Vegan With Blood Pressure That Is Too Low (Causes and Fixes)

One of the benefits of being a vegan is that your blood pressure is likely to decrease by a lot. Naturally, when you eat a plant-based diet, your calorie intake will usually decrease without you even thinking about it, and so will your waistline.

When blood pressure is low but you have no symptoms associated with it, this can be a very good thing. In fact, you’re more likely to live longer than average due to the fact that cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest causes of death in middle and old age.

When I started to eat a healthy diet (containing mostly plant foods) my blood pressure decreased to about 90/60. This is very low and comparable to the blood pressure of 10-year old.

What normally happens is your body will adapt and you will not develop symptoms from having blood pressure as low as this. While some people will develop a problem called “orthostatic hypotension”.

Orthostatic hypotension is a problem when you’re sitting or lying down and then you get up and start feeling light-headed and dizzy – even fainting in severe cases!

Sometimes medications are the cause of orthostatic hypotension, but it may also be due to blood loss, anemia, and even supplements.

The signs of low blood pressure

Here are some of the main symptoms associated with having too low blood pressure.

  • Dizziness
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Feeling dizzy and faint when getting up from a seated or lying position
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Lack of energy
  • Fantaing

Low blood pressure falls into the range of 90/60 and below. Whereas normal blood pressure is between 90/60 to 120/80.

Studies show that heart disease risk can start increasing after your systolic blood pressure increases beyond 115. Anything below this isn’t likely to significantly decrease your risk of heart disease.

It’s quite common for people on calorie restriction or a low-calorie vegan diet to have blood pressure readings as low as 90/60 to 100/60.

Most people who maintain a blood pressure between these ranges will not show any negative symptoms, but if you are, then there could be a few causes, and not always just because of blood pressure.

Therefore it’s crucial that you get evaluated by a doctor to find out the reason for your symptoms and if there is any medical condition which is causing the dysregulation of blood pressure.

How to deal with blood pressure that is too low on a vegan diet

Assuming the doctor has given you the “all clear” and you’re a healthy bunny, then there are some ways that you can increase your blood pressure.

1. Increase calorie intake

A low-calorie diet is very effective in reducing blood pressure to very low levels. One way to help you increase your blood pressure reading is by simply eating more calories. Aim to increase your body weight a little by increasing calorically dense foods in your diet.

See my article on how to gain weight as a vegan and how to not lose weight for further information.

2. Increase salt intake

This isn’t something that is often recommended because most people have the opposite problem and are trying to lower blood pressure.

In your case, since you’re suffering from symptoms related to low blood pressure, increasing salt in your diet can be helpful. Perhaps you can try adding a bit of sea salt to your meals.

3. Decrease potassium-rich foods

Check out the amount of potassium you’re consuming in your diet by using tools such as CRON-O-METER.

If you’re eating a plant-based or raw food diet, you’re likely getting a large amount of potassium and this can sometimes cause problems, especially if salt intake is low as well.

4. Increase caffeine intake

If you enjoy a cup of coffee, then why not add it back to your diet. Coffee is not as bad as people make it out to be! Studies show that coffee may actually be beneficial for health when consumed moderately.

One thing to remember when it comes to drinking coffee though is to stop drinking at least 6 hours before bedtime. Drinking caffeinated drinks at night can cause sleep loss and poor quality sleep, even if you don’t think you were affected.

See my article on caffeine at bedtime.

5. Try licorice tea or take licorice supplements

Licorice is well known to increase blood pressure significantly when consumed in large amounts as candy or taken as a supplement.

Studies have shown that glycyrrhizin taken daily for four weeks is able to increase systolic blood pressure by 14.4 mm/Hg.

When using licorice to increase blood pressure, make sure that you are monitoring your blood pressure.

Licorice can be healthy in moderate amounts. However, men should be aware that large amounts of licorice can significantly decrease total testosterone.

These effects disappear within a few days after discontinuing the supplement.

6. Try bitter orange to raise blood pressure

Bitter orange supplements are used to help suppress appetite, improve digestion, but they can also cause blood pressure to increase.

There have been warnings about people who are at risk of high blood pressure to avoid bitter orange supplements.

You could this supplement to see what effects it has on blood pressure.

Once again, carefully monitor blood pressure and speak with your doctor, especially if you’re taking any medications.

7. Increase fluid intake

Dehydration can cause low blood pressure and can easily be solved by simply increasing fluid intake during the day.

Do you often find that your symptoms are worse during the summer? Perhaps this is because you’re becoming dehydrated.

Although plant-based foods contain a lot of water content, you should also regularly consume water, tea and other liquids (non-alcoholic) to remain hydrated during the day.

8. Support adrenal function

The adrenal glands are important in helping regulate blood pressure. Due to stress and other factors, adrenals can become fatigued.

