Nutrition

Ruthless Performance Guide to Mineral Supplementation

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Previously, we talked about the importance and effect of vitamins in performance. We now move on to minerals. Fundamentally, minerals are broken into different categories based on their function; Major, Trace and Ultra-trace minerals. Despite the fact that minerals only contribute only about ~4% of total body weight, their functions are vital for cellular activity, energy metabolism, osmotic properties of body fluids and contribution to teeth and bones.

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This mineral supplement is a Ruthless Performance favorite and available for sale at Healthy Habits Natural Market in Orwigsburg, PA.

The major minerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and chloride. Major minerals are found in greater amounts in the body requiring ~100mg/day by adults. Moreover, sodium, chloride, and potassium are the minerals that regulate electrolyte balance.

Trace minerals are called trace because they needed by small amounts in the body, less than 100mg/day. In addition, if amounts required are less than 1mg/day, they are called Ultra-trace minerals. Trace minerals include Iron, Zinc, Copper, Fluoride, and Manganese while Ultra-trace minerals include Selenium, Iodine, Molybdenum and Chromium.

*Note other Trace and Ultra-trace minerals will not be discussed because not much is known about the need for them by the body.

Discussed will be the most common minerals utilized in athletic performance. Minerals in the body act as cofactors which are need during metabolism and for other bodily functions such transport of molecules. Some minerals are useful during performance while the rest are needed for overall health, but make no mistake, their role in the body is crucial for all of us. The chart below outlines common minerals used for performance, and its major function, role, etc.

Mineral Chart

 

In summary, chromium and zinc are the two most important minerals in glucose metabolism therefore making these minerals essential in our diets, especially in athletes. Magnesium is of importance because of its function in protein and fatty acid synthesis and 300 other enzymatic reactions. However, too much intake of magnesium will decrease absorption of phosphorus, an essential mineral. The electrolytes are obviously crucial in athletic performance so adequate amounts must be consumed pre, during, and post-workouts. If you’re eating a well-balanced diet, then mineral supplementation may not be necessary but a waste of money. For example, like mentioned above, if you supplement with magnesium in large doses (>600mg) then absorption of phosphorus declines about 50%. Furthermore, your body may not absorb all the mineral content so it’s just gets urinated along with your money. Another example would be too much Zinc causing a deficiency in copper or iron, both important for our health. Eat a well-balanced diet and keep training hard.

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Gropper S. Sareen, Smith L. Jack, Carr P. Timothy. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. 7th Edition. 2016

 

By Jesse Rodriguez

Jesse’s focus and emphasis is on Sports Nutrition. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science with the addition of a CSCS certification from the NSCA. Jesse swam for the El Salvador National Team and competed at the international level. Jesse has worked at USC with the Strength and Conditioning program and UCLA as the lead intern for Sports Nutrition. He is currently a dietetic intern to complete requirements for the Registered Dietitian exam and obtain his professional license. During his free time, Jesse continues to strength train, Olympic lift, and stay up-to-date on the latest nutrition trends. Lastly, Jesse is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association.

 

A Quick Guide to Hydration for Performance

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The weather is warming up which means dehydration sets in faster. Dehydration has major effects on the body such as electrolyte imbalances, cramping, headaches, and reduced athletic performance, potentially leading to heat stroke and even death. Dehydration varies widely amongst individuals based on their hydration status prior to training, practice gear body composition, type of training, and an individual’s heat acclimation.  Therefore, rehydration should be tailored to one’s specific hydration status either pre, during, or post-workout. If you’re feeling bold, here is a formula from the NSCA to determine your sweat rate:

 

  • Step 1. Weigh yourself naked before exercise (e.g., 180 lb).
  • Step 2. Exercise for 1 hour (drink normally during exercise but avoid eating) and track your fluid intake (e.g., 4 oz)
  • Step 3. Weigh yourself naked post-exercise (e.g., 178.5 lb).
  • Step 4. To calculate your sweat rate simply subtract your post-exercise weight from your pre-exercise weight then add the weight/volume of any fluids you consumed.

