Friday, July 26, 2013

More Great News About Vitamin C

Vitamins (Photo credit: DBduo Photography)
By Dr. Mercola
Vitamin C has taken a backseat in recent years with the advent of many newer antioxidants, but that doesn't make it any less important.
Vitamin C is clearly the 'grandfather' of the traditional antioxidants we know of, and its potent health benefits have been clearly established. It’s a powerful antioxidant, which helps neutralize cell-damaging free radicals when taken orally.
When used intravenously, the vitamin appears to also directly attack pathogens and has shown promise for treating a wide range of infectious diseases, burns and boosting your immune system.
Most recently, a meta-analysis1 from Finland suggests vitamin C may also reduce bronchoconstriction caused by exercise, also known as exercise-induced asthma, by nearly 50 percent.
Symptoms of exercise-induced asthma include cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath. An estimated 10 percent of people are affected. As reported in the featured article2:
“Previously, vitamin C was found to halve the incidence of common cold episodes in people enduring heavy short-term physical stress, which indicated that vitamin C might also have other effects on people under heavy physical exertion.
... [Lead author] Dr. Hemila concludes that given the low cost and safety of vitamin C and the consistency of positive findings in three randomized trials... it seems reasonable for physically active people to test vitamin C on an individual basis if they have respiratory symptoms such as cough associated with exercise.”

What You Need to Know About Oral Vitamin C

Vitamin C typically needs to be obtained from external sources. However, a high percentage of it may never reach your cells. 
As far as getting your vitamin C from food, remember that the more colorful your diet, the higher it will be in bioflavonoids and carotenoids. Eating a colorful diet (i.e. plenty of vegetables) not only helps increase your vitamin C levels but also ensures you're naturally getting beneficial phytonutrient synergism needed for maintaining optimal health.
One of the easiest ways to ensure you're getting enough vegetables in your diet is by juicing them. For more information, please see my juicing page. You can also squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice into some water for a vitamin C-rich beverage.

Rhodiola Rosea Can Also Be Useful Against Exercise-Induced Inflammation

The perennial plant Rhodiola Rosea has also been found to have exercise benefits. It’s known as an “adaptogen,” which can help your body adapt to physical, chemical, and environmental stress, and is used by many athletes for improving athletic performance3 and shortening recovery time between workouts.
According to a 2004 study4, extracts of Rhodiola rosea radix had an anti-inflammatory effect on healthy untrained volunteers, before and after bouts of exhausting exercise. It also protected muscle tissue during exercise. According to the abstract:
“Professional athletes effectively use Rhodiola rosea (‘golden radix’) extract as a safe nonsteroid food additive improving endurance and rapid recovery of muscles during several decades.

Rhodiola rosea extract improves muscle work due to mobilization and more economic expenditure of energy resources of muscles. The use of adaptogens including R. rosea improved physical endurance of male athletes, reducing blood lactate level and accelerating recovery after exhausting exercise.”
Other studies have similarly found that Rhodiola can significantly increase time to exhaustion during exercise5, reduce C reactive protein levels, and improve neuromotoric fitness. For example, a 2003 animal study6 found that rats given 50 mg/kg of Rhodiola rosea extract along with the same amount of Rhodiola crenulata root, prolonged the duration of exhaustive swimming the rats were capable of by nearly 25 percent.

This improvement was found to be due to the extracts’ ability to activate the synthesis or resynthesis of ATP in mitochondria. The extracts also stimulated reparative energy processes that take place post-exercise. Rhodiola rosea was determined to be the most effective of the two extracts for improving physical working capacity.

What and When You Eat After Your Workout Matters

Since we’re on the topic of exercise, recovery, and nutrition, let me remind you that your post-workout meal can influence the overall health effects of exercise, so what you eat after your workout is an important consideration. For example, research has shown that eating fewer carbohydrates after exercise can enhance your insulin sensitivity, compared to simply reducing calorie intake7. Remember, keeping your insulin and leptin levels low by optimizing your insulin and leptin sensitivity is key for maintaining good health.
Generally speaking, after exercise your body is nitrogen-poor and your muscles have been broken down. Providing your body with the correct nutrients after your workout is therefore crucial to stop the catabolic process in your muscle and shift the recycling process toward repair and growth. If you fail to feed your muscle at the right time after exercise, the catabolic process will go too far and can potentially damage your muscle. Amino acids from high quality animal proteins, along with carbohydrates from vegetables (not grains) are essential for this process. High-quality sources of animal protein include:
  • Whey protein (minimally processed, and derived from organic, grass-fed, non-hormonally treated cows). Three ounces of high-quality whey protein will provide you with the recommended eight grams of leucine, which increases protein synthesis and builds muscle 
  • Humanely raised, free-range pastured chicken
  • Organic eggs from pastured hens
  • Grass-fed beef
Beneficial sources of carbohydrates include:
  • Virtually any non-starchy vegetable (limiting carrots and beets, which are high in sugar). Sunflower seeds sprouts are one of the best and pack nearly 30X the nutrient density of most vegetables.
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale or Swiss chard
  • Low fructose fruits like lemon, limes, passion fruit, apricots, plums, cantaloupe, and raspberries. Avoid high fructose fruits like apples, watermelons and pears
It's important to combine a quality protein with a veggie-type carb in every meal, no matter whether it's a resistance training day, an interval cardio day, or a non-workout day. However, after strength training (as opposed to cardio training), your body tends to need more rapidly absorbed nutrients and a higher glycemic (fast released, starchy) carbohydrate. Another slight difference between interval cardio and strength training days is the timing of your meal.
  • After cardio, you want to wait 45-60 minutes, and then consume a high-quality protein (whole food) and vegetable-type carbohydrate. (An example would be a spinach salad and some chicken, or high-quality whey protein).
  • After a resistance workout (muscle-building day), the ideal time to consume your post-workout meal is 15-30 minutes after finishing your session, in order to help repair your damaged muscles.  Link for more information about this subject from website.
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