Probiotics and Athletic Performance

USANA Probiotics

It has become very clear that probiotics are an important part of one’s health journey but what about athletic performance?  Through the past number of years, many scientific studies have sought to discover a potential link.  However, to date, those studies have been inconclusive to actual performance. Don’t stop reading though!  The studies did confirm key health benefits that all athletes from the elite athlete to the everyday athlete need to know!

What we know about probiotics: 

  • The gut must maintain a delicate balance between the good and bad bacteria.  Probiotics can be very powerful in helping to maintain this balance.
  • Poor food choices, emotional stress, physical exertion, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, environmental influences can shift this balance to favor the bad bacteria making us vulnerable to disease
  • The good bacteria in the gut (probiotics) not only facilitate good digestion and nutrient absorption but also help form our immune system to fight the influences of the bad bacteria
  • An imbalance in favor of the bad bacteria is also associated with urinary track infections, diarrhea, fatigue and muscle pain
  • “Up to 10% of an individual’s daily energy needs can be derived from the byproducts of good bacteria in your gut” (Dr. Mehmet Oz)

What the studies have shown about probiotics and athletic performance: 

  • They may reduce the number of sick days athletes experience when training for endurance running events*
  • The severity of respiratory infections and gastrointestinal disturbances may be reduced for athletes*
  • They may assist with immune function of fatigued athletes*
  • They may positively affect athletic performance through enhanced recovery from fatigue

Andrew Nichols, MD summarizes these findings in his “Probiotics and Athletic Performance: A Systematic Review” (2007) by saying:

“…probiotics may provide athletes with secondary health benefits that could positively affect athletic performance through enhanced recovery from fatigue, improved immune function, and maintenance of healthy gastrointestinal tract function:

 

An athletes at any level places stress on the body and the immune system during workouts, training routines and competitions.  The paradox is how much exercise and how intense is the exercise.  It has actually been shown that regular, moderate exercise can actually enhance the immune system.  Studies has confirmed that recreational athletes had a lower incidence of colds when engaged in a regular running program. This type of exercise actually increases the production of macrophages –  cells that actually attack the kind of bacteria that can lead to respiratory diseases.  However, high-intensity exercise (90 minutes or more) weakens the immune system, making an individual more susceptible to illness for up to 72 hours after working out.  This is due to the increase of stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, which also increase blood pressure and elevate cholesterol levels.

With the emergence of the fitness movement that we are seeing in the US, the need to focus on gut health, including the focused integration of probiotics into the health regimen of athletes at all stages is becoming increasingly important.  This movement is seeing the huge increase of everyday athletes training and competing in half marathons, full marathons, iron man competitions, “mudders” as well as other athletic endeavors!  These trends are not limited to the younger generations as the “baby boomers” participants in these types of sports are exponentially growing!  Thus the need for immune support through probiotic supplementation is more important than ever.

The link between gut health and our immune system has been studied for decades. Surprisingly to most people, 60-70% of our immune system is located in our gut. Another surprising fact is that 95% of the body’s serotonin is made in the gut!  The good bacteria in probiotics have been seen to have a large role in fighting harmful foreign substances that enter the body by detoxifying them and contributing to their elimination.  Probiotics also prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that lead to infections and disease.

The USANA Probiotics combine two of the most widely studied strains of probiotics that have clinically tested benefits:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG®
  • Bifidobacterium BB-12®

The USANA Probiotic, contain 12 billion colony-forming unit (CFU) per serving.  According to current scientific research, this is the optimal number of CFUs needed for gut health.

These probiotics are are packaged in a very convenient stick packet.  They are designed to be taken once every other day though many athletes who are engaged in more intense exercise choose to take one everyday.  These stick packs have a shelf life of 18 months. USANA has also gone the extra mile by making these packets dairy free, gluten free and sugar free.  They can be consumed alone (actually taste great), in a glass of water or mixed in a meal replacement or recovery shake (USANA’s Nutrimeal is highly recommended for both of these choices!).  Convenience is the key for compliance due to our increasingly busy lives (which also creates stress).  The yogurt in the back of the refrigerator usually goes bad because we forget it while off to our next engagement.  These stick packs are great for the gym bag, backpack or purse (or even in your office desk drawer).

