Correct Supplements = Best Result
As a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, I have the pleasure of working with professional athletes and everyday athletes. They often come in asking about this ingredient or that ingredient that they read about on a website. My job is to inform the individual the best possible protocol, personalized to their genetics, age, health goals and type of fitness.
One of the most startling breakthroughs in sports medicine is genetic testing. From these tests we can determine:
- Fast twitch vs. Slow twitch predominance ( Are you built for explosive power or long distance running?)
- Detox capabilities (Can you metabolize stimulants effectively, deal with hormones in a good or bad way or should you avoid certain substances or chemicals?)
- Oxidative Potential (Do you have high oxidative quenching potential or do you need to supplement to prevent excessive inflammation and lactic acid build up)
Many of patients do not understand the natural hormonal fluctuations that occur during different phases of their life. Men tend to peak by their mid to late 20’s while women can peak in their teens all the way to their mid thirties. Then comes the complication of childbirth and menopause which can also be difficult to adapt to. A Naturopathic Doctor can determine which phase you are in and how best to support.
Health Goals and Type of Fitness
A persons goals should match what is possible based on their time, lifestyle, past injuries and family history. Should a flat footed person run a marathon? Should someone with a disposition towards low back compression get into CrossFit? This is often the most difficult discussion I have with patients. Reality is often not convenient but if one wants to live a long, healthy and problem free life, then their goals should align with that.
What about Supplements?
Supplements are often necessary in todays society where we are trying to push the limits of our bodies. The most common supplement and most commonly abused supplement is the Protein Powders.
Protein powders should be used in a specific way for a specific purpose. Let’s discuss some of the different ones available from best absorbed to poorest.
- Egg Protein Powder– Perhaps natures perfect protein source. Nearly 100% absorption rate, good source of vitamins but less of an ability to stimulate muscle growth. A great food choice for athletes however, many people have developed sensitivities to egg protein. Food sensitivity testing is recommended for any athlete looking to get the most out of their diet and work outs.
- Whey Protein Powder – High absorption rate, anywhere between 95%-99%. Whey protein has been shown to increase Human Growth Hormone when consumed at bedtime, has increased muscle building and immune system support but can interfere with iron absorption. This can be a problem for menstruating women or those with anemia.
- Dehydrated Meat Protein Powder – New on the market because of the Paleo craze. Absorption rate is very high, around 95%-100%, has a low allergenic potential and no negative impact on blood sugar levels. Can also be a source of iron so more helpful for females with anemia. Meat protein has been shown to be beneficial in preserving muscle mass post workout better than most other protein powders.
- Soy Protein Powder – Good absorption rate, anywhere between 80-95%. Soy is a vegetarian option for those concerned and has some hormone balancing effects on woman. Too much can cause indigestion since it is a bean and the isoflavones can tilt the hormone cascade away from testosterone but almost too little to worry about. Soy does have an ability to lower bad cholesterol and help to balance blood sugar levels. Make sure it is an Organic, non GMO soy product.
- Pea/Rice Protein – Very common in vegan protein powders. Absorption rate of about 65%-80%. Most people find it gritty but is a healthy option for those with egg, milk or soy allergies.
What about other supplements?
There literally could be a blog article on every single ingredient so stay tuned for further blog articles on the subject.
Remember, an individualized approach to your health is the best approach. Consult a licensed Naturopathic Doctor who specialized in the area of Sports Medicine.