Increase intake of Vitamin C, Magnesium, B5, B6, and B12.

Other supplements which may be useful for supporting adrenal function are licorice root, ginseng, ashwagandha and maca root.

Identify and reduce the intake of foods that lower your blood pressure too much

You don’t have to go crazy here and start removing everything from your diet, but it might be worth taking a look at your diet to see if you’re consuming too much of something which may be lowering your blood pressure.

We already know that a vegan diet is very effective at lowering blood pressure, so here’s a list of foods to watch out for:

  • Garlic and onions
  • Dark chocolate
  • Bananas
  • Red Beets
  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, romaine lettuce etc).

Again, to make it clear: I’m not recommending that you completely remove these foods from your diet, but if you’re drinking lots of green smoothies or highly concentrated juice, then perhaps aim for more variety instead.

Check your supplement stack

Supplements can be very useful in lowering blood pressure, but if your blood pressure is already low, then it may cause some issues.

There are countless supplements out there so it’s difficult to name them all, but do some research on the supplements you’re taking and see if you can identify one that might be contributing to the problem.

Conclusion

Maintaining a healthy low blood pressure can be a very positive thing for your health as long as you aren’t suffering any symptoms associated with it.

Sometimes there are things you can identify that are causing the problem, but not always.

If you’re on a vegan diet and your blood pressure is too low, try the things I mentioned above to see if it helps resolve your issue.

However, if you haven’t seen a doctor already, I highly recommend you get some basic blood tests done to check for any issues.

How To Gain Weight on a Vegan Diet

A raw vegan diet is one of the best ways to lose weight, but this shouldn’t be everyone’s goal. If you’re starting the diet and you’re already quite skinny, chances are you’re going to end up even skinnier if you don’t make some adjustments. If your goal is to gain weight on a vegan diet, you should try to do it in a healthy way rather than going for the junk food.

Jared Leto is one famous vegan who once gained an amazing amount of weight for a film role, but he did it in a very unhealthy way. Perhaps time wasn’t on his side because of his schedule and filming, but you have time, so you should make sure that you eat the right foods so that you put on a healthy percentage of muscle and fat.

Gaining weight is usually as simple as just choosing the right foods. Although genetics does play a role, and sometimes a person can have defiecncies and food intolerances which makes it more difficult.

Being underweight and being overweight can have their own unique risks, so it’s important to reach a weight where you feel healthy and you are happy with how you look.

Risks of having a low body weight

Although I practice a calorie restriction diet, I’m fully aware of the risks of maintaining a low body weight. When you have a low body weight it’s crucial that you maintain your body with excellent nutrition and are cautious about the dangers. You really should aim to find a balance. Yes, lean is healthy, but there can be some symptoms associated with it if your weight drops too much.

  • Orthostatic hypotension – This symptom often appears when you’re sitting down and then you suddenly get up off the chair and feel dizzy.
  • Hormonal imbalance – Women can have menstrual cycle irregularities and loss of their period.
  • Reduced bone density – You may be at greater risk of osteoporosis if you maintain a low body weight and are not actively training to strengthen and maintain bone mass.
  • Sleep disturbances – If an animal goes without food for too long, it will have significantly reduced sleep. The same appears to be true for humans. People who restrict calories significantly and have a very low body weight have difficulty staying asleep for a full 8 hours.
  • Poor immune function – One of the biggest risks for someone who maintains a low body weight is overcoming serious infections.
  • Poor wound healing – Low-calorie intake and body weight may lead to slower wound healing until calorie intake is increased.
  • Heart problems – Losing weight fast or losing an extreme amount of weight can lead to arrhythmias.
  • Always feeling cold – It’s common for people to start feeling really cold as they decrease calorie intake. If you live in a cold climate, this could become a problem.
  • Medication reactions – Having a low body weight might make you more susceptible to the side effects of medication.
  • Social pressures – Concern from friends and family may cause anxiety and other issues which can affect your health.

It’s very possible to maintain a low body weight, be healthy and manage the risks, but it’s worth acknowledging a few of the drawbacks that you can encounter.

There are usually a few reasons why someone wants to gain weight on a vegan diet

  • Looking to gain an athletic and healthy physique
  • Training to become a bodybuilder
  • Their weight has dropped too low after starting a vegan diet and it was unintentional
  • Pressure from friends and family about how thin they look (this is common, even if you are at a healthy weight. People just aren’t used to it).
  • Eating disorders
  • Health conditions which make it risky to maintain a low body weight

Most of the time extreme weight loss on a vegan diet will be unintentional. A vegan diet is a really effective way to lose weight.  But whatever the reason, the main thing you should aim for is to be happy and healthy.

