• Supplements You Need

      by George Redmon, Ph.D., N.D. Iron Man Magazine

      In a recent commentary appearing in Sports Nutrition Insider, Jose Antonio, Ph.D., president of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, made note of the never-ending statements by many medical scientists, clinicians and health-care professionals who don’t use supplements and devalue their need. He states that the “best strategy is to pair what athletes do in the real world with what scientists learn in the lab.”

      Today, after decades of research, sports scientists and sports nutritionists have confirmed that the recommended dose ranges for nonathletic and/or sedentary individuals are fine for preventing nutritional deficiencies but don’t provide optimal amounts of nutrients to sustain the energy, repair, recovery, immunologic and growth needs of people who engage in resistance training or other high-impact physically challenging sports. Also, studies show that high-intensity training can cause deficiencies of many basic nutrients, on par with what people who have poor nutritional habits experience.

      Without some catalyst to jump-start chemical reactions that initiate, maintain, sustain or prolong anabolic-charged processes, those reactions wouldn’t occur at a rate fast enough to have any noticeable results. That could be compared to trying to start your car without any spark plugs—or an ignition key. The bottom line: Vitamins and minerals act as anabolic ignition keys. Here are a few “keys” you may want to consider:

      • Vitamin C. Best known for its antioxidant properties and ability to boost immune function, vitamin C also produces collagen, the glue that holds your muscles together. Collagen is a healing nutrient and can assist in improving muscle recovery after workouts. New research has confirmed that vitamin C also assists in synthesizing protein and amino acids, as well as suppressing the production of cortisol, a hormone that accelerates muscle wasting and bodyfat storage. Vitamin C assists in producing steroid hormones, including testosterone. Furthermore, there is evidence that it helps stimulate fat burning as a result of its ability to speed up the synthesis of the amino acid L-carnitine, and increases nitric oxide in the bloodstream. Researchers at Athens University Medical School in Greece found that when L-arginine, a precursor of nitric oxide, was combined with vitamin C, the combo significantly upped nitric oxide levels at greater rates than did L-arginine taken alone. Suggested dose: 1,500 to 3.000 milligrams a day.

      • Vitamin A. Well-known for preserving eye health and improving immune function, vitamin A is involved in the manufacture of glycogen, the stored form of glucose in the liver and muscle tissues. It also enhances protein synthesis. Ironically, increased intake of protein reduces the body’s vitamin A. What’s more, researchers also now know that having increased amounts of vitamin A in the testes accelerates the production of testosterone and other growth factors. Additionally, A has the ability to reduce the production of estrogen, the female hormone that can increase water retention and fat production. Suggested dose: 5,000 to 10,000 international units. per day.

      • Vitamin B6. B6 maintains proper nervous system function. Without it 60 essential enzymes would malfunction, and in the process normal nucleic acid and protein synthesis would completely shut down. Multiplication of cells, particularly red blood and immune system cells, would be impossible. Additionally, the nervous system and brain would cease to function, as the production of neurotransmitters would come to a grinding halt. Researchers have also identified over 100 enzymes that depend on vitamin B6 to regulate proper amino acid protein synthesis. Besides enhancing carbohydrate metabolism and the breakdown of body fats, B6 acts as a diuretic and regulates the enzymatic reactions that trigger the release of glucose from glycogen. Suggested dose: 10 milligrams a day.

      • Calcium. As your body mass and size increase, maintaining a robust skeletal frame becomes paramount. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and keeps bone strong. Calcium maintains rhythmic heartbeat and in unison with magnesium regulates proper contraction and relaxation of smooth and striated muscles. Calcium also helps shunt amino acids and creatine into muscle tissue. Researchers had believed that calcium loss was extremely low during intense workouts; however, current research indicates that in male athletes loss of calcium via sweating after a two-hour workout can be as high as 400 milligrams. To offset those losses, researchers suggest that people engaged in intensive workouts take up to 3,000 milligrams of calcium daily. Studies have also shown that getting excessive protein can accelerate the excretion of calcium, thus causing bone loss. Suggested dose: 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams a day.

