In the area of oxygenation, I've always wondered whether yogic breathing exercises, pranayama, would increase full-lung efficiency, overall oxygenation, and reduction in blood CO2(acidic). B.K.S. Iyengars's "Light on Pranayama" is excellent.
I wonder if one of the reason that aerobic/cardiovascualar exercise is recommended as a cancer prophylactic/combattant due to better pulmonary efficiency (02 in, CO2 out) and full-body oxygenation?
There's been a recent reversal in decades-old thinking in exercise physiology about lactic acid:
May 16, 2006
Lactic Acid Is Not Muscles' Foe, It's Fuel
By GINA KOLATA
Everyone who has even thought about exercising has heard the warnings about lactic acid. It builds up in your muscles. It is what makes your muscles burn. Its buildup is what makes your muscles tire and give out.
Coaches and personal trainers tell athletes and exercisers that they have to learn to work out at just below their "lactic threshold," that point of diminishing returns when lactic acid starts to accumulate. Some athletes even have blood tests to find their personal lactic thresholds.
But that, it turns out, is all wrong. Lactic acid is actually a fuel, not a caustic waste product. Muscles make it deliberately, producing it from glucose, and they burn it to obtain energy. The reason trained athletes can perform so hard and so long is because their intense training causes their muscles to adapt so they more readily and efficiently absorb lactic acid.
The notion that lactic acid was bad took hold more than a century ago, said George A. Brooks, a professor in the department of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley. It stuck because it seemed to make so much sense.
"It's one of the classic mistakes in the history of science," Dr. Brooks said.
Its origins lie in a study by a Nobel laureate, Otto Meyerhof, who in the early years of the 20th century cut a frog in half and put its bottom half in a jar. The frog's muscles had no circulation no source of oxygen or energy.
Dr. Myerhoff gave the frog's leg electric shocks to make the muscles contract, but after a few twitches, the muscles stopped moving. Then, when Dr. Myerhoff examined the muscles, he discovered that they were bathed in lactic acid.
A theory was born. Lack of oxygen to muscles leads to lactic acid, leads to fatigue.
Athletes were told that they should spend most of their effort exercising aerobically, using glucose as a fuel. If they tried to spend too much time exercising harder, in the anaerobic zone, they were told, they would pay a price, that lactic acid would accumulate in the muscles, forcing them to stop.
Few scientists questioned this view, Dr. Brooks said. But, he said, he became interested in it in the 1960's, when he was running track at Queens College and his coach told him that his performance was limited by a buildup of lactic acid.
When he graduated and began working on a Ph.D. in exercise physiology, he decided to study the lactic acid hypothesis for his dissertation.
"I gave rats radioactive lactic acid, and I found that they burned it faster than anything else I could give them," Dr. Brooks said.
It looked as if lactic acid was there for a reason. It was a source of energy.
Dr. Brooks said he published the finding in the late 70's. Other researchers challenged him at meetings and in print.
"I had huge fights, I had terrible trouble getting my grants funded, I had my papers rejected," Dr. Brooks recalled. But he soldiered on, conducting more elaborate studies with rats and, years later, moving on to humans. Every time, with every study, his results were consistent with his radical idea.
Eventually, other researchers confirmed the work. And gradually, the thinking among exercise physiologists began to change.
"The evidence has continued to mount," said L. Bruce Gladden, a professor of health and human performance at Auburn University. "It became clear that it is not so simple as to say, Lactic acid is a bad thing and it causes fatigue."
As for the idea that lactic acid causes muscle soreness, Dr. Gladden said, that never made sense.
"Lactic acid will be gone from your muscles within an hour of exercise," he said. "You get sore one to three days later. The time frame is not consistent, and the mechanisms have not been found."
The understanding now is that muscle cells convert glucose or glycogen to lactic acid. The lactic acid is taken up and used as a fuel by mitochondria, the energy factories in muscle cells.
Mitochondria even have a special transporter protein to move the substance into them, Dr. Brooks found. Intense training makes a difference, he said, because it can make double the mitochondrial mass.
It is clear that the old lactic acid theory cannot explain what is happening to muscles, Dr. Brooks and others said.
Yet, Dr. Brooks said, even though coaches often believed in the myth of the lactic acid threshold, they ended up training athletes in the best way possible to increase their mitochondria. "Coaches have understood things the scientists didn't," he said.
Through trial and error, coaches learned that athletic performance improved when athletes worked on endurance, running longer and longer distances, for example.
That, it turns out, increased the mass of their muscle mitochondria, letting them burn more lactic acid and allowing the muscles to work harder and longer.
Just before a race, coaches often tell athletes to train very hard in brief spurts.
That extra stress increases the mitochondria mass even more, Dr. Brooks said, and is the reason for improved performance.
And the scientists?
They took much longer to figure it out.
"They said, 'You're anaerobic, you need more oxygen,' " Dr. Brooks said. "The scientists were stuck in 1920."
Note the comment above on mitochondria, where DCA is supposed to do its work.
June 19, 2006
Lactic Acid Will Be Sorely Missed
By JOHN HANC, New York Times
WHILE joggers, weightlifters, recreational softball players and other fitness enthusiasts will surely be delighted to hear that exercise science now sees lactic acid as a force of good and not evil, the fact remains that people are sore. What can be done about it?
While lactic acid can cause a burning sensation during hard exercise (because it is, as the name suggests, acidic) recent research has confirmed that the real culprits for the so-called delayed muscle soreness that comes one to three days after a big game or heavy workout are microscopic tears and trauma to the muscles and inflammation.
