Triathletes Fueling P1 : Supplement/Fueling Strategies
Supplement/Fueling Strategies For Triathletes - Part 1
By Steve Born
*** PART ONE ***
As a competitive triathlete you're different from any other athlete in many ways. You have to manage your time wisely to train in three distinctly different disciplines. And in doing this type of training, you are recruiting and using many more muscles than most other athletes ever do. As a result, the opportunity for over training and injury may be more prevalent with triathletes than with any other athlete. In order to stay healthy and prevent the consequences of both over training and injury the serious triathlete will give serious consideration to an intelligent supplement program. But there's more to that…
I've often said that there are three key tangibles that are needed to achieve success in athletics:
The use of high quality equipment – You probably don't need the "limited edition, gold plated" model but you do need to use good equipment.
The incorporation of an intelligent training and recovery program - You can't just "wing it" in terms of a training regimen and hope that the pieces will fall into place. Similarly, you have to recovery as "hard" as you train to get the most out of your training.
The consistent use of high quality nutritional supplements and fuels, and a sensible supplement/fueling program - As a triathlete you're demanding a lot out of your body. Your nutrient requirements - just to maintain health - are much greater than the average person. But your goal isn't to just maintain health at a minimally acceptable standard; your goal is to achieve supreme health. In addition, you want to get the absolute most out of your body so that it can do what you want it to in your workouts and races, having more fun and achieving more success in the process.
All three of these tangibles are important and if one is lacking, the others are negatively affected. My sincere belief is that without the consistent use of an intelligent supplement and fueling program, all the equipment you spend so much money on and all the time you spend in training will never realize their full value.
In the next two articles we'll discuss fueling strategies. For now, let's focus on specific supplements, what they can do for you, and why you might consider incorporating them into your program.
I've categorized the products into four groups. The first one, "ESSENTIAL," contains supplements that are, without exception, the most important, the first products that should be considered and incorporated into your program, and the ones that should be taken every day, all throughout the year. In fact, these three products, because of the tremendous benefits they provide for general health, would be ones that even non-athletes should seriously consider using on a daily basis.
Supplements that make up the "next line of support/defense" are listed in a category entitled "VERY IMPORTANT." These supplements do not replace the three Daily Essentials but would be the next logical step, complementing the ESSENTIAL products wonderfully by providing additional support and benefits. You’d benefit by taking these particular products daily, though some may be used on an "as needed" basis.
The third category listed is "IMPORTANT," meaning that these products are not crucial in comparison to those found in the first two categories but are ones that provide specific benefits, adding to the nutrient strength of the supplements given higher priority. If you're seeking the ultimate supplement program for enhancing your athletic performance and overall health the addition of these products should be considered.
The fourth group is "SPECIFIC," meaning these particular products may in fact be ESSENTIAL under specific conditions, as determined by you and your particular circumstances.
YOU'LL FIND SUGGESTED DOSES FOR ALL THE PRODUCTS IN ALL THE CATEGORIES COME LATER IN THE ARTICLE
Premium Insurance Caps
Race Caps Supreme
All three of these products should be the cornerstone of any athlete's supplement program because they provide the widest range of benefits for enhancing both athletic performance AND overall health. These three products provide a solid nutrient foundation, working synergistically to accomplish four primary goals:
1.) Provide replenishment of basic vitamins and minerals, which athletes deplete in greater volume than do sedentary people, to optimize overall health.
2.) Provide enhanced support for the immune system and cardiovascular system by supplying a wide range of antioxidants for the neutralization of free radicals and the cellular destruction they cause.
3.) Provide key substrates to enhance and ensure efficient production of energy
4.) Provide support for mitochondrial health. Dr. Bill Misner writes, "The longer you can stimulate the lifespan or health of the mitochondria, the longer you will live and the better you will perform in endurance events. The athlete who has the most healthy/efficient active mitochondria is the athlete who performs at their best."
Premium Insurance Caps
If we could obtain all the nutrients we need from our food supply then a multivitamin/mineral supplement would not be necessary. Unfortunately, this is simply not possible. Our belief is that today's food supply does not contain adequate amounts of nutrients for average people, let alone athletes, living in the world today. Dr. Bill Misner has stated, "Athletes today ingest only 11% of the organic nutrients from their food sources that the athletes of the 1940's enjoyed."
The truth is that our soils have been depleted because of today's farming techniques, which utilize fertilizers containing a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) only. Prior to the 40's, farmers practiced crop rotation, mulching, manuring, and other techniques that maintained soil nutrient quality. After World War II, leftover chemicals used to make weapons were sold as fertilizers. Every successive crop grown using NPK fertilizers has further depleted the soils of essential nutrients, and if they aren't in the soil, they're not in the foods. If they're not in the foods, they're not in your body. Additionally, according to Dr. Misner, "the use of pesticides and herbicides has been observed to interfere with the complete absorption of vital organic substrates." So not only does the soil no longer contain many of the essential nutrients it used to, our ability to absorb what little there is left has been compromised by the use of pesticides and herbicides.
In addition to our food supply being degraded by crops grown solely on NPK fertilizers, commercial ripening, harvesting, shipping, storing, and processing practices further degrades it. Even the government's RDA handbook points to hundreds of studies showing that the nutrient content of our food supply is further diminished from the time it is harvested to the time it is consumed. If that wasn't bad enough, add to that the fact that as we age our rate of absorption of nutrients decrease. Taking medications of any kind? They interact and interfere with nutrient absorption. All of this strongly suggests that food alone cannot and will not provide enough vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal health.
I've always considered the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) to be an archaic standard that never took into account the particular needs of athletes and my belief in that is confirmed from one well-known sports nutritionist who states, " If you use the RDAs to plan your nutrition, you will never, never reach your athletic potential." Even the RDA handbook states, "RDA are recommendations for the average daily amounts of nutrients that population groups should consume over a period of time. RDA should not be confused with requirements for a specific individual." The former chairman of the RDA Committee has even been quoted stating RDA's "are not recommendations for the ideal diet."
Most compelling of all, in my opinion, for why a potent multivitamin/mineral supplement is necessary comes from Dr. Misner who states, "Science has concluded that even marginal nutritional deficiencies are responsible for 644 diseases or disorders. Researchers have established by applications of reliable research as well as through trial and error that athletes tend to deplete vitamins, minerals, enzymes, coenzymes, and other substrates more than sedentary people do." Simply put, the need for supplementation with a multivitamin/mineral supplement is not only a wise strategy, I consider it vital.
I believe that not supplementing the body with adequate supplies of basic nutrients is comparable to building a house without first putting in a strong foundation. Without this strong foundation, none of the other necessities of the house will have any structural integrity or be of much benefit. Similarly, without adequate replenishment of vitamins and minerals, other supplements, including ergogenic supplements, will most likely never realize their full potential.
Race Caps Supreme
As many of us know, mitochondria are micro organelles ("little organs") found in virtually all cells in the human body, except red blood cells. The 20-2500 mitochondria per cell produce the majority of the body's energy (ATP) by means of an intricate and complex process called cellular respiration. The production of ATP within the mitochondria involves two metabolic cycles known as the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, which is also called the "Krebs" or "citric acid" cycle, and the oxidative phosphorylation electron transport chain, commonly abbreviated as ETC.
