Exercise and a Shake – Good for the Body and the Brain

It’s no surprise that exercise is good for the body. And more recently we’ve learned of the benefits of exercise on the brain.

New research indicates the effects are further improved when there is a nutritional shake included with the training.

A study out of the University of Illinois looked at the effects of exercise and nutrition on the body and the brain. The study ran 12 weeks and included 148 active Air Force servicemen.

The study participants were divided into two groups. Half of the 148 did the exercise program as well as a twice a day nutritional supplement. The nutritional supplement was a mixture of omega-3 (DHA), lutein, phospholipds, vitamins B and D and HMB. The control group took a caloric controlled placebo beverage lacking the nutrients listed above.

In terms of the exercise this included strength and high intensity intervals made up of aerobic challenges.

So what did they find?

Exercise is good for the body apparently. Serviceman got stronger, fitter, more powerful and more mobile. What was interesting is that mobility and stability improved the most, i.e. 22%, of all physical qualities measured.

The group that took the nutritional supplement saw enhanced improvements in their cognitive function. Compared to the placebo group there was increase in working memory (+ 9.0%), fluid intelligence reaction time (− 7.7%), and processing efficiency (+ 1.8%). The supplement group also lowered their resting rate more (− 2.4%) and and added more muscle i.e. lean muscle mass (+ 1.5%). 

It would have been interesting to see what the improvements would have been had there been a group that only took the supplements and did not do the exercise. We know exercise improves circulation which facilitates digestion, assimilation, transport and uptake of nutrients. But to what degree?

As well, the nutritional shake had quite a few ingredients. Which ones conferred the most benefit? We’re well aware of the benefits of omega-3 on brain function. But what about taking vitamin B and D? And HMB is an interesting supplement that was more popular about 20 years ago. It seemed to work for some and not others.

Lastly, the shake was taken twice per day. What would the results be with one dose and the same daily amount of ingredients? Or three shakes?

Although there a number of questions yet to be answered it is interesting that the physical and the mental can improve so much more when exercise is accompanied by a nutritional intervention.

So the take home message going forward to have a plan for both exercise and nutritional. Your body and your brain will thank you.

Zwilling, C. E., Strang, A., Anderson, E., Jurcsisn, J., Johnson, E., Das, T., … & Barbey, A. K. (2020). Enhanced physical and cognitive performance in active duty Airmen: evidence from a randomized multimodal physical fitness and nutritional intervention. Scientific reports10(1), 1-13.

Vitamin D supplementation – Is it worth it?

Do you take supplements? If so, which ones do you take? And why?

A popular one these days is vitamin D. We’ve seen a rise in the number of people taking vitamin D during the winter months when there is either less sunshine or it’s too cold to get out there and get some rays.

So why the need to supplement with vitamin D?

Well this vitamin is required for calcium absorption which plays a role in our bone health. This relationship is seen whenever you drink milk.


On almost every milk container you’ll see a mention of vitamin D.

According to the Institute of Medicine we should get 600-800 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day. Higher levels of 1-2000 IU per day are still deemed safe. As our bodies cannot produced this vitamin it is important that we supplement.

Compounding the challenge of our bodies not being able to make it is the fact that we spend more of our days indoor. And with technology and global markets we don’t operate precisely on a circadian rhythm. Graveyard workers might be asleep during the part of the day when there is an option to get sun.

Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with higher levels of a number of diseases and health concerns including cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, stroke, depression, decline in cognitive function and auto-immune disorders. Naturally we have seen an increase in the number of people being prescribed and taking supplemental vitamin D.

So how is this working?

Unfortunately supplemental vitamin D is showing to not be effective. A recent study with over 25,000 subjects lasting 5 years showed no impact on cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Unfortunately it gets worse.

There seems to have been an over-correction with our concern for exposure to the sun. We have known that being further from the sun is associated with higher levels of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and mortality. And this is worse during the darker months of winter. This is then made worse as we’ve scared everyone into never getting any exposure to the sun.

