions involved 3–4 supervised sessions performed over 4–6 weeks. High intensity interval training (cycling) was performed in one study, continuous cycling in three studies, and continuous treadmill exercise in one study” (Hackett 2017).

 All five studies assessed changes in body mass, but only two of them assessed changes in body fat (one study via BodPod, the other via DXA) – one study assessed changes in lean body mass, and one study assessed changes in fat-free mass.  For the meta-analysis, data from lean body mass
and fat-free mass was combined as it has previously been shown not to impact results (Stonehouse 2016).

The inter-group effect sizes  for the interventions on body mass for the combined, male, and female analyses were trivial (ES = 0.02 to 0.05) with no significant difference between interventions

That’s bad news for fasted cardio advocates, but it’s also bad news that the most important analyses, i.e. that of changes in % body fat and lean mass could only be performed on females because the studies that included males only did not include these outcome measures.

Table 1: The effects of fasted versus fed exercise on weight loss and composition (Hacket 2017).

The results of the analysis of the pooled data were quite disappointing, anyway – here’s a summary:

  • The intra-group ES for fasted and fed exercise on % body fat for females were small (ES = −0.10 to −0.12) and were not significant (Table 1). 
  • The inter-group ES of the interventions on % body fat were trivial (ES = 0.05) and not significant. 
  • The intra-group ES of the intervention on lean mass for females were trivial (ES = 0.01) and were not significant (Table 1). 
  • The inter-group ES of the interventions on lean mass was also trivial (ES = 0.04) and not significant. 

And no, in the absence of heterogeneity between studies (I2 = 0%), there’s little doubt that – if there’s an effect (and I don’t doubt that you may have benefitted repeatedly), it is probably of behavioral origin (e.g. if you do fasted AM cardio, you actually do it and don’t skip your planned PM sessions; if you do fasted AM cardio you usually have breakfast afterwards – especially, if you’d do that anyway doing it this way around may protect you from post-cardio hunger pangs; etc.).

Schoenfeld’s 2014 study is one of the five papers that made it into the meta-analysis. He shows quite conclusively that there’s no fat loss magic in doing cardio fasted if the 24h energy deficit is standardized | read more

So what do you have to know? While “fasted cardio” may work as a charm on psychological/behavioral grounds, there’s no evidence to believe that there are systemic physiological benefits to training after an overnight fast.

In that, it is worth considering that the data in pertinent studies show minimal changes in body mass and composition following aerobic exercise interventions in both fasted and fed states, anyway.

The notion that you can use a lot of cardio to get jacked is thus – at least in the absence of appropriate caloric restrictions – futile undertaking and that has to be said about both doing it in the fasted and fed state.

That’s also why the authors of the meta-analysis at hand are right, when they conclude that their “findings support the notion that weight loss and fat loss from exercise is more likely to be enhanced through creating a meaningful caloric deficit over a period of time, rather than exercising in fasted or fed states” (Hackett 2017). Hackett & Hagstrom are yet also right that “due to the limited number of studies and hence insufficient data” we got to be careful w/ our interpretation of the data.

Moreover, if fasted cardio has worked to your advantage in the past – be that for psychological and/or behavioral reasons – even a meta-analysis won’t change that. After all, doing cardio on empty can be one building block of your strategy to achieve the “meaningful caloric deficit” of which Hackett & Hagstrom rightly point out that it is the cornerstone to any fat/weight loss regimen | Comment!


  • Hackett, Daniel, and Amanda Hagstrom. “Effect of Overnight Fasted Exercise on Weight Loss and Body Composition: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology 2.4 (2017): 43.
  • Stonehouse, Welma, et al. “Dairy Intake Enhances Body Weight and Composition Changes during Energy Restriction in 18–50-Year-Old Adults—A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Nutrients 8.7 (2016): 394.

Fasted AM Cardio – No Measurable Physiological Benefits in Terms of Fat Loss & Body Composition, Meta-Analysis Says syndicated from

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Plasticized – Put Up or Shut Up: How Toxic is Our Daily Load of Bisphenol A and What are the Main Routes of Exposure?

“BPA free” labels may help to sell products. With more and more of the replacements being identified as just as, sometimes more hazardous than the original, they are, however, by no means as safe as the average consumer is made to believe by the industry.

