Food & Supplements That May Increase Melanin Production Part 2

Melanin is a pigment that is responsible for the color of our skin, hair, and eyes. It is produced by cells called melanocytes, which are found in the skin, hair follicles, and retina of the eye. Melanin plays an important role in protecting the skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, as it absorbs and scatters UV radiation. People with darker skin have more melanin, which helps to protect them from the sun’s damaging effects.

There are a number of foods and supplements that may help to increase melanin production in the body. However, it’s important to note that there is limited scientific evidence to support the use of these products for this purpose, and more research is needed. Here are some examples of foods and supplements that may potentially increase melanin production:

  1. Folate-rich foods: Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is necessary for the production of DNA and RNA, which are the building blocks of cells. Some studies have suggested that folate may help to increase melanin production in the skin. Foods that are high in folate include leafy green vegetables, legumes, and fortified grains.
  2. Copper-rich foods: Copper is a trace mineral that is important for the production of melanin. Foods that are high in copper include seafood, nuts, and seeds.
  3. Vitamin D: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It is also thought to play a role in melanin production. Vitamin D can be synthesized by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, and it can also be found in certain foods, such as fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified dairy products.
  4. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate): EGCG is a type of catechin, which is a type of antioxidant found in green tea. Some studies have suggested that EGCG may help to increase melanin production in the skin.
  5. L-tyrosine: L-tyrosine is an amino acid that is necessary for the production of melanin. It can be found in protein-rich foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products.

It’s important to note that while these foods and supplements may potentially increase melanin production, they are not a substitute for sunscreen and other forms of sun protection. Exposure to UV radiation is the most common cause of skin cancer, and it’s important to protect your skin from the sun to reduce your risk of skin cancer. If you are concerned about your skin’s melanin production, it’s best to speak with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Foods and Supplements That Lower LDL Cholesterol (Bad Cholesterol)

Exercise daily and eat healthily! Only what type of foods and possibly supplements can be taken to target “bad” cholesterol, LDL-low density lipoproteins?

For starters to lower LDL Cholesterol levels it’s important to have a diet that includes a variety of foods that provide soluble fiber.

Here are many of the foods that contain a good amount of soluble fiber.

These foods should be added often and rotated for variety.

* Oatmeal

* Barley

* Flaxseed

* Hazelnuts

* Sunflower seeds

* Black beans

* Kidney beans

* Lima beans

* Brussels sprouts

* Orange

* Asparagus

* Broccoli

* Turnips

* Pear

* Peach

* Apples

* Figs

* Nectarines

* Guavas

* Apricots

* Sweet potatoes

* Carrots

* Avocados

* Whole wheat bread


Phytosterols are plant sterols or stanol esters, which are naturally occurring compounds found in plants that are similar in structure to cholesterol found in humans. When consumed in the foods you eat, they compete with cholesterol for absorption in the intestine. This can lower the cholesterol levels in your blood, especially the LDL cholesterol that may clog your arteries.

The foods containing Phytosterols are commonly fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, whole grains, soybeans, mushrooms, lentils, and nuts. Many of these are also foods that contain soluble fiber.


To benefit from garlic you will need to daily eat a clove of raw garlic, chewed or crushed. If it’s difficult for you to chew it, you may blend it up to add to your food, but it must be raw.

Black garlic is shown to have the best properties for eliminating lipids retained in your arteries.



A soluble fiber used primarily to add bulk in order to form healthy stools. Comes in powder and pill form. Have with plenty of water or may cause discomfort.


The recommended daily allowance is 14 milligrams for women and 16 milligrams for men. Ask your doctor if this is something you need and how much they recommend.

May cause skin itching and flushing, nausea, and more.


The current body of research has consistently shown that supplementing 2 grams of phytosterols per day can reduce your LDL cholesterol by anywhere from 8 to 10%. However, most can meet these goals by increasing their intake of phytosterol-rich foods and reducing saturated fats.

Side effects, if any, tend to be mild and may include constipation, nausea, upset stomach, heartburn, flatulence, and the discoloration of stools. Phytosterol supplements may reduce the effectiveness of some cholesterol-lowering drugs. Speak to your doctor to see if you should take Phytosterol supplements.


Research studies with garlic involving both animals and humans suggest that garlic can lower cholesterol levels.

Garlic is one of the most widely purchased herbal supplements used to lower cholesterol levels.

In most of the studies that produced cholesterol-lowering results, about one-half gram or one gram of garlic was consumed daily.

In order to lower LDL Cholesterol or maintain safe cholesterol levels be sure to exercise regularly and consume whole natural foods while limiting processed food and alcohol. Have annual blood work done to know your total cholesterol and that your LDL Cholesterol is in an optimal range.

