Dr. Kevin Sprouse – Tracking Health Metrics for Elite and Recreational Athletes

Dr. Kevin Sprouse – Tracking Health Metrics for Elite and Recreational Athletes

Dr. Kevin Sprouse is trained in both emergency and sports medicine, making him one of the most sought after physicians working with some of the top athletes around the world. His patients have included many elite, Olympic and professional endurance athletes, including Tour de France cyclists. Utilizing cutting-edge and routine tests, he is able to help tailor protocols to his patients, which now also include recreational athletes. His focus is to help them to optimize, not only their physical endurance and strength, but their recovery as well.  

In this episode, Dave Korsunsky, founder of Heads Up, talks with Dr. Kevin Sprouse about exercise medicine for top athletes. You’ll learn how these principles and techniques can apply to recreational athletes and anyone interested in health optimization and performance as a goal.

Tracking health metrics such as blood tests, lactate, HRV, HRV-CV, sleep and more, and pairing it with the Heads Up app, his patients can see for themselves how the metrics they are tracking are affected by the choices they make in training, recovery, sleep, diet and more. If health optimization and performance is your goal, you’ll want to hear how Dr. Kevin Sprouse, who has worked with people who are at the pinnacle of performance in athletics, to learn what really allows them to perform at their best and how that information can trickle down to the rest of us.

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This podcast is brought to you by Heads Up, a web app designed to help you centrally track all of your vital health data. Instantly synchronize your medical records, connect your favorite health devices and apps and use your data to optimize your health!

Click on the button below to start your free 30-day trial. Or, read on for more information about our latest podcast episode!

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In this podcast you’ll learn:

  • How we have a lot of access to data tracking, but not a lot of good ways to correlate it to see what’s actionable data. This is why Dr. Kevin Sprouse is excited to work with Dave and Heads Up to help him holistically manage and interpret his patients’ measurements. “Tools like yours helps us to distill those metrics and helps us to see which ones are useful…without that, it’s a lot of shooting in the dark, a lot of guess and check.” [3:00]
  • This is Dr. Kevin Sprouse’s 7th year at the Tour de France and that he spends 60-100 days a year at professional races with his patients. However, the emergency component (not just the crashes) along with other stuff that comes up (the asthma attacks, stomach pains, etc.) allows him to stay in both sides of the medicine he’s trained in [7:45]
  • How Dr. Sprouse has always enjoyed being in sports – baseball, tennis, basketball, soccer, running, Triathalons, mountain biking, cycling. Yet what made him look deeper into exercise medicine was that it’s a missing piece in most of the medicine in preventative care [8:35]
  • Although he is fascinated by the musculoskeletal injury healing, he’s also interested in using the supportive nutrition and performance promotion to heal his athlete patients. The goal is for them to be resilient and to perform their best [9:35]
  • How metric tracking can help those who have been into sports, yet not seeing their physical body change as they would have expected, can help them identify the areas to tweak to get where they want to be [11:00]
  • Metrics Dr. Kevin Sprouse checks for top elite athletes – physiological levels [12:50]
    • Endurance athletes – physiological markers in a sports lab – VO2 max, lactate (testing with a device that works similarly to a blood glucometer), metabolism, etc.
  • How non-athletes can use the same metrics such as lactate to learn more about their health and their metabolic status (e.g., diet, insulin resistance, etc.) [18:55]
  • Advice for people who work out and eat great, but can’t lose the weight. How doing high-intensity exercise can be making them metabolically deficient. How the solution may be to drop the intensity way down (e.g., from CrossFit to brisk walking) to get them to finally lose the weight [20:20]
  • Discussion on fat-adaptation and when it’s best utilized. And how at the high-level, athletes end up fat-adapted just due to their training schedule. [22:15]
    • How you can go too far with seeking a fat-burning state at the expense of hormones, etc. [24:00]
  • Why fat-adaptation, ketosis, etc is not the goal and that there is no shortcut to get you there super fast [26:20]
  • How you can use tracking to help you figure out what your inputs are that help keep you resilient [27:40]
  • A more in-depth discussion on lactate in high-level athletes [28:40]
  • About the KRAFT insulin test that helps to find undiagnosed diabetes [30:00]
  • That sports are a series of surges and recoveries. Recovery is as important as the performance [31:20]
  • Dave and Dr. Kevin Sprouse discuss mouth breathing vs. nose breathing and strategies to simulate altitude training [33:45]
  • Top labs Dr. Kevin Sprouse likes to run and what he’s looking at with them [36:40]
    • Hemoglobin and hematocrit
    • Ferritin and what anemia of an athlete is defined as
    • Testosterone-to-cortisol ratios
    • Fasting glucose, fasting insulin, cholesterol
    • Thyroid status for hormones
    • Creatinine kinase, ALT, AST, and LDH as acute muscle damage markers
  • Tools that Dr. Kevin Sprouse uses to track data with his patients including Garmin, Training Peaks, Strava, Oura ring, Whoop — all based on the athlete and their tolerances to see their recovery [44:30]
  • How Dr. Kevin Sprouse uses a 3-day vs 45-day HRV, including HRV-CV, with his patients [46:00]
  • More discussion about health metric tracking and how Heads Up can be a great central hub for putting all the pieces you’re tracking together [49:30]

