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Does High Cholesterol Affect Athletic Performance

Potential Risks Of A Low

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Despite the potential benefits, a low-carb diet comes with risks, too. Cutting carbs too quickly can cause weakness, headaches, fatigue, and gastrointestinal distress. A low-carb diet can cause bone loss, nutrient deficiencies, and increased risk for certain diseases. As mentioned above, a diet high in saturated fat can potentially contribute to cardiovascular issues. Not enough studies have been run to be really clear on all the long-term effects of this diet.

If youre thinking about trying a low-carb, high-fat diet, check with your doctor first to discuss the risks and benefits and to ensure you are receiving adequate nutrition with the new diet.

*Editors Note:The information in this article is intended for your educational use only does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center’s Mind-Body Medical Group and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

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I Was Athletic And Fit And Still Had High Cholesterol

When diet and exercise werent enough to control this executives numbers, medication helped him reclaim his health.

High cholesterol, or hyperlipidemia, runs in Dean Mastrojohns family. So when the Maywood, New Jersey, residents doctor encouraged him to make some lifestyle modifications to lower his risk, he took the guidance seriously.

My doctor the same one my parents have kept a watchful eye on me and strongly suggested I try to lose some weight and exercise as much as possible to avoid medication, says Mastrojohn, 47, a senior vice president at Goodfuse, a communications company in New York City. I lost nearly 20 pounds and was exercising regularly weight lifting, playing pickup basketball games, etc. and was very fit.

But after losing the recommended amount of weight to get his cholesterol in check, Mastrojohn received some surprising news: His LDL cholesterol and triglycerides had increased.

It was right then that told me my condition was clearly genetic and he strongly suggested I begin taking a statin, says Mastrojohn. Ill never forget it. I couldnt believe it.

Improve Endurance With Beet Juice

Beets are high in carbohydrates needed for sustained energy and contain many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients. The high nitrate content of beets may also help dilate blood vessels. This can help lower blood pressure and increase the amount of oxygen delivered to the cells.

Drinking a cup of beetroot juice a day may help lower blood pressure and aid blood flow, according to a study reported by the

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No One Knows How Long Exertion Related Heart Damage Lasts

Again, we must pose the key question is this exertion-related damage to the heart long-lasting, or does the heart recover promptly without long-term negative effects? Unfortunately, no one knows the answer to this question right now. If you are interested in running marathons, you will have to decide for yourself if the real risk associated with the race is tolerable or not and whether the long-term perceived risk is serious enough to warrant changing your competitive activities.

Our traditional argument that prolonged endurance activity is not bad for the heart is based on evidence that marathon runners have fairly low death rates from cardiovascular disease . Essentially, research indicates that well-trained endurance athletes have about 40% of their sedentary counterparts risk of dying from a cardiac problem on a typical day . If strenuous exercise is really so bad for the heart, why arent endurance athletes keeling over at higher rates?

Expressing the 800,000 statistic in a different way, we can say that healthy, middle-aged males who run for one hour each day can expect to die while running once every 2,192 years . By the same token, individuals who run two hours per day should die while running about once every 1,096 years. When the risks are seen in this light, many endurance athletes will consider them acceptably low, especially as the general risk of heart disease is reduced by strenuous training.

Subject Characteristics And Diet

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There were no differences between groups in physical characteristics or aerobic capacity, or caloric intake, but the composition of the diet was dramatically different as per the experimental design . Two athletes in each group were triathletes, and all others competed in events largely ranging from 80 km to 161 km . Athletes consuming an LC diet derived a majority of their energy from fat , predominantly in the forms of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. Only ~10% of energy intake was from carbohydrate sources. Conversely, athletes consuming an HC diet consumed over half their energy in the form of carbohydrates . Protein was not significantly different between groups. Dietary cholesterol intake was significantly greater among the LC athletes compared with the HC athletes . The average duration on an LC diet ranged from 9 to 36 months.

Fractional cholesterol balance and non-cholesterol sterols*

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Aerobic Exercise And Ldl

Fasting LDL-C is strongly associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease , so it is necessary to make clear the effect of aerobic exercise on LDL-C. Unlike HDL-C, the effect of exercise on LDL-C is inconsistent in human and there are even completely contrary results . The results of these different studies may be due to variations in peoples weight. Some studies showed that aerobic exercise alone did not change the fasting blood LDL-C levels, unless the weight during this period also changed. In addition, research statistics showed that per kilogram of body weight loss resulting in LDL-C reduced by about 0.8 mg/dL .

