2013 Endurance Recap

by Shawn 5. December 2013 08:00

Not a bad year!

 

We just got back from the last race of the year – Ironman Cozumel. Feeling great after a personal best time at the Ironman distance! Total time was 11:20, so even with the shortened swim (1.9 miles instead of 2.4 miles because of wind/currents), I feel good about the day. I finished in the top 20% of my age group and overall.

 

Here are some pictures of the event.

 

I tried a new training method for this one (my 16th Iron-distance event) – because I was traveling like crazy leading up to the event, I had extremely limited time to train. During September and October, I was away from home more than I was at home – so my total training time and distance were severely compromised. I’ll be writing about my training, nutrition, and supplementation plan in my upcoming new book, “Weekend Ironman” – which will be out in 2014 and I hope will help other regular folks to complete an Iron-distance triathlon with limited training.

 

Earlier in the year, I also had these results:

 

·      June 9 – Ironman 70.3 Boise – (“half-iron”) = 5:04 (3rd place age group)

·      July 27 – Vineman “Full” (Iron-distance) Triathlon = 12:19 (with a flat)

·      August 10 – Katcina Mosa 100k Trail Run = 15:40 (14th place)

·      Sept 6-9 – World’s Fittest CEO – 2nd Place Overall

 

The Vineman event was a great race that I can highly recommend, but I was disappointed with my performance there (the flat tire really took the wind out of my sails). I felt really good about my performances in the 70.3 Boise (3rd place in AG and qualifying for World’s again), Katcina Mosa (testing our new Energ-Ease formula – coming soon!), and especially my “A” race for the season, the World’s Fittest CEO (2nd place overall after 3 days and 6 endurance events).

 

Without sounding too “commercial” I really feel that Wicked Fast supplements have helped me to get the most out of the limited training that I’m able to do. Between a very demanding work and travel schedule, trying to be a good husband and dad, not getting nearly as much sleep as I need, and generally feeling pulled in a million different directions, the fact that I can still get solid endurance-specific nutrition (Intense Defense), emphasize intensity over duration in my workouts (Energ-Ease), and recover as fully as possible between training sessions (Recover-Ease), I feel very satisfied with how my body and mind performed throughout 2013.

 

For 2014, I am planning:

 

·      March 1 – Ironman New Zealand

·      March 29 – Austin Rattler (100-mile mountain bike)

·      June 14 – Bryce Canyon 100-mile trail run

·      July 19 – Speed Goat 50k trail run

·      August 3 – Ironman Boulder

·      September 18-22 – World’s Fittest CEO

 

I think that with Wicked Fast supplements, I’ll continue to be able to get thru these extreme endurance events in good shape and with a big smile on my face – which is why most of us are out here doing these silly events in the first place, right?!?!?!

 

As always, thanks for reading, and I wish you and yours a happy, healthy, Holiday Season!.

 

Shawn

 

About the Author: Shawn Talbott is MonaVie’s Chief Science & Innovation Officer. He holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry (Rutgers) and a MS in Exercise Science (UMass). He trains for iron-distance triathlons and ultra-marathons in Utah – and is always sure to keep himself in biochemical balance and high vigor.

 =============================================

Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

www.shawntalbott.com

 

Follow me at:

YouTube

Amazon

Twitter

LinkedIn 

Facebook 

ShareCare 

 

My books related to stress, cortisol, vigor, and Feeling Your Best:

    Vigor Diet – The New Science of Feeling Your Best

    The Secret of Vigor - How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

    Killer at Large - Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat - an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic. FREE versions at  http://www.KilleratLarge.com

    The Cortisol Connection - Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnection.com/

    The Cortisol Connection Diet - The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/

    Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection - The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolcontrol.com/

    Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living - Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books) - http://painfreelivingbook.com/

    The Immune Miracle - The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)

    The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

    A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements - an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

 

 

Tags:

Nutrition for Endurance Performance

by Shawn 25. November 2013 08:10

Over the years, I’ve done a great deal of counseling and education on sports nutrition. I’ve worked with athletes at the Olympic level, including the US Ski & Snowboard Team (2002 Winter Olympics) and as part of the Performance Enhancement Team for US Track & Field. In a couple of weeks, I’ll be wrapping up a 2-year program with the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission, and hopefully designing a course for future IOC students to learn about science-based product development.