The foods and supplements provided can help you on your healthy journey. As always have a conversation with your doctor if you’re concerned about your health.

Food & Supplements That May Increase Melanin Production Part 1

Why would you want to increase melanin? Well, research has found that melanin may help protect the skin from dangerous cancer-causing UV rays. By increasing melanin, you may potentially block processes in the body that lead to skin cancer.

How great would it be if we could consume specific foods and supplements that can increase melanin?

Sadly, there are no well-published studies yet that isolate a specific nutrient and provide evidence that it directly increases melanin. However, some studies would suggests antioxidants may help heal and protect the skin resulting in an increase in melanin after its been damaged by UV rays.

Micronutrients like flavonoids or polyphenols, which come from the plants we eat, contain powerful antioxidants that may indirectly increase melanin production.

Consuming antioxidant-rich foods may be our best defense against harmful UV radiation. Foods such as dark leafy greens, dark berries, citrus fruits, and colorful vegetables are known to provide a variety of antioxidants.

Supplementing with some vitamins and minerals may also help. Vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C are important antioxidants that provide protection for the skin. However, there aren’t any studies that prove a link to any specific vitamins and minerals that increases melanin production. Most evidence is anecdotal at this time.

Most studies would suggest that any nutrients that increase melanin production would do so by helping you care for the health of your skin and result in a reduced risk of skin cancer.

Read Part 2

Foods and Supplements for Liver Support

First, it’s important to note that no food or supplement alone is known to reverse existing liver damage, and it will not cure infection from the hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus.

The following foods and supplements have been shown to support liver function:


Blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries.




Beets and beet juice.

Brown rice.









Prickly pear.



Fatty fish; Salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout.

Olive oil.

Nuts such as Brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, and almonds.

Cruciferous vegetables such as brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Teas; Green Tea, Mint Tea, Turmeric tea, Ginger tea, and Chamomile tea.

Lemon added to water or tea.

Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and arugula.

Egg whites.


Milk thistle (silymarin).

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC).



Omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamin E.

Folic acid.



If you are concerned about your liver health consult your doctor.

8 Ways to Recognize Overtraining

Overtraining is a common problem faced by athletes and exercise enthusiasts. It occurs when an individual trains too hard, too frequently, or for too long without sufficient rest and recovery. This can lead to physical and mental fatigue, decreased performance, and an increased risk of injury.

Here are some signs and symptoms to watch out for that may indicate you are overtraining:

  1. Decreased performance: If you notice a sudden drop in your performance, such as slower running times or decreased strength, it could be a sign of overtraining.
  2. Increased fatigue: Feeling tired and exhausted all the time, even after a good night’s sleep, could be a sign of overtraining.
  3. Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep could be a result of overtraining.
  4. Decreased motivation: If you find it hard to get motivated to train, or you’re just not enjoying your workouts as much as you used to, it could be a sign of overtraining.
  5. Persistent muscle soreness: Sore muscles after a hard workout are normal, but if the soreness persists for several days or weeks, it could be a sign of overtraining.
  6. Increased risk of injury: If you find yourself getting injured more often, it could be a sign that your body is not recovering properly due to overtraining.
  7. Decreased immune function: Overtraining can weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to illness.
  8. Mood changes: Overtraining can lead to irritability, depression, and a lack of enjoyment in activities that were previously enjoyable.

To prevent overtraining, it’s important to listen to your body and give it the rest and recovery it needs. This means taking rest days, getting enough sleep, and fueling your body with proper nutrition. It’s also important to vary your training routine and incorporate different types of workouts to prevent boredom and allow for adequate recovery.

It’s also a good idea to track your workouts and pay attention to any changes in your performance or recovery. If you notice any of the signs and symptoms of overtraining, it’s important to reduce the intensity or frequency of your workouts and give your body the time it needs to recover.

In conclusion, recognizing the signs of overtraining is crucial for maintaining optimal physical and mental performance, preventing injury, and ensuring overall well-being. By paying attention to your body’s needs and incorporating adequate rest and recovery into your training routine, you can avoid overtraining and continue to enjoy the benefits of regular exercise.


Powerlifting is a strength sport that involves three main lifts: the squat, bench press, and deadlift. It is a popular choice for those looking to increase their overall strength, build muscle mass, and improve their athletic performance. If you are new to powerlifting and want to get started, this beginner’s guide will provide you with the essential information you need to know.

Before diving into the specific lifts, it is important to have a solid foundation of proper form and technique. This will not only help you lift more weight safely, but also ensure that you are targeting the correct muscle groups and getting the most out of each lift.

