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By Dr. Deedra Rae Mason, Director of Clinical Education & Research

The question amongst athletes and trainers alike is, “Should we continue to supplement with antioxidants?” The question is not whether supplementation is beneficial; it is a question of “What did we learn from the exercise data?”

First, we have to consider the conflicting variables, different results have occurred in trials with both animals and humans. Nutrient dosages being inconsistent during trials, or taking nutrients in isolation from other beneficial nutrients can result in a discrepancy in outcomes. For example, taking vitamin C twice a day vs. once per day, in addition to dosing with synthetic vitamin E vs. taking natural tocolpherols. These discrepancies may not be accounted for in the research. In fact, the only factors that were consistent were the time that the supplements were taken and that actual performance was not affected between supplement and non-supplement users. 

From a physiology standpoint, this makes a lot of sense. Exercise creates a free radical environment, which relies on the production of free radicals to carry muscles through a catabolic (breakdown) phase, followed by an anabolic (repair or growth) phase. High doses of combination antioxidants may prevent this necessary action from taking place, thereby making athletic conditioning less efficient at a cellular level. When, or if antioxidants are taken during exercise or during a phase of catabolism, presumably, depending on intensity of exercise within two (2) hours post-workout, they may hamper the production of necessary free radicals. That being said, certain select antioxidants, like alpha-lipoic and R-lipoic acid acid assist the body in optimal functioning of fatty acid (fuel) utilization for mitochondrial cells found in metabolically-active tissue. So the type of antioxidant matters as much as the time that you ingest the antioxidant. 

Recent studies have suggested that antioxidants like vitamin C, E and resveratrol may hamper mitochondrial genesis. This makes muscles less energy efficient during endurance exercise. This was not the case in fast or short burst exercise activity; when there was no presence of antioxidant energy metabolism was adequate. Based on these outcomes and the performance of antioxidants for tissue repair (with antioxidant consumption at night or with short or fast burst exercise activity), antioxidants can be beneficial for athletes.

What we shouldn’t take from the outcome is the assumption that all antioxidants are created equal, or that they perform in the same way regardless of our metabolic environment. A prudent recommendation for athletes is to continue ingesting a diet rich in antioxidants, protein and fat in their natural state; while taking select supplements for performance and repair timed appropriately to the body’s metabolic need.

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1 day, 20 hours ago


By Leo Gil

When we think of eating by color, it is important for us to know that what gives foods their color. Pigments give food their coloring, and they also add nutritional value. Each color family provides different health benefits. Green foods receive plenty of attention because they are incredibly beneficial and nutrient-packed, but other pigments, particularly black, also pack a serious nutritional punch!

Black-colored foods get their color from anthocyanins, which are plant pigments that act as powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants may assist with enhancing memory, disease prevention and reducing age-related cognitive decline.[1]

5 Anthocyanin-rich Foods

1.       Black Rice:
It contains higher amounts of vitamin E than brown rice, which are essential for immune system function.

2.       Black Lentils:
One cup of these nutrient loaded legumes will provide almost half of your RDA for iron.

3.       Blackberries:
These berries are very dense in fiber — providing up to 8 grams of fiber per cup.

4.       Black Soybeans:
Eating black soybeans can assist with thrombosis (blood clot) prevention, according to a Korean study.

5.       Black tea:
This type of tea is rich in theaflavins. These useful antioxidants assist with post exercise muscle recovery, and can also help lower your risk of heart attack.[2]


[1] http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/030314p20.shtml
[2] http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20471231,00.html

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3 days, 19 hours ago


By Leo Gil

We tend to overlook a key nutrient in our diets— fiber! According to the Institute of Medicine, men and women younger than 50 years need 38 and 25 grams of fiber respectively, every day[1]. Men and women older than 50 years require 30 and 21 grams of fiber daily. So, why is fiber so important?