 

As an athlete myself, I’ve competed at the elite level in rowing (US National Team Development Program), cycling (Lake Placid Olympic Training Center), and triathlon (professional license holder), but now just compete for fun and fitness in Ironmans and ultramarathon trail runs. Here’s a link to an article about my 2nd-place finish in the 2013 “World’s Fittest CEO” competition – and the full video of the event (an extremely well-done video of an amazing event – please give it a look – I will be heading back in 2014 to try to claim the top spot).

 

Athletes, whether “elite” or just competing for fun and fitness, are constantly asking me about the best nutrition practices and products for improving performance and accelerating recovery, but also for general health (athletes want to go fast, but they also want to stay healthy, especially as we get older).

 

Part of the education that I do for athletes, is to give presentations and write articles about different aspects of physical and mental performance (what I’ve been studying as “vigor” for the past decade or so). Here is a video and article covering a recent talk that I gave about the importance of phytonutrients in maintaining health and performance in athletes.

 

I’ve also written several articles about various aspects of dietary supplementation for Competitor Group (publishers of Velo, Triathlete, and other fitness-oriented magazines). Two of the most recent articles are pasted below and here are some links to past articles about:

 

Choosing and Using Supplements

Endurance Supplement Overview

Brain Ergogenics

Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng)

Panax Ginseng

Glutamine and BCAAs

Banned Substances

 

Thanks for reading…

 

Shawn

 

About the Author: Shawn Talbott holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry (Rutgers) and a MS in Exercise Science (UMass). He trains for iron-distance triathlons and ultra-marathons in Utah – and is always sure to keep himself in biochemical balance and high vigor.

 =============================================

Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

www.shawntalbott.com

 

Follow me at:

YouTube

Amazon

Twitter

LinkedIn 

Facebook 

ShareCare 

 

My books related to stress, cortisol, vigor, and Feeling Your Best:

    Vigor Diet – The New Science of Feeling Your Best

    The Secret of Vigor - How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

    Killer at Large - Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat - an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic. FREE versions at  http://www.KilleratLarge.com

    The Cortisol Connection - Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnection.com/

    The Cortisol Connection Diet - The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/

    Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection - The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolcontrol.com/

    Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living - Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books) - http://painfreelivingbook.com/

    The Immune Miracle - The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)

    The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

    A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements - an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

 

 

Supplement Use And Triathlon

 

http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2013/09/20/supplement-use-and-triathletes?utm_medium=whats-hot

 

Surveys on dietary supplement use among the general population suggest that 50-75 percent of adults are “regular users” of dietary supplements, primarily multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplements. Supplement usage rates among athletes are less clear, with some reports indicating 100 percent usage of dietary supplement among bodybuilders, and other estimates indicating 30-50 percent usage among elite and non-elite endurance athletes.

 

It is generally accepted that bodybuilders and weight-training enthusiasts consume dietary supplements at a significantly greater level compared to endurance athletes (runners, triathletes, cyclists, etc.), but the reasons for this disparity are not well understood. Differences in supplement effects, marketing, and mode of education (e.g. where/how athletes get their information) may account for some of the differences in supplement usage between strength and endurance athletes.

 

My research group, SupplementWatch, conducted a study entitled “Dietary Supplement Use Among Endurance Athletes” that was presented at the International Society for Sports Nutrition (ISSN). Our overall conclusions were:

 

- Triathletes at both Olympic and Ironman distances are avid users of dietary supplements (almost 100 percent in some cases).