References

Podium Sports Medicine – Dr. Sprouse
The FASTER study
KRAFT Insulin Testing

About Heads Up 

Heads Up is a website designed to empower individuals who want to take a self-directed approach to managing their health. Instantly centralize your medical records, connect your favorite devices and apps (e.g., Oura, MyFitnessPal, Keto-Mojo, FitBit, Apple Health, MyMacros+, Withings and many more) and use your data to optimize your health.

Click on the button below to start your free 30-day trial now!

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3 Keto-Mojo Pro Tips

3 Keto-Mojo Pro Tips

Once you’ve got the basics of using the Keto-Mojo covered, it’s time to start looking at the bigger picture of how your keto lifestyle is affecting your overall health and performance.

1. Ditch the scale

Scales don’t always tell the full story (and they can drive you nuts). Lock the scale away in the closet and use the good ol’ fashioned tape measure!

Pro tip #1: Instead of daily scale measurements, just take a waist circumference measurement once a month. It’s a much more predictable (and lower stress!) way to assess your weight loss.

Optionally record your measurements in your Heads Up account so you can track your progress over time.

In the graph below, our social media manager (Lily) graphed her waist circumference and her glucose-ketone index in her Heads Up profile.

The results speak for themselves as she lost 5 inches off her waist over the course of 14 months!

2. Take the carb-tolerance test

Pop quiz: How high does your blood sugar go after your favorite restaurant meal?

If you don’t know, reach for the Keto-Mojo and test your blood sugar before you eat. Test your blood sugar again 1 hour after eating and again 2 hours after your meal. Record all three numbers.

Pro tip #3: Try to choose meals that keep your post-meal blood sugar below 120 mg/dL (6.7 mmol/L). Learning how to control post-meal blood sugar is a powerful tool in your health arsenal.

You can also record results using the ‘Carb Tolerance Test’ feature so you can keep a journal of which foods work best for your own body.

Click Here for Carb Tolerance Test!

The Carb Tolerance Test is a powerful tool from Heads Up Health
 that anyone can use to optimize their health. 

3. Integrate fasting

There are so many health benefits to both intermittent and prolonged fasting (72 hours or more)! Benefits such as reduced inflammation, insulin, glucose, IGF-1 and helping with metabolic health. Not to mention the potential anti-aging and anti-cancer benefits. [1]

Pro tip #2: Track your glucose and ketones before, during and after you fast. You should see your glucose drop and your ketones rise as you go deeper into the fasted state.

You can also try our Fasting Timer. Record your fasting intervals and graph them alongside your Keto-Mojo readings to master your metabolism.

That’s all for now folks! Hope you enjoyed our tips. For more great information on how to optimize your health, join our FaceBook community, subscribe to our podcast, or hit us up on Instagram.

