Tag Archives: supplements

Health, Muscle & Mercury – Elimination

By Wolfgang Unsoeld

*Consult with your health practitioner prior to implementing any supplement program*

How Do I Get Rid of It?

Heavy metals get detoxified in two phases:

1. Mobilize the heavy metals from their storage sites.

2. Eliminate them for the body.

The second phase is the most challenging, because there are numerous methods for mobilizing heavy metals, however, only a few for elimination.  Elimination is key, as just mobilizing them, will lead to their redistribution, which may lead to more severe symptoms that before.

Elimination

Chlorella algae is the chief elimination agent. One reason is  its high chlorophyll content. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color and has a high affinity for heavy metals.  Over 80% of heavy metals get eliminated through the intestines and this is where chlorella does the main part of its job.  In the intestines, chlorella binds to toxins, preventing their mobilization to other parts of the body.  Additionally, chlorella cleanses the intestinal wall of other toxins such as mold and unhealthy gut bacteria, allowing healthy gut bacteria to flourish.

Additionally:

Chlorella also recycles metallothionein, a protein made in the liver, that mobilizes heavy metals.

Chlorella is the only plant source rich in methylated B12, which supports methylation and mobilizes heavy metals.

Chlorella contains magnesium malate, which chelates aluminum.

There are two forms of chlorella: pyrenoisdosa and vulgaris.  There are key differences between the two forms and having a skilled and experienced muscle testing practitioner to determine which form you need, is vital.

Chlorella vulgaris has a high affinity for lead, especially if located in the lead hotspots, which are the occipital lobe and liver.

A good starting dosage for chlorella is twenty tabs, three times daily.

Common detoxification side effects include: nausea, headaches and diarrhea.  To decrease the severity of the side effects, increase elimination by increasing the dosage of chlorella.

What Else?

Andrographis is an antiviral/microbial herb which up-regulates metallothionein production.

Homeopathics are inferior as a sole detoxifying agent, since they only mobilize heavy metals.

High levels of various forms of magnesium are required, mainly to support the liver, which is the main filtering system of the body.

Magnesium bisglycinate is preferred by the liver

Magnesium aspartate increases cell membrane health and permeability, which facilitates removal of toxins.

High levels of B vitamins and other methyl donors are required to ensure proper methylation, mobilization and excretion of heavy metals.

Modified citrus pectin (Pectasol is the only brand recommended) is one of the best sources of fiber, especially for the elimination of mercury from the microvilli of the intestines.  Other forms of fiber such as psyllium husk, rice bran, chia seeds also support detoxification.

Vitamin C, should never be taken at the same time as chlorella, as it unbinds mercury form chlorella and increases retoxification.

A high quality multi-vitamin should be taken at all times, ideally, a few weeks prior to beginning a detoxification program, to decrease the severity of side effects.  The product of choice is MuIti Intense from Charles Poliquin.

Multi Intense tablets are coated copper chlorophyllin, a form of chlorophyllin which binds to petroleum based products in the colon.

Fish oil, besides its numerous beneficial health advantages, supports detoxification by increasing microcirculation, promoting cell membrane health.

Yin R-ALA, also from Charles Poliquin, strongly supports detoxification while minimizing side effects.

Optimal extracellular electrolyte content speeds up toxin mobilization.  To achieve optimal, alkaline pH levels, consume PHyto Px, Primal Clear Ph and water with fresh lime juice.  Napping after lunch, will help as well.

A diet high in protein, healthy fats and vegetables is crucial and will minimize side effects suck as nausea, headaches and diarrhea.

Amino acids from the proteins you consume will not only support your immune system and liver, but the sulfur compounds that bind to heavy metals for excretion.

L-glutamine, aloe vera and prebiotics will ensure GI tract integrity, ensuring proper heavy metal excretion into the small and large intestines.

What about Cilantro?

If you’re typed “heavy metal detoxification” into any search engine, chances are you’ve come across numerous sources recommending cilantro.  Unfortunately, cilantro is not a chelation agent.  Its main task, is to open the blood brain barrier.  It utilized incorrectly, it will lead to a redistribution of heavy metals into the brain, increasing the risk of diseases tremendously.

The use of cilantro is recommended once the toxic body burden has been eliminated.

A Case Study

Client: Male, amateur athlete. 28 years old.   Height: 179 cm. Weight: 73.5 kg.  Body fat: 15.8%.