 

- Primary sources of information about supplements are the Internet (95%), friends and training partners (89%), and coaches (83%).

 

- Longer-distance triathletes appear to take more supplements for recovery and endurance and also tend to report greater supplement usage after exercise, as compared to shorter-distance triathletes.

 

In our study, we recruited 326 triathletes from events in California, Texas, and Oklahoma (174 were Iron-distance triathletes with 103 men and 71 women, and 152 were Olympic-distance with 89 men and 63 women). Triathletes reported that, on average, they consumed dietary supplements five days per week and spent $51/month on their supplements (range $15 to $140).

 

Interestingly, we also found that despite the widespread use of supplements among triathletes, they also felt that they needed more information about supplements (90 percent) and they had difficulty in finding accurate/unbiased information (90 percent).

 

When we asked triathletes why they took supplements, 89 percent indicated that they felt they were not able to get the nutrients they needed from foods alone. Other reasons for taking supplements included:

 

- They give me energy (82%)

- To perform better (73%)

- General health (62%)

- To help me recover (61%)

- To lose body fat (41%)

- To prevent disease (28%)

 

When asked what types of supplements they were using, we found a wide range of endurance-specific products:

 

- Carbohydrate (beverage) = 98%

- Multi-vitamin = 93%

- Electrolyte (beverage) = 90%

- Carbohydrate (gel) = 78%

- Fish oil = 60%

- Antioxidant = 56%

- Recovery = 56%

- Endurance = 52%

- Fat Loss = 42%

 

When we looked at when supplements were consumed, we found that triathletes were avid users of dietary supplements before (95 percent) and during (88 percent) exercise, but less so after training (only 54 percent), despite the fact that some of the most proven sport nutrition supplements are post-exercise recovery enhancers.

 

Overall, we found that triathletes are avid consumers of a wide range of dietary supplements for reasons including endurance enhancement, general health, post-exercise recovery, and other benefits — but that they were in search of more information about supplements. While we did not survey runners, considering the wide degree of overlap between the two sports we would expect to obtain similar findings.

 

Future instalments in this “Performance in a Pill?” series will attempt to give you the information you need to make informed decisions about the pros and cons of choosing and using dietary supplements as an endurance athlete.

 

About The Author: Shawn Talbott, PhD, is a multiple Ironman and ultramarathon finisher and nutritional biochemist based in Salt Lake City. For more information visit www.ShawnTalbott.com

 

 

Super 7: Supplements That Improve Endurance

 

http://running.competitor.com/2013/09/nutrition/super-7-supplements-that-improve-endurance_3692/1

 

As an endurance athlete, you might be interested in dietary supplements that have proven benefits to enhance oxygen efficiency, improve blood flow, balance hormone profile, and improve stress adaptation.

 

No amount of any herb is going to take you from the couch to the podium without your dedication to proper training and nutrition. However, if you’re already doing what you can in terms of diet and exercise, then adding a daily supplement to enhance the effects of your training might serve as a “biochemical tune-up” for your body and help you reach the next level of performance.

 

There are seven dietary supplements that have been evaluated in research studies of endurance athletes.

 

Table of Contents

·      Introduction

·      Rhodiola

·      Cordyceps

·      Eurycoma

·      Quercetin And Arginine

·      Eleuthero And Ashwagandha

 

Rhodiola

Rhodiola helps improve oxygen transfer from lungs to red blood cells. It is a Himalayan root used by the Sherpa people to “adapt” to the stress of living and working at high altitudes. Even today, Sherpa climbers chew on rhodiola for an energy and endurance boost when helping mountaineers scale Mt. Everest.

 

One mechanism for rhodiola’s anti-fatigue effects is an enhancement of oxygen efficiency — with subjects living at high altitude (5,380 meters) showing a beneficial effect of rhodiola supplementation on blood oxygen levels, time to exhaustion, VO2 peak, and pulmonary ventilation during endurance exercise.