How to gain weight without losing your health

When you start trying to gain weight, you might feel quite bloated as you adjust to the amount of food you have to eat to be in caloric surplus, but these feelings can be reduced by changing some of the foods you eat.

Over time your body will adapt, stomach grows, and you’ll start to feel more comfortable with the number of meals and portion sizes you need to eat.

Many studies show that vegans are the skinniest of the bunch. Skinnier than vegetarians, omnivores, and those on a carnivorous diet. But it’s not impossible to gain weight if you want.

I recommend you also check out my article on how to start a vegan diet for some extra tips and ideas for foods to eat.

1. Eat more food and increase calories

I know, I’m stating the obvious. But there’s no getting around the fact that you need consume more food which is more calorically dense and also increase the number of meals you’re having each day.

So if you normally have two meals during the day, consider having 3 big meals and one or two snacks in between them.

Choose foods which really increase your caloric intake without making you feel too full. These would be foods like sweet potatoes, olive oil, avocado, beans, vegan vegetable burgers, soy milk etc. You can also consume healthy treats like dry fruit, or have some chocolate, which is high in fat and has a lot of calories per serving.

Drinking smoothies or meal replacement shakes are also another excellent way of getting lots of plant-based nutrition and increasing your calorie intake. These can be especially useful if you’re quite busy and find yourself missing meals often. Protein bars can be another option for you.

Check out some more ideas here on how to increase calorie intake.

Also, don’t forget to check out how many calories you’re actually eating by using a tool to track it. That would be a great starting point so you can tell how many calories you need to aim for each day to gain weight at a steady pace.

2. Change your macronutrient balance

Use a programme like CRON-O-METER to check out the percentage of carbohydrates, fats, and protein you’re consuming.

I found that eating a lot of carbohydrates made it difficult to gain weight. The way I saw better gains was to increase the number of healthy fats in my diet from nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil.

Protein powders were also very helpful too. Find out more about the benefits of drinking protein shakes on a vegan diet.

All three macronutrients are important in the diet and each serves a purpose, but plant-foods tend to be really high in water, low in calories and can get you feeling full fast. This will make it much harder to consume the amount of food you need to gain the weight.

Fat, on the other hand, has 9 k/calories per gram and can be added to many different meals easily. Even if you were to have a piece of wholemeal bread, you can put a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil on there and a banana. Simple and fast!

If your fat intake comprises of around 10% of your diet right now, consider raising that to 20-30% and raise your protein intake to 15%. The rest will come from calorically dense carbohydrates. But of course, don’t forget the greens! I’m not saying don’t eat them, but don’t make a gigantic salad with them which takes you an hour to eat.

3. Smoothies are easy calories

Although I’m not a big green smoothie drinker as I used to be (I prefer to have whole meals), I still drink them a few times a week. During my weight gain phase, they were great because I could get in a lot of calories and not feel extremely full doing so.

You can throw so many different foods into a smoothie and usually, it comes out tasting great. Usually. 😉

Well, there’s been a few times where the smoothie has gone to waste because of bad food combinations, but there are plenty of ideas out there for some tasty smoothies.

Throw in some fruits like mangos, pineapple, avocado, bananas, flaxseeds, vegan protein powder, almond milk (or other vegan milk) with about 30% greens like baby spinach and you’re good! Oh and the water… Don’t forget that.

4. Add in healthy snacks

It’s movie time and you’re ready to sit down to enjoy. Why not get some snacks in during this time? It could be some grapes, mixed nuts, dried fruit, vegan muffins or vegan yogurt.

We tend to eat more when we’re not paying attention. Whether it be watching TV or being at the computer.

5. Less running more weights

If you’re doing intense cardio workouts, why not change that up for some walks, gardening and other activities which don’t burn up a lot of calories?

Go to the gym and start lifting weights to build up muscle. This will help improve your confidence, muscle tone, balance, posture, reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It will also improve your mood and help reduce glucose levels by increasing insulin sensitivity.

Consider doing some yoga as well. It’s a low impact and low calorie and amazing for your health.

Maybe even get a trainer if you can afford it. They will be able to shape your body in the way you want.

 6. Don’t rush it

Crash dieting is not a good idea and neither is rapid weight gain. Any shock to the system is not good and can lead to long-term health complications down the line.

If you’re just gaining a pound a week, then that’s fantastic, you don’t really need to gain faster than that. This isn’t a race, but you’re trying to get yourself in the best shape possible.

Of course, if you’re competing competitively in a sport then that’s a different story. You’re likely going to see bigger gains from the hard training and change in diet. But for the average person who has a pretty normal lifestyle, go slow and steady.

What you should not do

I’ve seen many different diets come and go over the last 15 years, and the ones I am certainly not a fan of are these mono-food diets. 30 bananas a day comes to mind. I simply do not think this is healthy and you’re missing out on a whole range of phytonutrients, not to mention a large amount of sugar you’re getting from the fruit.