Complaints: Low attention span, trouble concentrating, strength plateau in the gym and poor training recovery.

Supplement protocol:

3 x 25 tablets chlorella pyrenoidosa

3 x 4 tablets Multi Intense Iron Free

8 capsules Ubermag 1E – with dinner

6 capsules Yin R-ALA – with dinner

4 tablets Metallic Detox – with breakfast for the first two weeks

1 tablespoon Omega 3 liquid – breakfast

10 capsules D3 Excellence – twice a week

Client kept his training and food the same as before the detox. He trained four times weekly, for one hour sessions.  Nutrition plan was gluten-free.  Breakfast was meat or eggs.

After eight weeks, client increased bodyweight to 79.9 kg and reduced body fat to 8.4%.

Additionally, his sleep, attention span, mental clarity and energy levels improved tremendously.

Far Infrared Saunas

Far infrared sauna therapy is extremely effective for removing mercury through the skin. It does this through the process of sweating.  Once the blood vessels dilate, allowing blood to flow to the surface of the skin, the sweat flushes toxins from the blood and is excreted through sweat glands.

Far infrared saunas have shown to penetrate skin tissue up to 3 cm.

When utilizing far infrared saunas, wipe your skin frequently to avoid re-uptake of the toxins through the skin and lungs.

Additionally, ensure to always supplement with fiber such as chlorella or Pectasol, to ensure proper excretion of heavy metals that have mobilized into the bloodstream.

Three Reasons Why Heavy Metal detoxification Make You Stronger and Leaner

1. Insulin sensitivity: Insulin receptors are made from amino acids, especially the sulfur containing amino acid cysteine. Imagine the insulin receptor as a crane in a harbor, that loads glucose from the dock – the bloodstream – and unloads it onto a ship – the muscle. Now mercury attaches to that crane and demobilizes. Which means  glucose gets transported into the muscle at a smaller rate. This will translate to difficulty in gaining lean muscle mass and reducing body fat stores, despite adhering to a low carbohydrate diet.

2. Metabolic rate: As a defense mechanism, the body reduces body temperature to reduce or slow down the toxic effect of heavy metals.  This reduction in body temperature leads to a considerable drop in metabolism.  The lower your metabolic rate, the slower your gains in the gym and in the mirror.

3. Muscle recruitment: One of mercury’s main effects of the central nervous system, is the destruction of tubulin, an integral part of the signal transmission of nerves.  In simple terms, the greater the damage mercury has produced to your nervous system, the less ability you will have in recruiting muscle fibers.

Mercury can also reduce levels of acetylcholine, the main neurotransmitter of the central nervous system and necessary for signal transmission at the neuromuscular junction – from nerve fibers to muscle fibers. Which is obviously essential for the recruitment of muscle fibers.

Number One Rule of Toxicology

You have to remove the source of the toxicity

If you have amalgam fillings, consult with a biological dentist, one who is skilled in their proper removal.

What Your Dentist Needs to Know about Heavy Metals

Amalgam fillings consist of 50% mercury

Mercury vapors evaporate daily in small dosages and accumulate in the tissue.

Mercury is the most dangerous neurotoxin known to man.

Improper removal of amalgam fillings will cause acute toxicity and side effects.

When removing amalgam fillings, detoxification remedies must be utilized pre-, intra- and post drilling.

The best agents for dealing with acute toxicity due to improper amalgam filling removal, are chlorella algae, oral DMSA and intravenous vitamin C.

Dental assistants have the highest rate infertility rates of all medical professions.

The mouth is a great mirror for your overall health. In Chinese Medicine there are 4 main areas on the body that mirror every organ and gland – the mouth is one of them. That means you have to get out the toxins of your mouth to get them out of your body.

Three Take Home Points

1. If you have a toxic heavy metal burden, detoxify

2. Every person on the planet is exposed to heavy metal toxins

3. If you have a toxic heavy metal burden, detoxify

Acknowledgments go to Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, who has incorporated mercury detoxification as one of his main treatment modalities in his practice for over 25 years, with an outstanding success rate, for answering my numerous questions.   I would also like to acknowledge Dr. Dominik Nischwitz for contributing to this article.

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Health, Muscle & Mercury – The facts

By Wolfgang Unsoeld

Mercury: The Worst of The Worst

1. Mercury is the most toxic non-radioactive metal on the planet.

2. There is no safe level of mercury in humans.

3. Mercury shuts down your body’s ability to defend itself from heavy metal toxicity, by preventing the elimination of ALL heavy metals.