 

Dosage: 50-300mg (standardized to 5-6% rosavins)

 

Cordyceps

Cordyceps helps speed transfer of oxygen from red blood cells to mitochondria. It is a Tibetan mushroom used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for “lung protection” and to balance the “Qi” — the fundamental “energy of life.” In clinical studies, cordyceps feeding results in significant improvements in fatigue, oxygen uptake, and endurance exercise performance.

 

Dosage: 100-500mg (standardized to 5-10% adenosine)

 

Eurycoma

Eurycoma balances two important hormones in the body —cortisol and testosterone. It is a root, often called Malaysian ginseng, that is used as a traditional remedy in Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam) to help individuals “adapt” to the reduced energy and depressed mood that often come with chronic stress and overtraining.

 

Eurycoma contains a group of small peptides that are effective in restoring the balance between the cortisol and testosterone.

 

Dosage: 25-50mg (standardized to 20-25% eurypepides)

 

Quercetin & Arginine

Quercetin (an antioxidant) and arginine (an amino acid) both improve blood flow by dilating blood vessels. They have been used effectively to improve blood flow in patients with high blood pressure and heart disease. They’ve also become popular in some endurance supplements, but it is unknown whether or not the small levels typically contained in some supplements would be effective in improving endurance performance.

 

Dosage: Quercetin, 100-300mg (pure); Arginine, 2,000-3,000mg

 

Eleuthero & Ashwagandha

Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng) and ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) provide resistance to physical stress and increase energy levels. They are used in traditional medicine as “adaptogens” to help the body adapt to stressful situations. Eleuthero tends to be more “energizing,” while Ashwagandha is regarded as more “relaxing” in its effects.

 

Dosage: Eleuthero, 100-200mg (standardized to 0.5-1% eleutherosides); Ashwagandha, 10-30mg (standardized to 5-10% withanolides)

 

About The Author:

Shawn Talbott holds a MS in exercise science (UMass) and a PhD in nutritional biochemistry (Rutgers) and competes in iron-distance triathlons and ultramarathons.

 

 

Tags:

Brain Ergogenics - The Future of Performance

by Shawn 14. October 2013 04:27

Here’s a little article that I think sets the framework for the future of human performance – not just “sports” performance, but the kind of lifestyle performance where healthy, active, non-athletes can improve how they feel and look and perform on a daily basis (in their jobs, with their families, with their hobbies, etc).

 

I wrote this article about a year ago for Competitor Group (publisher of active-lifestyle magazines, Competitor, Velo, and Triathlete), and they’ve republished it across their online platforms last month.

 

“Ergo” means “work” – and “genic” means “to generate” – so “ergogenic” means “to generate work.” In this case, I’m writing about how to get the brain to generate more work – meaning, how to get the brain to continue thinking and pushing you to higher levels of both physical and mental performance.

 

Please give it a read and let me know what you think.

 

Shawn

 

About the Author: Shawn Talbott holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry (Rutgers) and a MS in Exercise Science (UMass). He trains for iron-distance triathlons and ultra-marathons in Utah – and is always sure to keep himself in biochemical balance and high vigor.

 =============================================

Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

www.shawntalbott.com

 

Follow me at:

YouTube

Amazon

Twitter

LinkedIn 

Facebook 

ShareCare 

 

My books related to stress, cortisol, vigor, and Feeling Your Best:

▪    Vigor Diet – The New Science of Feeling Your Best

▪    The Secret of Vigor - How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

▪    Killer at Large - Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat - an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic. FREE versions at  http://www.KilleratLarge.com

▪    The Cortisol Connection - Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnection.com/

▪    The Cortisol Connection Diet - The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/

▪    Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection - The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolcontrol.com/

▪    Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living - Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers - Currant Books) - http://painfreelivingbook.com/

▪    The Immune Miracle - The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)

▪    The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

▪    A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements - an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

 

 

Brain Ergogenics: What Are They, And Do They Work?

… And could they be the next big thing in endurance sports?