 

Example

180 lb (pre-exercise) – 178.5 lb (post-exercise) = 1.5 lb (sweat loss) + 4 oz (fluids consumed during exercise) (0.25 lb) = 1.75 lb of sweat lost per hour

 

Knowing your sweat loss can give you an idea how much water should be replaced but most importantly it can be indicator of heat acclimation. Training in hot environments can lead to adaptation thus potentially resulting in a decline in sweat loss. A simple and effective way to check to hydration status is by the color of urine. An easy way to remember is by distinguishing two colors; Apple juice color (urine) = dehydrated, Lemonade color (urine) = hydrated.

 

Here some general quick tips for proper hydration:

 

  • Before workout, check the color of urine. If dehydrated drink, until the color of Hydration Statusurine looks like lemonade.
  • If workouts are less than 1hr, water is sufficient. Recommendations are 3–8 oz. every 15–20 minutes (a gulp is about 1–2 oz.)
  • If workouts are more than 1hr, you should drink liquids with the combination of carbs + electrolytes, 3-8 oz. every 15-20 minutes.
    • Note: Fluids may vary depending on intensity of temperature, altitude, and/or humidity.
  • After workouts, weigh yourself and for every 1lb lost, rehydrate with 16-24 oz. of water.
  • More than a 2% weight loss post workout indicates dehydration so replenish soon.
  • Its key to make sure you are replacing not only water, but sodium from sweat loss.
  • Its recommended to rehydrate with a carb + electrolyte drink.
  • Continue to check hydration status with the color of your urine.

 

By Jesse Rodriguez

Jesse’s focus and emphasis is on Sports Nutrition. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science with the addition of a CSCS certification from the NSCA. Jesse swam for the El Salvador National Team and competed at the international level. Jesse has worked at USC with the Strength and Conditioning program and UCLA as the lead intern for Sports Nutrition. He is currently a dietetic intern to complete requirements for the Registered Dietitian exam and obtain his professional license. During his free time, Jesse continues to strength train, Olympic lift, and stay up-to-date on the latest nutrition trends. Lastly, Jesse is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association.

Nina S. Stachenfeld, PhD. Assessing hydration in the laboratory and field. February 2013. http://www.gssiweb.org/en/sports-science-exchange/article/sse-111-assessing-hydration-in-the-laboratory-and-field#articleTopic_1
https://www.nsca.com/education/articles/trainer-tips/hydration/
https://www.hprc-online.org/articles/hydration-basics

Recipe: Mushroom Risotto

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**Editor’s Note: In a previous post, the various benefits of adding mushrooms to your diet was discussed. Find more here about what mushrooms can do for your immune, digestive, and cognitive function.**

 

Mushroom Risotto

Prep Time – 10 minutes. Cook Time – 25 minutes. Total Time – 35 minutes.

Vegetarian dish. Makes 6 servings.

mushroom dish

  • 1 lb Mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp choice of Parsley or Chives, chopped.
  • 2 Shallots, roughly diced
  • 6 cups Bone broth
  • 1 ½ cup Arborio rice
  • Black pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 tbsp Kerrygold Butter
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • 1 tbsp Kasandrinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

Directions

  • In a saucepan, warm the broth over medium heat.
  • Heat a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet to high heat. Add mushrooms to dry skillet and stir as the mushrooms release their juices. Turn heat to medium-high and continue to stir until juice starts to be absorbed and mushrooms are browned.
  • Sprinkle with a dash of salt and continue cooking until the rest of the liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Remove mushrooms and set aside.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • Stir in the shallots. Cook about 1 minute or until shallots begin to soften. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes.
  • Pour in the wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed.
  • Return heat to medium-high and using a mug or measuring cup add between ½-3/4 cup broth to the rice (I added ¾ cup), and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding the hot broth one scoopful at a time, stirring continuously, making sure the liquid becomes absorbed before adding more broth. When you’ve got almost all the broth added, begin turning the heat down to medium if necessary. After about 20 minutes or so, the rice will be al dente.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. (At this point, if you want a vegan meal, this is done and perfectly tasty.)
  • Add the butter, parsley or chives and parmesan.

 

By Jesse Rodriguez

Jesse’s focus and emphasis is on Sports Nutrition. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science with the addition of a CSCS certification from the NSCA. Jesse swam for the El Salvador National Team and competed at the international level. Jesse has worked at USC with the Strength and Conditioning program and UCLA as the lead intern for Sports Nutrition. He is currently a dietetic intern to complete requirements for the Registered Dietitian exam and obtain his professional license. During his free time, Jesse continues to strength train, Olympic lift, and stay up-to-date on the latest nutrition trends. Lastly, Jesse is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association.