The Two Main Sources of Mercury Exposure

1. Amalgam fillings: your own and those of your mother’s

2. Vaccines

Amalgam fillings contain about 50% mercury, making it the #1 source of exposure for humans.  The main concern, is the mercury which continuously leeches out of the fillings.  This leaching of mercury vapors gases is accelerated by chewing gum, drinking hot beverages and eating acidic foods.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that mercury from amalgam fillings of pregnant women, has accumulated in the brain, kidneys and liver of their fetuses.  The mercury exposure from the mother continues after birth through breast-feeding.  It is estimated that a fetus absorbs up to 75% of the mother’s toxicity.

Thimerosal, an inorganic mercury compound, is utilized as a preservative in vaccinations and pharmaceutical products.

What About Fish?

While a valid concern, the amount of mercury found in seafood, pales in comparison to the mercury exposure from amalgam fillings.  For example, eight amalgam fillings excrete approximately 14-23 mcg of mercury with a twenty-four hour period.  Whereas a single serving of fish, contains 0.5-1.5 mcg of mercury.

Additionally, it is necessary to consider the bioavailability of the types of mercury from fish vs. amalgam fillings.

The mercury found in fish is mostly absorbed in the intestines, with an absorption rate of 7%.  However, mercury vapors from amalgam fillings has a bioavailability of 78%.

Mercury and Your Body

The human body has an innate ability to protect itself from toxic exposure.  When experiencing a toxic load, the body normally stores toxins, including mercury, in metabolically inactive tissue: body fat stores and fibrous tissue.  But for numerous reasons, such as genetics and developmental factors, toxins can spill over into organs, mainly the brain, kidneys and liver.

Additional Health Concerns:

Mercury destroys the blood brain barrier, a physical and chemical protective barrier, which prevents substances in the blood stream from entering the brain.

Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt MD, one of the leading heavy metal toxicity and detoxification experts, has stated he has yet to encounter a patient diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, or Parkinson’s disease, without possessing a high level of heavy metal toxicity.

One way on which mercury depresses the immune system is by damaging heathy intestinal flora.  This disymbiosis can eventually lead to antibiotic resistance or leaky gut syndrome.

Mercury, known as the “great imitator,” is extremely difficult to diagnose, because it mimics symptoms of every disease known to man.

Mercury alters the methylation cycle, which is the “on/off switch” that enables the human body to adapt and respond to environmental changes. This cycle is the most important pathway for disease prevention.

Mercury, when stored in large quantities in muscle tissue, can leads to the development of trigger points and phantom pain.

Heavy Metal Toxicity Test

Blood, Stool, Urine: poor indicators of toxicity levels because mercury is primarily stored in bodily tissue and therefore cannot be accurately measured by blood, stool or urine testing.

Hair Analysis: a useful tool for determining the efficacy or progress of a heavy metal detoxification.  However, while there currently isn’t any heavy metal test that determine total body toxicity, hair analysis can reveal the amount of heavy metals that have ben circulating in your bloodstream approximately three months prior to testing.  Hair analysis is a valid test for acute toxicity, but not for determining total body burden.

What About the DMPS Challenge Test?

DMPS is the most commonly utilized intravenous chelation agent.  DMPS binds to heavy metals and then aids in their excretion from the body through the kidneys.  However, DMPS does has its setbacks.  Following a DMPS challenge test, the patient’s urine is collected for a twenty-four hour period and is then analyzed to determine heavy metal levels.  Issues arise however, when you realize that urine, is not the body’s preferred pathway of excreting heavy metals.  Additionally, once your kidneys are flooded with a certain level of mercury, they become inflamed, which shuts down the elimination process.  This can result in a false negative test result for heavy metals, despite carrying a toxic load.

While intravenous DMPS is one of the preferred methods of heavy metal detoxification, it mainly chelates mercury from the endothelium. And does not cross the blood brain barrier, making it ineffective for detoxifying the brain.

Mercury and Your Hormones

Your hypothalamus and pituitary glands, with their high fatty acid content, attracts lipophilic heavy metals such as mercury.  Since these organs are the main players in the endocrine system, any disruption in their functioning, will disrupt the production and functioning of all your hormones. Since both glands are located outside the blood barrier brain, they are even more vulnerable to mercury damage.