  • Don’t eat 30 of anything a day whether it be mangos, bananas, dates or whatever. It’s not healthy in the long term.
  • Don’t eat until the point where you feel like you’re going to be sick.
  • Don’t rush while you eat. You want to digest the food well so you can absorb the nutrients.
  • Don’t rely on vegan cookies or any vegan junk food. They can be good for a treat every now and then, but should only be a small part of the diet.
  • Don’t add white sugar to your smoothies (I’ve seen vegans do this), and avoid high sugar drinks that have no nutritional value. Drink water or tea.

My own experience gaining weight healthily

Last I just want to share my story about my own weight gain.

I’ve been eating a largely raw food, plant-based diet now for over 15 years and there was a time when I was really skinny. These days my body is more athletic and lean and I never get any comments about being too skinny.

Ten years ago I was at my lowest BMI ever, it was around 16.3. Yeah, I know, crazy right? It was intentional because I had been practicing calorie restriction in order to slow down aging. I restricted my calorie intake to around 1550 k/cal per day and this is where my BMI dropped to before things started to stabilize.

According to blood work and other measurements of health, I was super healthy. But obviously, I never looked that way due to my low body weight.

I also felt that it was quite risky to maintain such a low body weight, so at some point, I decided to increase my calorie intake and raise my BMI to where I felt I looked healthier and was able to still maintain very good biomarkers (glucose, cholesterol, inflammation markers etc.)

When you’re at such a low weight, it can be quite difficult to gain it back, at least at first. I had to change the foods I was eating to include more calorically-dense foods and also cut back a bit on cardio workouts and start lifting weights instead to build muscle mass.

When you’re trying to gain weight, you’ don’t want to just pile on pounds of fat without increasing muscle mass. This will ensure that you have good insulin sensitivity and low glucose levels.

So anyway, I gained around 15 lbs and that put me around a BMI of 19.5, which falls within the healthy BMI range.

It’s still quite lean, but it still fits in with my practice of CR. For my body frame, this appears to be more healthy for me, but for someone with a larger frame, it might still look too skinny.

I gained this weight in just over three months. Which sounds like a lot of time for such a small amount of weight, but much of this was muscle.

In recent years my metabolism appears to have slowed down a lot, and now I’m able to maintain a BMI of 19.5 with a calorie intake of around 1600 k/cal per day. This works out perfectly for me!

Conclusion

A vegan diet can lead to significant weight loss which can be concerning if you already have a low body weight. But usually there is nothing wrong, but calorie intake has dropped a lot and you’re not making up for it by choosing foods which are high in calories.

This is pretty common in the raw food community, but once you understand ab it about nutrition and which foods to eat, it’s easy to maintain a healthy a susutainable weight on a vegan diet.

Supplements For Healing Tendons and Ligaments Faster

treating tendon and ligament injury
Tendon and Ligament injuries are some of the most common sports injuries

Tendon and Ligament injuries are very common and most often associated with a sports injury, accidents, and repetitive tasks. They can be difficult to manage and recover from, but supplements may help speed up healing.

In 2007 I took an antibiotic which would change the direction of my life drastically. It happened just before I was planning on going to medical school to become a doctor and around the time of my birthday. I developed bilateral Achilles tendinitis and many other issues related to ligaments and joints after taking a few doses of the antibiotic.

Actually, there was a lot more going on, but I’ll leave that for a future article. Needless to say, it put an end to my plans and I spent 2 years trying to recover from the reaction I had to the antibiotic. One of the things which persisted the longest was the tendon and ligament issues that I was having.

Within two days of taking the antibiotic, I was unable to walk without pain and feeling my tendons would snap. I was already aware that this was a serious and documented effect of the antibiotic for some people. In hindsight, I did have a bad gut feeling about taking it. More often on that not, I’ve found these feelings to be right.

Compared to tendon damage from antibiotics, tendon injuries from sport and overuse are much more common. But in both cases, it can be a struggle for people to overcome because these type of injuries tend to reoccur if not treated properly.

There were a few mistakes I made when trying to recover from tendinitis, one of them is not doing the proper exercises to remodel and strengthen my tendons and ligaments. Doing nothing leaves them weak and prone to injury again, which can make the recovery process even longer.

Despite the lengthy recovery time, I did find a few supplements which helped me along the way. I used supplements which were based on scientific evidence.

What are the main causes of tendinitis and ligament injuries?

There are many things which can put you at great risk of injury, but there are few common reasons why people develop both of these problems.

