Intense Defense is the multi-nutrient supplement from Wicked Fast Sports Nutrition that “Provides, Purifies, and Promotes” your body for optimal endurance performance. Intense Defense Provides your body with a balance of bioavailable essential nutrients - it Purifies your body with accelerated toxin removal and tissue repair - and it Promotes optimal energy metabolism so you can burn fat more efficiently and maintain lean body mass. When used in conjunction with Energ-Ease for pre-exercise energy & stamina, and Recover-Ease for post-exercise recovery enhancement, Intense Defense helps you reach your peak performance.
In an earlier article, I gave some detailed information about what we mean when we say Intense Defense “Provides” optimal endurance nutrition for your body. In this article, I’d like to expand on how Intense Defense “Purifies” your body with our “Wicked-Mend” proprietary blend of nutrients.
Wicked-Mend accelerates tissue repair via improved oxidative balance, inflammatory balance, and support of detoxification pathways by helping to support optimal liver function (the most powerful filtration system ever known) and protect you from the harmful effects of environmental toxins (air and water pollution) and exercise-generated toxins (oxidizing free radicals and inflammatory cytokines).
- Broad array of omega-3-6-9 Anti-inflammatory fatty acids
- Network of antioxidant phytonutrients (Curcuminoids, Phenols, Zingerberenes, & Ursolics)
- Support of Phase I & Phase II Detoxification pathways (Glucarates, Silymarins, & Thiols)
What’s a “Toxin” Anyway?
Here at Wicked Fast, we’ve never been thrilled with the term “toxin” for the simple reason that lots of wackos tend to throw the term around without ever defining what exactly these evil “toxins” actually might be. If you don’t know what you’re “fighting” against, you can’t exactly mount an effective response. For our purposes as researchers and product developers, we wanted to take a “Scientific Detox” approach - so we defined our “toxins” as inflammatory cytokines (which are toxic/damaging to immune cells and tissue linings), free radicals (which are toxic/damaging to cell membranes and mitochondria), and air/water-borne chemicals such as heterocyclic amines, organochlorines, PCBs, pesticides, petroleum byproducts, etc. (which are toxic/damaging to our endocrine/hormone systems).
When we train intensely - as we all do on a daily basis for our triathlons, marathons, and ultras - we generate MORE inflammatory cytokines and MORE free radicals and we ingest MORE air-borne and water-borne chemicals. As such, we sometimes need HELP to quickly and effectively rid our bodies of these damaging compounds before they cause more damage.
Intense Defense provides the whole range of “scientific detox” ingredients in our balanced “Wicked-Mend” blend - so you get anti-inflammatory fatty acids help to normalize the balance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, a network of antioxidant phytonutrients to directly reduce free radical load and naturally encourage the body’s own production of endogenous antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and superoxide dismutase (SOD), and a range of nutrients that support the liver’s own detoxification pathways (allowing your body’s most important natural filter to function at peak efficiency to inactivate and eliminate damaging chemicals).
Many endurance athletes are familiar with the term “antioxidant” and understand that it refers to nutrients such as vitamins C and E (and many others) that help to protect your body from “free radicals” (highly-reactive oxygen molecules) created during exercise. Unchecked free radical activity is what leads to the cellular damage known as “oxidation” and the cycle of inflammation and tissue dysfunction that follows. If you’re training hard more than a few times weekly, and your diet is less than optimal, then it is almost certain that you could benefit from a daily antioxidant supplement.
In the case of endurance athletes, oxidative damage may be elevated due to increased production of free radicals during intense activity. Although the body increases its production of endogenous antioxidant enzymes (glutathione peroxidase, catalase, superoxide dismutase), supplemental levels of exogenous or dietary antioxidants may be warranted to prevent excessive oxidative damage to muscles, mitochondria, lungs, and other tissues.