Mercury and Glutathione 

Glutathione, the “master antioxidant,” is the main antioxidant in the body.  The primary function of glutathione is protecting cells against the destructive effects of free radicals and detoxifying substances such as environmental pollutants.  Mercury, however, disrupts glutathione production, leaving individual cells defenseless, allowing it to enter the cell’s nucleus.  Once mercury enters the nucleus, cellular energy production ceases and the cell dies.

Interesting Facts

Amalgam fillings have been banned in Russia for the past twenty years, but are still utilized in the U.S.

Nigeria, possessing one of the highest rising rates of autism. One major reason is that the vaccinations used have a much higher content of the ethylmercury containing preservative thimerosal due to the climate in africa.

The highest suicide rate among medical professionals belongs to dentists, whose profession requires them to be one of the largest users of inorganic mercury.  Handling amalgam fillings, exposes dentists to mercury vapor, which explains why their mercury toxic levels average at least two times that of controls.

Thyroid issues? Mercury toxicity must be suspected, as it can induce both hyper and hypothyroidism, the difference is in the dosage.  Large dosages hyperthyroidism, while smaller dosages induce hypothyroidism by interfering with the manufacture of T4 and the conversion of T4 to T3.

Electromagnetic fields potentiate mercury toxicity.

Testosterone has a synergistic effect with mercury, helping to explain why  autism averages a 4.3:1 male-to-female ratio.

Zinc has a synergistic and potentiating effect with mercury.  Zinc should never be supplemented while undergoing a heavy metal detoxification.

Aspartame, an artificial sweetener, also potentiates the damage induced by mercury.

The Cat and Dog Story

The quote by Aristotle “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” holds especially true for heavy metal toxicity.  While individual heavy metals will wreak havoc in your body, their negative effects to your health are greatly magnified when combined together.

An excellent metaphor for the synergistic effects of heavy metals comes from Dr. Joachim Mutter from the University of Freiburg:

“Imagine you own a store which sells porcelain goods. One night, before leaving, you decide to leave your dog in the store overnight.  The next morning, when you return, you find your dog broke some items while strolling through the store.  That evening, you decide to borrow your neighbor’s cat and leave it along with your dog in the store overnight again. Guess what’s going to happen?”

The metaphor illustrates the disastrous effect multiple heavy metals, when introduced into the human body, can produce.

One often cited research study demonstrated that when rats were given LD1 (short for lethal dose 1, the dosage where 1 out of 100 rats died) of mercury, along with the LD1 of lead, produced a synergistic effect where all 100 rats died.

Mercury, Taxis, High Blood Pressure and Chronic Fatigue

Imagine a red blood cell was a taxi cab, carrying four passenger oxygen molecules, driving through the congested streets of NYC.  Now, as the oxygen molecules are taking in the tourist sights, mercury begins to invade the city.  Since mercury has a higher affinity for red blood cells than oxygen, mercury kicks the oxygen molecules out of the cab.  And to make matters worse, once mercury has made itself comfortable inside the cab, it will never leave.  Now imagine this occurring on a larger scale, to the point where all the taxis in NYC are carrying around mercury molecules.  Day after day, as oxygen molecules get displaced,  oxygen transport throughout your body diminishes.  Since the human body is an adaptive organism, it begins to  manufacture new cabs/red blood cells, however this will ultimately lead to major traffic jams in the city.  At this point, there are too many taxis on the streets, loaded with mercury passengers.  The longer this continues, the greater the odds there will be signs of chronic fatigue.  To make matters worse, the traffic jams in the streets, leads to elevated blood pressure.

The standard approach to fixing the issues of chronic fatigue and high blood pressure symptoms, is prescription medication.  However, the smart approach, is to lick the mercury molecules out of the taxis and make room for healthy, nourishing oxygen molecules.

Coming on Friday, part 2 of Health, Muscle & Mercury, where Wolfgang reveals a mercury elimination supplement protocol
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The Supplement Files: Triathlete Edition

Q: What’s the quickest way to get on Wolfgang’s sh*t list?

A: Ask him how many treadmills he has in his gym.

 New Year’s is a time of celebration, of saying good-bye to the past and looking forward to new beginnings.  However, in order for me to truly start off 2012 with a clean slate and conscience, I must first come clean.  There’s something which I have been keeping from you, a secret which only a select few outside of my family know.  Here it is:

I am a former endurance athlete.

