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  • heart health

    Heart problems run in my family...yet from about the age of 20 (right around when I started college) I was young/stupid and drank a lot, smoked weed, and took lots of stims including EC (bronkaid, caffeine). My grandfather died of heart disease and doc says my father is at serious risk because of his blood pressure. I am 26 and now that I don't play my sports competitively in college, I would like to focus more on my general health especially heart health. I am just looking for tips on what to do and what no to do.

    1. I pretty much don't drink alcohol anymore. I'll have a few drinks couple times a year for birthdays and other special occasions, but my days of getting smashed are over.

    2. I quit smoking weed cold turkey this year and I'll never touch the stuff again. Thankfully, I have never picked up smoking cigs.

    I still love the powerlifting / bodybuilding lifestyle of training hard, eating right, and staying disciplined at 10% bf, but I have a few questions...

    1. I'm still on the EC stack which means I get a hefty dose of caffeine daily. Do you recommend I drop all stims / caffeine and limit myself to 1 cup of coffee per day? I ask because I was reading a couple of people saying that prolonged use of bronkaid (not pure ephedrine hcl) caused respiratory problems because of Guaifenesin in it. Also, I have read that strong stims and a lot of caffeine is bad for your cardiovascular health in general. What other popular supplements should be avoided and which are recommended (like fish oil)?

    2. Nowadays I mainly just lift heavy and not much running at all. Should I weight train a bit less to fit in running? If so, sprinting or good pace jogs?

    3. Any additional tips on general hearth health is appreciated.

    Thanks

  • #2
    I wonder if long term use of bronkaide will also impact metabolism. Good questions.
    2014 KC All Star Championships 5th novice mw
    2015 KC All Star Championships 3rd open mw, 3rd masters 40+
    2016 Branch Warren 1st masters 40+, 3rd open mw

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    • #3
      Ubiquinol
      SAVE 5-10% @ TRUENUTRITION.com Use code: LG100

      - Success is the best revenge

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      • #4
        If you have a family history of BP issues, you really, REALLY need to stop the ephedrine. One of the worries about stims is damage to heart and blood vessels over long-term usage.
        Ph.D., Theoretical Physics '16
        kind of a douche

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sammich View Post
          If you have a family history of BP issues, you really, REALLY need to stop the ephedrine. One of the worries about stims is damage to heart and blood vessels over long-term usage.
          is bp issues genetic? my friends and i ate a 28 inch pizza one time and measured bp before and after and it didnt really change. mine was a consistent 124/78 or something. another guy's went down afterwards. we are relatively healthy exercising individuals ~25 yo if it matters

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          • #6
            Cardio would be beneficial ....
            SAVE 5-10% @ TRUENUTRITION.com Use code: LG100

            - Success is the best revenge

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sammich View Post
              If you have a family history of BP issues, you really, REALLY need to stop the ephedrine. One of the worries about stims is damage to heart and blood vessels over long-term usage.
              Yes, family history of BP issues... I did not know stims caused permanent damage to the blood vessels long term. I always thought I would be OK because I watched what I ate and exercised vigorously unlike the other men in my family.

              What kind of damage are we talking about... limited blood flow, increased chance of heart attack, etc? Is any of this permanent? What sort of tests should I get at the docs to test if I had caused any serious damage? Also, what can I do immediately to reverse some of this damage besides dropping all stims?

              EDIT: BTW, I am fully committed to my health after seeing the risks that the older men in my family are facing. I am ready to quit not only stims, but caffeine altogether cold turkey if that would be beneficial. I was considering cutting caffeine completely anyway since it seems to have a negative effect on my erections. In your opinion, are people better off cutting caffeine COMPLETELY out of their lives? There seems to be far more negatives than positives when it comes to caffeine consumption.

              PS I'm not lazy with research, but I find the more I read, the more confused I get about caffeine as there are so many differing opinions. I am asking the vets here since I KNOW how knowledgeable the experienced members are.

              Thanks for your time.
              Last edited by jwy5034; 04-21-2015, 08:58 PM.