As with every product that USANA Health Sciences produces, the quality and purity is of utmost importance.  This is why Performance Vitamins partners and highly recommends the products developed and manufactured by this cutting edge laboratory and manufacturing plant.

What are the “take aways” concerning probiotics and athletic performance: 

  • Due to the critical connection of gut health and the immune system, probiotics are important for everyone’s health journey
  • Today’s athletes place even more stress on their gut health and immune system with higher levels of exercise.  Probiotics can be very important to their overall health and thus benefit the consistency and longevity of their training.  The likelihood of performance goals being met are much better If the athlete is not sick and can continue his/her training regimen!

Give USANA Probiotics a “test drive”!

Don’t say “someday”!  Take control of your health today.  Order a few months of USANA Probiotics today to experience the difference in your health!

 

* The Irish Sports Council – Technical Document on Probiotics (2014)

 

Coenzyme Q10 and Cellular Energy

CoEnzyme Q10 is a key to cellular energy production.

Can Coenzyme Q10 help in the “energy shortage” that many people are experiencing daily?  Have you heard these statements around your home or office?  Or, maybe a statement of this sort has come out of your mouth recently!

“I am drained”!

“ I have been really dragging these past few weeks”!

“I don’t have the energy that I used to have”!

“I need a nap”!

“Exercise? I don’t even have the energy to stay awake at work”!

A common response to this dilemma in our culture is to stop by the corner coffee shop and get a triple (or even “quad”) shot of espresso to get that added boost of “energy”. Though someone will feel more awake or even get that quick burst of hyper drive, it doesn’t last. Another trip to the coffee shop in the afternoon (or even more often) becomes the habit (while also taking a dent on the wallet!).

Sound familiar?

The boost of energy that caffeine offers can’t compare to the cellular energy that the body can produce itself when the right cellular ingredients are present.

One of the “energy shortage” problems that we may be experiencing could be the depletion of an essential ingredient to the cellular boiler room that produces cellular energy…the real, life giving energy (ATP) that we learned about in biology class. This ingredient is CoEnzyme Q10 – needed by every cell in the body as a part of the incredible chemical interaction of oxygen, nutrients, vitamins and cofactors to produce the cellular energy we need to live life.

To learn more about the science of this wonderful process, happening in your cells at this very moment, we would recommend Dr. Stephen Sinatra’s great book, The CoEnzymeQ10 Phenomenon.

Dr. Sinatra states that ATP is “necessary to fuel all cellular functions”. That includes thinking, exercise, food digestion, heart function, and breathing to mention just a few! Dr. Sinatra goes on to mention that, “CoEnzyme Q10 provides the spark in the mitochondria of each cell to initiate the energy process”.  According to the scientific experts, there is a wonderful connection to Coenzyme Q10 and cellular energy production!

Back to where we started…why are we so “drained”? What is going on?

Dr. Sinatra mentions that clinical research that shows a serious depletion of CoEnzyme Q10 in our population due to a number of factors. One of these factors is the natural depletion during the aging process. Another is the lack of other essential nutrients like folate, Vitamins C, B12, B6, pantothenic acid and trace elements (to name a few) needed to synthesize CoEnzyme Q10 in the cells of the body. High intensity exercise also depletes the body of this essential ingredient as well as producing a high level of “free radicals”.

CoEnzyme Q10 remarkably works as a powerful antioxidant throughout the body to help prevent the damage of the “free radicals” caused by the oxidation process occurring in our bodies. Dr. Sinatra states that CoEnzyme Q10 is an “ideal antioxidant”. As an antioxidant, “it can stop free radicals before they do their damage, protecting DNA, cellular membranes and even various membrane systems”.

Need energy? This may be a great place to start:

  • Focus on a nutrient rich diet
  • Supplement your diet with USANA’s Essentials as a foundation for the necessary cellular ingredients necessary for CoEnzyme Q10 production (USANA Essentials)
  • Supplement with USANA’s pure CoEnzyme Q10 product, CoQuinone 30 (USANA CoQuinone)

All of USANA’s supplements are absorbable, dissolvable and bioavailable – meeting the stringent requirements of pharmaceutical GMPs (Good Manufacturing Practices). What does all that mean? In a nutshell, they get into the cells and work.