 

By Shawn Talbott, Ph.D

  

Endurance exercise makes us tired — that’s not exactly a newsflash — but methods to “reduce fatigue” or “prolong endurance” have become the Holy Grail of sports nutrition.

 

Undoubtedly, you’ve seen numerous “improve endurance” products in the form of energy bars, carbohydrate beverages, and related that provide calories to help maintain glucose, reduce lactic acid accumulation, and restore glycogen levels and thus help to delay “peripheral” fatigue (caused when your muscles fatigue).

 

However, a new category of endurance nutrition products is entering the market intended to improve “mental energy” and help to delay “central fatigue” (which occurs when the brain basically says, “No more, we’re done”). These new types of products can be broadly grouped into a category that we refer to as “Brain Ergogenics” — to suggest an overall effect of enhancing the brain’s capacity for high-performance work output.

 

Brain Ergogenics has the potential to be the “next big thing” in endurance performance. We have already gotten pretty close to optimizing the approach to extending endurance through “peripheral” mechanisms, which includes factors occurring outside the brain, in the muscles, blood vessels, etc — such as glycogen levels, oxygen delivery, maintenance of blood glucose, electrolytes for hydration and cramping. However, we have only scratched the surface in terms of extending endurance through “central” mechanisms (brain-centered).

 

One way to think about obstacles to endurance performance is that you “stop” (or slow down) moving forward due to either peripheral fatigue (you bonk or hit the wall or succumb to the “burn” of lactate accumulation) or due to central fatigue (your brain says “enough”) — and both factors can be “pushed back” in various ways to enable us to keep going.

 

There are a wide range of nutrients that can delay central fatigue — ranging from caffeine (the most commonly used brain ergogenic) to branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs including valine, leucine, isoleucine) and other amino acids (like taurine/tyrosine/theanine), to flavonoids like quercetin/reseveratrol/catechins (which have both peripheral effects on blood flow and also central effects on brain neurotransmitters), and even more “exotic” compounds such as choline, fatty acids, and others. Dietary supplements with well-described peripheral endurance benefits, such as Eurycoma (which balances cortisol/testosterone) or Cordyceps (which improves oxygen efficiency) or Ginseng (which controls blood glucose) may also have central brain effects encouraging an endurance athlete to keep going for awhile longer.

 

Certainly, drugs such as caffeine or Adderall (for ADHD) or Provigil (for daytime sleepiness) can stimulate the brain to “wake up” or “keep going” and are effective enough for Americans to spend several billion dollars annually. Nobody is saying that endurance athletes should turn to pharmacological agents to gain any performance edge in our recreational pursuits, but there is undoubtedly a market for these types of products as subset of the general endurance/sports nutrition category. People will always be looking for that “extra gear” and targeting the central nervous system is likely to be the next frontier.

 

Some of my own research studies for a range of dietary supplement companies, have looked at the effects of BCAAs, theanine, catechinsCordyceps, eurycoma, etc. on psychological parameters such as “Vigor” (mental/physical energy levels) in endurance athletes. We’ve been able to show that athletes “feel better” (using mood state surveys) — but we have not always been able to show a direct advantage for performance outcomes (power output, time to exhaustion, perceived exertion, etc) — which suggests that it might be difficult to completely harness or control an organ as intricate and complex as the human brain.

 

****

 

About the Author

 

Shawn Talbott is an avid endurance athlete (multiple-Ironman and ultramarathon finisher) and scientist (PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry and MS in Exercise Science) in Salt Lake City. He can be reached at www.ShawnTalbott.com

Tags:

Restless and Stressed?

by Shawn 13. September 2013 05:54

Here is a blog post from my personal site (www.ShawnTalbott.com) - about general stress, but the same biochemical response is happening in endurance athletes in response to "exercise stress" - so the same approaches that we use with Energ-Ease and Recover-Ease will help rebalance the stress hormone disruptions (cortisol, testosterone, immune function) that lead us to poor performance, illness, and injury.