By the time delayed muscle soreness happens, "The lactic acid is pretty much back to normal levels," said Allan H. Goldfarb, a professor in the department of exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Lactic acid, which is produced by the breakdown of glucose in the body, was once seen as little more than a waste product. That view has changed, and lactic acid is now seen as an important fuel source for the body. "We're finding now that lactic acid is a major player in metabolism," said Thomas Fahey, an exercise physiologist at California State University, Chico.
The working muscles of the body, the heart, the diaphragm, even the brain, all "thrive" as Dr. Fahey described it on lactic acid as an important energy source. It may even help stimulate weight loss, he added.
The thinking about how to deal with the soreness has changed as well. In "The Complete Book of Running," published in 1977, the author and marathoner Jim Fixx said that soreness was "pretty much unavoidable," and recommended "a hot bath followed by a massage with some liniment." In the book, a best seller generally credited with helping to spark the running boom, the author, who died in 1984, went on to write that, "once you have sore muscles, there isn't much you can do about them except take a sauna and wait for the pain to go away."
Wait? In today's impatient culture, athletes and trainers take a more active approach to soreness. National Football League players, for example, may be some of the sorest athletes in the world. Every Sunday during their season, their muscles, to use the exercise physiologists term, suffer "insult" to a degree most of us could not withstand. "It takes these guys sometimes until Wednesday or Thursday to feel human again," said Todd Durkin, a licensed massage therapist and strength and conditioning coach in San Diego, who works with many N.F.L. players. "Recovery is a real important part of their training regimen."
Repairing these well-paid muscles is a high priority for both the team and their trainers. Typically, it starts with a postgame "ice plunge," five minutes immersed in a tub filled with ice. "The cold is one of the best things you can do to reduce inflammation," Mr. Durkin said. "Cold constricts the cells, basically closing them down, and gets rid of any toxicity or inflammation through trauma."
One of Mr. Durkin's clients is LaDanian Tomlinson, the San Diego Chargers' star running back, who gets tackled about 30 times a game. On Mondays during the season, Mr. Tomlinson spends much of the day with Mr. Durkin trying to minimize soreness, reduce inflammation and speed what Mr. Durkin calls "the regeneration process." To do so, more ice will be applied, and Mr. Tomlinson gets 60 minutes of deep massage and body work. But he also does light exercises walking on a treadmill and weight-training movements which may sound counterintuitive, but are basic to most treatments of sore bodies.
Although research has been unable to prove its value, "keep it moving" is a principle long prescribed by trainers and therapists. "The day after a race, you bike or swim or walk, something to just loosen yourself up," said David Balsley, a physical therapist in Manhattan who is also a competitive runner and triathlete. In the past, the reason for moving was often described as being to work the lactic acid out of muscles and reduce soreness. We know better now. Lactic acid isn't the problem, but soreness still is. Can the microtrauma and inflammation that are fingered as its causes be prevented? To some extent, the experts say yes.
"First off, try not to get damaged," Dr. Goldfarb said. "When you increase your workload, you should be doing it gradually." The rule of thumb is no more than 10 to 15 percent increases a week. For example, if you walk three miles this week, you should be doing no more than about three and a half next week.
Still, said Jeffrey A. Potteiger, a professor of exercise science at Miami University in Ohio, Mr. Fixx might have been partly correct when he wrote of the inevitability of mild soreness. "If you run a marathon, you're going to get sore, and there's not a whole lot you can do about it," Dr. Potteiger said. "If you do almost anything you're not accustomed to doing, you'll get some soreness. The good news is that if you continue to do that activity, the soreness will not be as prevalent and in some instances will go away. The body will adapt to that workload."
In the meantime, ice, stretch and perform light activity to help work the soreness from your muscles. Just be clear that it's not lactic acid you are working out. That soreness, Dr. Thomas Fahey of Chico said, "is completely due to muscle injury and inflammation." And yet, he added, "even today, massage therapists talk about getting rid of the lactic acid after a race or hard workout. This is just completely false."
Note that glucose metabolizes to lactic acid. So a hypo-glycemic diet for cancer is recommended, both to starve the cancer and to fight acidity:
no grains, bread, rice
no potatoes, yams, etc
no corn, corn syruup
no sugar, candy
no fruits that are heavy in fructose
no junk food (basically sugar and salt)
no processed, "dead" food
What's you left with is fresh, raw foods.
Of course, such a diet will probably result in substantial weight loss, with the primary target being visceral/gut adiposity. Weight loss is also highly recommended for cancer people. Obesity at diagnosis of prostate cancer correlates with a more aggressive cancer.
One cancer-attack tactic is to switch the body from glucose metabolism to fat metabolism for energy, aka permanent ketosis, the fats being "healthy" fats like leaf-fed mammals, oily fish, oily seeds with omega-3 (flax), olive oil, cod liver oil, fish oil, virgin coconut oil, etc, and not industrial food oils, saturated oils, hydrogenated oils.
Fat cells secretes the hormone leptin. Less fat, less letpin.
Leptin and cancer:
Of course, losing weight and low-carb dieting also increases insulin sensitivity (good!) and helps prevent/fight/cure Type II/adult-onset diabetes.
Here's Dr. Rosedale on insulin, leptin, cholesterol:
A key concept is that excessive hormone production causes hormone insensitivity. Insulin and leptin are hormones where excess causes insensitivity (the hormone doesn't work well). Of course, insulin insensitivity lets glucose levels rise, aka, diabetes. And high glucose levels feed glucose-greedy tumors that ferment/metabolize the glucose to provide energy to the tumor, with the glucose metabolite being lactic acid, which raise serum acidity and supports the tumor.
A really nasty, vicious circule, huh?