Ready to start tracking? Start your free 30-day trial (no credit card required) using the button below.

References
[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2673798/

Taking Charge of Your Health with Joel Sprechman –  Crohn’s, Colitis and IBD

Taking Charge of Your Health with Joel Sprechman – Crohn’s, Colitis and IBD

Joel Sprechman is an engineer-turned-health-crusader on a mission to help those struggling with IBD, Crohn’s, and Ulcerative Colitis. Suffering from his own health crisis (after simply eating a homemade oatmeal cookie from his mom), Joel realized that conventional medicine wasn’t the answer to the questions he had. This began his quest to discover his own answers. 

After being sent to a gastroenterologist and being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, and later Crohn’s, Joel Sprechman was given limited options for treatment from mainstream medicine. With an outlook that allowed him the opportunity to think differently, he found his own path. That mission would guide him to start One Great Gut, a foundation to help others see that there are other options available to them, outside of medication and surgery. 

If you’re living with Irritable Bowel Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, or other chronic digestive issues, you’ll want to hear Joel’s journey back to health. Joel keeps it real and recognizes that while there are times for medication, the majority of the improvements over the long term come from diet and lifestyle changes. Learn how alternative therapies, meditation, stress management, and functional testing can help to gain a better insight as to what imbalances are contributing to the symptoms. 

You can find Joel Sprechman and his work at his website www.onegreatgut.com. There is a whole resource section available for you to see just what the options are, as well as a Mastermind group you can apply to join.

Listen in iTunes!

This podcast is brought to you by Heads Up, a web app designed to help you centrally track all of your vital health data. Instantly synchronize your medical records, connect your favorite health devices and apps and use your data to optimize your health!

Click on the button below to start your free 30-day trial. Or, read on for more information about our latest podcast episode!

START TRACKING!

In this podcast you’ll learn:

  • About the community Joel Sprechman has built around people living with Crohn’s that are not using pharmaceuticals to control their symptoms [3:30]
  • How the One Great Gut Health Collection was launched in October 2019 [4:20]
  • Joel’s history of issues since childhood that came to a head in 2001 when he was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis [8:45] 
  • Why Joel now sees his diagnosis as a gift, using it to see when his body is under too much stress [12:25]
  • Joel defines colitis and what can contribute to it [13:30] 
  • Just how much stress affects digestion [14:40]
  • That about 10 million are living with Crohns or colitis and is considered autoimmune [14:50]
  • How inflammation with a gut health condition like Colitis or Crohn’s affects other parts of the body, more than just the colon [15:20]
  • Joel Sprechman and Dave Korsunsky talk more about contributors to developing a disease like Crohns or UC. How root causes can be different for each person [17:15]
  • How Joel is managing his “gift” through natural approaches. Also how Joel believes that conventional medical care is a big reason so many are living with chronic illnesses [20:50]
  • How chronic illness is becoming more and more prevalent. Conventional doctors are working from the “prescribe and perform surgery,” without any emphasis or training on prevention, diet and lifestyle mitigation [22:00]
  • About how ozone therapy and hyperbaric treatment can be really helpful for optimizing health with IBD [23:45]
  • Why slowing down and paying attention to our bodies can help to understand what is happening. This can possibly prevent you from going into a full-blown attack, before realizing you need to course-correct [26:10]
  • How we tend to default to wanting to mask pain through the use of NSAIDs, TV, caffeine, etc. We use this to power through and live in our heads instead of our bodies. This can lead us further down the path to disease, one day waking up to a full-blown autoimmune illness [27:20]
  • Why getting the right type of healthcare provider can help you ask the right questions. This can help you to find out how to properly support your body. [28:30]
  • How do you get started with a functional medicine practitioner for Irritable Bowel Disease or other gut health ailments? [30:00]
  • Joel’s recommendations on where to go to find functional medicine doctors, and how most of them work remotely as well [31:25]
  • What kind of diagnostic testing is helpful that Joel recommends. As well as the at-home tests he recommends utilizing and monitoring [33:15]
  • About Joel’s personal experience with utilizing some of the functional tests before going on a new medication [35:50]
  • How hyperbaric and ozone therapy helps with gut health; rectal ozone therapy can be helpful to someone with a compromised colon; and ozone topicals can be helpful for use in the mouth or even used with fistulas [37:45]
    • There are topical, rectal and IV ozone therapies available for fighting pathogens and invaders to the body
    • Hyperbaric therapy can boost the immune system
  • That CBD and cannabis can be helpful to offset symptoms and get off of pharmaceuticals. Though medical marijuana seems to have a stronger medicinal effect for stress mitigation for most. How a topical marijuana salve can help keep things moving in the gut that can be shut down due to stress [42:50]
  • Regarding hyperbaric therapy – when using just the chamber you have 25% more absorption than without, and if you add a concentrator or mask you can get up to 35-45% high-quality oxygen [45:30]
  • What Joel Sprechman finds to be supportive as a starting point for someone trying to heal. And how you can use personal belief and your intuition to guide you as you experiment with your health [47:05]
  • Fasting and/or elemental or elimination diets can halt things really fast if you’re trying to make a big change quickly; however fasting should be done under the guidance of a physician [47:25]
  • How the elemental diet helps to arrest the progression of symptoms of IBD. And why SCD, paleo, and GAPS can also be great for people who like to cook as well [49:00]
  • More about the summit and interviews Joel Sprechman has conducted that have been very well received with audiences. And how mindset and medication can help to go deeper with the healing capacity [53:10]
  • How Google is censoring information and about the type of information you will find. How to decipher what is helpful and what is not [56:44]
  • More about One Great Gut 2.0 is forthcoming with a lot more great information [58:10]
  • How Joel uses the Heads Up app for tracking his own health and labs after years of using just a spreadsheet [59:10]