Attached are two files – the first is an article in the October issue of Women’s Health Magazine (it’s on the newsstands now – go out and get yourself a copy – it’s written by a terrific author – Krissy Brady – you should check out her other stuff). The article is about “young and restless” women with chronic stress and sleep issues – and who have trouble “turning off” and relaxing. This is a major problem, not just from the perspective of quality-of-life, but from a health perspective.

Chronic stress and sleeplessness are significant risk factors for a wide range of chronic diseases – everything from obesity and diabetes to depression and chronic fatigue – and the incidence of chronic stress and insomnia are at epidemic proportions (the second file shows some of the alarming statistics).

Although the “problems” of chronic stress and sleep problems are large and growing, the “solutions” are easier than you might think. Instead of simply telling people to “avoid stress” or “get more sleep” – I take a much more practical approach of using natural therapies to help people relax and de-stress. These approaches involve  diet, exercise, mindfulness, and traditional herbals to help the body remain resilience in the face of our modern stressful world.

Please take a look at the attached article and statistics and let me know your comments.

Thanks for reading,

Shawn

Womens Health Stress Oct2013

stress sleep stats

About the Author: Shawn Talbott holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry (Rutgers) and a MS in Exercise Science (UMass). He trains for iron-distance triathlons and ultra-marathons in Utah – and is always sure to keep himself in biochemical balance and high vigor.

=============================================

Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

www.shawntalbott.com

 

Follow me at:

YouTube

Amazon

Twitter

LinkedIn 

Facebook 

ShareCare 

 

My books related to stress, cortisol, vigor, and Feeling Your Best:

▪    Vigor Diet – The New Science of Feeling Your Best

▪    The Secret of Vigor - How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

▪    Killer at Large - Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat - an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic. FREE versions at  http://www.KilleratLarge.com

▪    The Cortisol Connection - Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnection.com/

▪    The Cortisol Connection Diet - The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/

▪    Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection - The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolcontrol.com/

▪    Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living - Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books) - http://painfreelivingbook.com/

▪    The Immune Miracle - The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)

▪    The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

▪    A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements - an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

 

Tags:

Eleuthero for Energy & Endurance

by Shawn 12. September 2013 05:46

Energizing Eleuthero

 

A few days ago, I posted an article about Panax Ginseng for energy/endurance. That article was from a previous edition of Competitor magazine and you can read the full version on their website HERE.

 

The article I’ve posted below is also from an earlier publication in Competitor that can be read online HERE

 

In the recent CEO Endurance World Championships (where I placed 2nd), I used a number of “adaptogen” herbs before, during, and after, each event including eleuthero, ashwagandha, cordyceps, rhodiola, tongkat ali, and a few others. These adaptogens helped me to prepare for and recover from the stresses of the events (physical and mental stressors).

 

Please take a look at the article below and let me know your comments.

 

Thanks for reading…

 

Shawn

 

About the Author: Shawn Talbott holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry (Rutgers) and a MS in Exercise Science (UMass). He trains for iron-distance triathlons and ultra-marathons in Utah – and is always sure to keep himself in biochemical balance and high vigor.

 =============================================

Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

www.shawntalbott.com

 

Follow me at:

YouTube

Amazon

Twitter

LinkedIn 

Facebook 

ShareCare 

 

My books related to stress, cortisol, vigor, and Feeling Your Best:

    Vigor Diet – The New Science of Feeling Your Best

    The Secret of Vigor - How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

    Killer at Large - Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat - an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic. FREE versions at  http://www.KilleratLarge.com

    The Cortisol Connection - Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnection.com/

    The Cortisol Connection Diet - The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/

    Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection - The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolcontrol.com/

    Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living - Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers - Currant Books) - http://painfreelivingbook.com/

    The Immune Miracle - The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)

    The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

    A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements - an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

 

 

Runners: Get Energized With Eleuthero

 

By Shawn Talbott, Ph.D

 

Eleuthero is the commonly used nickname for Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). Other names include Siberian Ginseng and Ciwujia. Medicinal preparations are made from the roots of the plants.

