Here is a round-up of some educational sessions covered byWholeFoods editors.

In a session sponsored by Natreon, Chandan K. Sen, Ph.D., from The Ohio State University, spoke about the pathways that increase muscle size that are naturally engaged by exercise. He states that there could be certain nutrients in foods that exaggerate these pathways for more efficient muscle gain. His group has conducted research on a branded purified shilajit (PrimaVie from Natreon), which was found to induce muscle steroidogenic pathways. A group of 30 sedentary pre-obese to obese adults took 250 mg of PrimaVie twice daily for 10 weeks. Muscle biopsies were taken before the intervention as well as after 10 weeks on the supplement,  both before and immediately after treadmill exercises. Bloodwork was also taken. His analysis determined that components of PrimaVie “filled in” exercise-induced damage and had a huge effect on collagen.

An inspirational keynote address was delivered by Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind mountain climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest. He said,“It’s a struggle to live a no-barrier life and to define it and embrace life on the edges…It’s downright terrifying.” He says what defines us is how we climb back up when life knocks us down, and suggests that we “focus on a unifying vision not individual goals.” He added, “Every great ascent starts with vision.”

In a talk hosted by North American Herb and Spice Company called, “Supporting Bone Density: The Novel Powers of Wild Spice Extracts,” Cass Ingram, D.O., spoke about how wild spice extracts and beta-caryophyllene support healthy bones and bone density. He made the point that wild oregano is an “amazing source of calcium” that works synergistically with other components to benefit bone density.

In a session sponsored by Carlson Laboratories, Mark Davis, N.D., founder and medical director of Good Life Medicine Center and Bright Medicine Clinic in Portland, OR, discussed probiotics use in a clinical setting. Davis, whose focus is on gastroenterological health, explained that research suggests the use of probiotics at high dosages for acute diseases shows great promise. In particular, Davis said that probiotics can ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and even promote and maintain remission from ulcerative colitis. However, probiotics will not benefit those suffering from Crohn’s disease and, in fact, one strain may even cause harm.

MegaFood held a talk in which Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., fellowship director at the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine, and author of Fortify Your Life, made the case for dietary supplements as crucial to combat nutrient deficiencies in at-risk populations. Food insecurity, abundance of processed food along with a lack of available fresh food in many places, and obesity contribute to the growing problem of American children growing up with suboptimal levels of vitamins and minerals. This is a social justice issue, said Low Dog, that must be addressed.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine May 2016