Coenzyme Q10 (a.k.a. CoQ10), a main component of Race Caps Supreme is a vital catalyst, perhaps THE primary substrate involved in the mitochondrial electron transport chain. Without going into the complexities of this process, which would take several pages, we can truly say that CoQ10's importance cannot be understated because quite simply, without it, the chain of cellular energy production is broken. This is key not only for athletic performance but also for maintaining cardiovascular and brain health, and strong immunity. In regards to cardiovascular health, one well-known cardiologist is quoted as saying, "I have long considered CoQ10 a wonder nutrient because of its ability to support heart health." In addition, CoQ10 helps to lower blood pressure and may play a key role in the prevention of Parkinson's disease. For both athletic performance and general health applications, there is simply no question that the athlete MUST supplement with CoQ10.
Idebenone, also called hydroxydecyl Q, is an analogue of CoQ10 and the other primary ETC component of the formula. A superb compliment to CoQ10, some experts even suggest it may be even more powerful in action than CoQ10. Dr. Misner explains, "Idebenone supplies all of the same benefits as CoQ10 plus some distinct advantages based on its more complex chemical structure. Though very similar in chemical make-up to CoQ10, its longer chain organic structure gives it extra powerful antioxidant properties making it a more effective "free radical quencher" resulting in less cell and tissue damage." In essence, Idebenone extends the already powerful benefits of CoQ10 and under hypoxic (low oxygen) conditions Idebenone's ATP generating capabilities are even superior to CoQ10.
The problem with energy production is that it's not a completely "clean" process (more on that later), which is why Vitamin E, while not directly involved in the cellular respiration process, is a vital component in the Race Caps Supreme formula. This is because even essential antioxidants used in the complex process of energy production have a slight "dark side." Dr. Misner writes, "CoQ10 auto-oxidizes and unleashes massive amounts of various free radicals that damage delicate tissues and because CoQ10 is necessary for electron transport and ATP (chemical energy) production, cellular death may ensue." In other words, while CoQ10 is vital for energy production and provides antioxidant benefits, it, like other antioxidants, has biologically negative, PRO-oxidant capabilities as well. This is one reason why a substantial amount of vitamin E is included in Race Caps Supreme. The naturally derived, easily assimilated succinate form of this vitamin supports CoQ10 and Idebenone in neutralizing free radicals, which are a naturally occurring metabolic by-product of energy production. Succinates are also a key component in the TCA (or "Krebs") cycle.
Also included in the formula is a precise blend of Trimethylglycine (TMG), inosine, and glycerol phosphate to provide benefits for enhancing oxygen utilization, optimizing fats-for-fuels capabilities, and for providing additional support for energy production and acid buffering. Dr. Misner calls TMG a "Lipotropic Antioxidant Supreme" and adds, "Trimethylclycine is more commonly known as betaine, an alkaloid of beets. As an oxidation product of choline… it (TMG) also has been shown to perform lipotropic activity (fatty-acid utilization for energy production). It (TMG)…has been used to treat muscular weakness and degeneration… is a powerful antioxidant, which primarily acts as a methyl donor, enhancing the transport of oxygen to muscle tissues. Inosine, also known as an anti-fatigue nutrient, is a naturally occurring metabolic product that is readily utilized by the body. Inosine increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, allowing more oxygen to be delivered to the muscles, thereby reducing fatigue. Phosphates (in the form of glycerol phosphate) are used in the muscle mitochondrial cells for the production of energy and are also beneficial for buffering excess acidity.
Earlier both the TCA and ETC cycles involved in ATP production were mentioned and that Race Caps Supreme's CoQ10/Idebenone combination fulfilled a major component for the ETC portion. For supporting the TCA (or "Krebs") cycle, the Race Caps Supreme formula supplies a precise amount of the Krebs Cycle Intermediates (KCI) Malate, Citrate, Aspartate, Lysinate, Glycinate, which are chelators for the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Another Krebs Cycle Intermediate, alpha ketoglutarate, is included as well. With this KCI donation now a part of the formula, Race Caps Supreme provides key substrates to support and enhance both metabolic cycles involved in ATP production.
To maximize nutrient absorption, Race Caps Supreme contains a potent blend of various digestive aids. One of these is a proprietary formula called the Enzyme Enhancement System and the other is the well-researched standardized black pepper extract called Bioperine.
A long time ago Dr. Misner wrote, "The objective in formulating the original Race Caps was to provide the ultimate ergogenic aid not only for improved cardiovascular-musculoskeletal performance on the field of competition, but also to benefit the overall health of the athlete." This is still the objective of the Race Caps formula only now, with the arrival of the newest incarnation of the formula - Race Caps Supreme - the desired outcome of this objective has been realized.
The extraordinary combination of "super nutrients" found in Race Caps Supreme works powerfully and synergistically to cover a wide range of requirements for maintaining consistent and efficient energy production. Perhaps even more impressive are the overall health benefits that may be derived from this product. For enhancing both athletic performance AND overall health consistent supplementation with Race Caps Supreme is a wise strategy. I believe all people would benefit from this product and it's an absolute essential for athletes.
Time and space limit what could take thousands upon thousands of pages to fill describing the actions and benefits of the nutrients contained in this product. I'll go out on a limb and say that this product is arguably the most important one Hammer Nutrition has ever introduced for promoting enhanced athletic performance and overall health. The Mito Caps formula is based on the studies of Dr. Bruce Ames regarding mitochondrial functioning, aging, deterioration, and regeneration. Mito Caps contains the two nutrients used in this landmark study: acetyl l-carnitine (ALC) and r-alpha lipoic acid (r-ALA).
Mitochondria, the energy producing organelles of the cell, need certain substrates to maintain efficient energy production; that's where the nutrients in Race Caps Supreme, along with some of the B vitamins in Premium Insurance Caps, come in. However, energy production has a "dark side" as well in that it generates literally millions of free radicals. A free radical is an extremely reactive molecule carrying an impaired electron. Because of their reactive nature, all free radicals seek out and acquire an electron in whatever way possible. When free radicals steal electrons from "healthy" molecules they convert these formerly capabilities healthy molecules into free radicals themselves, or break down or alter their chemical structure. Needless to say, free radicals have a destructive, damaging trait, and excess amounts are extremely harmful. Free radicals, or perhaps more appropriately excess free radicals, are the basis behind the theory suggesting they play a key role in aging and many age-related diseases.
Certain antioxidants such as vitamins beta carotene, C and E, and the minerals manganese, zinc, and selenium in Premium Insurance Caps - along with the CoQ10, Idebenone, and vitamin E component of Race Caps Supreme - help protect cells from the continuous onslaught of free radicals, which is one reason why regular consumption of these two products is highly recommended for everyone, athletes especially.
But what about literally delaying, or even reversing, mitochondrial aging? What about restoring capabilities to more youthful levels? Antioxidants such as the ones mentioned above help protect cells, but can't do the whole job. What if there were nutrients available that would not only complement, enhance, and extend the of those nutrients, but also provide extraordinary benefits of their own? Ames' extraordinary studies have identified just such nutrients: acetyl l-carnitine (ALC) and r-alpha lipoic acid (r-ALA). Ames' studies found that ALC and r-ALA each had a role in improving mitochondrial activity and cellular metabolism.
The Acetyl l-carnitine (ALC) component boosts the activity of the enzyme carnitine acetyltransferase, which plays a vital role in mitochondrial fuel burning and energy production. ALC and other forms of carnitine are the main nutrients the body requires for efficient utilization of fat stores for fuel. ALC also boosts neurological functioning, which would support concentration and mental focus (a major benefit for ultra-endurance events). ALC is also believed to help preserve lean muscle tissue by decreasing excess levels of cortisol. Lastly, ALC seems to reduce the depletion of ATP by forming acetyl-CoA, which one nutritional expert states, "[is] the most important intermediary in the generation of energy from amino acids, fats, and carbohydrates."