I have been keepin’ you up-to-date on the latest research on bisphenol A and often not less toxic alternatives in the Facebook news (if you didn’t do that already, like to see them in your newsfeed). The publication of a new review by scientists from the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin in Poland reminded me that it may be worth addressing this ubiquitous hormonal disrupter in a detailed article again.

As Tomza-Marciniak et al. point out as early as in the first sentence of the abstract to their review (which had been published ahead of print in June and was now officially published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology), “bisphenol A (BPA) is characterized by a pronounced influence on human hormonal regulation” (Tomza-Marciniak 2017).

You can find more True or False articles at the SuppVersity

Pasta “Al Dente” = Anti-Diabetic

Vinegar & Gums for Weight Loss

Teflon Pans Will Kill You!

You Can Drum Yourself Lean

You Can Wash Pesticides Away

Milk = Poisonous Hormone Cocktail

The aim of the scientists’ latest work “was to collect and summarize data on the influence of BPA exposure on reproductive health” (Tomza-Marciniak 2017). An undertaking that yielded quite disconcerting results, namely:

  • strong proof confirming that BPA is an ovarian, uterine and prostate toxicant at a level below the lowest observed adverse effect level (50 mg/kg body weight) as well as a level below the proposed safe level (4 μg kg−1 bodyweight);
  • reliable evidence in relation to the negative effect of BPA on sperm quality and motility;
  • limited evidence pertaining to the case of the potential of BPA to affect polycystic ovary syndrome occurrence

What makes this review particularly useful are the illustrations of the proven and suspected (side) effects on sex hormones, fertility, etc. – figures like Figure 1 and Figure 2.

Figure 1: Effect of BPA on female reproductive processes. BPA, bisphenol A (Tomza-Marciniak 2017).

Figures that leave little doubt that fish and frogs which live in “plastic intoxicated” environments are by no means the only victims of environmental BPA exposure.

Figure 2: Effect of BPA on male reproductive processes. BPA, bisphenol A (Tomza-Marciniak 2017).

In fact, convincing evidence exists that BPA could be one of the factors that are promoting the increase in the number of couples who are willing, but unable to conceive. Epidemiological studies, for example, found statistically highly significant correlations between sexual function and the concentration of BPA in almost 500 male subjects. More specifically, Li et al. observed significant (P < 0.001) decreases of libido, erection problems and a lower ejaculation intensity with increased levels of urinary BPA in 2010 and a 3.4-fold increased risk of having a critically low sperm count, a 3.3-fold increase of low sperm vitality, a 4.1-fold increased risk of low sperm counts and a 2.3-fold increased risk of low sperm motility. Moreover, the Polish scientists report that…

“[n]egative effects of BPA on the reproductive abilities of men were obtained in a cross-sectional study by Liu et al. (2015) on 592 men from China stated that a high exposure to BPA is related to a significantly increased concentration of prolactin (P < 0.001) and sex steroid binding globulin (P < 0.001) and to a reduced androstenedione level (P < 0.001) in blood and free androgen index (P = 0.021) and in this way may contribute to male infertility” (Tomza-Marciniak 2017). 

Next to a potential direct toxic effect on the testes and/or sperm, its ill effects on hormonal health are thus probably the cornerstone of BPAs anti-fertility + anti-virility effects – with corresponding side effects having been observed in females.

Migration levels of bisphenol A from 12 polycarbonate baby bottles according to the days of use (Brede 2003).

How to limit your BPA exposure: As previously highlighted, our exposure to BPA starts at the very moment we’re conceived and thus significantly before we’re born (Ikezuki 2002). It is thus of particular importance for mothers-to-be to avoid all of the sources of BPA – sources which include foods from cans with epoxy resin linings, drinking water, air and even dust.

Ever since the 1990s, we’ve known that BPA leaches from plastic bottles – including, baby bottles. In that, the leaching has been found to be present even in brand new bottles (Vandenberg 2007).