  • Repetition – People who are performing repetitive actions and movements are at risk for this type of injury.
  • Sudden injury –  If you’ve had an accident or moved in a way which puts a lot of strain on the tendon or ligament.
  • Sports – People who play sports like football, baseball, basketball, swimming and running often develop tendonitis at some point.
  • Medications – People who are taking medications like steroid anti-inflammatories, statins, and antibiotics like ciprofloxacin can develop ligament and tendon damage.

Which supplements are good for healing tendons and ligaments faster?

Below are a few supplements which I recommend trying if you are struggling to recover from tendon and ligament injuries. Many of the mechanisms which lead to chronic inflammation and tendon weakness are similar, even if the cause is very different.

Tendonitis and ligament injuries can take weeks to a year or more to recover from, but hopefully, with these supplements, you can cut that amount of time down.

But to be clear on one point again: you have to also manage the pain and do strengthening exercises. Supplements by themselves won’t lead to strong tendons. You have to do the exercises to physically remodel the tendons to become stronger and less prone to injury in the future.

Only perform exercises after the acute injury phase has settled down and there is no intense pain associated with stretches and strength exercises.

#1. Protein supplements

If you’re eating a low protein diet, then this is the time when you may want to increase your protein intake, at least until you’ve fully recovered from the injury.

Protein is the building block for muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and not getting enough of it could result in slow healing times.

Not only that, protein has an IGF-1 stimulating effect, which is required for cell proliferation and differentiation.

Some protein has a bigger effect than others, but whey protein is usually the best for increasing IGF-1 levels. In 2007 I wasn’t vegan (I was a vegetarian) so I was consuming reflex instant whey protein powder. I had about 3 servings per day, and I believe this helped speed up my recovery time.

If you’re a vegan, you can also try drinking more soy milk or take plant-based protein powders. It’s been shown that some plant-based protein powders are able to build muscle and performance just as much as whey protein.

Check out some good protein powders with all the essential amino acids. These will help heal your tendons and ligaments faster.

In this study, researchers showed that an increase in systemic IGF-1 is able to significantly improve healing of collagenous tissue. Therefore would be extremely helpful in reducing the healing time and strengthening damaged ligaments and tendons.

Another benefit of consuming more protein when you’re injured is that it will help you maintain muscle mass that you have, especially if your injury is causing you to become inactive.

Once you’ve fully recovered from your tendon and ligament injuries, you can decrease protein intake back to baseline levels.

Whenever I am faced with a challenge, I always adapt and adjust my diet and supplement regimen accordingly. This is the best way to approach any problems you face to get the best results.

#2. Curcumin

Curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory effects and is able to improve tendon and ligament healing according to research.

Curcumin helps in several ways: it up-regulates genes which are involved in stem cell differentiation and proliferation into tenocytes, and also reducing genes involved in inflammation and cell death.

Curcumin also helps reduce oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation and extensive cross-linking of collagen in tendons.

This study shows that curcumin is able to improve tendon healing by improving the organization of collagen fibers, increasing cellular antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase and decrease MDA levels to improve regeneration of tendon tissues.

Curcumin has the potential to speed up healing via several mechanisms and should definitely be included to help you recover from ligament and tendon injuries. I also took this supplement to help me recover when I had tendon and ligament injuries.

Check out curcumin and ginger supplements here.

#3. Bromelain

Bromelain is primarily found in pineapples and has potent anti-inflammatory properties and enhances healing of injuries and trauma according to various many studies.

Bromelain is able to be absorbed well after ingested as a supplement. Approximately 40% is absorbed and has a half-life of around 6 hours.

A study published in the journal of medicinal food looked at the effect of fresh pineapple juice and bromelain supplements to see which worked better for healing acute Achilles tendon injury.

Bromelain helps reduce swelling, inflammation and enhances healing.

The study found that the animal who was given 600 GDU of bromelain had improved tenocyte proliferation and recovery compared to the fresh pineapple juice group.

#4. L-Arginine

L-arginine is a precursor to the production of nitric oxide in the body. It’s an essential amino acid and is involved in the healing process of tendons and ligaments.

Studies show that the addition of nitric oxide to human tendon cells is able to significantly enhance collagen synthesis and accelerate histomorphological recovery of tendons.

Low level of nitric oxide available to healing tissues may result in elevation of growth factors like TGF-bet and lead to chronic inflammation and development of scarring (fibrosis).

Combining pycnogenol with L-arginine significantly enhances production of NO and also reduces the breakdown of NO in the body.

See the benefits of taking pycnogenol or pine bark extract.

#5. Omega 3

While it’s healing from injuries does recover some inflammation, excessive and prolonged inflammation can hamper the regeneration of the tissues. Omega 3 has strong anti-inflammatory effects which may help reduce excessive inflammation.