In rats, the changes of HDL-C are almost the most obviously one than others. It may not only because HDL-C is more vulnerable to exercise, but also because HDL-C is the most abundant of lipids component in rats. Besides, different from the human being, LDL-C consistently decreased after exercise in rats .

Plasma Lp is another LDL subunit containing Apo . However, unlike other low-density lipoprotein subfractions, Lp is genetically influenced, unaffected by motion, and cannot be improved by any form of exercise .

Lowering Your High Cholesterol: 6 Exercises That Will Pay Off

When you were first diagnosed with high cholesterol, your doctor may have talked to you about exercise. Besides improving your diet, exercising is one of the most effective lifestyle changes you can make to help bring your numbers down naturally.

Your first thought may have been, I hate running. Or maybe you like running, but youve been sidelined lately because of an injury. Or maybe you dont mind jogging, but you hate the treadmill.

Running isnt the only way to turn your health around. Theres no doubt that its an effective aerobic exercise, but several other good choices are available that can help counteract the negative affects high cholesterol has on your health.

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What Are Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are fat molecules that have no double bonds between carbon molecules because they are saturated with hydrogen molecules. They are a fat with a triglyceride molecule containing three saturated fatty acids. All carbon atoms in the fatty acid chains of saturated fats are connected by single bonds. Most fats derived from animal sources are saturated fats. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature. Fats in food are always a mix of different types of fatty acids. When people say saturated fat, they really mean the saturated fatty acids in the particular fat source.

Although saturated fats are often thought of as a group, there are many different saturated fats, and each has different uses in the body and potentially different health effects.

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Can Endurance Athletes Have High Cholesterol

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High cholesterol in endurance athletes is possible. However, the opposite is usually true in very active individuals.

Typically, regular aerobic exercise increases HDL, or good cholesterol, and decreases LDL, or bad cholesterol. These effects vary depending on a persons health, their diet, and the type of activity they do.

However, high levels of training combined with a high fat ketogenic diet may produce different results.

A 2018 study compared ultra endurance runners consuming low carbohydrate, high fat diets to those consuming high carbohydrate diets. The researchers found that total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol were significantly higher in the low carbohydrate diet group. They also had lipoprotein profiles consistent with higher insulin sensitivity.

Despite their high levels of exercise, they still had higher cholesterol levels.

The researchers said one possible explanation for this may be that athletes adopting ketogenic diets experience changes in their livers cholesterol pool. This means they then maintain greater circulating cholesterol levels.

Laboratories measure cholesterol in a lipoprotein panel test that shows a persons cholesterol levels in mg/dl.

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The Good News For Endurance Athletes On The Cardiac Front

Before you get too spooked by these findings, bear in mind that there is also some good news for endurance athletes on the cardiac front. For one thing, its clear that regular exercise protects you from heart attacks over broad time frames for example, over the course of a year regular exercisers will have fewer cardiac failures than their sedentary counterparts. Also, some studies have not linked extremely strenuous exercise with cardiac damage: for example, when sports medicine specialists at the University of California studied 23 ultramarathon runners who completed the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run, a rugged race through the Sierra Mountains over steep terrain and through temperature extremes, they were unable to find any race-related cardiac damage .

The 23 runners completed the 100-mile race in an average time of 23.5 hours, with a range of 18.9-27.1 their ages ranged from 29 to 62 and all but three were men, none with a history of heart disease. Although all of the subjects suffered massive skeletal muscle damage during the competition , not a single runner exhibited heightened cardiac troponin levels after the extremely prolonged exertion was over.

Reasons For Hypercholesterolaemic Profiles In Lc Athletes

The hypercholesterolaemia observed in LC athletes could be partially explained by dietary factors including greater intake of saturated fat and cholesterol , and lower intake of fibre . Meta-analyses indicate that higher intake of saturated fat and cholesterol and lower intake of fibre are associated with increased blood cholesterol. However, the predicted increase in blood cholesterol from these dietary factors, even if viewed collectively, falls short of explaining the significantly higher blood cholesterol levels in LC athletes. We observed significant associations between dietary cholesterol, saturated fat and fibre intake with blood cholesterol measures, but their individual role is impossible to ascertain from correlations and the high degree of inter-relation among dietary nutrients.

There are common polymorphisms in successful endurance athletes that might contribute to a hypercholesterolaemic profile in the context of a ketogenic diet. For example, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor- coactivator 1 polymorphisms are related to exceptional endurance capacity and cholesterol response to dietary fat. Additional research is necessary to determine the influence of genetic variation as a contributor to the hypercholesterolaemic response to ketogenic diets.