As Brede et al. (2003) found out the leaching of BPA into whatever you store in these plastic containers will significantly increase whence they’ve been in a dishwashing machine, in/exposed to boiling water or brushed to scrub them clean. Using plastic containers to heat food (in the microwave or elsewhere) should be a no-go, the use of PVC stretch films to wrap foods has been associated with food contaminations ranging from 43 to 483 mg/kg – with fatty products, like olive oil, being even more susceptible to the effect than acidic ones.

And the former are only the most obvious routes of exposure. Sign. amounts of BPA have also been found in various other consumer goods from paper towels made from recycled paper (0.55-24.1 mg/kg), food containers made from both recycled paper (0.19-26 mg/kg | lower levels in virgin paper). Then, there’s the better-known exposure from metallic food cans which are protected from rusting and corrosion by the application of epoxy resins as inner coatings that is quantified at 4-23 microgram of BPA per can and 1.7-fold to 55.4-fold increases of the original concentration of BPA when the cans were heated (100°C).

Few of us will be aware, though, that we don’t even have to eat something to be exposed to the hazardous plastics. As Tomza-Marciniak et al. point out “[s]everal resin-based monomers are used in dentistry as preventative sealants, adhesives, and restorative materials” – for example, since the 1960’s, BPA diglycidyl methacrylate has been used as a component of many dental restorative materials. And while 60-80% of these monomers are typically polymerized in situ small quantities of unreacted monomers have been shown to leach from polymerized dental materials.

What’s even more alarming, though, is that German studies indicate that our drinking water is increasingly polluted with BPA. With twenty percent of the samples, Kuch & Ballschmiter collected in 2001 containing detectable levels of BPA (LOD: 11 ng/L) and nine locations presenting with levels over 100 ng/L, that alone wouldn’t be a problem. The observation does, however, add to the evidence of the ubiquitousness of BPA in our environment. In fact, significantly higher concentrations have been found in the waters of 30 US rivers that have been tested for their BPA content and showed levels ranging from 0.14 micrograms per liter to a maximum measure of 12 micrograms per liter. Even breathing can be a problem today: In a survey of 120 homes for the presence of endocrine disrupting chemicals, Rudel et al. found BPA present in 86% of house dust samples at concentrations ranging from 0.2-17.6 micrograms/gram of dust. So what? Stop breathing? The problem is that you may still absorb BPA from the various cosmetics that are either packaged in BPA-containing bottles or contain it as a stabilizer and/or antioxidant (Demierre 2012).

To avoid BPA exposure altogether does thus seem impossible, what is possible, however, is to not use re-usable plastic containers or throw-away plastic films – specifically not for heating or storing fatty or acidic foods; as well as to be skeptical about the alleged superiority of “BPA-free” products that may not contain BPA but alternatives like BPS of which we already know that they are at least as problematic as the original (Hill 2017).

Interestingly enough, other studies, like Goldstone et al. (2015) “did not show any evidence that BPA decreased semen quality” in men. With Mendiola et al. (2010) reporting no significant associations between any of the semen parameters and urinary BPA concentration, in a cross-sectional study, examining a group of 375 men confirming the fertility-related observations of Goldstone et al. but highlighting that there is a …

“significant inverse association between urinary BPA concentration and free androgen index (β = −0.01, 95% CI: –0.09, −0.004) and the free androgen index/luteinizing hormone ratio (β = −0.11, 95% CI: 0.18, −0.03) as well as a significant positive association between BPA and sex hormone-binding globulin (β = 0.07, 95% CI: 0.007, 0.13)” (Tomza-Marciniak 2017)

Moreover, it seems that evaluations of BPA exposure using urine or blood should also consider using semen. It appears that although the content of different xenobiotics including BPA in semen can reflect the content in blood, the results of statistical analyses are not always similar.

Figure 3: Hyperprolactinemia (=elevated levels of prolactin) are only the most significant hormonal side effect of BPA exposure in men Liu et al. observed in their 2015 paper in Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology.

For instance, Vitku et al. (2016) have found that BPA levels in blood plasma were positively correlated (P < 0.001) with BPA levels in semen, yet only seminal BPA, not plasma BPA, was negatively associated with different parameters of semen, such as sperm concentration (r = −0.198; P = 0.009), sperm count (r = −0.178; P = 0.018) and morphology (r = −0.160; P = 0.044).