Adaptogens and Mushroom Supplementation for Wellness and Immune System Function

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Adaptogens are phytonutrients that have the ability to help your body adapt under physiological stress. These phytonutrients are herbs that contain phytochemicals. Adaptogens can also be defined as a pharmacotherapeutic group of herbal preparations used to increase attention and endurance during fatigue. Furthermore they can help to prevent, mitigate or reduce stress induced impairments and disorders related to neuroendocrine and immune systems (Bagchi, et. al., 2013)

Stress, especially chronic stress, is associated with increased inflammation, and other body responses, all of which are adversely related to cellular aging. Mushrooms have been studied numerous times for their adaptogenic abilities during times of stress and immune system stimulation. Mushrooms have a long history of treatment for a number of ailments. The benefits are endless but as adaptogens, they help the body maintain proper balance. This may help those who are in a high stress environment or facing other complications such as sleep deprivation or fatigue. Mushrooms come in many forms but some of the most beneficial ones are: Reishi, Shitake, Moral, Maca and Cordyceps.

  1. Reishi, Shitake

Reishi is known for its immune stimulating properties by way of increasing production of leukocytes (white blood cells), thus strengthening the immune system. Reishi is made up of polysaccharides (carbohydrates) which promote longevity and resilience. In addition to that, other benefits include reducing viral infections and anxiety. Shitake have some similar benefits to reishi that enhance immunity and slow aging; it is also an excellent source of Vitamin D2 and has capabilities to adapt to stress form work or other daily life activities.

  1. Maca

Maca is one of the most powerful mushroom types because of its proven health benefits. This adaptogen contains phytochemical power to help relieve anxiety and tension. Maca is also a great source of calcium, vitamin C, amino acids, and healthy fats. It is typically sold in powder form, and can be easily added as a topping to yogurt and smoothies. Maca greatly benefits those who are lacking sleep and is very accessible for those looking to add into their diet.

  1. Cordyceps

Cordyceps are considered one of the best herbs for their ability to regulate homeostasis. This herb dates back to old Chinese history, where it was commonly eaten with soups. It’s most known for its antioxidant effects, reducing infections, fighting off stress, and increasing energy levels. Some studies have shown that it can prevent the growth of tumors in addition to reducing fatigue. (Zhen-yuan, et. al., 2012)

  1. Morel

Morel is widely hunted for because of its excellent taste. Similar to reishi, morels have a significant content of polysaccharides (carbohydrates) which support the immune system. Moreover, morels have been shown to benefit respiratory function and promote a healthy GI tract. Additionally, they also contain anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. Those are in a high stress environment should consider adding morel to reduce cortisol levels (stress) and increase overall health benefits.

With the addition of proper sleep, exercise, stress-reducing techniques, and a balanced diet, we can optimize the quality of our life. Cordyceps as mentioned earlier can be advantageous for athletes. Supplement forms of different types of mushrooms are available. Furthermore, Laird Superfood has a mushroom blend in capsules and other forms of mushroom supplements for easy access.

In sports performance, athletes deal with physiological and physiological stress every day. Minimizing this can help improve performance.  A recent study has shown that adaptogens taken 1 hour prior to endurance exercise may increase lipolysis (breakdown of fat), reduce heart rate, reduce lactate concentration while maintaining good health (Wong, Bandyopadhyay, & Chen, 2011). These powerful phytonutrients are able capable of helping your body adapt to increased stress and reduce mental and physical fatigue. According to the University of Michigan Health Library, Cordyceps dosage of 3 to 9 grams taken twice daily as a liquid extract, as food, or as powdered extract, may support sports performance.

 

By Jesse Rodriguez

Jesse’s focus and emphasis is on Sports Nutrition. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science with the addition of a CSCS certification from the NSCA. Jesse swam for the El Salvador National Team and competed at the international level. Jesse has worked at USC with the Strength and Conditioning program and UCLA as the lead intern for Sports Nutrition. He is currently a dietetic intern to complete requirements for the Registered Dietitian exam and obtain his professional license. During his free time, Jesse continues to strength train, Olympic lift, and stay up-to-date on the latest nutrition trends. Lastly, Jesse is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association.