Consuming foods high in omega 3 or ALA will help lower inflammation. If you’re a vegan you can take plant-based omega 3 supplements and if you’re an omnivore, then fish oil would be fine.

However, studies show that omega 3 from algal oil is just as effective at raising the concentration of EPA and DHA as fish oil.

See alternative to fish oil supplements here.

While you increase omega 3 in your diet, try to reduce the amount of omega 6 you consume. This will further help combat inflammation.

#6. Glucosamine

Many people swear by glucosamine for improving symptoms of osteoarthritis. But due to its anti-inflammatory effects and its ability to enhance collagen production, it’s also useful for ligament and tendon injuries.

In a study looking at Achilles tendonitis in animals, researchers found that glucosamine was able to significantly improve inflammation markers and also stimulate collagen production in the tendon.

They also noted that rats were given the supplement also had significantly stronger tendons than the placebo group.

Studies are mixed on whether or not glucosamine improves recovery from ligament injuries, one study in athletes who underwent anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction did not see any improvement outcome in rehabilitation.

#7. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is crucial for collagen synthesis and recovery of injuries. Most people can easily get enough vitamin C from fresh fruits and vegetables each day. Cooking destroys most of the vitamin C.

In animal studies, high dose vitamin C supplementation does enhance healing from tendon injuries, but there aren’t many human data. People who are low in vitamin C will benefit the most from supplementing between 500 – 3000 mg.

This study shows that this level of vitamin C supplementation helped improve recovery from surgery, injuries.

#8. Zinc

Zinc is very important, especially for vegetarians and vegans. It’s important in the entire healing process and a deficiency can hamper the quality of repair.

People who are consuming a high copper diet (mostly plant-based) will benefit from taking a zinc supplement to recover from injuries.

I recommend you either take zinc picolinate or zinc gluconate for best results.

#9. Vitamin D

Low levels of vitamin D has been linked with impaired recovery from tendon and ligament injuries.

Vitamin D is an important regular of many genes, including the immune system which is important in the process of recovery by regulating inflammation and immune cells.

In a study looking at recovery from anterior cruciate ligament surgery, low levels of vitamin D was associated with worse outcome with lower strength recovery after surgery.

Take between 1000-2000 IU of vitamin D supplements.

Conclusion

Recovery from soft tissue injuries whether it be muscle, ligament or tendon, can take a long time. You have to be patient and take your time.

Once the injury has taken place, you can immediately start taking supplements to help boost your recovery time, but you have to wait a little bit of the acute phase of the injury to settle down.

Supplements can play an important role in helping reduce the recovery time of ligament and tendon injuries, but it’s hard to say how much benefit they’ll provide there are many other factors involved as well.

I’ll go into the things I did to help recovery from chronic tendinitis in a future article.


Virtual Reality Games for Improving Fitness and Health

I’m a huge fan of virtual reality. I think it’s going to be one of the most important technologies of the 21st century and change the world. It’s still very much in its infancy, but the technology is compelling enough that it will catch on in the coming years as more people get to try it. And one big benefit of VR over traditional games is that it gets you moving. Virtual reality can play an important role in improving health and fitness.

Since I have a huge passion for virtual reality, I’ve also wondered how I could incorporate it into my blogging. Gaming and health seem like it wouldn’t go together, but it absolutely does when it comes to VR.

Since the Rift came out, there has been a flood of games released, many of them require you to keep moving, multitask, and have good coordination. Some of them require you to drop to the floor and get up again multiple times.

Now, don’t get me wrong, VR isn’t going to replace long-distance running or a workout at the gym, but it can provide a good baseline exercise and enough movement to keep you somewhat fit and even help you lose weight.

This is me playing some Beat Saber earlier this evening! 🙂

VR is helping some people lose weight

Don, or otherwise known as “vrgamerdude” has an on-going series where he and his wife are using virtual reality to lose weight and improve their health.

The series started back in February and they’ve stuck with their commitment and their last video in the series was published in May. They’ve still got some way to go before they reach their target weight, but it’s great that they’re sticking to it and haven’t given up.

The good thing about VR is that it makes exercise fun. You can literally put yourself into any kind of environment and space, and get to it.

And who knows, in 10 years time, VR might’ve advanced so much that it will have full body tracking and people could exercise together even if they are not in the same physical space!

My favorite VR Fitness games for Oculus Rift

Below are a few games which I’ve played and found them to be quite a little workout!

#1 Echo Arena

If you know the movie “Ender’s Game” you’ll definitely see some similarities. In fact, the developers of the game took a lot of inspiration from the movie. The game itself involves a flying disc that you have to throw into the opponent’s goal.

Since you’re in zero-g, it makes things a bit more difficult! The disc bounces off the walls and at times can get a bit hectic! It’ll sure bring on a little bit of a sweat as you battle it out in the arena.