We know very little about the real-world effects of BPA on women

In the understandable absence of obviously unethical controlled long-term studies on women (including pregnant women), we will once again have to focus on epidemiological data, here. Said studies have shown quite consistently that …

  • BPA disturbs hormonal regulation and contributes to infertility in women – with infertile women being reported to have 2x higher BPA levels than fertile controls 
  • there is a significant association between BPA levels in the blood and the risk of infertility (+730%! La Rocca 2014) in otherwise healthy women – especially in metropolitan areas
  • elevated BPA levels are associated with endometriosis (although not in all studies) and polycystic ovary syndrome aka PCOS (in almost all studies).

I guess you will now think: “Well, all that is not news!” – and in fact, you’re right. What is “news” or at least worth revisiting is the increasingly convincing evidence that …

…the officially proposed safe level (4 μg/kg bodyweight | EFSA 2015) of exposure may enough to trigger hormonal and non-hormonal side effects!

What’s making things worse is that BPA, which will directly bind to human estrogen and androgen receptors is by far not the only hormonal disruptor we are exposed to on a daily basis (Wetherill,  2007; Viñas 2012). Against that background, it is only a semi-relevant argument that …
“a large number of experimental studies are performed at high doses, levels not occurring in daily life, or are carried in in vitro conditions, causing a possible inadequacy to a real risk of human BPA exposure” (Tomza-Marciniak 2017).

In fact, both men and women are subjected (practically from the moment of conception) to “cocktail” of compounds, such as BPA, which have a relatively high toxicity threshold only when assessed in isolation, but unknown and difficult to quantify effects on reproductive health when they are administered together. It is thus, as Tomza-Marciniak et al. point out imperative that future studies assess the “effects of a combined activity of a few toxicants that chronically act on humans” (Tomza-Marciniak 2017).

In view of the fact that the said allegedly “safe level of BPA” is probably everything but safe (esp. w/ the co-exposure to other xenoestrogenic plasticizers), I suspect that the website of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group which represents the leading global manufacturers of bisphenol A (BPA) and polycarbonate plastic is not going to soothe you.

What’s the verdict, then? Even though there’s an (urgent) need for studies investigating the joint effect of exposure to multiple toxicants, there’s “strong evidence that BPA is a toxicant (ovarian, uterine and prostate) at a level below the lowest observed adverse effect level (50 mg/kg bw) as well as a level below the proposed safe level (4 μg/kg bw)” (Tomza-Marciniak 2017).

The answer to the question of whether we achieve these concentrations, or not, depends on whom you’re asking. While the European Union claims that the BPA exposure of its average citizen ranges from 0.48 ot 1.6 µg/kg body weight/day, New Zealanders are supposedly exposed to much higher doses of 4.8 µg/kg body weight/day – an amount that is slightly above the “proposed safe level”, of which you’ve already heard that many scientists believe that it is not safe, anyways; and beyond good and evil for babies, for whom scientists estimate the exposure per kg body weight at whopping 24.14 µg/kg body weight/day for new-borns and 15 µg/kg for three months olds!

Speaking of safety. Little doubt exists about the experimentally and epidemiological confirmed toxic effects on the prostate gland, sperm (quality and motility) and fertility. However, “[l]imited evidence” is available of the ability of BPA to cause PCOS, while “no clear consistent results” from either epidemiological or animal model studies exist with respect to: (1) the evaluation of associations between BPA and implantation failure in women; (2) evaluation of associations between BPA and sexual dysfunction in men; and (3) impact of BPA on birth rate, birth weight and length of gestation in human beings | Comment on Facebook!