The other molecule, R-alpha lipoic acid (r-ALA) plays an important role in cellular metabolism by acting as a coenzyme in energy production. Arguably though, among all the benefits this amazing nutrient provides, its primary importance is via its antioxidant capabilities. R-alpha lipoic acid is commonly known as the "universal antioxidant" because it functions as both a water- and fat-soluble antioxidant, with the ability to neutralize several different types of free radicals, perhaps more than any other antioxidant known to man. In addition to helping rid the body of a tremendous variety of destructive free radicals, it also has the unique ability to recycle, revitalize, and extend the effectiveness and potency of certain antioxidants in the body such as CoQ10 and vitamins C & E. It also enhances GSH levels in the body. GSH, or glutathione, is an antioxidant produced directly by the body and is a primary immune system protector. Every single one of r-ALA's effects may very well yield definite and positive impact on energy production and endurance, not to mention enhanced immunity.
Note that most alpha lipoic acid supplements available today are a mixture of two forms, the "R" form with is the natural form, and the "S" form, which is synthetic. The "S" form of alpha lipoic acid, which is reduced in the cytoplasm, is inactive. Only the "R" form, the natural coenzyme which is reduced in the mitochondria, is active and which is why we only use that form in Mito Caps.
The reason DMAE and PABA exist in the product is to amplify and potentiate the ALC and r-ALA components. The amounts of the latter two used in Ames' studies are extremely high and supplementation with those amounts are not only impractical but would be unbelievable expensive. DMAE and PABA are a nutrient substitute for the anti-aging "drug" GH-3 and mimic its effects (providing substantial benefits of their own). Dr. Misner writes, "By adding essentially what is a GH-3 formula, the resulting effects of ALC and r-ALA are remarkably multiplied." In other words, thanks to the effects of DMAE and PABA less ALC and r-ALA are required to achieve noticeable benefits.
The primary reason for including vitamin E and vitamin B-6 in the formula is that in order for the GH-3 like effect to be secure, these two nutrients must be present and available. Put another way, for DMAE and PABA to yield their benefits, adequate amounts of both vitamin E and vitamin B-6 are necessary.
Ascorbyl Palmitate is a fat-soluble form of vitamin C. Most everyone knows that vitamin C has its own antioxidant capabilities, but it's also beneficial for enhancing carnitine synthesis. Vitamin C enhances the bioavailability of carnitine, which may translate into greater fat utilization capabilities.
This represents but a fraction of the capabilities of each of the nutrients in Mito Caps, both singularly and collectively. I consider this product to be a definite "cornerstone" supplement for any person, athlete or otherwise. For athletic performance alone, no one says it better than Dr. Misner…
"Mito Caps product is a plausible and safe supplemental intervention that may reduce mitochondria substrate depletion imposed by age and endurance exercise stress. I have taken these substrates for over a year now in several formulae, at both the dose used in the Mito Caps and above, without any known side effects… except less fatigue, better endurance performance, and less required sleep. So few substrate molecules function biochemically inside mitochondria cells. Endurance athletes should realize how incredibly important it is to effect mitochondria and that every thing formulated in this compound influences mitochondria cell biochemistry function synergistically and remarkably. Mito Caps is a product that I recommend taken year-round."
The combination of the above three products, while certainly not eliminating the possibility or probability for the need of other supplements, will provide a tremendous range of benefits for enhancing both athletic performance and overall health. Providing the body with these nutrients will in essence build a strong foundation from which any other nutrient can realize its full value.
Carlson’s Norwegian Salmon Oil
Carlson’s Norwegian Salmon Oil
This particular product, although I’ve listed it here in the “Very Important” category, is really a Daily Essential-type product and it’d be right up there with those three if I were to break my self-made “rule” and keep the Daily Essentials at three products only. Needless to say, it’s a very important product and one I’d definitely recommend taking daily all year round.
There are two essential fatty acids (EFA) that we need for life itself – the Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 fatty acids. Our bodies cannot make either of them so it’s necessary that we obtain them from dietary sources. However, while most of us consume an overabundance of Omega 6’s, our Omega 3 intake is woefully lacking. In fact, while research points to a 1:3 Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio as ideal, most people’s diets show a 1:20 ratio, which is obviously very much out of balance. The bottom line is that we need Omega 3 fatty acids and the best source for them is fish. However, consumption of certain types of fish (such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines) two to three times a week, while being an extremely wise strategy, is simply not possible for most of us. That’s where the Carlson’s Norwegian Salmon Oil supplement comes in.
Fish oils contain the Omega 3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosahexaenoic acid (EPA) and among their many benefits for athletic performance they improve endurance by increasing mitochondrial efficiency via their positive effects on coenzyme Q10 and idebenone, two key substrates involved in energy production. The absorption rate of these two fat-soluble nutrients is greatly increased in the presence of a fat source and there’s arguably not a healthier fat than fish oil.
For general health purposes, fish oils provide one of the absolute defenses against cardiovascular disease. For example, an ever-growing body of research suggests that athlerosclerosis, angina, heart attack, arrhythmias, stroke, and congestive heart failure may be prevented with the consumption of fish oils. Fish oils help to reduce blood pressure, maintain arterial wall elasticity, and prevent blood clotting… they really are the heart’s “best friend.”
Newer research shows that fish oils have a positive influence on brain function and mood, including the alleviation of anxiety, insomnia, and other symptoms of depression. In addition, Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil have been shown to provide impressive anti-inflammatory benefits by reducing specific pro-inflammatory cytokines and Series 2 prostaglandins, while increasing the level of anti-inflammatory Series 3 prostaglandins.
Why Not Get Omega 3 From Flaxseed Oil?
In the world of fats it’s hard to beat flaxseed oil. It’s got an attractive EFA “makeup” in that it is 54% Omega 3 (from alpha Linolenic Acid), 14% Omega 6 (Linoleic Acid), with the rest being comprised primarily of various monounsaturated fats. However, given the fact that most diets are already loaded with Omega 6 fatty acids, the O-6s in flaxseed oil are not really necessary. In fact, for highest absorption rates, Omega 6 should not be consumed with Omega 3 as they utilize a common enzyme for absorption.
The bottom line is that we really don’t need any supplemental Omega 6s. We need Omega 3 EFAs and we need a lot of them to achieve appreciable amounts of the desired “end products” of Omega 3 EFA metabolism, the two acids Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Pure, Clean, Contaminant-Free Norwegian Salmon Oil
Carlson has a long history of producing the highest quality fish oil supplements, which is why we’re pleased to include their Norwegian Salmon Oil product alongside our own supplements and fuels. Each Carlson Norwegian Salmon oil soft gel contains 1 gram (1000mg) of salmon oil from salmon found in the deep, unpolluted waters of Norway. This product is regularly tested using AOAC international protocols for potency and purity by an independent, FDA registered laboratory and found to be free of detectable levels of mercury, cadmium, lead, PCB's and 28 other contaminants. Carlson Norwegian Salmon Oil supplies your body with concentrated amounts of pure, contaminant-free, and ultra-healthy Omega 3 essential fatty acids… essential for athletic performance and overall health.
