Antioxidants, Free Radicals, and Sports Nutrition |

As you know, I am a physician. It’s part of my profession to keep abreast of what’s happening in medical /health research. Being retired helps, because doctors simply do not generally have the “extra time” to devote to the scientific literature.But I do. And I love it. I am one of those individuals who really enjoys …brace yourself…chemistry. When I’m done here, you should be excited too, especially if you are interested in sports nutrition and antioxidants, though not necessarily in that order.Sports nutrition is a vast industry with emphasis on optimizing PERFORMANCE. Off hand, I can think of quite a few categories involving sports nutrition:* sports nutrition and supplements for athletes,* sports nutrition and athletic performance,* sports nutrition and body building,* sports nutrition and endurance training,* sports nutrition and special diets in a variety of sports,* sports nutrition and strength training,* sports nutrition for running, jogging, walking, skiing, swimming* There’s even Rocky Mountain sports nutrition* …the list is endless.So far, no surprises, huh? Well, here’s one for you. Did you know that when you exercise intensively you INCREASE the free radical burden in your body? If you’re a serious sports enthusiast, you should know that.But…the real news is what science is now finding out about that free radical burden of yours. You should pay close attention here.Suddenly, chemistry gets real personal.Everyone of us has, what may be called, our antioxidant protective capacity. That means our bodies normally utilize antioxidants to protect us against the harmful impact of free radicals.First of all, what are antioxidants? They are molecular substances which offset free radical damage to the body. Antioxidants, “quench” free radicals (for lack of a better metaphor) neutralizing their damaging effects on the cells of the body.* Antioxidants are found in foods such as cranberries, green tea and even chocolate.* Antioxidants are found in vitamins such vitamin C and E.* Antioxidants are found in carotenoids such as beta-carotene.* Antioxidants are found in many substances supplied by the body such as glutathione.* Antioxidants are found in many herbs and enzymes.The impact of antioxidants is boosted by glyconutrients to offset free radicals in your body…and, as a result of your athletic exertions.Antioxidant capacity must be provided in your sports nutrition regimen or you could be “robbing Peter to pay Paul” with your workouts. As you will see, without a glyconutrional presence in your sports nutrition, the healthful gains made by your physical workouts will be offset by your own free radical burden.Free radicals, sports and sports nutritionFree radicals are those chemical species which contain one or more unpaired electrons, capable of independent existence. They form in the body due to a variety of reasons as offshoots of cellular activity or as products introduced to the body from the outside.As an analogy, think of running a car engine as the cellular production
and the car emissions a the free radical production. The engine produces products which cannot stay inside the car without further damage. They simply must be neutralized and expelled.Free radicals form and cause damage by reacting with many substances in your body. It is estimated that upwards of 200,000 free radical attacks occur in our bodies daily.When free radical damage is done, the body can remove the compounds formed by its cellular repair system. However, if the body cannot handle the free radicals (with antioxidants for example), nor remove the compounds, then disease can be the result.Contrary to popular opinion, free radicals do not circulate throughout the body. The half-life of most free radicals varies in a range of a few nanoseconds to about 7 seconds duration. That means they will react within the “neighborhood” (a few Angstroms or microns near where the increase in free radicals occurred) …organs, connective tissue, circulatory or nerve tissue, bone or lymphatic material are all candidates for free radical attack.Wherever they form, they will damage the surrounding areas, unless prevented by the body…So the body does NOT have the luxury of just filtering away any circulatory fluids to find the free radicals. The body’s defense systems must be…well…fairly omnipresent to neutralize the effects of free radicals. The antioxidant protective system must be healthy.Since they are highly reactive substances, they react with all sorts of cell elements readily. But, when they do react with your body cells, they can damage the cells and even kill them. Often, the damage from free radicals can CHANGE the cellular structure enough to cause DISEASE such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and a host of others.The type of disease that occurs is dependent upon which of the free radical defenses in the body weren’t functioning properly and where the free radical attacks occur.The body has pretty sophisticated antioxidant defense systems. But, the body CAN get overwhelmed in its antioxidant protections against such free radicals…Indeed, unless antioxidant enhanced sports nutrition (with glyconutrients) are used to offset the increased free radical burden, the BODY will suffer as a result of intensive sports training, stress, and competition.Glyconutrients VITAL to sports nutrition …Studies comparing marathon runners who did and did not take glyconutritional sports nutrition supplements were undertaken. The results were reported by the Proceedings of the Fisher Institute For Medical Research ( August 2003, vol.3, no.1). The results “demonstrated strikingly different patterns.” Antioxidant protection appeared to be powerfully enhanced against free radicals with glyconutritional supplementation. Thus, the body was protected for several days after the marathon run.However, when glyconutritional sports nutrition was NOT used, the damaging effects of the free radical burden appeared to remain in the body for about five days. Thus, the subject “consistently excreted higher concentrations of free radical byproducts…” as compared to that of the glyconutritional subject. It should be emphasized that the subject studied WAS TAKING other antioxidants, though not glyconutrition. Despite that fact, the above cited results were obtained.That’s another way of saying that when glyconutritional supplements were not used, the free radical burden upon the body was not lifted. Antioxidant protection does appear to be (significantly) strengthened with glyconutritional sports nutrition. Such antioxidant protection appears to be of benefit for athletes overall, including training, stress, competition and dietary issues.The glyconutrional revolution in sports nutrition and therapy is just beginning. More studies are being done. More results are coming in concerning free radicals and the capacity of the glyconutrients to boost antioxidant affect against free radicals.Sports nutrition is about to see a new revolution…Better still. I believe that it is quite probable that, with glyconutrition, sports PERFORMANCE is about to see a revolution in al fields.