      • ZMA. In bodybuilding circles the initials ZMA are synonymous with the minerals zinc and magnesium aspartate. It’s well-known that the zinc is involved with male maturation and immune health and that magnesium is involved with energy production. When those two supplements are united and attached to aspartic acid, however, they stimulate the production of testosterone. In fact, several studies have shown that ZMA can increase testosterone counts by up to 30 percent, with a simultaneous rise in strength. ZMA can boost insulinlike growth factor 1 significantly and works best when taken about one hour prior to sleep. ZMA appears to bring on deeper sleep cycles that can increase secretion of growth hormone. Suggested dose: 20 milligrams of zinc and 300 milligrams of magnesium daily.

      Source: http://www.ironmanmagazine.com/site/...e-supplements/
      Comments 6 Comments
      1. ka0tik's Avatar
        ka0tik -
        Great topic. Agree with most of it.

        Surprised that B6 was singled out of the whole complex. I believe the whole complex is necessary.

        Dont really see the point of supplementing A, especially since its in many protein powders and multi's (if used, I personally don't). I thought you got plenty from your diet, however it's got me thinking and I am going to research the topic more.

        In my opinion calcium should be taken with vitamin d. Although I think neither should be supplemented and should be consumed also via the diet. Milk, yogurt, orange juice, leafy veggies, etc. not to mention its in a lot of protein powders and multis. Plus, its not the best for your heart....

        Im very surprised essential fatty acids were not mentioned.
      1. MidwestBeast's Avatar
        MidwestBeast -
        Pretty good list. For anyone who hasn't also read Dr. Houser's thread, I'd advise doing that. If you were to take Orange Triad (and I'm sure a handful of other multis have similar amounts), it includes the 10,000IU of Vitamin A, 30mg zinc and 30mg B6. It only has marginal amounts of the others listed, as it should. I, too, am surprised that the entire B-complex wasn't mentioned. For the vitamin C, I'd split the doses up throughout the day. Dr. Houser recommended 500mg/serving, IIRC. The calcium is something you should be careful of, as (like many things) too much can be detrimental/counter-productive. My calcium levels have always shown at the max end of normal and I only get what comes in my multi. I do, however, consume a lot of whey. Getting more magnesium, separately (or from ZMA) would certainly be a good idea. With zinc, same as calcium, more is not always better, though. If you have any blood work to base it off of, I would use that, rather than just taking recommended amounts. Your diet will obviously dictate a lot of this. I'm also surprised Vitamin D wasn't mentioned (and I agree with the above post about EFAs, too).
      1. eluruguayo's Avatar
        eluruguayo -
        Vitamin A is essential to the functioning of the immune system, and it can also aid thyroid and metabolic function (especially for those with sub-optimal thyroid function).

        I'm commenting because the suggested dosage of vitamin A (5000-10,000 IU/day) is way too low, that's only about 1 softgel per day (softgels from the drugstore are usually 8000 IU).
        You can, and should, actually go all the way up to 50,000-75,000 IU, that is, about 6 to 9 softgels per day. Take them mostly earlier in the day.
        Two warnings:
        1/ Watch yourself. If you get jitters -- which is unlikely -- decrease the dose.
        2/ Do not exceed 100,000 IU per day.

        Also, you should front-load the vitamin A, i.e. take most of the pills during the first half of the day. If intermittent fasting is your thing, then take four or five of them on an empty stomach first thing when you wake up; you will find that they help you ward off hunger as well.

        Disclaimer: I am not a physician, and this post does not constitute medical advice.
      1. eluruguayo's Avatar
        eluruguayo -
        Also surprised that B6 was singled out. B12 is probably the most important vitamin in the B complex, especially as regards immune system function and metabolic consistency.

        B12 should also be taken by itself, since it is usually present in trifling quantities in "B-complex" vitamin tabs. I.e. you might get only 50-100mcg of B12 in a B-complex tab -- that's a negligible quantity.
        Sublingual B12 tablets are best. At my local drugstore the sublingual B12 goes all the way up to 5000mcg per tab (which is about as much as you want per day, ideally).
      1. bboyflash's Avatar
        bboyflash -
        Where is NAC at? Pretty sure it beats out vit c...
      1. Longtorso's Avatar
        Longtorso -
        For those of us in "gray all winter" states - D3 is pretty critical too.
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