Our bodies need antioxidants to protect us from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals (of which there are several types) are unstable atoms or molecules, usually of oxygen, containing at least one unpaired electron. Left unchecked, free radicals seek out and literally steal electrons from whole atoms or molecules, creating a destructive chain reaction. Excess free radicals, in the words of one nutritional scientist, “are capable of damaging virtually any biomolecule, including proteins, sugars, fatty acids and nucleic acids.” Dr. Bill Misner writes, “Oxygen has the capacity to be both friend and foe. When energy fuels are metabolized in the presence of O2, 5% of them create molecules that contain an odd number of electrons. If free radicals are not neutralized by on-site antioxidant body stores immediately, tissue damage occurs to absolutely every cell membrane touched by these imbalanced molecular wrecking machines. Some theorize soreness and stiffness result because free radicals and waste metabolites build up during either prolonged or intense exercise. The more volume oxygen that passes into our physiology for energy fuel metabolism, the more increased free-radical-fatigue symptoms may be experienced.”
Those words should sound the alarm bells loud and clear. You see, as an athlete you consume huge amounts of oxygen and metabolize greater amounts of calories – much more than sedentary people do – which means that you’re generating tremendous amounts of free radicals. In fact, endurance athletes generate 12-20 times more free radicals that sedentary people do! During periods of increased training volume and stress, free radical production increases even more. So while the benefits of exercise far outweigh any potential negatives, excess free radical production and build-up – if not properly addressed and resolved - may very well be the endurance athlete's worst nightmare. In essence, like rusting steel, the human body can oxidize and decay from excess free radical production and not only can this negate everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve in your training, it can result in severe consequences to your overall health. The necessity of neutralizing excess free radicals simply cannot be overstated.
The three Daily Essentials products will fulfill the primary antioxidants needs of the body. However, with so many types of free radicals produced in the body, a wide variety of synergistically working antioxidants are required to neutralize them. This is especially true during times of higher intensity, multiple daily workouts, and/or greater training volume, when free radical production and accumulation can be extreme. Supplementing with a wide variety of antioxidants all year long is a wise strategy, allowing you to recovery more completely and without compromising your immune system, and it's especially important during peak training periods. This is exactly where Super AO comes in, beautifully complementing, but not replicating, the antioxidants found in the three Daily Essentials products. However, Super AO goes beyond a mere "antioxidant only" supplement. Two of the nutrients contained in Super AO – Ginkgo biloba and vinpocetine – in addition to their antioxidant benefits, also enhance recovery by improving circulation. Some even provide the added benefit of supporting increased cognitive function. Whether you’re looking to increase immune system support all year through, but especially if you're doing multiple workouts in a day, and/or when your training volume increases, adding Super AO to the Daily Essentials supplements is an excellent strategy and one that will help protect your immune system and preserve all your hard-earned gains.
The Super AO Formula
1.) SUPEROXIDE DISMUTASE (SOD) is an enzyme and one of the powerful endogenous (that which occurs naturally in the body) antioxidants. It is responsible for neutralizing the most common free radical known as superoxide. It also aids the body’s utilization of the minerals copper, zinc, and manganese. The enteric-coated form in Super AO, which allows the nutrient to pass intake through the stomach acid to be absorbed in the small intestines, is an easy way to supplement this vital antioxidant.
2.) GRAPE SEED EXTRACT has a high content of compounds known as oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), flavinoids that are believed to be several times more potent than even Vitamin C and E. OPCs are responsible for neutralizing three types of free radicals. In addition, the OPCs in Grade Seed Extract help strengthen and repair connective tissue and are excellent anti-inflammatories.
3.) L-GLUTATHIONE is a protein that is produced in the liver from three specific amino acids. Along with the mineral selenium, it forms the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which, along with SOD, is one of the body’s endogenous antioxidants, and perhaps the most important one of all. Glutathione is also part of another enzyme, which has liver protecting qualities. It protects individual cells as well as the tissues of nearly the entire body and is an important nutrient in helping with the prevention of cancer, particularly liver cancer.
4.) GINKGO BILOBA is an herb best known for its ability to enhance circulation and increase the supply of oxygen to the entire body. This allows it to help relieve muscle pain in addition to its antioxidant benefits. A potential benefit of increased circulation is the ability to speed delivery of antioxidants throughout the body in addition to helping eliminate metabolic wastes more quickly.
5.) GOTU KOLA is another herb that has antioxidant capabilities as well aiding in increasing circulation. It is helpful in decreasing fatigue and neutralizing blood acids and is useful for optimal heart and liver function.
6.) VINPOCETINE is chemically related to, and derived from vincamine, an alkaloid found in the periwinkle plant. Studies with vinpocetine indicate that it can dilate blood vessels, enhance circulation in the brain, improve oxygen utilization, make red blood cells more pliable, and inhibit aggregation of platelets. Vinpocetine also has antioxidant properties.
It's almost guaranteed that you're not consuming anywhere near the recommended amounts of vegetables daily and as a result, your body is deprived of the nutrients it desperately needs to achieve and maintain optimal health. You're not alone; the sad truth is that 95% of all Americans fall well short of the mark when it comes to adequate vegetable consumption. Dr. Bill Misner, who has been conducting dietary analyses for many years, states, "Only 7% of the dietary analyses performed between 1996-2002 were consuming adequate amounts of dietary plant foods." Now, this is just one person who has done dietary analyses but still, he's done several hundred over the course of seven years and only 7% were consuming adequate amounts? That's a pathetically low amount!
Even if you're one of those rare individuals who does consume six servings of fresh vegetables each and every day your body is most likely still not getting adequate amounts of key phytonutrients and enzymes. The USDA recommends 5-6 servings of vegetables daily but it's almost a sure bet that none of us come close to that. Without adequate vegetables in the diet you're not giving your body the nutrient support and protection it needs and your health and performance is suffering as a result. Make no mistake about it, adequate and consistent vegetable intake is critically important!
Vegetables contain thousands and thousands of phytochemicals, which science is continually proving to be powerfully beneficial for optimal health. Unfortunately, while vegetables are key ingredients in the daily diet, today's food supply isn't what it used to be. As Dr. Misner points out, "Some authors from the food science industry argue that even 5 servings a day of fresh vegetables do not provide the organic substrates necessary for optimal cellular health. In the past 50 years, chemo-agricultural farming has depleted 90% of the soil's original minerals. Today's "veggies" contain only 11% of the organic minerals found in produce during World War II. To get what we once got from 3-5 servings of vegetables per day, we would have to consume 40 servings per day, or approximately the amount consumed by a medium-sized horse. What are we really missing? Plant sterols and phytoestrogens, which have been shown to protect us against cholesterol absorption, tumor formation, colon cancer, radiation poisoning, and the side effects of most allopathic medicines. Most of these protective phytonutrients, phytosterols, phytoestrogens are lost during processing, degumming, refining, deodorizing, canning, bottling and packaging; we simply are not getting enough."
So you see, while vegetable intake is still important, most of us rarely eat enough to begin with and what we do eat probably does not contain the quantity of nutrients we need. This is where Phytomax comes in. Derived from Hydrilla verticilata, three capsules of Phytomax will provide your body with more of the vegetable nutrition it demands than blue-green algae, sprulina, chlorella, wheat grass juice, barley grass juice, or any other similar product. In addition, Phytomax is a concentrated source of enzymes, phytosterols, and phytonutrients, which are so important for overall health but are unfortunately no longer available in appreciable amounts in our food supply. Dr. Bill Misner states, “If you chose to supplement all of the micronutrient profile found in Hydrilla from food sources you would require 5 tossed salads, 1 cup of tomato juice, 1 cup of spinach, 1 cup of lima beans, 1 cup of green beans, and 7 glasses of whole milk. Such a food volume would also yield 41 grams of fiber, 36 grams of saturated fat, 234 grams of cholesterol, 110 grams of sugar, and 2,486 grams of sodium.”