Why Do We Need Fats in Our Diet?

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Fat is a more concentrated source of dietary energy than carbohydrate and protein.  Fats concentrated source of energy is about 9 kcal/g (carbohydrates and proteins provide only about 4 kcal/g). Fatty acids from meat and dairy products are relatively saturated. Fatty acids from plant sources are generally more unsaturated. Then there are essential fatty acids (needed from diet) such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s) – omega-6 (linoleic acid) and omega-3 (alpha linolenic acid) fatty acids.

  • Omega – 3 (grain, fresh fruits, veggies, fish, olive oil, garlic, wine) – help reduce inflammation, highly concentrated in the brain
  • Omega – 6 (meat based, vegetable oil) – promote inflammation

 

We need fats because of its good source of metabolic energy (carbon oxidation) and its preferred choice of energy storing (2 to 3 weeks’ storage). Fats also plays many roles in body making it essential for health and wellness. Some roles include:

  • Increased absorption of Fat-Soluble Vitamins (A, D, E, K) – Vitamin E also playing a role as antioxidant.
  • Formation of steroids such as:
  • Cholesterol, the most abundant steroid in the body, is widely distributed in all cells and serves as a major membrane component
  • Bile salts aid in the digestion of fats
  • Ergosterol, a yeast steroid, is converted to vitamin D by ultraviolet radiation
  • Adrenal cortex hormones – involved in metabolism
  • Sex hormones – testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone
  • Anti-inflammatory properties – aiding in recovery
  • Efficient energy source in long duration exercises such as marathons/triathlons.

 

Fat gets a bad rap but it is crucial for our health. It is true that fat can be harmful for our bodies if excessively consumed, especially by trans fatty acids and hydrogenated oils – think chips, donuts, fried foods, etc. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) recommends that between 20 percent and 35 percent of calories should come from dietary fat. Include a variety of different fats and oils into your diet for optimum health. Incorporate plant based fats for added benefits such as walnuts, peanuts, almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds which promote anti-inflammatory properties.

 

 

References

Gropper S. Sareen and Smith L. Jack, Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (7th edition)

http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/media/press-releases/positions-and-issues/updated-academy-position-amount-and-types-of-fat-we-eat-affect-health-and-risk-of-disease

 

By Jesse Rodriguez

Jesse’s focus and emphasis is on Sports Nutrition. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science with the addition of a CSCS certification from the NSCA. Jesse swam for the El Salvador National Team and competed at the international level. Jesse has worked at USC with the Strength and Conditioning program and UCLA as the lead intern for Sports Nutrition. He is currently a dietetic intern to complete requirements for the Registered Dietitian exam and obtain his professional license. During his free time, Jesse continues to strength train, Olympic lift, and stay up-to-date on the latest nutrition trends. Lastly, Jesse is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association.

Top 5 Foods for Recovery

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**Editor’s Note: Enjoy learning more about nutrition or interested in a personalized meal plan from a Ruthless Performance Nutritionist? Fill out the contact form at RuthlessPerformance.com/contact for more details**

Recovery

Lean meats

Some of my favorite meats are chicken breasts, turkey, and fish. If you happen to have meats with fat, simply remove the fat to make it “lean”.

Flax and chia seeds

Flax and chia are great toppings to add on such as oatmeal, smoothies, and yogurt. Both are high omega 3 fatty acids to help fight inflammation. Our diets mostly consist of omega 6 fatty acids but we need to complement these with the aforementioned omega 3’s to avoid negative, pro-inflammatory effects.

Tart cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice has been trending for some time now in sports nutrition but for a good reason. This can be the ideal drink, when paired with a protein source to maximize recovery. Tart cherry juice contains antioxidants to fight inflammation along with melatonin to aid in sleep, on top of carbohydrates, which are needed to refuel the tank.

Avocado

We need fat in our diet, however most consume too much unhealthy fat such as trans and saturated fat. Avocado is a good source in mono and poly-unsaturated fat. This helps lower Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels and raises our good levels of High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL).

Chocolate Milk

The most common recovery drink we see still stands because of its carb-to-protein ratio for absolute recovery. If you happen to be lactose intolerant, simply switch the milk for soy or any other lactose free milk. Just be aware that some may only contain a few grams of protein.