Whew…I feel better getting it off my chest.  Actually, that wasn’t as bad as I thought!  But seriously, in a community that’s well aware of the negative physiological effects aerobic activity induces on the central nervous system and overall health, strength coaches are frequently surprised when they learn of my long distance running past.

My initial exposure to long distance running, came out of family tradition.  My forefathers, originally from Northwestern Mexico, were a group of indigenous people with a rich history of long distance running.  When my grandparents migrated to Texas, they made certain to impart their traditions to their children and grandchildren, especially that of endurance running.

At the age of twelve, I started accompanying my father on fifteen mile training runs.  At the age of seventeen, while on a summer break from school, I decided to go on a fifty mile run.  To demonstrate how much endurance running was a regular part of my life, the only preparation I took, was to measure a ten-mile section of road that traversed through the center of my home town, McAllen, TX.  My intentions were to run this ten-mile section of road back and forth, a total of five times.  I selected this particular ten-mile section because it contained a large concentration of fast food restaurants, which I planned to use for restroom and water breaks.  Yeah, I was that naive.  Who needs a support team, hydration and medical stations when you have the testicular fortitude of a seventeen year old?

At the twenty-mile mark, I stopped into Shipley Do-Nuts, a local donut shop, for three donuts.  I was hungry.

At the forty-seven mile mark, my shoes fell apart.  Literally.

While I was used to running on dirt roads and fields, the forty-seven miles I had logged, represented the longest I had run on paved roads and sidewalks.  I overestimated the abuse my running shoes could endure and had to resort to wrapping the shoelaces around the shoes, to keep the soles from falling off.  Knowing, that at least for that day, my quest for running fifty miles was done, I began my three-mile walk home.

My goal for sharing this story with you, is not to impress you, but to impress upon you, what little we knew about sports nutrition and optimal recovery techniques back in the 80’s.  Back them, my normal post-run recovery consisted of a three-mile walk, to “flush lactic acid” from my muscles and a 32 oz lemon-lime Gatorade.  And let’s not forget my three donut race snack.

And now, over 30 years later, we haven’t fared much better.  Although we currently have a wealth of scientifically validated information concerning optimal recovery techniques, specifically concerning the use of nutrition and supplements, the information goes largely ignored.  For instance, one popular triathlete sports nutritionist states “Chocolate milk is a great recovery drink.”

We have put men on the moon, we have eradicated numerous diseases such as polio and we have even invented materials with sufficient tensile strength to contain Sofia Vergara’s ample bosom, but the best we can offer athletes for their exercise recovery is chocolate milk?

Being a firm believer of the adage “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem,” I am here to offer my solution to the recovery quandary, specifically for endurance athletes.

Enhanced Recovery for Improved Performance

 In any sport, where you not only compete against other competitors, but against the clock, speed is king.  Mere seconds can make the difference between setting a PR or your friends lamenting “There’s always next year!”  Unfortunately, athletes frequently overlook the single most important determining factor of improved performance: recovery.

Meet Hans Seyle

Hans Seyle, a Hungarian endocrinologist, devised the term “General Adaptation Syndrome,” which explains how the body reacts to both physical and non-physical stress.  Seyle’s research demonstrated that when introduced to a stressor, the body initially adapts to the demands placed upon it.  For athletes, the initiating stressor can be:

  • a new training program
  • increase in volume/mileage
  • increase in training frequency
  • training in unfamiliar weather conditions

But if the stressor continues uninterrupted, without allowing complete recovery, then the body’s resources are depleted to the point where it can no longer maintain normal function.  Athletes know this stage as overtraining and it usually manifest as a depressed immune system and/or injuries.

The key therefore, when seeking consistent improvements in sports performance, is the proper management of your fatigue.

The following is a supplement program I designed for a Ironman Triathlon top 35 finisher.

 Ironman 2.0 

 In a poll I came across a few years ago, athletes from numerous sports were asked where they turned to for answers, when they had questions concerning sports nutrition and supplements.  The results were surprising.  Over 45% of athletes who participated, stated they turned to websites, an addition 35% stated they turned to magazines, and the remaining 19% stated they relied on books for information.  I say this is surprising because, in reality, anyone can set-up a website and become an instant authority on any subject in less than thirty minutes…just ask any Crossfitter.  The internet, which makes it easy and in some cases anonymous, to disseminate information which may be false or biased is no longer the sole domain of commercial enterprises.  As for magazines being reliable sources of information, good luck!  It’s common for magazines to publish articles with a commercial slant, especially towards their paid advertisers.  Additionally, a client recently sent me a copy of an article written my a Registered Dietician, who wrote, that if you ate in accordance with US government guidelines, there wouldn’t be a need for supplementing vitamins/minerals.  Oh, really?  Well, let’s see what science and peer-reviewed studies have to say about this:

 “Only supplementation was able to significantly boost nutrient levels and confer beneficial effects on general welfare, physical performance, and resistance to infections. Therefore, it appears that nutritional supplements are advisable for everyone…food is too weak to replete depleted cells and bodies.”