Phytomax’s Phytosterol Benefits
Dr. Misner writes, “Phytosterols may decrease cholesterol absorption by displacing cholesterol from bile salt micelles. Cholesterol analogs found in plants may be protective against colon cancer. Superoxide dismutase (SOD), a free radical fighter, antioxidant and enzyme found in most plant life is being seriously studied for its plausible positive effects in halting the aging process. SOD has been shown to provide a natural defense against the potentially damaging superoxide free radicals generated during exercise or aerobic metabolism. Including a source of "green" foods may not only enhance recovery, but also prevent the side effects from radiation, carcinoma formation, and the initiation of leukopenia. University studies report that milk production from dairy cattle and the egg-laying capacity of chickens were significantly enhanced when these animals were supplemented with this form of Hydrilla (Phytomax). The assumption is that carry over to human physiology is obvious, though not yet confirmed by reliable research. Some studies do suggest that the nutrients from this plant may have direct application for free radical scavenging, anti-arthritic effect, stress management, remediating aging disorders, promoting healthy skin, and energy recovery.”
Don't get me wrong; I believe that athletes and active people need to address the diet first and foremost because, more than any supplement pill, this is the foundation from which optimal health and performance can be achieved. Still, even our best efforts at improving our diet and consuming healthy foods on a consistent basis usually falls short more times that not. That's why supplementation in general is so important - to close the gap between what we need nutrient-wise and what we actually obtain in the diet - and it is especially true when it comes to vegetable intake. This is where Phytomax really shines. No, doesn't replace eating vegetables but instead, it efficiently and effectively bridges the gap between what we should eat and what we actually do eat. It's an important product that is a wonderful complement to the vitamins and minerals provided in Premium Insurance Caps. Gram for gram Phytomax is a powerhouse of enzymes, fatty acids, antioxidants, RNA, DNA, chlorophyll, sterols, and phytonutrients. Think of it as "completing the puzzle" when it comes to vitamin/mineral supplementation. With consistent intake of Phytomax you can experience what many athletes using the product enjoy, increased energy levels, faster recovery, improved immune system function, improved moods and mental clarity, and a higher quality of sleep.
Unfortunately, in today's stressful world, it's oftentimes difficult to obtain adequate sleep. Athletes engaged in hard training are even more susceptible to being unable to get to sleep quickly and stay asleep completely. There is a definite link between obtaining a sufficient amount of sleep and the achievement of optimal health and athletic performance. One well-known coach calls insufficient sleep "The Ultimate Performance Killer". If you're like a lot of athletes you might find it hard to fall asleep easily, especially when your training volume and/or intensity increases. If that's the case, if you're suffering from part-time to chronic insomnia, there is a good chance that you will have increased levels of stress hormones in the blood, which may compromise your health and sabotage everything you've worked so hard to achieve in training. REM Caps, with a combination of powerful, yet completely safe and effective nutrients, is your ally, ensuring you obtain the full benefits of a sound, restful, and productive night's sleep.
An additional reason for why I feel so highly about REM Caps is due to its melatonin component. Melatonin, in addition to it being an effective aid to alleviate insomnia, is also a very powerful antioxidant. One well-known nutritionist has stated that melatonin is "one of the most powerful antioxidants ever discovered - with a greater range of effectiveness than vitamin C, vitamin E, or beta-carotene…" Another respected nutritionist writes, "melatonin neutralizes one of the most damaging free radicals, and does so five times more effectively than the antioxidant enzyme glutathione…" Due to its antioxidant benefits melatonin has been shown to be a powerful immune system stimulator and a substance that is garnering substantial attention as having genuine anti-aging properties.
If only for the antioxidant benefits that melatonin provides, REM Caps - used regularly or on an "as needed" basis - might be a great product to have in your "arsenal."
The REM Caps Formula
1.) Valerian Root Extract – Valerian is perhaps the most widely used herb for the treatment of nervousness, stress, anxiety and insomnia. Valerian is also beneficial for improving circulation, treating high blood pressure, reducing mucus accumulation during colds, relieving muscle cramps, and helping to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
2.) Melatonin – Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced and secreted by the pineal gland, a tiny organ in the brain. Melatonin is responsible for regulating the biological rhythms in humans and is an effective aid to alleviate insomnia. It is also a very powerful antioxidant and is purported to be one of the premier anti-aging nutrients (see above).
3.) 5-HTP (5-Hydroxy tryptophan) – 5-HTP is isolated from the seed of the Griffonia simplicifolia plant and is a natural precursor of the hormone serotonin that, along with melatonin and valerian, helps to prevent insomnia. Along with melatonin, 5-HTP also enhances the release of growth hormone during sleep. In addition, several other low-serotonin-level conditions are aided by the use of 5-HTP:
Tension and Migraine headaches
4.) Magnesium (as Amino Acid Chelate) – Of the dozens and dozens of roles magnesium plays in the body, one of the primary benefits for aiding sleep is that it helps the muscles to relax. Along with the valerian component in REM Caps, magnesium can provide real benefits for anyone suffering from night cramping.
5.) Enzyme Enhancement System™ (proprietary blend of protease, amylase, cellulase, lipase, phytase) - The aging process can deplete/diminish the amounts of digestive enzymes the body produces. Adding enzymes to products works with the body, replenishing what it no longer can provide, and help a person absorb and assimilate the maximal amount possible
No athlete wants to lose valuable training time or miss an important race due to injury. Unfortunately, that sometimes happens to the best of us, especially when we stray from the safe haven of "maximum training" to that inhospitable territory called "overuse injury." Triathletes are at a potentially even greater risk for injury, if only due to the fact that this particular sport involves a number of disciplines (not just cycling, for example). As a result, triathletes use a lot of different muscles and joints, arguably more than most other athletes do. Other athletes who would benefit from the regular use of Tissue Rejuvenator are adventure races and runners, whose constant pounding can stress the joints tremendously.
So whether you are…
Trying to prevent injuries from occurring to begin with, or
If you're currently nursing and you want to do everything possible to get back into action as quickly as possible
...Tissue Rejuvenator is an important product for you. To accomplish either one of those goals - preventing injury or helping promote tissue healing if injured - one of the best things you can do is supply your body with nutrients that provide the "raw materials" it needs to promote rapid tissue repair, while also helping to reduce inflammation, soreness, and pain. Tissue Rejuvenator does all that - it is exactly what your body needs in support, especially during times of injury - and it does it without requiring you to use NSAID-type medications, which can have undesirable side effects. With Tissue Rejuvenator, in its newer, more powerful formula, your body receives a mega-potent dose of a wide variety of nutrients including glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, MSM, and undenatured type II collagen (UC-II™), which provides an extraordinary range of benefits.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Tissue Rejuvenator was designed to primarily for use during periods of injury but it absolutely can be used daily as a preventative.
The Joint-Health Components of Tissue Rejuvenator
1.) Glucosamine sulfate is classified as an amino sugar, a type of carbohydrate used for structural tissues instead of as an energy source. It is the basic building block/raw material in joint cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. Glucosamine sulfate plays a major role in the synthesis of collagen, cartilage, bone, skin, and various lubricating fluids in joints. Glucosamine sulfate helps promote elasticity of joint movement and also functions as a mild anti-inflammatory.
2.) Chondroitin sulfate is a natural component of several tissues in the body. Like glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate is one of the important building blocks for the repair of damaged cartilage. One of chondroitin sulfate’s important functions is its ability to block the activity of enzymes that break down cartilage. This helps reduce inflammation and protects cartilage from further damage. Chondroitin sulfate also promotes lubrication and cushioning in the joints.
3.) Methylsulfonylmethane, better known as MSM, is a metabolite of dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), a well-known solvent, which has been used topically as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. MSM is an organic form of sulfur, which is necessary for proper synthesis and maintenance of tissues such as skin, hair, nails, tendons and cartilage. MSM has been reported to reduce arthritic joint pain, enhance wound healing, and reduce allergic symptoms.
4.) Tissue Rejuvenator’s Enzyme Blend of peptidase, bromelain, papain, amylase, lipase, cellulase, and phytase not only aids in the complete absorption of the nutrient components in the product, it provides its own potent anti-inflammatory benefits.
5.) Boswellia serrata is an Ayurvedic herb that has been extensively as an anti-inflammatory for the treatment of arthritis. Its primary active ingredients are triterpene acids, which may also be useful for treating exercise-induced asthma and irritable bowel syndrome.
6.) Devil’s Claw is a South African herb containing substances called iridoid glycosides that have anti-inflammatory properties. It is also purported to help relieve mild stomach upset.
7.) Yucca Root is frequently used to combat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. It contains high levels of beneficial phytochemical compounds known as saponins, which may provide anti-viral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial benefits as well.
8.) Turmeric (Curcuma longa) contains a substance called curcumin, which has not only anti-inflammatory properties but also liver protecting, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties as well.
9.) Quercetin is a water-soluble flavonoid typically found in onions, apples, leafy vegetables, and other food sources. It is both a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and may also act as an antihistamine.
10.) Undenatured Type II Collagen (UC-II™) is a patented, extensively studied dietary ingredient derived from chicken sternum cartilage. Through a complex process called oral tolerization, UC-II™ works with the immune system to promote healthy joints and increase joint mobility and flexibility.
Endurance athletes can use all the help they can get to ensure optimal energy production, oxygen utilization, and muscular regeneration. Even a marginal deficiency in specific nutrients can negatively affect performance and health. Stress of any type, whether it's physical or emotional, is known to deplete the body of many essential nutrients, including two important B vitamins: folic acid and B12. Of the many important roles these two nutrients play in the body, perhaps the most noteworthy ones for athletes are those that point to folic acid and B12 as being important catalysts for supporting increased aerobic capacity, energy production, and improved recovery, via their involvement in the production of red blood cells as well as RNA production and re-synthesis.
RNA is a long chain nucleic acid composed of linked nucleotides, a polynucleotide, which is the building block basis for all living tissue cellular reproduction. Science suggests that improving RNA “status” within the body results in, among other benefits, gains in both lean muscle mass and mitochondrial resynthesis. When this occurs, the athlete may expect increases in energy capacity, metabolism, and enhanced recovery after exercise.
Both folic acid and vitamin B12 have key roles in the manufacturing and re-synthesis of RNA, which, as mentioned earlier, is crucial for the regeneration of soft tissue lean muscle mass. Folic acid, when ingested, is converted to folinic acid, the required co-factor for the re-synthesis of RNA. In addition, folic acid plays an important role in the lowering of homocysteine, elevated levels of which are believed to be a primary culprit in various cardiovascular diseases. Lastly, folic acid is a required substance for the synthesis of heme, the iron-carrying component of the hemoglobin in red blood cells.
Vitamin B-12 is crucial for all the cellular reactions involved in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism (which, of course, is key for optimal energy production) and is essential for cellular growth and cell function, in particular red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is an essential co-factor for the conversion of folic acid to its metabolically active form and, like folic acid, plays an important role in the reduction of elevated homocysteine levels. B12 is also known to alleviate the tiredness associated with fatigue.
In order for these two vitamins to provide maximal benefits they need to be taken together. Dr. Bill Misner writes, “Folate [folic acid] & B12 must be together for gains hoped for in RBC [Red Blood Cells], homocysteine methylation, cardiovascular effects, and downstream DNA strand synthesis.”
In early 2005 we reformulated the Xobaline (pronounced Zo-buh-lean) formula and eliminated both the liquid and encapsulated products. Xobaline now comes in small, easy-to-take sublingual (under the tongue) tablets. More importantly, Xobaline consists of both vitamin B12 (200 mcg) in the methylcobalamin form, the most biologically active form available, and folic acid (800 mcg). After much research we’re undeniably convinced that this dual nutrient combination presents several significant advantages versus the original “B12 only” formula.
A 7-capsule packet of Premium Insurance Caps will provide ample amounts of B-12 (100 mcg) and folic acid (400 mcg) for normal conditions/lighter training volume periods. During periods of higher volume training, and/or to support cardiovascular health (via lowered homocysteine levels) on a daily basis, taking a sublingual Xobaline tablet is a wise strategy.
The trace mineral chromium is a hormone-like compound, which regulates carbohydrate metabolism. This has profound effects on athletic performance and, especially, recovery. Dr. Bill Misner writes, "Since all carbohydrates are eventually reduced in the body to simple glucose (the body's primary source of energy), a go-between for "plugging" simple glucose from the bloodstream into the cell is supplied in the presence of naturally-occurring, niacin-bound GTF chromium substrate (ChromeMate™)." Citing Kamen's 1990 research [Kamen, B. The Chromium Diet Supplement & Exercise Strategy. Nutrition Encounter Inc., Novato, CA; 1990; pp.11-13.], Dr. Misner continues, "Most diets do not contain adequate amounts of this GTF chromium to support prolonged endurance activities."
Studies suggest that chromium polynicotinate (not to be confused with chromium picolinate), when taken with carbohydrate, enhances recovery by increasing the rate of glycogen synthesis. Chromium, critically involved in insulin production, also has an essential role in energy production and the synthesis of glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids. Chromium rapidly depletes via perspiration, urination, stress, pollution, and extreme temperatures, so supplementation becomes a necessity.
Perhaps the most exciting thing of all regarding chromium comes courtesy of a recent study presented at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American College of Nutrition, September 22-25, 2005, in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. In this study ChromeMate™ demonstrated its ability to prolong the life span of test animals by more than 22%. According to the study, which was conducted by researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center (Washington, DC) and Creighton University Medical Center (Omaha, NE), rats prone to aging were fed diets containing ChromeMate™, which increased their average life span by +22% compared to rats fed the same diet without ChromeMate™.
Rats fed ChromeMate™ also experienced:
Lower systolic blood pressure
Lower circulating glucose levels
Lower, normalized hemoglobin levels, a long-term indicator of blood sugar status
No abnormalities in blood chemistry, kidney or liver function
Exciting stuff, indeed! So in addition to all the benefits chromium polynicotinate already provides, it may very well prove to be a key nutrient for life extension!
Our original recommendations were a daily intake of 200-600 mcg. However, more current research indicates that higher amounts of chromium - up to 1000 mcg daily - may provide the best benefits. So even if you're currently using Premium Insurance Caps, which contains 200 mcg ChromeMate™ per 7-capsule packet, consider taking additional ChromeMate™ with meals and especially with your post-workout recovery fuel to enhance glycogen synthesis and storage capabilities. Dr. Bill Misner writes, "Within 2 hours of exercise, taking 2 grams of carbohydrates for each 2.2 lbs. body weight with GTF Chromium (ChromeMate™) will result in a 300% increase in the rate of glycogen synthesis compared to no supplementation. The 2-hour post-exercise window is needed for conversion of carbohydrates to muscle glycogen through the insulin (IGF) mechanism. This anabolic response will not completely take place in the absence of GTF chromium. If only a minute amount of GTF chromium is available, only a third of the amount of muscle cell refueling will occur."
There's no doubt about it - Taking additional ChromeMate™ capsules at key times during your day, augmenting the 200 mcg contained in a packet of Premium Insurance Caps, is a wise strategy for optimal recovery and optimal health!
In the nutrition world there's a well-accepted train of thought that suggests, "Disease begins in the gut." This can be interpreted to mean that intestinal health plays a crucial role in regards to overall health. The battle between healthy and unhealthy bacteria for colonization in the intestinal tract is fierce, and if this area of the body is not healthy, the entire body is negatively affected. Infections, poor diet, stress, overuse of anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), antibiotic use, and even chlorinated water can deplete or destroy the healthy bacteria living in the human digestive system. This can allow undesirable bacteria to flourish and compromise digestive system function, nutrient absorption, intestinal health, and immunity.
Maintaining healthy intestinal flora should be a special priority for athletes. Dr. Bill Misner writes, “Poor diet, stress, antibiotics, and aging can tend to increase the "bad" pathogenic bacteria, which may be blamed for several gastrointestinal problems endurance athletes suffer from during extreme events. Probiotics are "Good" bacteria that are healthful for normal intestinal function that prevent harmful bacteria from causing stomach problems or at worse disease.”
One well-known nutritionist states, “Unhealthy flora can result in the liberation of abnormally high levels of ammonia as protein-containing foods are digested. This irritates the intestinal membranes. In addition, the ammonia is absorbed into the bloodstream and must be detoxified by the liver…” High blood levels of ammonia are linked to fatigue and every step that can be taken to minimize excess ammonia production and accumulation should be taken. For many, many reasons, one of which is to help prevent excess ammonia production where it first manifests, the wise athlete will make sure the “gut is healthy” at all times.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to keep the all-important balance of intestinal flora in favor of the "good guys," and it's extremely important after a course of antibiotics, when ALL bacteria, both good and bad, are destroyed. iFlora is that product, providing a greater variety (16 different strains) and potency (15 billion viable cells per capsule) than any other probiotic supplement. There is nothing stronger or more beneficial, especially after a course of antibiotics, for re-establishing optimal intestinal health.
Boron isn't as well known as other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, but they can't do their job without boron. Studies indicate that boron, among its many benefits, helps maintain bone health and aids in the prevention of prostate cancer. Excessive supplemental boron does not lead to overproduction of anabolic hormones (as was once suggested by some bodybuilding-specific manufacturers), but taking enough boron does result in adequate production of these hormones. This is vital both for maintaining healthy bone mineral mass and also for ensuring complete recovery from high-volume training, when this mineral may be severely depleted.
During most of the year a 2.5 mg dose (obtained from one packet of Premium Insurance Caps) is an adequate daily amount and in general, most sport science nutritionists suggest that no more than 3-6 milligrams of boron per day is required, stating the body has only a micro-appetite for this hormone-enhancing/supporting mineral. However, during peak training periods, taking an additional 5 mg of boron may be quite useful because it’s during this time that boron levels may become depleted through more intense and/or higher volume training. Because boron supports adequate production of specific anabolic hormones and because these hormones are critical for ensuring optimal recovery this additional boron support goes a long way during these periods of higher volume training.
There is no RDA for boron and a safe and adequate daily intake is estimated between 1 and 10 mg. As far as toxicity/toxic effects of this mineral are concerned (the effects being manifested as loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and skin rashes) most sources suggest that doses of 100 mg daily or more (some sources cite amounts as high as 500 mg daily) are required for any toxic effects to appear. Considering that two full packets of Premium Insurance Caps provides 5 mg of boron and that an additional boron capsule provides another 5 mg the maximum amount being taken would still fall far, far below any toxic potential amount.
So while boron may not be in the same category as our “Daily Essentials” products, it has a definite place in the Hammer Nutrition product line and an additional Boron capsule may be very beneficial to support enhanced recovery during peak training periods.
Race Day Boost (see the section “Fueling Strategies For Triathletes – PRE-RACE & RACE DAY” in Part Three for more information about this supplement)
A major enemy of endurance athletes is the production and excess accumulation of ammonia. And guess what? It's compromises athletic performance big time. You see, during exercise, the body produces ammonia as a natural by-product of protein metabolism. It doesn't matter what type of exercise you do, aerobic or anaerobic, you will still produce ammonia; it's unavoidable. Problems arise however, during longer distance efforts (approximately 3-5 hours and beyond) when more ammonia is produced and accumulates. One well known expert has stated that, "ammonia is toxic to all cells, reduces the formation of glycogen, and inhibits the energy cycle." A study in particular examined the changes in blood ammonia levels in humans during exercise and determined that the higher the blood ammonia, the poorer performance will be.
One way to help prevent excess ammonia accumulation is to make sure you're using Perpetuem or Sustained Energy as your primary fuels during workouts and races that exceed 2-3 hours. The amount of protein these two products supplies your body helps prevent the "cannibalization" of your lean muscle tissue. When your body literally "feeds upon itself," metabolizing the protein from lean muscle tissue to satisfy energy requirements, a huge amount of ammonia is produced, which is a primary culprit in fatigue. So again, the primary step to preventing excess amounts of lean muscle tissue from being cannibalized, and excess amounts of ammonia being produced, is to use a fuel that contains both carbohydrates and protein; with Perpetuem or Sustained Energy you've got that covered.
During your longer workouts and races it's an excellent strategy to go beyond that first "line of defense" and provide the body with additional support for the removal of ammonia. That's where Anti-Fatigue Caps comes in. It's a one-of-a-kind product combining a potent arsenal of three known ammonia-scavenging nutrients - aspartate, l-citrulline, and OKG. Now, if all Anti-Fatigue Caps did was aid in the removal of excess ammonia it'd be completely worth it. However, these nutrients do more than just that and provide these additional benefits:
More consistent energy from the conversion and increased production of a key substrate, oxaloacetate
Support in the prevention of muscle tissue catabolism from effective, non-ammonia producing glutamine replenishment
Additional support for the prevention of cramping, from the aspartate component being chelated to magnesium and potassium
So while Anti-Fatigue Caps isn't a product you'd want nor need to take daily, it can be an extremely valuable ally and a terrific "secret weapon" under certain circumstances.
In hot conditions, especially beyond a 2-hour effort, your core temperature can increase substantially, causing profuse sweating. The ensuing fluid depletion forces your heart to work harder and slows metabolic reactions necessary for efficient fuel transport. At the very least this means decreased athletic performance with the increased possibility of more serious consequences from dehydration. The glycerol component in Liquid Endurance increases blood volume and cellular/intracellular fluid storage capacity, giving you extra fluid reserves.
In addition to glycerol, Liquid Endurance contains L-carnitine, which is the essential nutrient for the utilization of fatty acids for fuel. We include it in Liquid Endurance because the glycerol component, which increases the uptake and distribution of L-carnitine at the cellular level. In other words, L-carnitine is a vital nutrient for enhanced endurance and the presence of glycerol in blood serum will enable more of it to be available for use in the process of fats-for-fuel utilization.
Finally, Pyrodoxine HCL, the coenzyme of Vitamin B-6 is included in Liquid Endurance as it is a key factor in the metabolism of all fuels including fatty acids. Without sufficient supplies of Vitamin B-6 the body cannot make l-Carnitine therefore it cannot access fatty acids efficiently, thus depleting the amount of glycerol produced.
With Liquid Endurance, you get so much more than a "heat tolerance" product. You'll appreciate its benefits any time, but especially during hot weather races.