 

These select foods are either anti-inflammatory to aid in repair from further muscle damage or contain complete protein for more efficient muscle rebuilding. Add them in your recovery meals or shakes to make the most out of your workouts and to maximize health and wellness.

To incorporate this in your diet, a good example after a workout would be to chug a cherry juice and a chocolate milk. Then, have a balanced post-workout meal. Make sure to compliment your meat (or other protein source) with some avocado, vegetables, and whole grains. Serving sizes vary and can depend on your goals. If you decide to consume a protein snack before bed, don’t be afraid to add chia or flax seeds with it.

Effects of Alcohol on Performance

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Consuming alcohol has been a tried and true means to bring people together to come together in a time of enjoyment and relaxation. In moderation, alcohol can be a good way to relieve stress from high intensity sports or exercise, and can bring teams closer together through group bonding; yet sports performance and recovery has been shown to be inhibited by a number of reasons.

There are numerous statements and opinions out there in the public that bash alcohol in regards to athletic performance. But is there evidence that supports this? The literature says yes.

When ethanol, the main type of alcohol found in beverages, is broken down through metabolism, reactive oxygen species have been found in the liver. These reactive oxygen species promotes inflammation around the body, which shows the body’s response to harmful products in the body. This indicates that alcohol does have negative effects on the body. In regard to sports performance, alcohol stimulates many inhibiting processes, such as inhibiting calcium uptake. With a lack of calcium uptake, muscle contractions and strength output are impaired. Dehydration is widely recognized as a possible effect following alcohol consumption. Alcohol has been shown to inhibit an anti-diuretic hormone, thus promoting a loss of fluid through urination. Alcohol also has been shown to be a vasodilator as well, which increases fluid movement around the body, and thus can be another complication in dehydration through evaporation.

For recovery, the big inhibitor is protein synthesis. Alcohol suppresses the pathways that synthesize protein in the body, resulting in depleted muscle growth. Another inhibitor is glycogen reuptake. After a workout, the muscles are depleted of glycogen, which is the storage form of glucose, and the alcohol consumed can take the place of the carbohydrates being broken down to glucose. Thus, muscles are not able to recover to their full potential for the next workout, and they are not able to grow to their full potential through a lack of protein synthesis.

There is a level at which a majority of these inhibitors commence. A drink here or there won’t necessarily promote a drastic drop in performance, but consistently reaching that intoxication level around 0.10 BAC will show drops in performance.

alcohol stock photo 2

 

Vella, L. D., & Cameron-Smith, D. (2010). Alcohol, Athletic Performance and Recovery. Nutrients2(8), 781–789. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu2080781

 

By Daniel Goebel

Daniel received his Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology from Westmont College. Daniel played baseball at Westmont. Daniel currently works at UCLA as a Performance Nutrition Intern assisting in distributing planned meals and recovery snacks, body composition evaluation as well as creating education material. Daniel is working towards his Register Dietitian license. Daniel is a member of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association.

Managing Post-Workout Hunger

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Of the various hormones in the human body, there are two hormones whose primary responsibility is regulating hunger, these are:

  • Ghrelin – Which signals that you’re hungry
  • Leptin – Which signals that you’re full

Some people are hungry after a workout while some are not. Typically, hunger won’t kick in until a few hours or so but there are several factors that can cause hunger in these situations. Here are some reasons why you’re hungry and how it can be fixed.

Not eating enough before workout

It’s common for some individuals to fast before a workout in order to achieve weight loss. However, by going this route, one is could end up going a good number of hours without any fuel. As a result, one is going to experience mild to severe hunger after workout.

Fix this by fueling with a small high energy snack or combine with protein depending on your goal.

Some ideas include:

  • Apple sauce
  • Energy gel
  • Piece of fruit
  • Energy chews
  • Carb + protein (liquid)

Not drinking enough fluids

Staying hydrated is imperative for performance but many don’t hydrate properly. At times, one may feel hungry but it can be mistaken for thirst, so don’t be afraid to drink a cup of water. During more intense workouts or workouts lasting longer than 1 hour, a sports drink is suggested. Coming into a workout dehydrated or relatively close to it, ghrelin will kick in telling you that you’re hungry during and/or after workout.

  • Weigh yourself before and after workouts – For every 1lb lost, drink 16-24 oz. of water.