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              • #8
                I'm no expert but I do know that the stims tend to effect your heart because they make the muscles work harder to pump blood faster. It would make sense to me that you should supplement with ubiquinol or CO-Q10. I'm also a big fan of magnesium. Specifically citrate formulation. You will see other posts on threads where I suggest magnesium because it has so many benefits. Do some research on it. It can also dramatically improve your sleep quality if taken before bed. I take 600mg 45 minutes before I sleep and I'm relaxed and require less sleep a night. Most people are deficient in magnesium even though the body requires very little of it.

                I believe in cardio whether you are in an off season phase or prepping for a show. A lot of weightlifters who don't do much (or at all) cardio have relatively high resting heart rates. Those who do cardio in conjunction with lifting tend to have much lower resting heart rates. I prefer a medium intensity steady state cardio but also do HIIT occasionally. Both have their place.

                Obviously a diet high in omega 3s will make a huge difference. We tend to get a lot of omega 6s in our diets already and those are pro inflammatory. 3s are highly anti inflammatory. Doing all you can to reduce systemic inflammation can go a long way when it comes to heart health. Actually, a hefty majority of diseases are related to inflimmation. So you could be preventing other things if you focus on a diet that is anti inflammatory.

                True Nutrition Discount: SRC745
                *2006 USAPL Washington State Powerlifting Championships- 1st, 14-16 age-148lb class -2nd Men's Open 148lb class
                •2x WABDL Worlds Runner Up - Teens 16-17 165lb
                *Former WABDL Teen 16-17 165lb World Record Bench Holder (Washington state record) of 396.6lbs

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jwy5034 View Post
                  Yes, family history of BP issues... I did not know stims caused permanent damage to the blood vessels long term. I always thought I would be OK because I watched what I ate and exercised vigorously unlike the other men in my family.

                  What kind of damage are we talking about... limited blood flow, increased chance of heart attack, etc? Is any of this permanent? What sort of tests should I get at the docs to test if I had caused any serious damage? Also, what can I do immediately to reverse some of this damage besides dropping all stims?

                  EDIT: BTW, I am fully committed to my health after seeing the risks that the older men in my family are facing. I am ready to quit not only stims, but caffeine altogether cold turkey if that would be beneficial. I was considering cutting caffeine completely anyway since it seems to have a negative effect on my erections. In your opinion, are people better off cutting caffeine COMPLETELY out of their lives? There seems to be far more negatives than positives when it comes to caffeine consumption.

                  PS I'm not lazy with research, but I find the more I read, the more confused I get about caffeine as there are so many differing opinions. I am asking the vets here since I KNOW how knowledgeable the experienced members are.

                  Thanks for your time.
                  Here is the damage I know they can cause:

                  -To blood vessels, the damage is from chronically elevated blood pressure. They lose elasticity over time, greatly increasing the risk of strokes or aneurysms. This would be a permanent change. This a gradual thing brought over time, so I sincerely doubt you've gotten any damage from it. But all the same, it might be wise to go ahead and knock off the stims if you're already thinking you might be at risk. And chronically high BP can cause all sorts of other problems, too, as I'm sure you know.

                  -To the heart specifically, stimulants can actually mess with the electrical signals that keep it beating regularly. They can induce (or make more likely) things like fibrillations. As far as I know, this risk goes away when you stop taking the stims. This is where some of the deaths from ephedrine use have come from -- people who had pre-existing heart conditions took it, and it essentially gave them a heart attack.

                  Are these things likely? Not really, but it's all about probability. If you're already at higher risk than other people (as your family history suggests), then it might be time to re-think the elevated risks that the stims might bring on.

                  And about caffeine, I would think that's mild enough to not have to drop entirely. Just don't go crazy with it, like taking 600mg in a day or something.
                  Ph.D., Theoretical Physics '16
                  kind of a douche

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                  • #10
                    collabera - Other guys like Lg1 also suggested Ubiquinol, so I will definitely look into that. I have already been taking 400mg of magnesium before bed for awhile now for sleep, so hearing you say that it also helps with heart health is awesome.

                    sammich - EC / Stims will be stopped immediately. Even if you say it's not very probable, any chance of getting a heart attack makes my decision very easy. From my research and your advice, my plan will be to drop all stims and limit myself to about 200-300mg caffeine all coming from raw cacao, matcha green tea, and 1 cup of coffee pre workout.