Echo Arena is one of the first VR Esports and there have already been competitions where people competed to win thousands of dollars.

VR is going to be huge in Esports in the coming years. If you’ve played Echo Arena, you’ll understand why.

Echo Arena is great for teamwork and exercise. Just make sure you have some space and don’t go punching your wall!

#2 Beat Saber

Two light saber’s and great music, what’s not to love!? Beat saber hit Oculus and Steam on the 1st of May and is topping the charts for one of the best selling games of the week (including pancake games). Why? To understand how awesome it is, you’d have to try it. There have been several viral videos of the game come out over the past few weeks, and it created a lot of hype.

In my opinion, the game totally lived up to that hype. On ‘expert mode’ the game is really challenging. Your arms will be hurting after you play this game! But that’s okay, you’ll want to go back to it over and over and suffer some more.

And by the end of it, you’ll feel de-stressed and feel like you’ve just been to the gym. The game has you constantly moving and demands your focus. As you play, you have blocks coming at you with arrows pointing to which direction you have to slice, and then you have to dodge obstacles as well. The game changes things up very quickly, so you really do have to think fast!

It’s not only a great physical workout but also a great mental one and good for coordination.

Here’s a video which went viral back in March. You also get a sense of how it is because they use a Mixed Reality setup.

#3 Sprint Vector

Sprint vector is both a single player and multiplayer VR game that go head to head on a variety of tracks. There are many obstacles and things that can stop you in your tracks, so you have to move and think really fast. The gain momentum by swinging your arms and this can get quite tiring after a few minutes. If you want a good workout, this is the game for you!

#4 Knockout League

If you want to take out your frustrations and get a little exercise, then try out Knockout League VR. Inside the ring, you’ll fight several different opponents, each with their own fighting style and quirks. This game will make you swing your arms, dodge, duck, and make you out of breath in no time!

#5 Eleven Table Tennis VR

Before I got VR, I wasn’t much of a table tennis fan. I had only played a few times, and I was terrible from what I remember. VR gave me a chance to improve my table tennis skills in no time! The game has several difficulties, but as you climb higher, you’ll find yourself dashing from left to right to reach the ball.

Table tennis might not sound like it would help with fitness, but I promise you if you give it a go, you’ll not only have a great time, but you will get a bit of exercise too!

I’ve put my cousin in the game, and he says that it’s fairly accurate to how real table tennis feels. I’ll take his word for it since he has won several trophies playing table tennis and he’s only 10!

#6 The Climb

If you’ve ever thought about rock climbing, but not had the guts to go and do it in real life, then The Climb might be a great game for you. If you have Oculus Touch controllers, you’ll be using them to grip onto the rocks for your dear life and make it to the top. After a while, holding your hands out will start to hurt, and you will get tired.

But that’s okay, it’s just a game, and there are save points. 🙂  I’ve put this game last, not because it isn’t one of the best games in VR, but it’s a different type of workout. Not so much that it gets you out of breath, but it feels more like an arm and shoulder workout.

Will VR Fitness be an actual thing that people do in the future?

You might think that it’s a passing fad, especially if you’ve never tried VR. And I totally understand that. But VR is definitely here to stay, and not only can it help bring people together, it can also make people healthier by keeping you active.

There have been many people who’ve documented improvements in mental health, physical health and achieved significant amounts of weight loss after they got an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.

Dedicated VR Fitness centers may start popping up over the next decade. But in the meantime, even from home, you can use virtual reality to make exercise fun!

Fauja Singh

The Inspirational Marathon Runner Fauja Singh

There are many centenarians in the UK, but Fauja stands out from the rest. When he was over 100 years old he was able to run the London Marathon! An amazing accomplishment! He holds many different records according to his Wikipedia page.

Who is Fauja Singh?

Fauja Singh was born on the 1st of April 1911. He is part of the Sikh community in the UK and is of Punjabi Indian descent.

I’ve been following Fauja Singh for quite a few years. I first saw him on a TV Documentary when he took part in the London Marathon. On there he described his diet, and it’s clear that he’s been practicing calorie restriction for many years.

On Wikipedia, it says that Mr. Singh is 5 ft 8″ tall and weighs just 115 lbs. So he is very lean, but this is probably a result of expending lots of energy running and aging itself, not just CR.

CR Slows Down Muscle Aging

It’s been shown in rodents and rhesus monkeys that a CR diet preserves muscle mass and function with age. Also, in biopsies taken from people practicing long-term calorie restriction (age 58 ± 7.4), the gene expression profile of their muscles was found to be more similar to 30 year old controls. Big muscles require more calories, which accelerates ageing. CR does decrease muscle mass a little (depends on the severity of restriction), but it preserves the muscles you have and its function for decades longer.