References

Institute for Functional Medicine

A4M.com

One Great Gut Mastermind 

Diagnostic Solutions CytoDx

Thryve stool testing

Great Plains Laboratory

Crohn’s and Colitis Summit

About Heads Up 

Heads Up is a website designed to empower individuals who want to take a self-directed approach to managing their health. Instantly centralize your medical records, connect your favorite devices and apps (e.g., Oura, MyFitnessPal, Keto-Mojo, FitBit, Apple Health, MyMacros+, Withings and many more) and use your data to optimize your health.

Click on the button below to start your free 30-day trial now!

START TRACKING!

The Science of Saunas: 10 Proven Clinical Health Benefits

The Science of Saunas: 10 Proven Clinical Health Benefits

What is a Sauna?

Heat therapies have long been used for healing and wellness, dating all the way back to the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Mayans. The sauna is simply a small or large room designed specifically to help you sweat. What’s more, science stands behind saunas, and modern medicine has proven 10 clinical health benefits of saunas that will leave you wanting to get your own sweat on soon.

Different Types of Saunas

Today, saunas are an everyday part of many cultures, from the Finnsh outdoor saunas to the Swedish batsu, the Korean jjimjilbangs, and Japanese sento. Variations of the dry and steam (or wet) saunas, as well as the latest infrared saunas, all offer a variety of health benefits, even after only a few minutes a day of use. Users report that a deep, healthy sweat generally relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, and delivers an overall sense of relaxation and well-being. 

Over the ages, various types of dry and wet saunas have been invented, along with the latest infrared saunas that deliver direct heat to the body versus heating the air and room temperature. 

Here’s a look at the types of saunas to consider as you evaluate incorporating them into your health regimen:

  1. Dry saunas are heated with fire, hot stones, gas, or electricity
  2. Steam saunas generate steam by applying water on the heating element
  3. Infrared saunas use infrared heaters to emit light that delivers radiant heat that’s absorbed by the surface of the skin

Infrared saunas are further broken down into the following types:

  • Near infrared saunas
  • Far infrared saunas (FIR)
  • Full spectrum infrared saunas

Infrared saunas deliver direct heat via the infrared light and at lower temperatures versus dry and wet saunas that heat the air to increase the room temperature. 