  • Brede, C., et al. “Increased migration levels of bisphenol A from polycarbonate baby bottles after dishwashing, boiling and brushing.” Food Additives & Contaminants 20.7 (2003): 684-689.
  • Demierre, Anne-Laure, et al. “Dermal penetration of bisphenol A in human skin contributes marginally to total exposure.” Toxicology letters 213.3 (2012): 305-308.
  • Ikezuki, Yumiko, et al. “Determination of bisphenol A concentrations in human biological fluids reveals significant early prenatal exposure.” Human reproduction 17.11 (2002): 2839-2841.
  • Kuch, Holger M., and Karlheinz Ballschmiter. “Determination of endocrine-disrupting phenolic compounds and estrogens in surface and drinking water by HRGC−(NCI)− MS in the picogram per liter range.” Environmental science & technology 35.15 (2001): 3201-3206.
  • La Rocca, Cinzia, et al. “Exposure to endocrine disrupters and nuclear receptor gene expression in infertile and fertile women from different Italian areas.” International journal of environmental research and public health 11.10 (2014): 10146-10164.
  • Li, De‐Kun, et al. “Relationship Between Urine Bisphenol‐A Level and Declining Male Sexual Function.” Journal of andrology 31.5 (2010): 500-506.
  • Liu, Xiaoqin, et al. “Exposure to bisphenol-A and reproductive hormones among male adults.” Environmental toxicology and pharmacology 39.2 (2015): 934-941.
  • Tomza‐Marciniak, Agnieszka, et al. “Effect of bisphenol A on reproductive processes: A review of in vitro, in vivo and epidemiological studies.” Journal of Applied Toxicology (2017).
  • Vandenberg, Laura N., et al. “Human exposure to bisphenol A (BPA).” Reproductive toxicology 24.2 (2007): 139-177.
  • Viñas, René, Yow-Jiun Jeng, and Cheryl S. Watson. “Non-genomic effects of xenoestrogen mixtures.” International journal of environmental research and public health 9.8 (2012): 2694-2714.
  • Wetherill, Yelena B., et al. “In vitro molecular mechanisms of bisphenol A action.” Reproductive toxicology 24.2 (2007): 178-198.

Plasticized – Put Up or Shut Up: How Toxic is Our Daily Load of Bisphenol A and What are the Main Routes of Exposure? syndicated from

The Ergogenic Effect of ‘F*ck’, ‘Sh*t’ & Co: Swearing Boosts Physical Power (+5%, Wingate) & Muscular Strength (Grip)

In case you wondered why ‘that guy’ at the gym, today, kept swearing despite the critical glances of the rest of the gym members? Well, he has probably read the SuppVersity article at hand before everyone else and decided to put performance before decency, bro 😉

It may sound odd and unlikely, but eventually the hypothesis Richard Stephens and colleagues came up with is logical: “Given the links between swearing, sympathetic activation and the subsequent release of epinephrine and nor-epinephrine, [it is possible that] swearing can affect physical performance via similar changes in organismic milieu” (Stephens 2017).

The corresponding paper that has been published recently and ahead of print in Psychology of Sport and Exercise examines two scenarios where this might be expected. In Experiment #1 a well-known high-intensity 30s anaerobic cycling power challenge known as the Wingate Anaerobic Power Test (WAnT) was applied (Bar-Or, 1987) while in Experiment #2 an isometric hand-grip strength task was performed.

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As the authors point out, the experiments were designed to examine how swearing affected strength, power, and cardiovascular and autonomic function in men and women. In both experiments it was hypothesized (i) that muscular performance would be improved by swearing; and (ii) that there would be increased sympathetic activation due to swearing.

With only 29 adults (aged 18–25 years | mean age 21.0 years, SD 1.84), including 18 females, in the final analysis of the more relevant data from the Wingate Power Test, the study wasn’t exactly a large-scale investigation and failed to comply to the precalculated minimum required sample size of N = 32 that would provide 90% power in comparisons across the swearing and non-swearing conditions (in each condition the subjects had to swear/use “placebo” words 10 times). With a de facto analytic power of 87%, the results are yet still “comfortably above the 80% minimum power recommended by Cohen (1988)” (Stephens 2017).

Participants were instructed not to shout, but to use a strong and clear voice, and to pedal from a seated position “in the saddle” during the Wingate test in experiment 1. Furthermore, all participants were blinded to the load added to the cycle to eliminate motivation bias.

“Two designs were applied. First, a repeated measures design was applied in which scores in the swearing and non-swearing conditions were compared using paired samples t-tests. The dependent variables were WAnT peak power, WAnT time to peak power, WAnT average power, WAnT power drop, perceived exertion, heart rate, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and time domain and frequency domain measures of heart rate variability. Second, a 2 × 2 mixed design was applied with the within-subjects factor swearing (swearing vs. non-swearing) and the between-subjects factor condition order (swearing first vs. non-swearing first) for the dependent variables WAnT peak power, WAnT average power and WAnT power drop. This was to assess possible carryover effects arising from the repeated measures design” (Stephens 2017).