Advances in Therapy, Volume 24, Number 5/September, 2007

“Suboptimal folic acid levels, along with suboptimal levels of vitamins B6 and B12, are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, neural tube defects, and colon and breast cancer; low levels of vitamin D contribute to osteopenia and fractures; and low levels of the antioxidant vitamins (vitamins A, E, and C) may increase risk for several chronic diseases.  Most people do not consume an optimal amount of al the vitamins by diet alone…it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.”

Fairfield, Kathleen M., Fletcher, Robert H., The Journal of the American Medical Association, June 2002

 The above mentioned studies, specifically mention that foods are too weak to nutritionally support the “average person.”  What does this mean for the athlete, specifically the endurance athlete?

Here endeth the lesson, now let’s get to the good stuff!

The Good Stuff

The key for optimal recovery, is not to wait until you’ve finished your training to begin your supplementation.  By utilizing supplementation, prior, during and after your training or competition, you minimize the following negative effects:

  • catabolic state
  • elevated cortisol
  • muscle fiber damage
  • stressed adrenals
  • depleted glutamine stores
  • oxidative stress

The Supplement List

 Vitamin C

While everyone is familiar with its positive effects on the immune system and antioxidant capabilities, vitamin C has also been shown to curtail the negative physical and psychological effects of long-term exercise.

During exercise, the body releases the stress hormone cortisol, which activates the “fight or flight” response.  One of cortisol’s primary functions is to introduce glucose from muscle tissue into the blood stream where it can be utilized for immediate energy production.  However, cortisol has other effects such as elevated blood pressure, reduced immune system activity, excessive muscle breakdown and affects calcium balance, which become of concern if levels are allowed to remain chronically elevated.  Fortunately, numerous peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated vitamin C blunts the release of cortisol, allowing the body’s physiological processes to return to normal, by enabling a relaxation response which initiates the recovery process.

As for its immune boosting properties, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, involving ultra marathoners, demonstrated that vitamin C prevented the development of upper respiratory infections.

One of vitamin C’s lesser known functions, might interest all athletes: the maintenance of connective tissue.  Vitamin C assists numerous enzymes involved in the synthesis and maintenance of collagen, which keeps cartilage, ligaments, tendons strong.

Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of carnitine, which transports fatty acids into mitochondria, where it is utilized for energy production.

To minimize any potential gastrointestinal distress associated with higher dosages, a buffered form of vitamin C should be utilized.

Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs are comprised of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine.  They are essential because the body cannot produce them and must come the foods you eat.  BCAAs have shown to increase exercise endurance, especially exercise conducted in high temperatures and altitudes, and counter fatigue induced declines in mental functioning.

However, the primary benefit of BCAAs is their ability in decreasing muscle fiber breakdown during exercise.  The less muscle fiber damage produced during training and competition, the quicker your recovery.

Additionally, studies conducted with triathletes at the 1997-98 Sao Paulo International Triathlon, BCAAs inhibited the reduction of blood glutamine levels.   This was a crucial finding, as a decrease in blood glutamine concentration is an indication of immune system suppression.  In the studies, triathletes who supplemented with BCAAs, maintained their blood glutamine levels and considerably reduced their incidence of infections, compared to those triathletes given a placebo.

Glutamine

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body and provides numerous benefits for athletes seeking optimum performance and recovery:

  • reduces inflammation in muscle tissue, thereby reducing soreness and speeding recovery
  • preferred fuel of immune system cells, especially during prolonged, intense exercise
  • prevents the breakdown of muscle fibers
  • increases muscle cell hydration
  • required for the production of glutathione, known as the “mother of all antioxidants.”