One of the best ways to learn proper form is to seek out a qualified coach or trainer who can provide guidance and critique your technique. You can also find instructional videos online or attend a powerlifting class at a local gym. It is worth investing the time and effort to learn proper form from the beginning, as it will pay off in the long run and reduce the risk of injury.

Once you have a good understanding of form and technique, you can begin incorporating the three main lifts into your training routine.

The squat is a compound exercise that targets the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. To perform the squat, you will need to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on the barbell. Lower your body by bending your knees and hips, keeping your chest up and your back straight. Push through your heels to return to the starting position.

The bench press is another compound exercise that targets the chest, triceps, and shoulders. To perform the bench press, you will need to lie on a flat bench with your feet flat on the ground and your hands gripping the barbell. Lower the bar to your chest, then push it back up to the starting position.

The deadlift is a compound exercise that targets the entire posterior chain, including the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. To perform the deadlift, you will need to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands gripping the barbell. Lift the bar off the ground by extending your hips and knees, keeping your back straight and your shoulders over the bar. Lower the bar back to the ground by reversing the motion.

It is important to start with a weight that you can handle safely and gradually increase the weight as you become stronger. It is also essential to warm up properly before each session to prevent injury and improve performance. This can include dynamic stretches, foam rolling, and lighter lifts to get the blood flowing and muscles activated.

In addition to the main lifts, it is also beneficial to incorporate accessory exercises into your training routine to target specific muscle groups and address any imbalances. This can include exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, rows, and leg press.

As you progress in your powerlifting journey, it is important to track your progress and set goals for yourself. This can help keep you motivated and provide a sense of accomplishment as you see your strength increase. You may also want to consider competing in powerlifting meets to test your progress and compete against other lifters.

To sum up, getting started in powerlifting requires a solid foundation of proper form and technique, incorporation of the main lifts into your training routine, and the inclusion of accessory exercises to target specific muscle groups. It is also important to track your progress and set goals for yourself as you progress in your journey. With dedication and consistency, powerlifting can be a rewarding and enjoyable way to improve your overall strength and athletic performance.

Paleo Diet Review


The Paleo Diet, also known as the Stone Age Diet or the Caveman Diet, was first popularized in the 1970s.  It is based on the book The Paleo Diet written by Loren Cordain Ph.D. who argues that we need to eat wholesome, contemporary foods from food groups that our ancestors during the Paleolithic era ate.  From roughly 2.6 million years ago to the start of the agricultural revolution, about 10,000 years ago, our ancestors were hunter-gatherers that ingested foods such as fresh meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthy oils, and by doing so their health thrived.


Besides freeing you of a multitude of chronic illnesses and diseases, eating a high-protein, high-fruit, and vegetable diet with moderate to high amounts of fat, with increased quantities of healthful omega-3 and monounsaturated fats, can help you lose weight.  However, if employing this diet to lose weight, you’ll also need to ensure that the protein you ingest has two to three times the thermic effect of either fat or carbohydrates.  In English, this means the protein source has to be able to rev up your metabolism so weight loss occurs.  Another benefit of eating more protein is that it will also help to curb your appetite, a common complaint of those trying to lose weight.


Cordain argues decades of research support the position that hunter-gatherers thrived and were typically free from chronic illnesses and diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease (heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis), Type 2 diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, etc.) and osteoporosis.  Returning to such a diet will not only provide a myriad of health benefits but also assist those looking to lose weight.

Program Overview

Against a modern backdrop, the Paleo Diet looks to mimic the types of foods that people prior to the Agricultural Revolution ate.  The emphasis is therefore on eating lean meats, seafood, fresh fruits, and vegetables that are high in beneficial nutrients like soluble fiber, antioxidant vitamins, phytochemicals, omega-3, monounsaturated fats, and low-glycemic carbohydrates).  Program followers are encouraged to replace existing dairy and grain products in their diet with more nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables.  

Plan followers can eat lots of fresh lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.  Eggs, nuts, seeds, and healthier oils such as olive and coconut oil are allowed.  Forbidden foods include any proceeds foods, wheat, dairy products, grains, and legumes.  Also say goodbye to refined sugar, potatoes, salt, and refined vegetable oils like canola.  

Plan Strengths

The recommendation to eat unlimited fruits and vegetables as your source of carbohydrates may provide a low-glycemic index (the rise in blood sugar and insulin levels will be slow or limited).  Excessive jumps in insulin and blood sugar levels have been linked to Metabolic Syndrome – obesity, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, etc.   

