Dr. Louis Ignarro: Benefits of CoQ10
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant essential to converting fats and sugars into energy in the body. This powerful vitamin-like substance is found in every plant and animal cell, and is concentrated in the human heart. CoQ10 is the second most important nutrient in the cardiovascular system after Nitric Oxide and research suggests that at least three out of four cardiovascular patients suffer from CoQ10 deficiency. When the body is deficient of CoQ10, metabolic function is impaired. This leads to tissues such as the heart, brain, and kidneys to suffer damage.
Benefits of CoQ10
Energy Enhancement: CoQ10 enhances energy levels by assisting in the conversion of carbohydrates and fats to energy.
Improved Muscle Condition: CoQ10 helps prevent damage to muscles during exercise and increases stamina.
Better Athletic Performance: Studies of CoQ10 supplementation in sedentary individuals and athletes have shown improvement in physical function.
Cardiac Health: CoQ10 has been shown in many studies to significantly enhance the heart’s ability to pump blood.
Heart of the Matter
Science is finding that CoQ10 benefits a growing set of health concerns from cancer and diabetes to immune deficiency and the effects of aging. The single greatest benefit, though, is the promotion of a better functioning heart. CoQ10 can actually reverse or prevent the degeneration of the heart which often occurs in cardiovascular disease as a result of inflammation and free radical damage. Coenzyme Q10 provides optimal nutrition at the cellular level. It also acts as an antioxidant to prevent damage to healthy heart cells.
Statin Drug Connection
Many individuals are prescribed statin drugs which are designed to lower cholesterol levels. While there are natural alternatives to statin medications (such as Red Yeast Rice), it is important to follow the advice of your physician and, if necessary, follow a statin drug regimen. Of critical importance when taking a statin medication is CoQ10 levels. Statins deplete the body of CoQ10 which can negate any positive effects that the prescription offers. Anyone who takes a statin drug absolutely must supplement with CoQ10.
Antioxidant support for optimal health: 200mg per day
Cardiovascular dysfunction: 400mg per day
Athletic Supplementation: 400-800mg per day
Dr. Louis Ignarro: Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) such as leucine, valine, isoleucine are “chained” together by carbon atoms, and are among the key building blocks of healthy muscles. Exercise depletes amino acids quickly, so for athletes it is important to replenish them for the body to function at a high level. Failure to do so by an athlete who works out vigorously can cause plateauing and prevent gains in strength, speed, and stamina. BCAA deficiency can also lead to metabolic problems, such as toxicity in the blood and urine. Making regular gains in physical performance requires regular consumption of branched-chain amino acids through foods and supplementation. Maintaining sufficient BCAA levels also carries with it health benefits such as better brain function, greater muscle strength and improved endurance. Uses for athletes: • Maintaining plasma levels of key amino acids. • Optimizing post-exercise muscle growth. • Preventing muscle tissue damage. • Improving workout power. • Preventing post-workout inflammation. Benefits of BCAA In a recent study from the University of Tokyo, it was found that amino acid supplementation affected hematological and biochemical parameters in elite rugby players. According to the study, after just 90 days of supplementation, almost all of the athletes reported improvement in vigor and earlier recovery from fatigue. This is just one of several ongoing studies that point to the benefits of adding regular BCAA supplementation for enhanced athletic performance and greater energy. Other benefits include: Improved Recovery – Most athletes feel a substantial decrease in the amount of muscle soreness after workouts once they begin taking BCAA supplementation. Muscles grow during recovery from the damage caused by pushing them to failure; faster recovery means that you will meet your size and strength goals faster. Enhanced Endurance – BCAA boosts nitrogen in the form of the amino acid L-alanine, which provides the body with a source for the production of glucose after glycogen stores are depleted. Thus, BCAAs may enable you to train at higher intensity levels for longer periods of time. Increased Fat Loss – Studies show that supplementation with BCAAs triggers significant and preferential losses of visceral body fat. Studies suggest diets high in BCAAs help to reduce adipose tissue from the abdominal region. Recommended Athlete Supplementation • L-leucine – 500 mg 2 to 3 times daily • L-isoleucine – 250 mg 2 to 3 times daily • L-valine – 250mg 2 to 3 times daily
Dr. Louis Ignarro: Antioxidants for Athletic Performance
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Antioxidants are a popular and effective group of nutrients that include vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and help prevent cellular damage. As part of the normal oxidation of food to convert it into energy, free radicals are formed. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons. Because they have a negative electrical charge, these electrons are drawn to the positively charged protons in nearby cells. This process of “stealing” a proton from a cell’s nucleus can cause cellular and DNA damage, possibly leading to cancers and age related diseases.
Athletic performance and other types of movement increase the rate of blood flow to muscles, which, in turn, delivers more oxygen and other nutrients to the body. As oxygen usage increases, so too does the production of free radicals. You cannot avoid creating free radicals in your body, making protective antioxidants that much more important.
