Supplements for Optimal Performance and Recovery

Taking the right kind of supplements at the right time will help you reach peak performance levels by creating energy, reducing lactic acid build up and reducing inflammation.

What is the most efficient way to fuel your athletic activity?

Dr. Jan Kasprowicz: The most efficient way to fuel athletic activity is not actually through caffeine, it’s not through carbo-loading which is what a lot of athletes do, or actually currently what a lot of the younger athletes are going to do like a pre-workout beverage which actually just really gets them amped up. What you want to do is you want your body to start creating fuel from the cellular level or literally creating fuel from the mitochondria. Mitochondria, these little organelles which are inside each and every cell in your body, they’re like the powerhouse of the cell. They are there to create energy. If you could provide the products that the mitochondria needs to create what is called ATP or adenosine triphosphate, which is the fuel of all cells, then you’re really going to generate power. You’re really going to create energy which is going to be sustained through your entire workout.

A great tool that you can use is something called D-Ribose or dimethylglycine. Also another ingredient is called CoQ10. There’s another ingredient called carnitine, also malic acid. All those ingredients are substrate materials that your body needs to create ATP in a body. We recommend our athletes use a supplement called Elite Fuel, which has all those supplements, so basically you’re creating energy from the cellular level. You’re not getting a sugar rush, you’re not getting that caffeine rush but a really pure energy source from your actual self.

If athletes want to strengthen and build muscle mass, what is the best supplement they can take?

Dr. Jan Kasprowicz: The majority of athletes, they have a misconception that the thing they need to drink or eat the most is protein. There’s a big issue going on in the US with a problem called protein poisoning – people taking way too much protein. Years ago, people thought that you had to take one gram of protein per pound of body weight. That’s way too much. The National Institute of Health actually came out with a number that says your body only needs about 30 grams of protein per day, just to replace the hair on your head, your skin that sloughs off, and the nails on your fingers. Your body actually has a thing called protein pulls, which actually recirculates protein that is actually broken down within the body. Protein is a very important nutrient but it’s not the most important.

In regards to protein, athletes do need a little bit more protein because they are breaking down muscle tissue and they’re rebuilding that muscle tissue at a higher rate. I recommend that athletes utilize vegetable based proteins. I recommend something with protein that comes from pea protein, pumpkin protein or rice protein because these are what are called alkaline proteins. If you’re taking animal based proteins like whey protein or even worse, like casein proteins, these are acidic forms of proteins because they come from animal sources.

When you’re exercising and working out, you’re getting that burn in your muscles, you’re creating a lot of lactic acid. That lactic acid needs to be buffered. If you’re taking an animal protein, you’re just even becoming more acidic. You need to buffer it with a vegetable based protein. I recommend Elite Super Shake. Elite Super Shake, not only does it have pumpkin, pea and rice protein, but it also has a thing called MCT, medium chain triglyceride, which is very healthy and stable. It’s a fat which actually also creates fuel within the body as well.

Another supplement that I tell people to take is a really high quality green food which contains spirulina and chlorella, which are the most abundant and dense forms of protein that your body can utilize. Actually, spirulina is the highest form of protein that you find on the planet. Also, a good green supplement, they also help detoxify the body. They increase the amount of antioxidants into the body which fight off free radical formation which are actually created when you exercise. It also helps with digestive system by cleaning out the digestive tract so this way your body can absorb a lot more of the nutrients. They also increase your immune support. A big factor with exercise is there is lots of cellular debris. You’re breaking down tissue so if you have a good green product, it actually activates things called macrophages which are basically there to scavenge cellular debris throughout the entire body. We recommend our patients use a product called Elite Greens because it has all natural, organic ingredients in there which provide a high bio-availability of all the ingredients we just talked about.

For long duration workouts, is there a supplement that can help fight fatigue and keep performance levels up?

Dr. Jan Kasprowicz: The key with long duration activities … I personally do a lot of cycling. And my cycling events, I used to do shorter distances of 20 to 30 mile cycling events called Gran Fondos, I’ve also raced as well. Now a majority of my rides and races I do, they’re about 100 to about 105 miles each, so you’re talking about long duration and it’s not flat. We do mountains. We’re in Maine, we’re in Vermont. We do these nice big hills and you need that long duration. The only way you’re going to keep your performance up is to keep your fatigue level down.

There are a couple of things that you need to utilize. You need to utilize something that is going to give you sustained energy, which is basically creating first fuel from the cellular energy because there’s not enough food that you can eat that’s going to be turned into fuel for a ride like that. You also need something that’s going to buffer lactic acid. The biggest issue with athletes is their performance diminishes once they’re fatigued. The reason why they get fatigued is because they can’t tolerate any more lactic acid building up in their muscle. That lactic acid is that burning sensation in your muscle.

There’s a thing called dimethylglycine, DMG, which is basically called an adaptogen. It allows your body to adapt to different kind of stresses and we have found that with taking a DMG supplement with something like CoQ10 which is a very strong antioxidant that’s a direct antioxidant for cardiac tissue, which is your heart muscle, significantly reduces the amount of fatigue resulting from lactic acid so technically it’s going to buffer lactic acids and you’re not going to feel the lactic acid affecting your muscle. This way, it’s not going to reduce your performance. It’s actually going to increase your performance and it’s also going to prevent injury. The way it prevents injury is that when you’re fatigued, most likely what happens is your biomechanics, the way you’re doing your activity, is now going to be susceptible to injury so there’s a higher chance that you’re going to be injured when you’re actually fatigued. If you can reduce your fatigue, not only do you increase your performance but you also reduce your possibility of getting injured.

Now let’s talk about recovery. What role does protein play? What are the best protein and recovery supplements?

Dr. Jan Kasprowicz: Protein is very important because it’s there to basically rebuild muscle tissue that has been broken down during your activity, so not only do you want to eat protein but you also want to make sure that you’re doing a protein-carbohydrate blend. The usual ratio is 4:1, 4 grams of a carbohydrate to 1 gram of protein. I try to have our athletes make their own recovery shakes and they’re very simple. There’s no need to buy a recovery shake. All you need to do is always have a medium to large size banana. I recommend that people after their event, carry a shaker cup and in that shaker cup, I recommend that they actually fill it up with alkaline water.

The reason why you need alkaline water is because after your athletic event, you create a lot of acidity in the body so you want to start buffering all that acid in the body with alkaline water. Good forms of alkaline water is Fuji water. There’s also another brand called Essentia water. Alkaline water is any water that has a pH higher of 7. Fuji water has 7.7. Essentia has an alkalinity of 9.4, which is very good. Then to that you want to add a plant based protein, like Elite Super Shake, which comes from pumpkin, comes from pea, and it also comes from rice protein. You want to immediately spend 30 to 40 minutes after your activity, eat the banana and drink your shake. In about an hour to an hour and a half after that, you can go ahead and have a balanced meal with proteins and carbohydrates.

Which supplements help reduce post-exercise muscle soreness?

Dr. Jan Kasprowicz: The best supplements to reduce post-exercise muscle soreness is a product that would contain DMG, which is dimethylglycine. Also, you want to take in fish oil. Fish oils are very common. They have Omega 3’s in there, which help reduce inflammatory effects. You also want to take something that may have some curcumin in it, because that’s also an anti-inflammatory and will reduce post-exercise soreness.

If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Jan Kasprowitz, visit www.chiropracticandsportsrecovery.com, or call 917-748-2902 to schedule an appointment.

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