Under normal physiological conditions, the body is able to produce sufficient glutamine to meet its daily needs.  However, during intense exercise, your muscles release waste products such as lactic acid and ammonia, which hastily deplete glutamine levels, up to 60% of your body’s supply.  And to further complicate matters, these waste products continue to diminish glutamine stores for hours after the completion of training or competition.

In a study involving marathon runners, only 19% of the athletes who consumed glutamine post race, experienced any illness, compared to 51% if athletes who consumed a placebo.

Due to its abilities to both strengthen the immune system and accelerate recovery, glutamine is a must for any endurance athlete serious about their health and performance.

Greens Powders

The human body is designed to function within a specific pH balance (acid/alkaline).  For optimal health and athletic performance, a slight alkaline balance is required to ensure the acidic metabolic waste produced by cells is removed from the body.  This is vital, as an acidic environment promotes diseases and of particular concern to athletes, systemic inflammation.

Unfortunately for athletes, exercise, particularly endurance exercise, rapidly shifts your body towards an acidic state. If this acidic state continues unfettered, your muscular contractions will become progressively weaker, severely handicapping your physical capabilities.  Furthermore, increased acidity inhibits energy transfer between cells.

Greens powders, due to their vegetable and fruit ingredients, shift the acid/alkaline balance towards the a performance enhancing alkaline state.

Whey Protein

Due to their near obsessive focus on carbohydrates, the majority of endurance athletes are protein deficient.  This deficiency is the first issue I focus on resolving when hired for consultations, as protein is mandatory for the repair and maintenance of muscle tissue.  Even a slight protein deficiency will severely prolong recovery, increase fatigue and suppress the immune system.  Additionally, a whey + carbohydrate beverage significantly increases muscle glycogen replenishment rates over a carbohydrate only beverage.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the most utilized macronutrient among all athletes.  Unfortunately, they fail to make use of them in an advantageous manner.  To ensure maximum uptake by the muscles, a carbohydrate based beverage must achieve a 6-8% concentration.  Anything exceeding the recommended concentrations will fail to match bodily fluid osmolality, risking stomach distress due to slowed gastric emptying.

Electrolytes

Endurance athletes, due to their constant need for hydration, run the risk of hyponatremia or “water intoxication”, an electrolyte disturbance in which sodium concentrations in the blood are lower than normal.  While it used to be an extremely rare occurrence, it’s becoming increasingly prevalent as newcomers are competing in endurance events, specifically those utilizing a “lottery” entry system.

To minimize their risk of hyponatremia, endurance athletes should keep the amount of plain water consumed to a minimum.

The Magic Is In the Details

 The following event day supplement program was designed for a male, elite triathlete weighing 165 lbs/75 kg.  Over a three-month period, we experimented with dosages, relying on objective and subjective measures of performance, perceived effort, fatigue and mental status.

Thirty Minutes Pre-race

75 g carbohydrates

25 g whey protein

20 g glutamine

20 g BCAAs

1 tb greens powder

1 g vitamin C

300 mg electrolyte mix

Transition 1

1 g vitamin C

Bike 

Per water bottle:

70 g carbohydrate

20 g whey protein

15 g glutamine

15 g BCAAs

2 tsp greens powder

300 mg electrolyte mix

Transition 2

2 g vitamin C

Post Race

150g carbohydrates

30 g whey protein

20 g glutamine

15 g BCAAs

1 tsp greens powder

Consume every 2, 4 and 6 hours post-race.

You probably noticed this supplement protocol, omits any pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all, multi-ingredient supplement formulas.  While the manufacturers of these formulas claim ease of use as one of their main benefits, their true motive is one of profit.  Mutli-ingredient formulas have a higher profit margin than individually packaged supplements.  However, only by combining individual supplements to create a formula for your individual needs, can you truly maximize your recovery and performance.

Conclusion

 Being a triathlete requires considerable investment, both in time and financial resources.  By taking proactive measures,  you ensure the numerous hours you spend pushing yourself physically, as well as the money you’ve spent on bicycles, wetsuits and running shoes pays off in the form of improved strength and efficiency.  It’s important to realize the same physical training which improves your performance, also depletes your physical and mental resources.  If you don’t fully recovered from today’s training session, then you won’t gain anything from tomorrow’s.  And to continue training in a fatigued state, will only lead to overtraining, injuries, or plateaus in performance.

Remember, proper supplementation will not only considerably improve your performance, but ensures you derive maximum benefit from your $5,000 bicycle.

Wolfgang nicknamed me “Slow Twitch.”

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