The Paleo Diet is high in fiber, protein, and omega-3 fat content, which also helps prevent Metabolic Syndrome.  The high soluble-fiber content of the diet tends to also improve most ailments of the gastrointestinal tract.  The high omega-3 fat content helps to improve many of the related inflammatory diseases as well.

Plan Weaknesses

Outside of Dr. Cordain’s research, there have been only a few small controlled trials that have focused on short-term weight loss.  Those results have not proven impressive.  Critics of the plans point out that restricting entire food groups make any diet difficult to follow for any length of time.  And, while the diet does cut out sugary, fatty, and processed foods, nutritionists point out that you can still do so without eliminating whole food groups.

For some dieters, the cost of eating lean meats, fish, and fresh vegetables may be prohibitive.  Another difficulty lies in picking out lean meats.  Diet followers unfamiliar with the right cuts of meat could easily end up with cuts that are high in artery-clogging LDL cholesterol and saturated fat.  Unfortunately as whole grains, oats, beans and other legumes that are a great source of fiber have been cut out of the diet plan, the ability to lower and/or moderate cholesterol becomes more challenging.

Finally, the plan is not viable for vegans and vegetarians as it is impossible to follow the Paleo Diet without incorporating animal food (meat, seafood, and eggs) into your diet.


The premise of cutting down/out refined foods, trans fats, and refined sugar, from any diet is a sound one given the huge body of research that links these transgressors to a multitude of health concerns.  However, there are other ways to accomplish these tasks that do not require eliminating entire food groups (legumes, whole grains, and dairy).  Food groups that research has shown to have beneficial health benefits.  Additionally, outside of Dr. Cordain’s research, there are too few studies indicating any long-term benefits for this particular plan.

The information provided here is for educational or informational purposes only.  Dave DePew does not endorse any of the programs/services reviewed here.  

Additional Resources

Paleo Diet official website, 

U.S. News, Paleo Diet – What You Need to Know,

WebMD, the Paleo Diet,

10 Tips to Beating The Cold and Running Faster & Further by Spring

The leaves are falling.  Daylight’s in short supply, and the chill in the air has most runners thinking of hibernating. While you might need to trade in your running shorts and tank tops for wool wicks, tights, and jackets, the colder weather shouldn’t keep you from doing what you love.

Feeling as if you are standing still or moving backward in your training can make the winter season a very frustrating time for runners, but it doesn’t have to be.  Here are a few tips to help you maintain your running stride. 

1. Running Accountability

Complacency rears its ugly head all too often. Even the most dedicated runner has likely struggled with this on occasion, but learning to hold ourselves accountable takes perseverance and practice.  It requires establishing a system of measurement and assessment, writing down your goal, and listing out the tasks that you must perform daily.  

It also means establishing a set of rewards and consequences based on your ability to meet those tasks. Then, find a coach who can check in with you regularly and ensure that you are meeting your goals, performing your tasks, and facing the required consequences, if necessary.

2. Outside Our Comfort Zone

Have you felt stuck in your running routine?  Maybe you are bored or frustrated that you don’t seem to be progressing.  What you need are new running possibilities and that is exactly what running in colder temperatures will provide you.   Your immediate reaction may be to continue doing things the way you usually do and to stay in your comfort zone.  It’s comfortable there, right?  However, the possibilities that making this minor change in your running routine could potentially set the stage for major fulfillment.  After all, it is sometimes the smallest shift in our thinking or routine that can bring about the biggest opportunity.  

3. Dressed for Success

Runners often hesitate to enter winter racing events for fear of injuries. However, this means missing out on one of the major benefits of cold weather race events — faster times.  We run a lot faster in the cold than we do during the hot-summer month. 

Cold weather running requires the proper attire. How you dress for the elements can make or break your cold weather runs. The right cold weather gear can make all the difference in the world.

4. Visibility 

With the drop in temperature comes to a decrease in daylight hours and nighttime visibility becomes essential. Reflective materials that are sewn into clothing, shoes with attachable lights, a headlamp, and even a flashlight will not only ensure greater visibility but safety as well.

5. Warm-up Inside 

Have you ever taken a frozen steak from the freezer and tapped it on the counter? It’s stiff and not pliable. Your muscles in the cold are just like that steak so don’t expect that when the weather is cold outside you can do a proper warm-up outside. Spending 10-15 minutes doing some dynamic stretching and calisthenics indoors will decrease your risk of injury and make the run much more enjoyable.

6. Weather Ready 

The only thing more unpleasant than being unprepared for foul weather is burning up from too many clothes. Design your run with the intention of shedding layers as you go.  Avoid clothing that is cumbersome or that cannot be easily removed. Must haves include t-shirt, long sleeve T-shirt (polypropylene or capilene), wool wicks, running tights, and a light jacket. 