 

Excess Post-Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)

EPOC is the oxygen uptake above resting values used to restore the body to the pre-exercise condition.  Some of the elements during EPOC are the re-synthesis of ATP, glycogen, protein and restoration of oxygen levels. These elements are refueled from nutrition. After workouts, our energy substrates are low which causes a need for refuel leading to hunger.

 

 

Baechle Thomas R., Earle Roger W., Essentials of strength and conditioning, National Strength and Conditioning Association; Third edition.

https://www.acefitness.org/blog/5008/7-things-to-know-about-excess-post-exercise-oxygen

https://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/Performance%20Hydration%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

 

By Jesse Rodriguez

Jesse is a nutritional science major with an emphasis in sports nutrition. Jesse swam for the El Salvador national team and competed at the international level. Jesse is currently working towards a CSCS and registered dietitian license. He currently works at UCLA as a sports nutrition intern assisting both dietitians with meal plans, body composition, and education materials. Jesse is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association.

How Vitamin C and Gelatin Supplementation Influence Tendon and Ligament Health

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By Daniel Goebel

As athletes, we are always pushing ourselves to new limits, and putting our bodies in constant forms of exertion. The more we exert ourselves, the more our body is being tested. For major repetitive sports such as football, rugby, and long distance running, the body is repetitively exerting forces on the joints and incurring fatigue as the exertion grows. As this prolongs, musculoskeletal injuries arise. But what can be done to try and help prevent these injuries from occurring? What better way than to reduce injuries and prepare you better for prolonged and sustained exercise with a simple gelatin enriched with vitamin C? Researched conducted by Shaw et al. shows how repetitive stress exercises coupled with gelatin enriched with vitamin C prior to exercise helped build tendon and ligament strength, which thus promoted injury prevention and tissue repair.

Tendons and ligaments respond to exercise in much different ways than muscles do[1]. For muscles, there is a large amount of blood flow that continuously circulates to the muscle, specifically following a high intensity workout. For tendons and ligaments, it’s a little different. Tendons are essentially avascular, with no blood flow coming to them. As Baar mentioned in his podcast on Sigma Nutrition with Danny Lennon, tendons are like a sponge. Nutrients in the blood flow don’t go directly towards tendons, but tendons need to receive nutrients in some way. When you squeeze all water out of a sponge and you put the sponge back into a liquid environment, the sponge expands and sucks all of the nutrients, or excess materials, from the environment. That’s essentially what happens in the cartilage of your ligaments and tendons. Every time you impact the ground or exert a load against a tendon, water is squeezed out. As the tendon recovers, that water is sucked back into the extracellular matrix and with it comes with any nutrient that’s in the blood at that moment. That’s where the nutrient intervention comes into place. In order for the blood and extracellular matrix to have the collagen and necessary nutrients in place for that tendon recovery phase, intervention needs to take place about an hour before the workout.

Collagen is a protein found in our bodies that is the most abundant fibers in our connective tissue. Collagen binds our cells together, to create the strongest form of connective tissue possible. As we increase our collagen by nutritional or exercise intervention, the connective tissue strength is improved. The role of vitamin C in the production of collagen is to interact with amino acids within collagen cells. It adds hydrogen and oxygen[2]. Baar noted that 50 mg of vitamin C was all that needed to be given prior to exercise in order to promote the interaction between amino acids in collagen cells.

Selected Food Sources of Vitamin C[3]

Food Milligrams (mg) per serving Percent (%) DV*
Red pepper, sweet, raw, ½ cup 95 158
Orange juice, ¾ cup 93 155
Orange, 1 medium 70 117
Grapefruit juice, ¾ cup 70 117
Kiwifruit, 1 medium 64 107
Green pepper, sweet, raw, ½ cup 60 100
Broccoli, cooked, ½ cup 51 85
Strawberries, fresh, sliced, ½ cup 49 82
Brussels sprouts, cooked, ½ cup 48 80
Grapefruit, ½ medium 39 65

Gelatin was shown to have an almost doubling effect on collagen synthesis when 15 g of gelatin, a natural byproduct derived from animal skin, bones and tendons, was used[4]. Bone broth, an example of gelatin, creates gelatin when boiling bones. The collagen is getting broken down, when cooled it forms jello.