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Cardiovascular And Circulatory Systems

When you have too much LDL cholesterol in your body it can build up in your arteries, clogging them and making them less flexible. Hardening of the arteries is called atherosclerosis. Blood doesnt flow as well through stiff arteries, so your heart has to work harder to push blood through them. Over time, as plaque builds up in your arteries, you can develop heart disease.

Plaque buildup in coronary arteries can disrupt the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle. This may cause chest pain called angina. Angina isnt a heart attack, but it is a temporary disruption of blood flow. Its a warning that youre at risk for a heart attack. A piece of plaque can eventually break off and form a clot or the artery may continue to become narrowed which can fully block blood flow to your heart, leading to a heart attack. If this process occurs in the arteries going to the brain or within the brain it can lead to a stroke.

Plaque can also block the flow of blood to arteries that supply blood to your intestinal tract, legs, and feet. This is called peripheral arterial disease .

Diet And Body Composition

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While your age, sex, and training background have some clear effects on your body composition, none of them affects it more than your diet. This is largely due to energy balance which leads to either storing energy as fat or maintaining a balance between food intake and energy usage. After all, eating more energy than you use leads to gaining weight, and vice versa. Understanding the relationship between individual energy need and energy usage is the key to ideal body composition. This will also help you to either lose or gain weight depending on the needs of your sport.

While some foods may help build more muscle and others can contribute to fat mass, the most important thing to remember is maintaining a proper daily calorie intake. This means that if you want to stay in the same physical shape, you should eat the same amount of calories you use on a daily basis. Eating too much or too little can result in significant negative health effects.

If you want to change your body composition, you should try to maintain a gradual 200-300kcal surplus or deficit per day over a long period of time. This means that you dont need to starve yourself and you can still enjoy a few cheat meals every now and then.

Your training goal should not be in reaching a certain body type. Its the performance that matters – not looks.

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Strike A Few Yoga Poses

After all this talk about aerobic exercise and lifting weights, it may seem odd that yoga would show up on the list. After all, yoga is mostly stretching, right?

Studies show, however, that yoga may reduce risk of heart disease. In some cases, it may directly affect cholesterol levels.

Researchers reported in the Indian Heart Journal that a three-month yoga program helped reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. It also improved HDL cholesterol levels in diabetics. The participants practiced for about one hour a day.

In a large study review published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, those who regularly practiced yoga showed significant improvement in LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and blood pressure over those who didnt exercise.

Age And Body Composition

As your metabolism slows down as you grow older, your body composition will naturally go through some physiological changes. One of these is an age-related loss of lean muscle mass, function, and quality known as sarcopenia. Some studies have stated that you lose as much as 3-5% of overall muscle mass every decade after the age of 30. Typically sarcopenia speeds up around the age of 75, but can also start sooner or later. Of course, this is heavily related to your level of activity and diet.

Having less metabolically active muscle tissue also means that youll have a higher percentage of fat in relation to your overall weight. This can slow down your metabolism even further. On a positive note, these effects can be prevented or even reversed with well-planned weight training and the right diet.

Another thing to keep in mind is that bone density tends to naturally decline as you age. This is due to reduced physical activity and the bodys tendency to reabsorb calcium and phosphate from the bones instead of keeping the minerals in the bone. Additionally, lower levels of testosterone in men and decreased levels of estrogen in women during menopause are both significant causes of bone loss. As the bones lose their mineral density, they also become more frail, making them more prone to fractures.

The ideal body composition depends on your sport and playing position.

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Most Any Exercise Will Do If You Do It Often

All of these exercises are helpful for reducing cholesterol and protecting you from cardiovascular disease. You can choose which is best for you based on your overall health, joint health, and lifestyle.

There are other options, as well. If you play tennis or dance regularly, youre likely to be expending about the same energy as someone who walks briskly or runs. The important thing is to get in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily, with resistance training two times a week. Then add in more throughout your day when you can. Wherever you are, get up and move!

Sex Differences In Body Composition

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Your sex also has a significant impact on body composition, especially when it comes to body fat. The reason for this is that women tend to naturally carry more fat due to reproductive reasons a higher amount of body fat helps prepare for pregnancy and nursing. These physical changes often appear during and after puberty.

While essential fat values vary between sexes , your genes ultimately determine where most of this fat is stored. Interestingly, there seems to be more variability among women whether they carry subcutaneous fat around the hips and thighs or in the upper body. On the other hand, men usually have more fat around the trunk and the abdomen , which is proven to have a more negative impact on health.

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