What you will and won’t likely need:


  • Underwear
  • T-shirt
  • Long sleeve T-shirt (polypropylene or capilene)
  • Wool wicks
  • Running tights 
  • A light jacket


  • Face mask
  • Beanie Scarf


  • Full-length thermal underwear
  • Wind pants
  • Sweater

7. Work Capacity Over Speed or Mileage

Runners want to run faster. The best way to improve our run time is to run more, but running more is not viable for those who find winter running challenging. You have other options. When you start to find it difficult to take to the road the answer isn’t simply to jump on a treadmill. While that is an option, it doesn’t offer nearly the overall advantages that cross-training will provide you. The best option for you would be to participate in an indoor boot camp or go to a gym that specializes in metabolic conditioning. 

Metabolic conditioning allows you to perform shorter more intense aerobic training combined with various forms of resistance training. These sessions range from 30 to 60 minutes and can be structured with free weights, body weight, and kettlebells. 

Many runners who incorporate cross-training and metabolic conditioning have seen increases in their run times even while decreasing their mileage. Cross-training also maintains consistency and provides a much higher level of intensity than running. It also strengthens your core and builds more explosiveness in your lower body through activities like plyometrics, resistance training, and sprints. Some facilities even offer incline speed training and sled drags.

8. After the Run

Once you finish your run, it is important to remove all wet, sweaty clothing. If your running gear mostly consists of clothing made from materials such as polypropylene and capilene, you will be more comfortable as these tend to pull the moisture away from your body while still allowing you to remain warm and dry as possible. 

9. Running Buddies 

Chances are you can’t always count on a running partner unless your running partner is a man’s best friend. However, if you establish your own monthly running event, you can meet up with other runners.  A great bonus is that it also adds another level of accountability. Tip:  to challenge yourself, invite runners who are faster pace-setters than you. Pushing yourself against those who are stronger runners has a way of making you better.

10. Travel Runs

When the weather is at its worse and outdoor runs are limited, it might just be time to head to warmer climates. Vacationing in warmer climates provides a great opportunity to meet new people and explore new running treks.  


Winter months don’t need to be a setback, but you have to be prepared for what the months ahead will bring.

Manage your expectations, begin slowly and over time you can easily build up.

The Essentials of Hiring a Personal Trainer

Hiring a personal trainer is often a step in the right direction if you want to lose weight or get healthy.  A good trainer can put you on the path to success, keep your feet to the fire so to speak, and definitely help make meeting your fitness goals a little easier. However, finding and choosing a personal trainer isn’t always that easy.

When looking for a personal trainer, you’re likely to have several questions, and that’s great.  You should be asking as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with that individual.  Be sure to ask that trainer about their:

  • Education – Are they certified through a reputable personal training organization?
  • Experience – What type of experience, particularly that relates to your specific goals do they have?  Have they ever personally struggled with weight concerns?  
  • Communication – Are they easy to talk to?  Can they explain things to you in a way you understand?  How long do they generally take to return a phone call or email?
  • Style – What type of style do they use when training?  Are they vocal preferring to push their clients like a drill sergeant or are they more laid back and warm and fuzzy?  
  • Results – How successful is their track record with past clients?  

Once you’ve worked through a Q&A session, you should have a good idea as to that individual’s personality.  So, the final question you need to ask yourself is, “Do we make a good match?”  

 While the relationship you form with your trainer isn’t a friendship, you will be spending a lot of time with them, and you want to be sure you can get along well enough.

Three Concerns When Hiring a Trainer

Not all personal trainers are created equal.  That’s why it is so important that you do your due diligence before signing up with a personal trainer.  Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel comfortable.  If the trainer refuses to answer, or you don’t like what you’re hearing, move on to the next candidate!

When hiring a personal trainer, you should ask:

What are your qualifications and certifications?  Primarily, you need to determine just how competent they are.  The unfortunate fact is that anyone can set themselves up as a personal trainer.  There is no mandated comprehensive testing or licensing required for personal training.  Furthermore, training for personal trainers can range from professionals who have a degree from an accredited university to others who have taken a basic fitness course spanning a couple of weeks.  


What type of training methods do you use?

A red flag should go up if the trainer you are interviewing suggests they use the same “tried and true” method with every client.  Methods should vary depending on a variety of factors such as your health needs and fitness level, as well as the trainer’s experience and preferences.  

What are your policies and procedures?

Admittedly, this isn’t the part most people want to discuss but it’s important.  Any personal trainer should provide you with their written policy outlining their services, costs, contract length, and cancellation procedure, regardless if you ask for one or not.  Always be suspicious of any business that won’t provide this information.