When it comes to antioxidant nutrition, your best approach is to eat 5-10 servings of brightly colored fruits and veggies throughout the day. In general, brighter is better, with each color group representing a major class of antioxidants from Red tomatoes (lycopene), Orange carrots (beta-carotene), Blueberries (flavonoids) and Purple grapes (anthocyanins). You want to try to get a few servings of each color group everyday. If you have trouble consuming all the fruits and veggies that you need, and you choose to supplement your diet to boost your antioxidant levels, then keep in mind that it’s the overall collection of several antioxidants that is important, rather than any single “super” antioxidant. Often, you’ll see advertisements touting the “best” or “most powerful” antioxidant nutrient, but recent research clearly shows us that supplementing with too many isolated or unbalanced antioxidants may be even worse for long-term health than getting too few antioxidants. Excessive levels of antioxidant supplementation (for example, too much isolated vitamin E or beta-carotene), can actually lead to more oxidation and tissue damage rather than a protection from oxidation).
Networking Your Nutrition
This concept of antioxidant balance – not too many and not too few – is what scientists refer to as the “Antioxidant Network” - that network being made up of 5 major classes of antioxidants: Vitamin E “complex”, Vitamin C “complex”, Carotenoids, Bioflavonoids, and Thiols - and your cells need representatives from each and every one of these categories in order to mount the strongest antioxidant defense.
Think of it in triathlon terms – even if you were the best swimmer in the world (say, Michael Phelps), you’re not going to win the Ironman without also having a strong bike and run. The mainstream-sports analogy of baseball works as well - if you had the best homerun hitter in the world, but poor pitching and fielding, then your baseball team would not be the best team. Same thing with your antioxidant defenses - green tea, or vitamin E, or astaxanthin, or beta-carotene are all wonderful antioxidants on their own - but combining them to create a network that performs together in different parts of the body and against different types of free radicals is the most effective way to go.
Some of the top picks among antioxidant supplements are: beta-carotene (natural), lycopene, lutein, vitamin E (natural tocopherols and tocotrienols), vitamin C (with naturally occurring flavonoids) curcuminoids (from turmeric), n-acetyl-cysteine, selenium, zinc - but there are many other choices of nutrients and herbal extracts and plant extracts that possess wonderful antioxidant properties. Just as with your training regimen, if you keep the concept of “balance” in mind when it comes to your antioxidant nutrition, then your body will be healthier and stronger and more able to respond to the demands of living and working and “playing” at the highest level possible.
For more detailed information on the pros, cons, safety, and dosage recommendations for specific antioxidant nutrients (and hundreds of other supplements), visit SupplementWatch at www.supplementwatch.com
Why do you hurt? Why is it that your hip has a twinge after a long run – or your Achilles is tight following a hard ride? You can think of pain and inflammation, as different sides of a coin – front and back or heads and tails – whatever analogy you prefer. The point is that pain and inflammation are driven by different – but related – biochemical factors. The good news is that we have a number of natural options that are safe and effective for controlling both pain and inflammation.
Both pain and inflammation are normal body processes – without them we would literally not be able to survive for very long. Pain is a signal to your body that damage is occurring and you need to stop doing whatever it is that is causing that damage. Inflammation is a process controlled by the immune system that protects us from invading bacteria and viruses, but also helps regulate heart function, blood flow, and many vital functions. Keeping a normal balance of pain signals and inflammatory balance is vital to good health and well-being. When this balance becomes disrupted – or unbalanced – we experience more inflammation and increased pain and less flexibility and reduced mobility. When we have too much inflammation, this process that is supposed to be protecting us actually causes more and more damage. For example, an overactive inflammatory response is known to stimulate bone breakdown (leading to osteoporosis) and interfere with cartilage repair (leading to a worsening of arthritis).
Your doctor may give your unbalanced inflammation another kind of label – one that ends in “itis” (in medical terminology, “-itis” is used to denote inflammation). So you may have arthritis (inflammation of the joint – “arthros” is latin for joint), or tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon), or fasciitis (inflammation of the fascia – the tough layer of connective tissue over muscles, tendons and ligaments that can be come inflamed following excessive exercise, low back pain, and fibromyalgia).