Apart from their other benefits for cardiovascular health, muscle building, and disease prevention, antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries are full of nutrients that provide elementary particles that pair off with free radicals, preventing them from causing cell damage. Antioxidants appear naturally in many fruits and vegetables, as well as in nuts and grains. Eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of whole fruits and vegetables will help you get a steady supply of antioxidants.
Important antioxidants include:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
In addition to eating foods rich in antioxidants, it is a good idea to increase your intake as part of a daily supplementation regimen, especially when you exercise regularly. Antioxidant supplements can complement your diet as well as keep your antioxidant levels steady during times when you cannot eat your usual balanced diet, such as when traveling for work or competition.
Benefits of Antioxidants
Preventing Muscle Damage – The main benefit of antioxidant supplementation is that it reduces or prevents cellular damage following strenuous exercise. A “cocktail” of antioxidants neutralizes free radical molecules and promotes the healing and growth of muscle tissue during the recovery phase.
Improved Recovery – Many experts in nutritional medicine think that Vitamin E is also involved in the recovery process that follows exercise. Currently, the amount of Vitamin E needed to produce these effects is unknown, but the prevailing opinion is that diet may supply enough Vitamin E for most athletes.
Dietary Antioxidant Sources
- Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale
- Broccoli and brussel sprouts
- Berries, cherries, and red grapes
- Cranberries, apples, and strawberries
- Citrus fruit
- Vegetable oils, nuts, and avocados
- Red wine
- Dark chocolate
- Green tea, cinnamon, turmeric, and curcumin
Recommended Daily Dose
Always consult with your personal physician before starting or stopping any regimen if you are taking prescription or other medication.
- Vitamin C – 2,000-4,000 mg
- Vitamin E – 1,000 IU
- Carotenoids – 25,000 IU
- Zinc – 30 mg
- Selenium – 200 mcg
- Curcumin – 400-1,200 mg
- Green Tea Extract – 100-750 mg
- Resveratrol – 100-200 mg
- Alpha Lipoic Acid – 300-600 mg
- Pomegranate Extract – 1,000 mg
Dr. Andrew Myers: Nutrition and Recovery
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
All athletes depend on sufficient recovery to repair damaged muscles, connective tissue, and joints, replenish depleted nutrients, and clear the body of lactic acid and other performance-damping waste products. Many athletes seem reluctant to give recovery its due, perhaps from the misguided thinking that more work is always good. But in reality, recovery is an integral component of the process of athletic training and overall fitness.
Recovery has four basic parts:
Sleep: Most people do not get enough deep, restorative sleep. This is a problem for the sedentary office worker who wants to be more alert; it’s a crisis for the finely tuned athlete hoping to excel during competition. Active athletes should get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
Stretching: Stretching before and after workouts prevents injury, but it is most beneficial when muscles are warm after a heavy exercise program. Stretching lengthens muscle fibers, strengthening them and making them more amenable to the sudden flexion and contraction of power surges in major sports. It also improves circulation and the function of the lymphatic system.
Inactivity: Rest and inactivity – simply refraining from athletic training and letting your body be idle – is essential to effective recovery, especially injury prevention. Many athletes injure themselves in training because they over-train and fail to pay attention to the signals their bodies send: sore muscles, exhaustion, tightness, or joint pain, among others.
Deep Muscle Work: Many exercise programs feature recovery weeks after three or four weeks of rigorous strength and cardiovascular training. These recovery weeks are not idle; they include workouts that engage the body’s aerobic and anaerobic systems without pushing the muscles toward injury. The lighter athletic activity also accelerates the removal of lactic acid from tissues due to increase blood flow. Very effective recovery disciplines include core work, yoga, and deep stretching.
Recovery is the time when the body adapts to the eustress of physical training by developing new muscle mass and restoring the body’s glycogen levels. The period directly following an intense workout is particularly important for athletic training. During this time, the body is especially drained and vulnerable to injury and exhaustion.
Diet and Recovery
The recovery diet should be rich in two macronutrients: lean protein and complex carbohydrates. For meals immediately following a workout, consume carbohydrates and protein together, as the carbohydrates increase protein absorption. These dietary suggestions reflect the need to combine foods for recovery:
Chocolate Milk: A pint of low-fat chocolate milk has about 300 calories, 50 grams of carbohydrates, and 16-20 grams of protein, making it a perfect start to your post-workout meal.
Lean meat and brown rice: Chicken or steak plus rice delivers a protein punch, along with fiber and complex carbohydrates. Also, the protein/rice combination increases the feeling of being full so that you eat only what your body needs to recover and don’t consume excess calories.
Fish: Salmon, tuna, tilapia, and other white fish are all terrific low-fat, high protein choices. Add a sweet potato or high-carbohydrate steamed vegetable like broccoli or cauliflower and you’ll get plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids, complex carbohydrates, and fiber to replenish your glycogen stores and rebuild muscles, while stopping inflammation.