Offering a unique reference point on alternative medicine and complementary therapies.


Chlorella: A natural supplement to enhance sports performance?

Sports nutrition is continually turning to natural suplements as this is now proving to be more effective and in harmony with the body. Many synthetic supplements and protein powders are often difficult to digest and can also be difficult to absorb. There are recent studies and claims that a natural supplement to enhance sports performance is chlorella. Chlorella is a single cell green algae food supplement. It is full of vitamins and minerals such as chlorophyll, B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, vitamin K, carotene and iron. These are all essential nutrients to improve athletic performance. Chlorella is a very good source of protein, which is very important for repair and growth of muscles after intensive work-outs. Supplemental protein is essential for an athlete, as this helps the body to recover and nourishes muscles with amino acids. Protein drinks are now consumed by professional athletes as well as people who exercise a few times a week. Our bodies cannot absorb high amounts of synthetic protein, and this can be eventually converted into fat. The advantage of chlorella is that the body is able to break it down easily into amino acids that can be absorbed. Many well known athletes and sportsmen / sportswomen take chlorella as part of their daily supplement routine. Companies who manufacture chlorella supplements claim that it can:   Improve oxygen transportation throughout the body, which can increase muscle mass. Chlorella is also claimed to increase aerobic activity by increasing the oxygen – carbon dioxide exchange. Chlorella is claimed to facilitate the expulsion of toxins from the body. This enables the body to function in its optimum level. The high chlorophyll content of chlorella has been suggested to greatly reduce inflammation and muscle fatigue after work outs. Chlorella has been promoted to boost the immune system. This is claimed to be beneficial to athletes who need to avoid taking time off with sickness. The calcium and magnesium content of chlorella is required to regulating muscle and nerve function which prevents muscle fatigue and cramp.   Independent studies are required to verify these claims, but due to the vitamin and mineral content of chlorella, the health benefits seem quite...

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Beetroot – A Natural Sports Performance Enhancer

The news of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal has been a major shock in the world of sport. It has also highlighted the widespread use of illegal substances to enhance physical performance. There is however a perfectly legal food that has found to improve sports performance. The mystery food… as you have probably guessed is the humble beetroot. The multiple Paralympics gold medallist David Weir admitted drinking beetroot juice during the marathon. This root vegetable has undergone various scientific studies which have verified its ability to improve sporting performance. The Channel 4 show, The Food Hospital, highlighted the ability of beetroot juice for cyclists.  This was a small study, but the results were very promising, however further studies are required. Other smaller studies have also backed the use of beetroot in sports performance. Researchers at the University of Exeter found that beetroot juice enabled people to exercise for up to 16% longer. This is a significant difference for sports men and women. The research involving this root vegetable, are not only limited to sports performance. A study conducted by the University of Exeter and Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry found that people used less oxygen when performing low intensity exercises such as walking after drinking beetroot juice. Beetroot is rich in potassium, folic acid, iron as well as many antioxidants including anthocyanins. Beetroots contain betaine, which has a natural anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Betaine is often used to treat cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This vegetable also contains nitrates, which help to widen blood vessels. These nitrates are converted to nitric oxide in the body. This results in lowering blood pressure and allowing more blood to flow (preventing blood clots). Nitric oxide also reduces the amount of oxygen that is needed by the body during exercise.  This double effect has a dramatic effect on sports performance, as well as low intensity activity. There is however a slight problem, before you head out to the supermarket, you would need to eat up to five beetroots for a significant benefit. Beetroot supplements also pose the same problem. You would have to eat many capsules to make a difference. This is why the experts recommend...

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What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is one of the most widely used amino acids in the body. But many people ask what is glutamine? The body produces L-glutamine naturally and is also available in a number of foods and dietary supplements. Glutamine has many health functions. It is found in large amounts in the muscles and required to build and maintain muscle mass. Due to its muscle building quality, Glutamine is often used by body builders and athletes to gain extra muscle mass and size. However, this is not the only benefit of L-glutamine. This amino acid has a number of health properties. Muscles Glutamine can help to prevent muscle wasting which can be caused by illnesses or long periods of bed rest. This amino acid supports the body at times of stress. A large amount of the glutamine in the muscles can be released as times of stress or illness, resulting in a loss of skeletal muscle. Supplementing with glutamine can prevent happening. Immune System Glutamine also plays an important role in supporting the immune system. It aids immune cells in killing bacteria and healing wounds. Glutamine also supports the multiplication of white blood cells which strengthen the immune system. Brain Health This amino acid is sometimes referred to as brain fuel, as it readily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Glutamine is converted to glutamic acid in the brain, which is essential for brain function. Glutamine also increases the levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which is required for healthy brain function and mental activity. This health supplement has been used to treat depression, epilepsy and developmental disabilities, such as austism. Digestive Health One of the more common uses of glutamine is in the treatment of leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome is well known condition today, mainly due to the increased use of anti-inflammatory medications and food allergies. This makes the intestines more permeable and allows foods to pass through the gut wall into circulation. This results in more food allergies, causing abdominal pain and irritation. Glutamine can be taken to heal the gut wall and make the intestines less permeable. This amino acid has also been shown to speed up the healing of digestive ulcers. Glutamine is usually available as a powder...

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Natural supplements for sport

There are many studies that state that weight training exercises strengthen the bones and reduce the possibility of developing osteoporosis in later life. These exercises should be done with supervision if you are new to weight training, as they can result in serious injury if done incorrectly. It can be advisable to take natural supplements for sport and weight training. There are many forms of protein powder available, but the majority of these contain artificial ingredients and sweetners. The amount of protein per serving is also very high in may products. The very high levels of protein cause an extra load of the kidneys, and can lead to further problems. Cardiovascular exercise such as running or rowing cause the body to release free radicals as part of the catabolism process (the breakdown of carbohydrate into smaller molecules). It is therefore important to take an anti-oxidant before undertaking a cardiovascular exercise. Other natural supplements that are recommended are: The amino acid L-Glutamine helps the muscles recover after a workout and therefore help with muscle growth. L-Argine is another amino acid that has been shown to increase muscle and lean body mass if taken in conjuction with a high intensity training programme. Fish Oil and Flax Seed Oil Supplements provide an excellent source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, that are important for the joints and help to reduce inflammation. Glucosamine will help to maintain strong joints and cartilage during weight training programmes. The homeopathic remedies Arnica, Rhus Tox and Ruta Grav are very effective at treating and sports related strains and sprains. Thes can also be applied as a cream or...

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