 

Siberian “ginseng” (actually not a “true” ginseng because it is a member of a different plant family) was found by Soviet researchers to be an excellent tonic to enhance athletic performance as well as to strengthen the body during times of stress. Modern herbalists consider Siberian ginseng to be a “stimulating” adaptogen. Several other “ginsengs” are used as adaptogenic tonics throughout the world; among them are Panax quinquefolium (also known as American ginseng), Ashwagandha, sometimes called Indian ginseng (although also not a true ginseng), and Eurycoma longifolia (also called Malaysian ginseng). Like other adaptogenic herbs, eleuthero is used to combat the effect of physical and mental stress and to boost physical and mental energy levels.

 

Scientific Support

Over a period of several decades, German and Soviet researchers have studied the effects of various ginseng and eleuthero extracts on the performance of athletes. One study found that highly trained male athletes showed an increase in their maximum oxygen uptake (compared to the placebo group) as well as a statistically significant improvement in recovery time and lower serum lactate values.

 

Other studies in various groups of young athletes have shown similar extracts to provide statistically significant improvements in performance measures such as forced vital capacity (lung capacity) and maximum breathing capacity as compared to the placebo groups.

 

Unfortunately, there are also a number of “no effect” studies on ginseng and eleuthero extracts. For every study showing a positive benefit in terms of energy levels and/or physical or mental performance, there is another study showing no benefits. Part of the discrepancy in results from well-controlled studies may have to do with differences between the ginseng/eleuthero extracts used in various studies (non-standardized and low-potency extracts with unknown quantities of active components tend to show no effect, while standardized high-potency extracts containing known amounts of eleutherosides tend to have greater effects).

 

A study in the Chinese Journal of Physiology (2010) found Eleuthero extract (800mg/day for 8 weeks) to improve cycling performance, including a 3 percent improvement in both VO2 max and fat-burning capacity. Interestingly, subjects were able to maintain an increased workload (as measured by heart rate) at a lower perceived exertion during supplementation with Eleuthero — suggesting an improvement in your ability to “go hard” during prolonged exercise.

 

Safety/Dosage

Plants in the ginseng/eleuthero families are generally considered quite safe (that’s part of the definition they must fulfill to be termed an adaptogen). There are no known drug interactions, contraindications, common allergic reactions or toxicity to Siberian ginseng. A word of caution is recommended, however, for individuals with hypertension, as the stimulatory nature of some ginseng preparations, including eleuthero, have been reported to increase blood pressure.

 

While the scientific evidence for the benefits of eleuthero and its mechanisms of action can be considered supported only for the standardized extracts, the general adaptogenic role of the entire family of “ginsengs” have proven beneficial for many thousands of years and may, therefore, prove valuable as normalizing substances during stressful conditions. Eleuthero is best supplemented as a standardized extract (100-300mg/day with 0.5-1.0 percent eleutherosides) to ensure that you are getting an effective product.

 

****

About the Author:

Shawn Talbott is an avid endurance athlete (multiple-Ironman and ultramarathon finisher) and scientist (PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry and MS in Exercise Science) in Salt Lake City. He can be reached at www.ShawnTalbott.com

Tags:

CEO Endurance World Championships 2013

by Shawn 11. September 2013 08:49

This past weekend, September 7-9, I competed in the 3-day CEO World Endurance Championships held at the exquisite BlackBerry Farm near Knoxville Tennessee and the Great Smokey Mountains.

 

The competition spanned three days of swimming, biking, running, and obstacle course events against a global selection of “CXO” executives (Chief Executives, Chief Finance, Chief Operations, Chief Legal, and Chief Science such as myself). Each of these competitors had an extensive athletic resume including Ironman triathletes and National Champion runners. Each of us was representing a worthy charity – with me racing for The MORE Project.

