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 Sports Nutrition for health and fitnessNEWS and COMMENTS 

Best Sports Nutrition 2009 Supplements of the Year

Over the past year, our visitors and staff have evaluated many products. The results below reflect a comilation of feedback from all sources:

1. Sytropin – We have used this product, taken a break from it and returned to it. We have definitely found that overall it has made the biggest difference in performance, especially from an aerobic capacity and endurance standpoint. We have also found benefits in weight management and lower body fat. Sytropin is our top pick for 2009. It is a homeopathic spray with a comprehensive array of amino acids and growth factors that stimulates the body’s own production of human growth hormone.

2. Immunocal Platinum – Best new discovery of 2009. If you haven’t already heard of glutathione, you will. Glutathione occurs naturally in the body. It is the body’s major anti-oxidant, immune system optimizer and detoxifier. It exists in virtually every cell in the body. It is produced within the cell by glycine, glutamine and cysteine. In the average North American diet, cysteine is either non-existent or scarce. An additional challenge is getting cysteine into the cells in a biologically active state. Immunocal Platinum is the result of decades of research conducted primarily at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. It is the only natural product that is both clinically and scientifically proven to optimize the immune system by raising glutathione levels. It is an undenatured whey protein isolate that is backed by over 70 worldwide patents. Coincidentally, it has also been clinically proven to enhance muscle performance.

3. Primorye Stress Relief Plus – Best stress reduction product. Named after the region in Russia from which most of its herbs are derived, this product is the result of billions of dollars of research over decades, spearheaded by the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Oxyfresh combined the herbal extract with aloe from Costa Rica and other micronutrients to formulate a truly remarkable product. Its benefits are many, not the least of which are the regulation of excess cortisol, a reduction in overall stress, increased focus and an immune system booster. Use it daily and use its partner product Primorye Gold before and after workouts.

4. Montmorency Concentrated Cherry Juice – This product is also a new discovery for us. It is a powerful anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and contains naturally occurring melatonin, which helps with sleep and is a brain anti-oxidant.

5. Vega Health Optimizer – Our favorite protein powder. Developed by Brendon Brazier, a vegan triathlete, this product contains the correct amount and balance of the various proteins required to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. It is available in a variety of flavors.
Vega Health Optimizer - Large - Berry

6. Oxyfresh Foundation Formula – This is our favorite comprehensive daily multivitamin and mineral packet. It not only contains 3 multivitamin capsules, but omega-3, vitamin E, antioxidant and digestive enzyme capsules as well. It contains the best types of nutrients and the most optimal amounts and combination of nutrients for athletes. For endurance and elite athletes, we recommend 2 packets a day. Capsules are packaged in very convenient packets for easy transport while on the road.

7. Vega Sport Performance Optimizer – Fantastic electrolyte and energy powder easily added to water. Comes in a variety of flavors.
Vega Sport Performance Optimizer - Box of 24 Single Serving Pouches - Lemon Lime

8. Oxyfresh Joint Formula – Best new product of 2009. This product was introduced by Oxyfresh last year and is the best joint formula we have come across to date. This scientifically proven formula is formulated to start repairing joints and relieving pain within 30 days. It reduces joint discomfort, restores mobility and flexibility and protects joints from deterioration. Joint Formula contains the patented UC-II, an undenatured  type-II collagen, derived from chicken sternum cartilage. 2009 Supplement Awards announced its 2009 Supplement Award Winners. It’s the fifth year in a row that has announced these yearly awards. All nominations were based on sales, and since customers’ opinions are what truly count, lets the general public provide 100% of the final vote.

Here are the winners:

-Supplement of the Year – Optimum 100% Whey Protein (5th year in a row!)

-New Supplement of the Year – MRI Black Powder

-Muscle Builder of the Year – BSN NO-Xplode (5th year in a row!)

-Pre-Workout Supplement of the Year – BSN NO-Xplode

-Intra-Workout Supplement of the Year – MuscleTech IntraVol

-Recovery Supplement of the Year – Scivation Xtend

-Protein Powder of the Year – Optimum 100% Whey Protein (5th year in a row!)

-Protein Bar of the Year – Supreme Protein Carb Conscious Bar

-Energy Supplement of the Year – VPX Meltdown

-Energy Drink of the Year – VPX RedLine RTD

-Fat Loss Supplement of the Year – Nutrex Lipo 6x

-Weight Gainer of the Year – BSN True Mass (3rd year in a row!)

-Nitric Oxide Supplement of the Year – BSN NO-Xplode (5th year in a row!)

-Creatine Supplement of the Year – BSN CellMass (5th year in a row!)

-Glutamine Supplement of the Year – MHP Glutamine-SR

-Multivitamin of the Year – Universal Nutrition Animal Pak (5th year in a row!)

-Joint Health Supplement of the Year – Universal Nutrition Animal Flex (4th year in a row!)

-RTD of the Year – CytoSport Muscle Milk RTD (2nd year in a row!)

-Tanning Product of the Year – Dream Tan

Antioxidants – Are they necessary?

Free radicals cause cellular damage. Antioxidants neutralize and discard free radicals from the body.

