Monday, December 17, 2007

Nutritional Advice

For the most part, my training for the Disney Marathon has gone quite well. I really haven't had any injuries that have held me out of training. I have been able to follow my training program nearly to the tee. The only thing that has caused me some concern is the 20 mile run that I did about 1 month ago. I "hit the wall" at about mile 18, and I have never experienced pain in my legs and just an overall awful feeling during running, until that day. As soon as I came home, I started to research on how to avoid "hitting the wall". I have asked fellow runners, triathletes and patients on their advice on how to avoid experiencing that awful feeling. Some have said, "Oh with it, it's gonna happen anyway you look at it" Some have advised me on using energy gels. But the best advice I have gotten was today from a patient that did some research for me this weekend on nutritional advice for endurance athletes. Some I am going to highlight some of the things that I got from this article about supplements:


Multi-vitamin / multi-nutrient (whole-food supplement) – Mutli-vitamins “plug” in the dietary holes that may exist in your diet. They provided targeted, concentrated nutrients that aid in providing balance to an otherwise good diet. Multi/whole-food supplements provide a more complete array of nutrients by offering more of the benefits that might be derived from a given food if eaten whole; as opposed to targeting some constituent property of the food (ie., wheat = vitamin e, tomatoes = lycopene and vitamin c…etc.)

Solgar, and Nature’s Way both make a great multi-nutrient – and both make a great product generally speaking – with Solgar being regarded as the “Cadillac” of supplements. If you choose to go to a multi-vitamin, the Solgar VM-2000, or Country Life “Max for Men” is a good choice. Take these with food, and break them up over a couple of meals. Don’t take these with your evening meal, as the B vitamin concentration might keep you up.

Multi mineral (Cal-Mag-Pot) – essential minerals / salts needed for sustained energy and to carry out several metabolic processes.

TwinLab and Now make great multi-minerals. Try to get one that is just Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium. Most of the other minerals will be delivered in an acceptable dose via your vitamin or normal diet. If you decide to get a broader spectrum mineral, watch out for too much iron (in fact, if you’ve not been diagnosed as anemic, I’d not taken iron at all). Take these with food as they can cause gastrointestinal discomfort (nausea)…and like the vitamin – take this over the course of 2 meals – but not dinner – the potassium might disturb your sleep.

B-100 – B vitamins are responsible for facilitating many different biological processes – they also support the central nervous system and aid in more neural functions than could be listed here.

TwinLab makes B100 supplement named “Stress-B complex.” I would take 1 in the morning while your not competing; then, during pre race training, up it to 1 or 2 in the morning with breakfast and another 1 or 2 with lunch, 10-12 days prior to the race. Always take these with food. If you feel nauseous, either cut the dose in half, or try to eat a little more.

Octacosanol – Essential! Improves the body ability to utilize oxygen – Aids in sustained energy production in muscle tissue – prevents the buildup of lactic acid in muscle - increases the body’s ability to store glucose. Can take weeks to see the beneficial effects, so begin taking as soon as possible.

CoQ10 – CoQ10 provides a tremendous amount of support to cardiac tissue and aids in general heart function, especially during times where there may be a depletion of oxygen (ischemia). High anti-oxidant properties, aid in reducing free-radical damage Brought on through extended periods of exertion. Try to find this blended with Vitamin E – sometimes sold as ToCoQ10. Take 50-100 mg per day – and take with a meal that contains a little fat (margarine, chicken, cheese…).

Turmeric – Strong anti-inflammatory properties, aids in complete digestion, thus making nutrients more available for absorption. Nature’s Way and Gaia produce a really good (herb) product – try to get this “Standardized.” You can take this anywhere from 1 to 3x/day.

Amino Complex (free form and essential) – Your protein drink is probably supplying this. Helps to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue and aids in the production of new muscle (BCAA). Take as directed, but since your using a protein powder – it you choose to use this, take it mid day, on an empty stomach. [ An “empty stomach” being 45 minutes before, or 2.5 hours after you eat.

L-Glutamine – the most abundant amino acid in the body. May aid in the production and maintenance of lean muscle tissue as well as sustained energy. Take as directed – get this as a loose poiwder - mixing it into a “warm” liquid will help it to break down. You may want to add this to either your protein mix or to your energy/running drink.

Hyaluronic Acid – Joint support. A component of synovial fluid – helps maintain tendons, ligaments and generalized joint function. Also good for the skin. Look for Nature’s Way “Hydra-plenish” – take as directed.

Chromium Picolinate – Chromium is needed for energy. It stabilizes blood sugar by aiding in the metabolization of glucose and aids the body in using those sugars to provide energy to cells via insulin.

Normal dosage is 200 mcg, 1 x day. If you tolerate it, you might want to go to 400 mcg (1, 200mcg tab, BID) about 10 days before the race and then nor another 2-3 days thereafter – then return to 200 mcg. ** If you are diabetic or are borderline diabetic – talk to your doctor first. If you feel light-headed or develop a slight rash after using Chromium – stop using it entirely.

MSM – A derivative of DMSO, it has huge therapeutic benefits in aiding in healing injuries. A VERY strong detoxifier, aids the bodies natural ability to clear the blood and tissues of toxins (including those that occur naturally from exertion). Huge benefits found in joint support and reduction of inflammation in joints.

Recommended dosage is about 1000 mg, BID (2000 mg total). Start at half of this dose for about a week, as it’s detoxifying properties might make you feel “fluish” if toxins are liberated and removed too quickly. If you decide to use this, be consistent with it to get the benefit from it.

Green foods – excellent source of vitamin B – great energy source. Mix with protein drink or add to juice and drink in the morning and/or at lunch – don’t take this too late in the day.