4 Benefits of Fiber

·         Healthy Colon and Cancer Prevention:
Fiber is crucial for a healthy digestive system, since it prevents constipation by promoting healthy bowel movement, which decreases the chances of colon cancer.[2]

·         Heart Attack Prevention:
Fiber also aids in the absorption of cholesterol in our bloodstream. This is linked to the prevention of coronary artery disease, which is directly associated with heart attacks.[3]

·         Type 2 Diabetes Prevention:
Fiber doesn’t require insulin to be digested, so a diet that is high in fiber helps maintain normal blood sugar levels. A study performed by the German Institute of Human Nutrition suggests that people who include the daily requirement of fiber into their diets are 27% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t.[4]

·         Weight Loss Promotion:
Since fiber is not broken down, it does not contribute any calories to your diet. However it does provide a feeling of fullness which battles hunger and overeating.[5]

In conclusion, fiber assists in the prevention of three major diseases which are amongst the top leading causes of death in the U.S. Give your body a nutritional boost and add some more fiber to your diet today!



[1] http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/many-grams-soluble-fiber-per-day-8084.html
[2] http://www.webmd.com/diet/fiber-cancer
[3] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/cholesterol/art-20045192
[4] http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20070515/fiber-may-fight-diabetes
[5] http://www.joslin.org/info/how_does_fiber_affect_blood_glucose_levels.html

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5 days, 21 hours ago


by Theresa Greenwell, International Science
 
Polyphenols are phytochemicals commonly found in plants and fruits such as grapes, broccoli, and tea.  These phytochemicals have been proven to provide strong antioxidant and health-related benefits.
 
A recent study in the International Journal of Obesity focused on how polyphenols, resveratrol in particular, affected fat mass and type in mice fed a high fat diet. 
 
The study found that a diet containing as little as 0.1% resveratrol could help to change white fat into brown-like (beige) fat. White fat is typically fat that the body stores for future energy use; white fat is the hardest fat to lose. Brown fat is that fat which the body can use more rapidly and is used for the production of heat; brown fat is more active and energy-burning. The ability of the resveratrol to alter white fat into brown-fat helped reduce the mice’s weight by approximately 40%. The amount of resveratrol used in this study was roughly equivalent to 2-3 servings of fruit per day.    
 
While this study only used resveratrol, the researchers felt that many polyphenols may have the same effect. They believe this to be the case due to the fact that polyphenols appear to increase gene expression that can enhance the oxidation of dietary fats. By increasing the oxidation of fats, the body can burn more lipids off as heat instead of storing them. 
 
Though the study was done in mice, it does lend itself to the possibility of using polyphenols in humans in order to reduce fat mass. Research needs to be conducted in humans, as well as in males versus females; in order to see if, how and to what extent polyphenols might be beneficial for weight reduction. 
 
 
Source:
Wang, S., et al.  Resveratrol induces brown-like adipocyte formation in white fat through activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) a1. International Journal of Obesity. 39(6): 967-976, 2015.

 

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1 week, 2 days ago


By Crystal H. Shelton, Senior Scientific Researcher
 
A new study conducted at the University of Kansas Medical Center found that older adults who increased their fitness levels also improved their brain activity. A 6-month trial followed healthy adults, aged 65 and older, with no previous signs of cognitive decline. Participants were split into one of four groups, one group who exercised for the recommended time of 150 minutes per week, the second exercised for 75 minutes per week and the third who exercised for a total of 225 minutes per week and the last that did not have any monitored exercise. ALL of the exercising groups saw some benefit in their ability to better perceive objects spatially, as well as an increase in their overall attention levels and ability to focus. In fact, the ones who exercised more saw greater benefits, proving more exercise was better for the brain. The study also found the intensity of the exercise seemed to matter more than the duration of the exercise. For your brain to really get the benefit, you have to really bump up your fitness level and intensity.
 
The group of scientists at the KU Alzheimer's Disease Center have studied the relationship between exercise and brain metabolism for many years. They are actively working on a number of research studies on how exercise may help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's.
 

For more detailed information, see the reference link below:
 
Eric D. Vidoni, David K. Johnson, Jill K. Morris, Angela Van Sciver, Colby S. Greer, Sandra A. Billinger, Joseph E. Donnelly, Jeffrey M. Burns. Dose-Response of Aerobic Exercise on Cognition: A Community-Based, Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. PLOS ONE, 2015; 10 (7): e0131647 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131647
 

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1 week, 4 days ago
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