This is extremely helpful in recovering from injury, as when gelatin is intervened into the diet prior to a workout and then exercises are loaded to the area of the injury, the nutrients will be guided towards that area of the body. For baseball pitchers, they would ingest gelatin prior to exercise, then throw or do resistance band work to activate the ligament through this fatigue-based damage to then promote the uptake of nutrients. For long distance runners, jump roping for five minutes will activate the tibial stress fractures, hip stress fractures, Achilles problems or plantar fasciitis in order for the cells to get a response.

Adding vitamin-enriched gelatin is an easy and effective way to promote tendon and ligament health.

 

[1] Baar, Keith. “SSE #142 Training and Nutrition to prevent soft tissue injuries and accelerate return

to play” Gatorade Sports Science Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2017.

[2] “Vitamin C and Collagen.” A Moment of Science – Indiana Public Media. N.p., 27 Sept. 2003. Web.

[3] “Vitamin C.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web.

[4] Murphy, Pam. “Sources of Gelatin.” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 18 Nov. 2015. Web.

 

Daniel Goebel received his Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology from Westmont College. Daniel played baseball at Westmont. Daniel currently works at UCLA as a Performance Nutrition Intern assisting in distributing planned meals and recovery snacks, body composition evaluation as well as creating education material. Daniel is working towards his Register Dietitian license. Daniel is a member of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association.

 

How Vitamins Effect Sports Performance

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By Jesse Rodriguez

An apple a day keeps the doctor away right? Not quite since dietary guidelines recommended us to consume ~3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Vegetables, specifically, are overlooked but they shouldn’t as they are superfoods. Mom was right when nagging us about eating our veggies at the dinner table.

Vitamins are our main focus here and how it can help performance. There are two types of vitamins:

  • Water soluble – Vitamins B and C
  • Fat soluble – Vitamin A, D, E, and K
*Vitamins A, C, and E have antioxidant effects

The difference between the two are the elements of metabolism. Some water-soluble vitamins require digestion while some don’t, however, they are all absorbed in the small intestine then transported through the blood to their target areas. Similarly, some fat-soluble vitamins require digestion while some don’t. In order to get absorbed, it must be incorporated into a micelle with the help of bile. The micelle then gets absorbed into the intestinal cells by passive diffusion in the small intestine. Those with diseases or complications may have trouble absorbing vitamins or producing the necessary enzymes for metabolism.

Vitamins help performance in many ways such as serving as antioxidants to reduce inflammation or working with minerals such as calcium to promote bone strength. Furthermore, some fruits can serve as a pre-workout packed with carbohydrates with a low glycemic index providing a steady dose of carbs throughout the workout. Additionally, fruits contain fructose, a simple sugar, that is digested quickly aiding in glycogen replenishment. Because vitamins have various benefits, I will cover only a handful of fruits and vegetables that can help your health and performance.

  • Fish, Beef, Yogurt, Milk, Chicken – Vitamin B12
    • Helps formation of red blood cells
    • Maintain brain function
    • Create and breakdown protein and fat
  • Pears – Vitamins C, K, B3, B6, B9
    • Increase energy levels
    • Aids in digestion
    • Decrease blood pressure
  • Cucumbers – Vitamins C, K, B1, B7
    • Aids in protection of brain
    • Increase digestive health
    • Decreases stress
    • Freshens your breath!
  • Milk, Eggs, – Vitamin D
    • Increase bone strength
    • May increase musculoskeletal health
    • May improve muscle efficiency
  • Oranges, Carrots, Milk – Vitamin A
    • Aid in vision and cellular differentiation
    • Promotes eye health
    • Antioxidant effects helping in muscle recovery

To summarize, vitamins are imperative to our health and can aid in performance. Add a banana or apple to your mid-day snack. You can also try things like carrots with hummus, celery sticks with peanut butter or steamed broccoli with your dinner. Eating your servings of fruits and vegetables doesn’t have be boring so mix it in with your daily foods. Eating a balanced diet includes all food groups containing vitamins which are important for different functions in the body

 

Jesse Rodriguez is a nutritional science major with an emphasis in sports nutrition. Jesse swam for the El Salvador national team and competed at the international level. Jesse is currently working towards a CSCS and registered dietitian license. He currently works at UCLA as a sports nutrition intern assisting both dietitians with meal plans, body composition, and education materials. Jesse is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association.