The USANA CoQuinone 30 product was recently tested by Consumer Labs and given the highest rating possible, the Approved Quality Product Seal (Pure CoQuinone). This is not surprising to those who know the purity and quality of ingredients that USANA chooses and highest level of care put into each product’s production.

Also available in a customized “MyHealthPak” is the CoQuinone 100 product. This is a fabulous “super pill” that can provide the larger dosages of this essential ingredient needed for the remarkable process of producing ATP in the cells – real energy! If this is of interest to you, email us at support@performancevitamins.com and we will contact you to personalize your own “MyHealthPak”!

Next time you are “dragging”, it may be worth making some lifestyle changes in your diet. In addition, supplementing with a high-grade, absorbable and bioavailable CoQuinone 30 product can be of great benefit. Supplementing with a pharmaceutical grade multivitamin and mineral system like the USANA Essentials can also be of great value to provide the necessary B Vitamins, trace minerals and cofactors for the cells to produce the CoEnzyme Q10 that your cells are thirsty for!

High Glycemic Roller Coaster

High Glycemic Roller Coaster

We have all experienced the High Glycemic Roller Coaster!

Remember the thrills of being on a high-flying and low-dipping roller coaster?  It can be exhilarating! However, the high glycemic roller coster of our blood sugar (caused by “high glycemic” foods from our diet) can be very unhealthy…possibly even deadly as it can usher a person into the current epidemic of obesity that plagues our country.

What is a “high glycemic” food?

Simply stated, it is a food that is converted into glucose (blood sugar) in our bodies- too fast!

Let’s be clear though, we need glucose…without it the cells in our body cannot function. However, the body is a “balance nut”. If the food we eat is converted to glucose too fast, we “spike” our blood sugar causing a cascade of responses from the body to correct and lower the glucose (one of these responses is the release of the storage hormone insulin). That is the rapid ascent of the roller coaster!

What are some of these “high-glycemic” foods? Bread, rolls, white rice, potato chips, popcorn, cereals, potatoes, instant oatmeal, pretzels, candy (thats an easy one), ice cream, bagels and many more.

We all know what that feels like…the “sugar hit”! “But”, you may ask, “I did not consume any ‘sugar’, that I am aware of, in my meal”! The facts are that many of the foods we eat can give us that same “sugar spike” as a candy bar! That is where the typical Western Diet is like the most dangerous roller coaster ride on earth and you did not even know you bought a ticket! But…as we all know, what goes up…must come down!

As the body rapidly seeks to correct the flooding of glucose in the bloodstream, it will result in a “drop”. Remember that feeling when you come back to work after a meal at a fast food restaurant? All of a sudden you feel like you need a nap! Food should give us energy, why the sleepy feeling all of a sudden?

When the drop happens, the blood sugar is too low and we will experience difficulty staying focused (the brain needs glucose to function and the tank is running low). Part of the body’s response to this is to release stress hormones to stir us into action – to go eat! Typically what we eat however, is the high-glycemic food choices that caused the problem in the first place (compounded with a high-glycemic latte to get awake)!

What does the body do with all the excess glucose that is gathered in its “correction mode”? If it can’t be used as energy, it has to be stored somewhere! Have you ever noticed the increasing number of “storage units” that are being built around the country for people to store the stuff that won’t fit into their homes? That may be a simple analogy of what the body does to find a place to store the excess glucose…make more storage units (fat cells), especially in the center of the body.

As the storage units increase, the health of other body systems is affected. In fact, the Center for Disease Control stated in 2012 that overweight and obese related medical conditions are a leading cause of preventable death in the United States**. Yes, the roller coaster can have a deadly ending.

RESET your body!

USANA Health Sciences have scientifically developed low-glycemic convenience foods to help in the journey towards a low glycemic lifestyle. The RESET program is a jump start towards this type of lifestyle, providing the meals, snacks and micronutrients for five days to help break the carb addiction that the western diet roller coaster can cause. The only thing that is required to add is a fruit and vegetable every day and water. From there, the journey continues to stay off the roller coaster and be on level ground with their Transform Pack. Along this new journey is education on how to change one’s dietary habits and get safely off (and stay off) the High Glycemic Roller Coaster!

Please watch this short video concerning the USANA RESET Program: