The antioxidant vitamins found in fruits, vegetables, teas and supplements are proving to be powerful agents in the fight against disease causing free radicals.
The original concept was to take recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamins to a level that would prevent acute deficiency diseases like the Sailor’s disease scurvy. These are the standards by which RDA’s were created.
However, in recent years, research has shown that Vitamins taken in higher doses can prevent sever chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
A debate still rages, but there is a plethora of research being done on Vitamin A, C, E, the antioxidant vitamins.
A National Institute of Health clinical trial involving people at high risk of developing advanced stages of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), showed that patients’ risk decreased by 25 percent when treated with high doses of antioxidant vitamins and zinc.
Another study at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta showed that taking Vitamin E along with multivitamins reduced risk from stroke and heart illness.
Among patients who took the combination, mortality risk decreased by 15 percent for these two diseases.
This September, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded a study investigating the relationship between Vitamin C and cancer, suggesting that Vitamin C may fight cancer.
They found, in a laboratory setting, that high doses of Vitamin C injected directly into the bloodstream killed cancer cells.
Though the current RDA for Vitamin C is stuck at 60 mg, many researchers suggest that raising the RDA to between 100 and 200 mg would be a great way for people to get the antioxidants that they need to maintain overall well being.
Be careful when purchasing vitamins and supplements though. Research has shown that whole food vitamins, or vitamins with their co-factors, are much more effective than isolated nutrients.
Nutrition is a complex process of thousands of chemical reactions within our bodies. Vitamins are always better in their natural state – in the foods we eat.
Supplements should never be used in place of a poor diet.
The smart choice is to look for whole food vitamins to supplement an already good diet for the times you can’t get everything you need at meal time.
The focus of research on vitamins these days is how antioxidant supplements may play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Antioxidant supplements – E, C, and beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A) – have potential when it comes to health promotion.
However, most data available about such health promoting properties of antioxidant supplements are incomplete.
And only up to 30 percent Americans are taking some form of antioxidant supplements.
But what exactly are antioxidants and how important are they?
Antioxidants come in two forms. They can either be vitamins or minerals. They help prevent oxygen from reacting with other chemicals in cells.
Such reactions – called oxidation – could lead to cell damage which may result in heart disease and cancer.
Antioxidants can be found in a variety of foods, but they are far more common in fresh fruits and vegetables.
A health diet of fresh produce could lead to high levels of antioxidants in your body, which could only mean one thing – less free radicals (those harmful molecules that cause cell damage) and a healthier you.
When antioxidants start to work, they destroy the free radicals or break the chain. You see, here’s what happens when you have lots of free radicals in your body.
Because they are highly unstable, these free radicals have the tendency to steal or get electrons from stable molecules and in so doing, make those molecules unstable as well, turning them into free radicals.
This becomes a long chain and will go on and on until such a chain in broken.
This is where antioxidants come in whose sole function is to break the chain and neutralize free radicals.
During the process of neutralization, the antioxidants are neutralized themselves. Hence, they also become oxidized.
That is why the body needs a constant source of antioxidants in order to keep combating these harmful free radicals and stop them from multiplying.
With the kind of diet most of us have these days, it is very likely that we may not be getting enough antioxidants from the foods that we eat.
And remember that the body needs to replenish its levels of antioxidants constantly. This is where antioxidant supplements come in.
Because the body may not be getting enough antioxidants because you don’t enough fruits or you don’t eat a lot of vegetables, you therefore need an alternate source such as antioxidant supplements.
Antioxidant supplements are that source.
And while antioxidant supplements can’t very well take the place of natural antioxidants, they can however aid in increasing the level of antioxidants in your body.
Sports nutrition is a vast industry with emphasis on optimizing PERFORMANCE. Off hand, I can think of quite a few categories involving sports nutrition:
” sports nutrition and supplements for athletes,
” sports nutrition and athletic performance,
” sports nutrition and body building,
” sports nutrition and endurance training,
” sports nutrition and special diets in a variety of sports,
” sports nutrition and strength training,
” sports nutrition for running, jogging, walking, skiing, swimming
” There’s even Rocky Mountain sports nutrition
” …the list is endless.
So far, no surprises, huh? Well, here’s one for you. Did you know that when you exercise intensively you INCREASE the free radical burden in your body?
If you’re a serious sports enthusiast, you should know that.
But…the real news is what science is now finding out about that free radical burden of yours. You should pay close attention here.
Suddenly, chemistry gets real personal.
Everyone of us has, what may be called, our antioxidant protective capacity.
That means our bodies normally utilize antioxidants to protect us against the harmful impact of free radicals.
First of all, what are antioxidants? They are molecular substances which offset free radical damage to the body.
Antioxidants, “quench” free radicals (for lack of a better metaphor) neutralizing their damaging effects on the cells of the body.
” Antioxidants are found in foods such as cranberries, green tea and even chocolate.
” Antioxidants are found in vitamins such vitamin C and E.
” Antioxidants are found in carotenoids such as beta-carotene.
” Antioxidants are found in many substances supplied by the body such as glutathione.
” Antioxidants are found in many herbs and enzymes.
The impact of antioxidants is boosted by glyconutrients to offset free radicals in your body…and, as a result of your athletic exertions.
Antioxidant capacity must be provided in your sports nutrition regimen or you could be “robbing Peter to pay Paul” with your workouts.
As you will see, without a glyconutrional presence in your sports nutrition, the healthful gains made by your physical workouts will be offset by your own free radical burden.
Free Radicals, Sports and Sports Nutrition
Free radicals are those chemical species which contain one or more unpaired electrons, capable of independent existence.
They form in the body due to a variety of reasons as offshoots of cellular activity or as products introduced to the body from the outside.
As an analogy, think of running a car engine as the cellular production and the car emissions as the free radical production.
The engine produces products which cannot stay inside the car without further damage. They simply must be neutralized and expelled.
Free radicals form and cause damage by reacting with many substances in your body.
It is estimated that upwards of 200,000 free radical attacks occur in our bodies daily.
When free radical damage is done, the body can remove the compounds formed by its cellular repair system.
However, if the body cannot handle the free radicals (with antioxidants for example), nor remove the compounds, then disease can be the result.
Contrary to popular opinion, free radicals do not circulate throughout the body.
The half-life of most free radicals varies in a range of a few nanoseconds to about 7 seconds duration.
That means they will react within the “neighborhood” (a few Angstroms or microns near where the increase in free radicals occurred) …organs, connective tissue, circulatory or nerve tissue, bone or lymphatic material are all candidates for free radical attack.
Wherever they form, they will damage the surrounding areas, unless prevented by the body…So the body does NOT have the luxury of just filtering away any circulatory fluids to find the free radicals.
The body’s defense systems must be…well…fairly omnipresent to neutralize the effects of free radicals. The antioxidant protective system must be healthy.
Since they are highly reactive substances, they react with all sorts of cell elements readily.
But, when they do react with your body cells, they can damage the cells and even kill them.
Often, the damage from free radicals can CHANGE the cellular structure enough to cause DISEASE such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and a host of others.
The type of disease that occurs is dependent upon which of the free radical defenses in the body weren’t functioning properly and where the free radical attacks occur.
The body has pretty sophisticated antioxidant defense systems. But, the body CAN get overwhelmed in its antioxidant protections against such free radicals…
Indeed, unless antioxidant enhanced sports nutrition (with glyconutrients) are used to offset the increased free radical burden, the BODY will suffer as a result of intensive sports training, stress, and competition.
Glyconutrients VITAL to sports nutrition …
Studies comparing marathon runners who did and did not take glyconutritional sports nutrition supplements were undertaken.
The results were reported by the Proceedings of the Fisher Institute For Medical Research ( August 2003, vol.3, no.1).
The results “demonstrated strikingly different patterns.”
Antioxidant protection appeared to be powerfully enhanced against free radicals with glyconutritional supplementation.
Thus, the body was protected for several days after the marathon run.
However, when glyconutritional sports nutrition was NOT used, the damaging effects of the free radical burden appeared to remain in the body for about five days.
Thus, the subject “consistently excreted higher concentrations of free radical byproducts…” as compared to that of the glyconutritional subject.
It should be emphasized that the subject studied WAS TAKING other antioxidants, though not glyconutrition. Despite that fact, the above cited results were obtained.
That’s another way of saying that when glyconutritional supplements were not used, the free radical burden upon the body was not lifted.
Antioxidant protection does appear to be (significantly) strengthened with glyconutritional sports nutrition.
Such antioxidant protection appears to be of benefit for athletes overall, including training, stress, competition and dietary issues.
The glyconutritional revolution in sports nutrition and therapy is just beginning. More studies are being done.
More results are coming in concerning free radicals and the capacity of the glyconutrients to boost antioxidant affect against free radicals.
Sports nutrition is about to see a new revolution…
Better still. I believe that it is quite probable that, with glyconutrition, sports PERFORMANCE is about to see a revolution in al fields.