The Wingate trials (WAnT) were repeated twice separated by a 20-min rest period. During the rest period, participants rated their perceived exertion of the previous bout. Heart rate was assessed continuously and peak heart rate during each WAnT was determined 5 s after the highest power output was achieved in accordance with previous work.

The scientists recorded significant performance improvements in both the Wingate and the strength test when they compared the swearing to the ‘placebo’ condition.

More specifically, a significantly greater peak power and average power were exerted during the WAnT when participants repeated a swear word during the 30 s challenge. However, this was traded off against a larger degree of power drop, a measure of fatigue, in the swearing condition.

Figure 1: Effects of swearing on power output during the Wingate test (Stephens 2017).

The increase in fatigue is likely to occur due to insufficient metabolic energy toward the end of the test and indicates that participants were not able to generate more overall energy in the swearing condition – after all, swearing won’t protect you from the well-studied fatiguing effect of rapid glycolytic metabolism, lactate accumulation and loss of type I fiber contribution during the Wingate test.

What it appears to do, however, is to increase your physical strength… well, at least for 42 participants (81% of the sample) of the subjects in experiment 2 that was the case.

Figure 2: Means (SDs) for grip force, perceived exertion score, perceived pain score during the grip test (Stephens 2017).

As Stephens et al. point out, “[t]his was a greater proportion than would be expected by chance, chi-square = 19.692, p < 0.001” – in the absence of differences in perceived pain, heart rate or z transformed skin conductance response, by the way.

The mechanism that’s behind this effect is yet not what the scientists thought it would be: it’s not the effect of swearing on the central nervous system.

In contrast to the authors’ first hypothesis, which predicted performance increases in both the Wingate and handgrip strength test, the authors’ second hypothesis that there would be increased sympathetic activation due to swearing, was not supported.

Figure 3: None of the classic cardiovascular markers of CNS activity differed between conditions (Stephens 2017).

Despite the improved physical performance the cardiovascular and autonomic function variables did not differ in the swearing and non-swearing conditions… or it was, as the scientists argue “overshadowed by the high level of physiological arousal brought about by the WAnT” (Stephens 2017) – after all, the WAnT produced significant increases in heart rate (77 bpm–183 bpm; baseline to peak, respectively) and systolic blood pressure (112 mmHg–154 mmHg; baseline to peak, respectively) regardless of the condition presented; and I don’t agree that the observed age-effect on heart-rate during a Wingate test which Goulopoulou et al. (2006) observed in a previous study with a similar sample size make this kind of “overshadowing” effect “possible but unlikely” (Stephens 2017).

I have to admit, though, that the alternative explanations Stephens et al. propose have their appeal, as well: reduced pain perception – distraction of attention away from a painful stimulus is known to reduce pain perception via descending pain inhibitory pathways (Edwards, Campbell, Jamison, & Weich, 2009) – it is possible that reduced pain perception due to swearing-induced distraction underlies the improved performance on the WAnT task by making it more tolerable to pedal hard against the resistance on the WAnT.

The only problem here is that a pain reduction was not observed in the 2nd experiment that assessed the maximal handgrip strength. And, in the absence of changes in heart rate or skin conductance compared with non-swearing, experiment 2 didn’t provide the sought for evidence of increased sympathetic activation with swearing, either.

Looking for new ergogenic supps? Look no further, (re-)read my recent article about “Capsaicin – ‘Hot’ New Ergogenic With Profound Metabolic and Health Benefits!? Recent Study + Older Data Reviewed” | more

Bottom line: As Stephens et al. point out, their latest study with its two unrelated experiments provides “reasonable evidence that swearing aloud can bring about increased physical performance” (Stephens 2017). What it does not do, however, is explain where these performance increases come from.

As the scientists argue in the discussion of the results, any “[i]ncreased muscular performance may alternatively have occurred due to a generalized disinhibition brought about by swearing” (Stephens 2017) and/or increases in motor unit drive, which was unfortunately not measured in the study at hand because it was not initially suspected to be involved in the expected ergogenic effects of swearing.