                    One last question...is yohimbine HCL considered a stim? That's about the only thing that gets me to single digit bf, but again, if it affects the heart in any way, I'm chucking that as well.

                    Thanks for the help guys, much appreciated.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jwy5034 View Post
                      collabera - Other guys like Lg1 also suggested Ubiquinol, so I will definitely look into that. I have already been taking 400mg of magnesium before bed for awhile now for sleep, so hearing you say that it also helps with heart health is awesome.
                      Do a quick search on the benefits of magnesium supplementation. You'll see that it effects heart health in a few ways.

                      Oh one other thing. Stress is bad for your heart lol Try not to worry about heart problems too much.

                      True Nutrition Discount: SRC745
                      *2006 USAPL Washington State Powerlifting Championships- 1st, 14-16 age-148lb class -2nd Men's Open 148lb class
                      •2x WABDL Worlds Runner Up - Teens 16-17 165lb
                      *Former WABDL Teen 16-17 165lb World Record Bench Holder (Washington state record) of 396.6lbs

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Collabera View Post
                        Do a quick search on the benefits of magnesium supplementation. You'll see that it effects heart health in a few ways.

                        Oh one other thing. Stress is bad for your heart lol Try not to worry about heart problems too much.
                        After doing a brief search, I am now raising my dosage from 400mg to 600mg (like you) haha. Do you also take any zinc with the magnesium? Do you find it helps the sleeping even more?

                        Yes, I have learned stress is really underrated when it comes to causing serious illnesses, so I have decided to pick up meditation and yoga. Honestly, I never thought I would do either, but I'm going to give it a shot. I'm thinking positively! Good news is that I am only 26 years young and decided to take care of my heart early, so I wouldn't be surprised if I am healthier in my 30s than now haha.

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                        • #13
                          yoga was one of the best things i starte doing, make sure to do a style that fits as there are many. vinyasa was what i enjoyed, with a tough and knowledgable teacher.

                          something about finishing the session just made me feel 10x better

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jwy5034 View Post
                            After doing a brief search, I am now raising my dosage from 400mg to 600mg (like you) haha. Do you also take any zinc with the magnesium? Do you find it helps the sleeping even more?
                            I don't take any zinc with it but I take zinc during the day. If you're referring to making it like a ZMA product I believe those have to be in specific formulations in certain doses. I notice a difference when using 600mg of citrate compared to 400. I also use 500mg of valerian root extract and 10mg of melatonin.

                            True Nutrition Discount: SRC745
                            *2006 USAPL Washington State Powerlifting Championships- 1st, 14-16 age-148lb class -2nd Men's Open 148lb class
                            •2x WABDL Worlds Runner Up - Teens 16-17 165lb
                            *Former WABDL Teen 16-17 165lb World Record Bench Holder (Washington state record) of 396.6lbs

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LG1 View Post
                              Cardio would be beneficial ....

                              That is overly broad. I have 2 friends who were cardio superstars. They did HIIT, crossfit, etc. but both had major heart attacks while in their late 40's.

                              Between the two of them they visited several cardiac doctors. Here was the COMMON theme. Cardio conditioning and cardio health are NOT synonymous. You can have great cardio conditioning...be able to run a marathon, do wind sprints until the sun goes down, trudge for hours on the stairmaster and you will have great cardio conditioning. That is not cardio health. Cardio health means FREE OF DISEASE. This means minimal plaque build up, low levels of inflammation, no blockages etc.

                              Here is the best way us meatheads can relate. Just because you have OUTSTANDING cardio conditioning it does not mean you have good cardio health. Similarly, just because you have huge bulging muscles does not mean you can bench press more weight than a fat/or small guy who is a powerlifter.

                              The best example was Jim Fixx who was a world class runner (cardio king) but still died of blockage at a relatively early age. Simply stated: Cardio conditioning and cardio health do not go hand in hand.
                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Fixx
                              Family Guy but also; Old School SoCal, punk rock loving, powerlifting, hardcore gym rat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLQ73EutoY

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