There comes a time, whether in a tough workout or race, when having a shot of instant, readily available energy would be highly beneficial. Prior to a big climb, during interval sessions, or in the last couple miles of a race are but a few times that come to mind. These times are where Energy Surge comes in very handy. When you put an Energy Surge tablet under your tongue and let it dissolve, you get a nice boost of energy, exactly when you need it.
Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is produced by every mitochondria cell within the human body. It is formed from a long chain of metabolic events in which a variety of substrates are transferred from the foods you eat, especially carbohydrates. Although science is still struggling to fully understand the nature of this unstable compound, Hammer Nutrition has been harnessing its universal power for over 10 years and thousands of satisfied customers can attest to its effectiveness where it counts - at the races. Hammer Nutrition’ proprietary sublingual (under the tongue) formula allows for direct absorption through the mucosa of the mouth and throat, going directly into the bloodstream and avoiding the stomach. The anecdotal data of Energy Surge's effectiveness is somewhat substantiated by the work of Dr. Irshad Chaudry, who showed there is evidence that ATP can cross the cell membrane. Dr. Chaudry suggests that the release and uptake of ATP or its substrates are part of the physiological process of energy metabolism.
During that crucial time in your workout or race (like when it’s time to drop the competition for good) having an Energy Surge tablet or two available and ready to go to work for you can make all the difference!
-- ESSENTIAL --
Workout days under 1.5 hours and on days off
Premium Insurance Caps - For all athletes, regardless of size or age - suggested dose is 1 packet per day, in divided doses, with food. On non-workout days take 4 capsules with breakfast and 3 capsules with lunch. On workout days take 4 capsules after workout with food, the other 3 at another time during the day with food. Note that supplementation with this product is not necessary and not recommended prior to workouts unless at least a 3-hour window exists between consumption of the product and the beginning of the workout.
Race Caps Supreme - Athletes weighing less than 150 pounds or any athlete under the age of 20 - Suggested dose is 1 capsule twice daily with food on non-workout days. On workout days of 90 minutes or less take 1 capsule 60-120 minutes prior to exercise (with or without food) and 1 capsule after exercise with food.
Athletes weighing more than 150 pounds - Suggested dose is 1 capsule three times daily on non-workout days. On workout days of 90 minutes or less take 2 capsules 60-120 minutes prior to exercise (with or without food) and 1 capsule after exercise with food.
Mito Caps - For all athletes, regardless of size or age - suggested dose is 1 capsule three times daily, with food, on non-workout days. On workout days of 90 minutes or less take 1 capsule 30-60 minutes prior to workouts (with or without food) and 2 capsules after workouts with food. A 4th capsule may be taken with dinner on workout days that were 60-90 minutes in length.
Workout days over 1.5 hours
Premium Insurance Caps - Athletes weighing less than 150 pounds or ANY athlete under the age of 20 - Suggested dose is 4 capsules after workout, with food, the other 3 at another time during the day, with food. Note that supplementation with this product is not necessary and not recommended prior to workouts unless at least a 3-hour window exists between consumption of the product and the beginning of the workout.
Athletes weighing more than 150 pounds - Suggested dose is 2 full packets per day (total of 14 capsules) in divided doses with 1 full packet (7 capsules) taken with food after workout. The other full packet is to be split into two doses and taken at other times of the day with food. If there is a 3-hour window prior to exercise 3 capsules may be taken at that time. If there is not a 3-hour window, skip that dose and take those capsules at other times throughout the day.
Race Caps Supreme - Athletes weighing less than 150 pounds or ANY athlete under the age of 20 - Suggested dose is 1 capsule 30-90 minutes prior to exercise (with or without food). If workout exceeds two hours, 1 additional capsule may be taken every hour during the workout. Another 1 capsule after workouts, with food, is also suggested.
Athletes weighing more than 150 pounds - Suggested dose is 2 capsules 30-90 minutes prior to exercise (with or without food). If workout exceeds two hours, 1-2 additional capsules may be taken every hour during the workout. Another 1-2 capsules after workouts, with food, is also suggested.
Mito Caps - For all athletes, regardless of age - suggested dose is 2 capsules 30-60 minutes prior to exercise (with or without food), 2 capsules after exercise with food, 2 capsules with dinner. If workout exceeds two hours, 1 additional capsule may be taken every hour during the workout.
-- VERY IMPORTANT --
Carlson’s Norwegian Salmon Oil – 1-2 capsules twice daily with food. In addition, consider taking 1 capsule with your pre-workout Race Caps Supreme dose as this will enhance the absorption of both the CoQ10 and idebenone components of Race Caps Supreme.
Super AO - For enhanced recovery take 1 or 2 capsules with food after workouts (use the higher dose after workouts over 2-3 hours and after races). For supporting enhanced cognitive function, 1 capsule of Super AO may be taken in the morning with food. For supporting enhanced performance (via free radical neutralization) during ultra distance workouts and races, Super AO may be used at a suggested intake of 1 capsule every 2-3 hours. Super AO may be used daily all year round.
Phytomax - 1 to 2 capsules three times daily with food. The larger dose should be considered during peak training periods.
REM Caps - 1-3 capsules 60 minutes prior to sleep. Start with the lowest dose, as that will provide 3 mg of melatonin, which is a dose that works for most people.
-- IMPORTANT --
Tissue Rejuvenator - 4 capsules twice daily with food during periods of injury. For prevention purposes, 1-2 capsules twice daily with food is suggested.
Xobaline - 1 tablet after workout. Allow tablet to dissolve completely (don’t chew).
ChromeMate™ - 1 capsule with post-workout recovery food.
iFlora - Especially after a course of antibiotics or when extra strength support is needed (after an illness is a good example) suggested dose is two capsules per day in the morning, with or without food, for two weeks. This allows ideal re-colonization of healthy bacteria in the intestines and colon.
Once this two-week course is completed the continued use of iFlora is certainly acceptable. However, at this point the amounts even one capsule of iFlora provides may not be necessary. Therefore a suggested protocol to consider would be to use iFlora for two weeks then switch to Digest Caps as a maintenance dose.
Boron - 1 capsule with post-workout recovery food.
-- SPECIFIC --
Anti-Fatigue Caps - 2 to 4 capsules one hour prior to lengthy workouts or races. 1 to 2 capsules per hour during lengthy workouts or races, beginning at the second hour.
Liquid Endurance - 2 tablespoons Liquid Endurance mixed in 24 ounces of water sipped slowly every 3 hours, 4 times daily. Do this for 3 days prior to event. It is VERY IMPORTANT to weigh each day. If you gain 3% of your body weight before the 3-day loading is finished, it is time to stop loading. Beyond the 3% body extracellular water-weight gain is performance-ineffective. Most people gain 1-2%. The more-exacting loading protocol: 1 tablespoon Liquid Endurance for each 100-lbs. bodyweight mixed in 24 fluid ounces water taken every 3 hours, 4 times daily for 3 consecutive days prior to event.
Energy Surge - 1-2 tablets dissolved under tongue as needed during exercise. For faster absorption, chew Energy Surge tablets into a paste then dissolve under the tongue.
Steve Born is a technical advisor for Hammer Nutrition with over a decade of involvement in the health food industry. He has worked with hundreds of athletes - ranging from the recreational athlete to world-class professional athlete - regarding their supplement/fueling program. Steve is a three-time RAAM finisher, the 1994 Furnace Creek 508 Champion, 1999 runner-up, the only cyclist in history to complete a Double Furnace Creek 508, and is the holder of two Ultra Marathon Cycling records. In February 2004 Steve was inducted into the Ultra Marathon Cycling Hall of Fame.
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