Alternatively, Stephens et al. speculate, that there may be something special to the sound and articulation of swearing that is less common in non-swear words, for example, plosiveness (i.e. a speech sound produced by complete closure of the oral passage and subsequent release accompanied by a burst of air).

Now, swearwords are obviously not the only plosive words. Accordingly, an important limitation of the study at hand is that the scientists, in focussing on one particular kind of emotional language, “cannot rule out the possibility that other kinds of emotionally provocative language might also have similar effects, via similar mechanisms” (Stephens 2017) – corresponding research assessing effects of emotionally valenced non-swear words on physical performance is thus warranted – not just to keep it decent at your local gym, by the way 😉 | Comment!


  • Goulopoulou, Styliani, et al. “Heart rate variability during recovery from a Wingate test in adolescent males.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 38.5 (2006): 875-881.
  • Inbar, Omri, and O. D. E. D. Bar-Or. “Anaerobic characteristics in male children and adolescents.” Med Sci Sports Exerc 18.3 (1986): 264-9.
  • Stephens, Richard, David K. Spierer, and Emmanuel Katehis. “Effect of swearing on strength and power performance.” Psychology of Sport and Exercise (2017).

The Ergogenic Effect of ‘F*ck’, ‘Sh*t’ & Co: Swearing Boosts Physical Power (+5%, Wingate) & Muscular Strength (Grip) syndicated from

Sauerkraut, Self-care, and a Sale

Rubik-cubeSimple and Easy

A few days ago a friend told me that making sauerkraut was easy. Just mix salt with cabbage – that’s it!


I have been obsessed with sauerkraut recently. The possibility of making my own burst open my imagination – I saw images of crock pots full of fabulous home-made sauerkraut. Maybe a food truck or supplying Wholefoods will be in my future…

sauerkrautJust mix salt and cabbage…how much salt? How much cabbage? Cooked cabbage or raw? How long does it take? Where will I store it? What about bacteria – am I going to kill myself with sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut is simple, but it’s not easy. I needed help!

Inner Peace

A few decades ago I heard about inner peace.
I was immediately captivated by the notion. I was ravenous for inner peace. My heart raced, my adrenaline pumped – how can I get that inner peace right now?
“It’s easy,” said the books, teachers, affirmations, bumper stickers, pretty social media quote, just “go within.” Not only will you find peace, but you will also get the answers to all of your questions.

I stretched on yoga mats in anger. I sat on meditation pillows in pain listening to the big mouth within scolding me over and over. I pumped iron in the gym, spun on bikes, hiked the wilderness, quit coffee, read ancient books and modern brain science. No luck. No inner peace.


Exhaustion. Collapse.
Give up the search. A whisper from within catches my attention. Now I am sinking, without strength, without method, toward my heart. Oh, simple. Not easy.

Just like making sauerkraut, a little guidance goes a long way on the path to inner peace. With my friend’s help, I now have chopped cabbage safely soaking in my grandmother’s crock with the right amount of salt water, at the correct temperature. She gave me the directions; now it’s up to me to explore the process.

Inward Journey

Man-under-treeInward Journey is an experience of self-contemplation.
Based on my experiences, the first step to inner peace is figuring out how to go inside on a regular basis. “Take a little time for yourself each day,” it’s easy! But if you are like me, it’s not so easy.

I created the Inward Journey course to support you to have a daily practice of self-contemplation. The course teaches you how to use four practices to enhance your self-awareness, to balance your energy, and to create the circumstances for a little inner peace. Your exploration will be guided every day, for 28 days. Inspiration, guidance, support – delivered right to your email.

A Sale

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Regular enrollment is $95; you can begin your Inward Journey for just $47.50
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Immediately after you enroll, you will have access to the four practices so that you can begin right way.
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An understanding

Although this is a solo journey, a little help along the way can make your trip shorter and smoother. Inward Journey provides “the directions.” Just like me and my cabbage, to get to the sauerkraut, we have to put the directions into action.
If this is the time for your Inward Journey, here is your 50% off coupon code: relax
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Sauerkraut, Self-care, and a Sale syndicated from