Home > PROTEIN RECOVERY AND REPAIR
PROTEIN RECOVERY AND REPAIRby Dave Foreman
Start with antioxidants
Years ago I experienced something that until only a few years ago actually made sense to me. In my last year of pharmacy school I was finishing my clinical rotations in Greenville South Carolina at a major hospital. Part of my training was in an oncology unit at the hospital. One day on rounds, we were introduced to a man who was dying from cancer. As we left his hospital room, the doctor doing rounds turned and said he was amazed that this
That is a great question, BUT if you go back to my Four Pillars of Great Health, activity is only one of the four Pillars which are all equal parts. You need to have balance in your life in order to truly be healthy. What is even more important is to understand what you are truly doing to your body when you subject it to that much activity. Going back to my favorite analogy, the body is like a car. If you run your car at 20miles per hour for an hour it will produce a little exhaust, right? However, if you run the same car at 100 miles per hour you will produce an extreme amount of exhaust.
If you don’t vent that exhaust – or neutralize it – your car will begin to run poorly, and in severe cases, stop running completely. Your body is the same way. If you do a ton of exercise, you will produce much more exhaust (free radical damage) than someone who does just 30 minutes of brisk walking per day. It is for this reason that I believe the man was dying of cancer. Perhaps he didn’t do anything to neutralize the harmful effects of the exhaust he was producing. Too many times, I run into people who are marathon runners or tri-athletes and their skin is wrinkled and sallow, their hair and nails look horrible, and they just don’t look healthy. Maybe their body looks fit, but I see beyond that picture and realize that they are on a collision course to major health challenges.
I think the above reasoning and other poor nutritional choices are the underlying link to why so many professional athletes die earlier than the rest of the population. As I mentioned in this newsletter, most of us need a general antioxidant blend to maintain good health. With regard to sports nutrition, you need to go beyond taking just a broad-spectrum antioxidant. You need to be aggressive with your antioxidant choices and quantities depending on the level of cardiovascular activity you are doing. If you do just 30 minutes per day of cardiovascular activity you can probably get away with a general antioxidant. If you do one to two hours per day or three to four hours per day, the number of antioxidants and amounts of each will increase proportionally.
The following antioxidants are some of my top choices for those of you who do more than just 30 minutes of brisk walking per day.
Vitamin, Mineral, Misc.
This list could be much longer. Of those listed above, I prefer to use CoQ10 (I now use Ubiquinol) in doses above 300mg on days that I do at least an hour of cardiovascular activity. This helps decrease fatigue during my workout and helps to improve /speed my recovery time. Other antioxidants such as turmeric not only help neutralize free radical damage, but also help reduce inflammation. This added benefit will help protect the majority of your structural systems (muscles, connective tissue, etc.) from damage done during your workout. The bottom line is to make sure you are taking the right amount and type of antioxidants needed to support your sports nutrition needs.
Protein is a critical element in muscle repair and recovery.
Along with fats and carbohydrates, protein is a "macronutrient," meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. However, unlike fat and carbs, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw from when it needs a new supply. When you're sick, injured or on a low-calorie or poor-quality diet, your body tries to fill its nutritional void by cannibalizing itself, a process also known as catabolism. The body actually eats its own muscle tissue (heart and lungs included) to extract the protein it needs to operate.
Protein deficiency can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, insulin resistance, hair loss, loss of hair pigment (hair that should be black becomes reddish), loss of muscle mass, low body temperature, and hormonal irregularities. Severe protein deficiency can be fatal. However, too much protein can cause problems as well. High-protein diets, particularly those that emphasize fatty meats, can cause issues with high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and kidney problems. Additionally, there may be issues with toxins related to hormone treatments, antibiotics, or processing. High protein diets have also been linked to liver dysfunction and bone loss.
How much protein is enough?
Nutrition experts recommend that protein should account for 10 to 12 percent of the calories in a balanced diet. However, individual requirements for protein are affected by age, weight, state of health and other factors. Ideally, you should consume 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight, according to the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) set by the Food and Nutrition Board. So if you weigh 170 pounds, you need about 61 grams of protein each day.
What type of protein do you need?
The short answer? It depends. In an attempt to get protein from better food sources, many people have turned to protein supplements. Most protein supplements contain purified proteins and amino acids (the building blocks of protein) like L-glutamine and creatine.
L-glutamine: the mother of all amino acids
L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in your body, and it performs multiple actions: it helps the body move nitrogen into muscle cells, helps your muscles recover post-workout, and has a positive impact on the immune system. I recommend taking five grams of L-glutamine two times daily after extended periods of exercise.
Creatine: energy support
Creatine (creatine monohydrate) is used in muscle tissue for the production of phosphocreatine, an important factor in the formation of ATP, which is the source of energy for muscle contraction and many other functions in the body. The body produces creatine naturally, but not in amounts large enough to support those involved in high-intensity sports, so for athletes and those with intense physical demands, supplemental creatine is needed. Creatine supplementation has been shown to improve performance in short-duration, high-intensity forms of exercise like weight lifting, cycling and sprinting.
The amount of creatine that you take is important. First, you need to consume about 20 grams per day for the first three to five days. Once you have achieved your “loading dose,” using about five to ten grams per day should give you the benefits you want. One word of caution, creatine may not be well tolerated by the kidneys and digestive system. I have met too may people (especially women) who complain of bloating and even diarrhea from the use of this supplement. If you already have problems with kidney function, this supplement should be avoided. If you plan to use this supplement daily, I recommend increasing your water intake above the normal half your body weight in ounces per day, to about two-thirds of your body weight (e.g. a 200-pound person would drink 132 ounces of water per day).
There is an abundance of protein supplements that can help with repair and recovery. Consult with your Vitamin Shoppe Health Enthusiast for the product that is right for you.