The more stress you put on your body, the greater the need fo antioxidants. The more intensely you train, the greater the stress on your body. The more you run or cycle in traffic and swim in chlorinated pools, the greater your exposure to toxins. Lack of deep rest, demands from your career and family all contribute to an increase in free radicals.

Hence, antioxidants are crucial to increase performance levels and for long-term health. The best sources of antioxidants are raw, organic fruits and vegetables. In today’s world, you will not be able to consume enough to combat the demands placed on your body, especially if you train intensely.

It is important to note that you want a full spectrum of antioxidants as they all work in conjunction with each other to rid the body of a wide variety of free radicals. It is also vital to keep glutathione levels up in your body, since glutathione serves to enhance the effects of all other antioxidants and is responsible for disposing of the waste products of free radical neutralization.

Some great products include: Lifeshots antioxidant liquid, Primorye Stress Relief Plus, Immunocal Platinum (to increase glutathione), Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice and PNT 200 (to reduce excess cortisol levels)

Protein – How much to eat and when

Most athletes are aware of the muscle building benefits of protein, but did you know that protein is also crucial for every enzyme, immune cell, neurotransmitter, the skin and bones? Without adequate protein, the body suffers. You will tend to feel tired, it will take longer to recover, you will suffer sickness more often, you will experience mood swings, good quality sleep is harder to come by, and the list goes on. You can see how proper protein intake is vital to performance and health.

Proteins are made up of amino acids. Some come from food and supplements and others can be manufactured by your body. Food containing proteins are considered either complete or incomplete, depending on whether they contain all the essential amino acids. Animal sources are considered complete while vegetarian sources are considered incomplete. In order to become complete, vegetarian protein must be comined with grains. Examples of animal protein are; eggs, poultry, meat or fish. Vegetarian protein comes from nuts and legumes.

The amount your body requires depends on your weight and activity level. Generally, it is recommended to consume 1-2 grams per kilogram of body weight throughout the day. Portions should not be more than 25 to 30 grams at a time. What happens when you consume too much protein? This can acidify the body, which increases inflammation.

What are some convenient sources of high quality complete protein? There are 3 specific all-natural products that I recommend:

The first is Vega Health Optimizer, an all-in-one meal made from plant-based foods. It is a protein powder developed by a vegan athlete but appropriate for everyone. I have found this product to be extremely helpful in increasing my energy levels prior to activity. It is best included in a smoothie, taken at least 1-2 hours prior to exercise. Here is one recipe you can use.

Second, I recommend Sytropin just prior to activity and at bedtime. This is an amino acid complex that I have found to increase endurance, improve sleep and increase energy.

Third, I recently discovered a product called Immunocal Platinum. This product is the most scientifically and clinically proven natural product I have come across to increase glutathione levels in the body, which is crucial for maintaining a strong immune system and detoxifying the body. Glutathione is the body’s main antioxidant as well. It exists in virtually every cell in your body and must be manufactured at the cellular level. The benefit of Immunocal Platinum is that it provides the precursors necessary in a biologically available form for the body to create its own glutathione. It also helps alkalize your body. It has also been clinically proven to increase muscle performance. It is best consumed within an hour following your workout. Do not include this product in a smoothie. It’s biological integrity is highly dependent on how you mix it. Make sure you read the instructions so you get the maximum benefit from this product.

Post Workout Recovery

One of the questions that comes up consistently from athletes and very active people is what is best for refueling following a workout.

There are two keys to successful refueling. The first one is timing and the second is what you consume.

As far as timing is concerned, within 30 minutes of your workout, you should be consuming a recovery drink. Within 2 hours of your workout, you will want to consume a well-balanced meal and/or drink.

The ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and electrolytes are crucial to optimizing your body’s need for these ingredients as well as its ability to absorb and utilize them. What do you drink within 30 minutes of completing your workout? A drink consisting of a carbs to protein ratio of 4:1, added electrolytes including potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium and low in fat. You can get a commercial preparation or you can make your own. Endurox is an example of a commercial preparation.

An example of a post recovery drink is:
Perfect Empowered Drinking Water (oxygen and electrolytes are included)
Primorye (adaptogens are great for muscle recovery)
Organic orange juice
Organic Lemonade
A pinch of organic sea salt
A bit of protein powder

if you don’t use Perfect Empowered Drinking Water, then I would suggest water and an electrolyte powder instead. Some examples are Ultima, Refresh and Elete.

A great resource we recommend is the book Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by triathlete Brendan Brazier.

As far as your post-workout meal, it should include carbs, more protein, healthy fats (especially Omega-3s) and fiber. The reason we mention drink as an option is that a smoothie is a good post workout drink. Include a healthy protein powder like Vega, organic bananas, organic berries, Primorye, Lifeshots, organic flax oil, organic non-fat yogurt and organic orange juice (or other juice of your choice). You can play around with this recipe according to your taste preferences.

Also, make sure you continually drink plenty of water and include electrolytes during the day as well. Perfect Empowered Drinking Water is great because the electrolytes are already included in the water itself, not to mention added oxygen. Make sure you stay well hydrated and don’t overtrain.

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