What this has resulted in is an increased risk of mortality for sun avoiders compared to sun worshipers. And by increase I’m talking about twice the rate of mortality of the diseases mentioned above.

Should we concerned about skin cancer?

We don’t want to disregard the potential harm that can come from too much sun exposure. And we can be a little smarter about how we think about being in the sun. Be more cautious with younger children especially when it comes to burns at a young age. Pay attention to the UV Index and plan your time in the sun when levels are 3 or lower. And if you’re in the habit of taking vitamin D you don’t need to stop. It will still offer health benefits, it still helps with bone health and most of us are deficient. It’s just that it may not confer the all the additional health benefits we were hoping for.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26992108/?fbclid=IwAR2CgQWHMoSqgUE_DVa2xZcT83S5QOGSlj5DYHiTcZznvcxD9ABxND09Rj4

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31959477-vitamin-d-a-magic-bullet-or-a-myth/?from_single_result=vitamin+d+review+myth

https://www.outsideonline.com/2380751/sunscreen-sun-exposure-skin-cancer-science?fbclid=IwAR3Yv2zPD59_jNLDhadrMlY2JAPmxAhH49NMdHYrlwHVc78mBLelujYAxFw#close

Black Friday Banned Substances

Athletes are always looking for ways to gain an advantage. And good sportsmanship requires that we play by the rules and avoid known short cuts or cheats.

When it comes to sports supplements we’ve got to be really careful.

An athlete can be putting in the time training for their sport. They can work in the gym. The will get their rest, eat their vegetables and make sure everything to ensure performance has been checked off the list.

And then they hear there is something that will give them an edge. It will help them go harder, recover more quickly or heal faster. Whatever the promise they are keen to give it a try. They are already doing everything it takes and are so close to a podium, scholarship or a championship.

What do they have to lose?

Well, it could a ban from sports. It could be the loss of a scholarship or contract offer. Maybe it’s the termination of an endorsement deal. And the inclusion of your name alongside other dopers.

How awful would it be to have your name forever alongside the likes of Ben Johnson?

Unfortunately there was a local supplement store selling a banned product during their Black Friday sale.

On Black Friday you get could get yourself to a positive drug test twice as fast with the buy one get one free.

Allmax Impact Igniter contains higenamine and is listed on the label below.

The Word Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has a list of all banned substances. Higenamine is in a class of substances known as beta-2-agonists and are banned at all times.

From the WADA list of banned substance we see higenamine included on this list.

So what is an athlete to do that wants do everything possible to achieve the best result in sport yet not risk a positive drug test?

Really this comes down to only using supplements with BSCG, Certified for Sport, Informed Choice, NSF or similar labeling. When a product has labeling from one of these agencies you can be assured that the ingredients are safe, include only what is stated and nothing else.

Okanagan Peak Performance Inc only sells products with the above listed quality controls. Speak to one of our coaches if you are interested in a particular supplement to enhance your results.

Never Would I Ever

Last week I was watching the Bachelorette with my wife. And yes, I surrendered my man card before settling in on the couch to watch.

3 Quick Steps for Choosing the Perfect Supplement

Many people take supplements of some type. This may be a multi-vitamin, an omega-3 or maybe a protein powder.

Vitargo – Leading Athlete Fueling

Do you take supplements? This could be anything from an omega-3 or a multi-vitamin to taking a creatine, beta alanine or a protein supplement.

Minimal Essential Dose: Protein

Do you take supplements?

In particular do you take a protein supplement? If so, you may be interested to know that there is another version of your protein you can take that requires you to eat or drink less than you may be used to and still get all the benefits.

8 Steps for Weight Loss – Where hCG Fits In

Last week I introduced some of you to the hCG Diet. And a few of you were already familiar with it which is good. In fact one of you replied with what your experiences with it had been.