What Happens in the Body?

Whatever type of sauna therapy you choose, and regardless of the humidity level, the effects on the body are similar and create a variety of well-documented health benefits, such as releasing the ‘feel good’ endorphins, in addition to widening the blood vessels to improve circulation and blood flow.

Depending on the duration of sauna use, you will see circulation improvements that are similar to the effects of moderate exercise. Your heart rate may increase to 100 to 150 beats per minute while the growth hormone release increases by as much as 200 to 300%. Sauna use can also help improve athletic performance and stamina due to that increase in circulation. 

Still not convinced? Then let’s dive into a few more proven health benefits of sauna use, and how to accurately measure the effects.

10 Proven Clinical Health Benefits of Sauna Use

  1. Supercharge your cell power. Heat has been proven to positively impact your mitochondria, the ‘batteries’ powering your cells, helping your body naturally produce more energy and stay fit. 
  2. Slow down Father Time (aka: aging!). Cell regeneration means you slow the aging process. And if you’re not quite convinced, check out the 20 year study of Finnish men that links two to three sauna sessions per week with a 23% decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. 
  3. Detoxify heavy metals and chemicals. Everyday exposure to potentially toxic heavy metals through a variety of sources means even the most health conscious people still have toxins in the body. Regular sauna bathing helps excrete toxins such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. 
  4. Make your heart happy and healthy. A 2018 study found that sauna bathing four to seven times per week reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by as much as 58%. 
  5. Reduce blood pressure. Sauna heat helps widen blood vessels and improve circulation, which reduces blood pressure. 
  6. Optimize athletic performance. Blood flow improvements from hyperthermic conditioning (heat conditioning) sends more blood to the heart, leading to an increase in plasma and red blood cell volume. That process delivers more oxygen throughout the body, fueling athletic performance.
  7. Improve muscle function and recovery. As more blood flow and oxygen is delivered throughout the body, muscles increase in size and muscle breakdown is diminished. One study showed that two, one-hour sauna sessions for seven days straight increases production of the human growth hormone (HGH) by two to five times
  8. Fuel weight loss. Regular sauna use is shown to regulate the appetite, increase metabolism, and improve oxygen utilization, helping to fuel weight loss along with a reduction in body fat.
  9. Boost brain function. The brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF increases with regular sauna use, activating the growth of new brain cells, better maintaining existing cells, and improving neuroplasticity, the brain’s process for forming new neural connections. 
  10. Ignite your immune system. Heat exposure from sauna use increases the heat shock protein, stimulating antigen-presenting cells, along with releasing cytokine, thus stimulating the body’s natural immune system. 
  11. BONUS BENEFIT: improve emotional health and mood. When your body and brain are healthy, detoxified, and destressed, and you’ve boosted endorphins, your overall mood and emotional health improves.

Who Should Sauna, and Who Shouldn’t…

Due to the extreme heat, certain people should avoid sauna use of any type, including pregnant women and those with specific health conditions such as low blood pressure and heart conditions. As with anything, it’s always wise to consult your medical practitioner before beginning sauna treatments.

How to Track Your Sauna Health Benefits 

Everyone is unique and may have very different outcomes from sauna use, so track your key metrics before and after use, as well as over a period of time, to understand specifically how sauna use is impacting you.

For example, the Heads Up app gives you a way to enter the type of sauna you’re using, the room temperature, date, and duration. From there, you can check health stats such as blood pressure, heart rate, and more. You may even see improvements in the quality of your sleep over time

Sauna tracking

Ready to get started?

If you’re ready to ‘dive into’ sauna bathing of any kind, grab a 30-day free trial of Heads Up first and decide on some of your goals for sauna use, then monitor your key health metrics before and after. You may also want to monitor various durations and frequencies, and the correlated effects on those same metrics to determine which type of sauna and frequency level is right for you. And as we always say, be sure to consult your health practitioner before starting any new health regimen! 

? Namaste my friends!

– Dave