Normal Inflammatory Balance Versus Chronic Inflammation
Your normal process of inflammation helps to dismantle and recycle older cartilage and other connective tissues (tendons, ligaments, muscles, etc) that have become damaged or worn out or simply need repairing. This process is called “turnover” – where older tissue is replaced with newer tissue. When we’re young (before the age of 30 or so) this turnover process is perfectly balanced – for every bit of cartilage that is damaged and removed – another similar (or greater) bit is put in its place. This means that, under normal circumstances, we’re always making our connective tissue – our cartilage and bones and muscles and tendons and ligaments – stronger and more resilient. After about age 30, however, our turnover process becomes a bit less efficient year after year. This causes a very slight loss of healthy tissue – where we breakdown and remove a certain amount, but the amount of healthy tissue added back is just a little bit less than it should be. As we age, the turnover process becomes less and less efficient and our body’s ability to heal itself from injury is reduced. This imbalance in tissue turnover and inflammatory balance is the primary cause of the loss of flexibility and the various “itis” diseases that we all tend to encounter as we age.
Let’s keep in mind that not all inflammation is bad – remember that inflammation is part of the normal healing and turnover process for any tissue. It’s just when we get too much inflammation that things go awry. When this happens, healing is suppressed and tissue destruction is accelerated – your body simply cannot heal itself or stop the damage when the inflammatory process is unbalanced. To illustrate this point, think about the ocean crashing against a protective seawall. The seawall is your joint and other tissues, and the ocean is your inflammatory process. Over time, that wall will become broken and weakened by the crashing waves and will need to be repaired back to optimal function. If the pace of repair fails to keep up with the pace of destruction, then the seawall fails and the ocean comes rushing in (leading to total destruction and dysfunction). We need to maintain the integrity of the seawall (your joint) by keeping up with repair and maintenance – but we can’t even do that if the ocean is continually crashing down on us.
Luckily, there is a plethora of scientific and medical evidence that shows us how to use diet, exercise, and supplementation to “calm” the ocean (to reduce damage caused by excessive inflammation) and the accelerate tissue repair (keep that seawall intact). It’s all a question of balance. We want to maintain that normal inflammatory balance, so we can maintain a normal pace of tissue turnover, and thus balance healthy tissue, flexibility and mobility. As soon as we fall out of inflammatory balance – even by a little bit – we see a little bit more tissue deterioration, leading to a little more inflammation and still more tissue breakdown. Once this vicious cycle of inflammation/damage has begun, it can be very difficult to stop – unless you have a comprehensive plan to re-balance inflammation from multiple perspectives.
Balance is the Key
Intense Defense is all about “balance” - giving you “enough” of all the essential nutrients, but not “too much” just to make the label look better. Think of it like you would think of the spokes on your race wheels - you know you want “some” spokes (or the wheel is not a wheel) - you don’t want too few (because then the wheel is weak and buckles when you apply force) - but you also don’t want to ride a wheel with 100 spokes because that is “too much” and the wheel has poor dynamics. Too many multivitamin products suffer from the problem of “too few spokes” (products like Centrum and One-A-Day and Kirkland and other store brands) because they try to meet your “minimum needs” (which you exceed in many important ways as an endurance athlete). Likewise, many “premium” (meaning “expensive”) multivitamin products suffer from the fallacy that “more is better” (which it’s not) and give you way more “spokes” than your body truly needs. As endurance athletes, this “more is better” approach can actually impair our body’s natural ability to adapt to intense training by suppressing free radical and cytokine metabolism below normal.
With Intense Defense, we really tried to hit that “sweet spot” to provide the right nutrients in the right amounts and in the right balance to support the kinds of intense training that endurance athletes engage in on a daily basis (and then to give you Intense Defense at a fair price as well).
We hope that you’ll agree - let us know what you think!
Thanks for reading - in the next article, I’ll write about how Intense Defense “Promotes” energy metabolism and helps you both burn more body fat and maintain lean muscle mass - helping you get to your fastest and strongest race weight.
Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D.
C.E.O. (Chief Endurance Officer)
Wicked Fast Sports Nutrition
648 E Rocky Knoll
Draper, UT 84020
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