Fauja Singh Diet Plan

Fauja Singh believes that the reason he has lived so long is that he also abstains from both smoking and alcohol, and he follows a vegetarian diet. He includes many fresh foods in this diet. Fauja has also limited the amount of food that he eats every day.

In the BBC interview below he told the reporter that he ate only a child’s size portion of food. He is practicing calorie restriction which has been known to prolong lifespan and it seems to be paying off for him.

A great example to follow!

I respect people like Fauja a lot. He has tried to live the best he could given the circumstances and things that he faced in life. He is a strong person who desires to live life and not slow down.

I follow a similar lifestyle to Faujua: I don’t drink alcohol, I’ve never smoked, and for most of my life I’ve been active.

I’ve also been vegetarian since 2007 and ‘mostly’ vegan since 2012, and will continue to eat this way for health and ethical reasons.

I hope I can be in as good shape as he is when I reach that age. Actually, I hope to reach the 22nd century! 🙂 By then, I think it’s very possible we’ll have ways to reverse aging.

Many people today in their 60s and 70s are not able to do what this man has accomplished, but I think that more people could, if they followed this way of life. Some people say: “it’s genes” and then forget about it.

I think people underestimate how much of an impact diet and exercise can have. You have to remember that the choices you make today are important for your health decades from now. Make the right choices.

I recommend checking out and joining his Facebook page to keep up to date with what he’s up to.

 

Check out the following on Fauja Singh

Calorie restriction in humans inhibits the PI3K/AKT pathway and induces a younger transcription profile

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3714316/

How Much Exercise Is Too Much In A Day

How Much Exercise Is Too Much In A Day

One area that I’ve neglected in my lifestyle is fitness. How much exercise I get in a day varies, usually depending on how I feel. We know that exercise is good for you, but how much exercise in one day is too much?

I thought I would find it easy to get into a routine giving how well I’ve stuck to a healthy diet all these years, but this hasn’t been the case.

You know how it is right?

We always make excuses about why we can’t do something today and then push it off until tomorrow. And then tomorrow comes and we still don’t do it. Getting into a habit can be difficult, and it’s really about our mindset and psychology.

My recent experience going running wasn’t great.

So, I ran to the park, so far so good, I thought. As I step it up a bit, trying to complete the run in a fast time, my muscles started to burn, I was struggling to get in enough air to carry on going… And then  I stop. And then start again. And then stop.  And start again. This went on the entire run until I finished.

Wow!  How unfit I felt! How could I let myself become so unfit like this?

I am at a very healthy weight.  I have a very healthy blood pressure and very good blood results, but my fitness sucked.

I realized that this had to change. I had been fit almost my entire life but had let it go. I used to run home from school often, which was about 3 miles. I also played a lot of football which kept me at peak fitness. I used to drink lots of protein shakes and really keep on top of my physical health.

At least 5 days each week, no matter what the weather is like, I force myself out the door to go for a run. It’s getting started that’s the hard part. When you’re in the middle of the run you feel good. When you finish, you feel amazing!  Before I get out the door, I start my morning with a couple of cups of mint tea which opens up the airways and is great for your breathing. I eat a bit of licorice, and maybe eat half or a whole small banana. It only takes me about 20 minutes from the moment I wake up to get myself out of the door.

Things I noticed over the weeks

  • I feel so alive and happy after each run!
  • My sleep quality improved and I’ve been able to maintain a very good sleeping pattern
  • After each run, I noticed a nice “glow” when I looked in the mirror.
  • I feel that I have more energy (exercise increases the number of mitochondria in your cells)
  • It helps me concentrate better and gives me better clarity or focus to take on the challenges of the day

It’s also just so nice to get out in the morning. It’s such a peaceful and beautiful time.  Just me and the birds. 🙂  I’ve actually grown to really enjoy it and look forward to running!  And what a difference 6 weeks makes! Although I still have some ways to go, I can see a dramatic improvement. My pace has picked up and I’m no longer having to stop frequently just to catch my breath. Every time I go out I push myself just a little bit further. I’ve noticed that it’s best not to pA9R9dOvCYAIG0XMay too much attention to the changes over a period of days because it seems like you’re getting nowhere. But when you look at week to week, there’s definitely big improvements.

I’ll definitely keep this going!  At the moment I’m running between 10 to 12 miles per week. According to studies, this also happens to be the optimal distance for the best health.  Running very long distances can damage health (see the video posted).

So the question I’ve been asking myself: Should I run the half marathon this year in October?

I’ll be looking to buy a device soon so I can begin to track my running and improvements in speed & time. I’ll share here in the future as I keep you updated. 🙂

Related articles:

1. James H O’Keefe1,2, Carl J Lavie3,4. Run for your life … at a comfortable speed and not too far
Heart doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2012-302886