Strength, Flexibility, and Balance |

From those of us who can bench press 200 pounds to those of us who can barely bench the bar, from those of us who are contortionists to those of us who can only touch our toes when our knees are at a 90 degree angle, we all know that strength, flexibility, and balance are important factors in preventing injuries from sports, accidents, and everyday life. But, what about when an injury does occur – catching you off guard and sneaking into your body before you can swat it away – what happens then? Can the balance between strength and flexibility you’ve worked at maintaining help you to heal faster?Renew your gym and yoga memberships, the answer is yes.When it comes to muscle strength, the benefits are almost limitless. Not only does greater muscle mass facilitate metabolism and booster immunity, which helps heal injuries, but it also improves oxidative capacity of muscles, rushing the life force of oxygen to the area in need of attention. Additionally, muscular strength supports cardiorespiratory fitness, helping your heart to deliver minerals and nutrients to the point of injury.From an emotional standpoint, having a body filled with strong muscles can help relieve stress, and produce confidence in your body and its ability to heal itself, both of which
are factors in rebounding from an injury at an accelerated rate.Strength is often viewed as muscle mass and bulk, but true strength is the ability of a muscle to contract when it needs to work and to relax when it doesn’t. If your muscles are always working you will soon become fatigued and have no inner strength to deal with the most basic stressors of everyday life.Inner strength doesn’t have all to do with muscle strength; it also has to do with your ability to find your center in gravity: to feel the balance of your skeleton in the matrix of surrounding connective tissue, muscles, and organs. Orienting yourself around your center allows you to move out into the world from this place with ease and grace. From here any exercise you choose to do to build muscular strength will support integration, balance and harmony rather than more tension through the fabric of your being.Flexibility, not to be overshadowed by muscular strength, also markets itself as a tool for healing. Our body has natural methods of healing stored within, and flexibility plays a vital part in making these methods work to their fullest capacity; flexibility is like adding grease to the wheels. It greatly improves circulation, which rushes nourishing blood to the areas crying out for help. Circulation also rushes antibodies and endorphins
to the area of concern.In addition, flexibility can help develop self-awareness, which helps you to become aware of, and adequately cater to, any injury you may sustain. It also improves both physical and mental relaxation; a person who is relaxed and at ease will heal much quicker than one who is rigid and tense. And, like muscular strength and inner strength, it lessons the accumulation of stressors on the body, which can greatly hinder the healing process.While they might not prevent all injuries, cultivating strength, flexibility, and balance will help limit the power of your injuries, keeping them from getting worse,
as well as aid you in a speedier recovery process.TWISTED is a medical yoga studio at the Center for Osteopathic Medicine in Boulder, Colorado. Twisted integrates osteopathic medicine, hatha yoga and mindfulness practices to teach optimal balance between physical, mental, and emotional health. It aims to educate and help people to live a healthy life from the inside out. Rehabilitation programs offer a comprehensive treatment regime for the whole being, empowering each person one breath at a time to stimulate the body’s natural healing potential.