 

I posted a short video recap of the weekend HERE. Sadly, I was not able to WIN and bring home the big check to support the kids at The MORE Project.

 

I finished 2nd overall – not bad – but one place lower than I had hoped. I guess that makes me the “2nd-Fittest CEO in the World” behind a great guy (who is now a good friend), Frank Karbe, who holds the title of “World’s Fittest CEO” (and well-deserved).

 

 

The 6-events looked like this:

 

Day 1 (morning) – Elimination Bike Race – after a warm-up of several 1-mile laps, the group sprints for the finish line and the last rider across the line is eliminated. Continue on each lap until the group is down to two riders who sprint for the win. I finished 2nd.

 

Day 1 (afternoon) – Obstacle Course – split into 3 teams, we tackled a range of mental challenges (solving riddles), strength challenges (sawing logs, climbing ropes, rolling hay bales), and endurance challenges (cross-country running, leaping barriers, paddling, swimming). My team finished 2nd.

 

Day 2 (morning) – Elimination Run – after a warm-up of several 600-metter laps, the group sprints for the finish line and the last runner across the line is eliminated. Continue each lap until the group is down to two runners who sprint for the win. I finished 4th.

 

Day 2 (afternoon) – Bike Hill Climb – after a warm-up ride of about 5 miles, the group reaches the bottom of the hilly section with alternating steep/rolling/steep hills (and the real racing begins). First rider to the top wins, with points awarded to riders in descending order of finish. After scoring two 2nd-places and one 4th-place, I knew that I needed to win this event if I hoped to have enough points to win the check for The More Project. Do or Die!

 

After having just run with these guys earlier in the morning, I knew that many were FAST runners with tremendous aerobic engines – so I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about leaving it to battle out on the final climb. Having also raced bikes with these guys the day before, I knew that I might be able to use my cycling power to my advantage – but that would mean trying to break away early in the race and get a few minutes advantage before the start of the final climb. My plan was to breakaway on the very first climb and see how much time I could gain before the final climb. Lucky for me, the other riders thought I was crazy for attacking so early. They thought there was too far to go alone to the finish, and figured they could reel me in before the last climb. Every pedal stroke of my breakaway, I was thinking about the kids at The More Project and how a significant donation would be able to help them with school supplies and nutritious meals.

 

At the bottom of the final climb (1.5 miles to the finish), I was still alone with no other riders in sight. As the climb twisted up the mountain, I was able to catch glimpses of the road behind me – and after about halfway up, I saw another rider slowly gaining on me. I went as hard as I could up that final climb – and was able to hold on to first place – mission accomplished!

 

Going into Day 3, I was solidly in 2nd place overall, with the swim and cross country run left.

 

Day 3 (early morning) – Open Water Swim – nice cool water for the 1.1-mile swim, where I was able to hang on for 2nd-place.

 

Day 3 (later morning) – Cross Country Run – another hot and humid Tennessee day where we finished in the same order as the Elimination Run on day 2 – with me in 4th place.

 

Overall, my points total put me in 2nd Place (one win, three 2nd places, and two 4th places). Because the charity check only went to the winner, I was not able to achieve the big payday for The MORE Project – but better luck next year! I did, however, get a lot of exposure for MonaVie and The MORE Project and we’re working with CEO Challenges to coordinate a larger field of competitors and a deeper charity payout for the next CEO Endurance World Championships event in 2014.

 

Thanks to everyone who “tuned in” on Facebook and Twitter to watch the events unfold over the weekend – your good vibes were definitely motivational and much appreciated!

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Shawn

 

About the Author: Shawn Talbott is MonaVie’s Chief Science & Innovation Officer. He holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry (Rutgers) and a MS in Exercise Science (UMass). He trains for iron-distance triathlons and ultra-marathons in Utah – and is always sure to keep himself in biochemical balance and high vigor.

 =============================================

Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

www.shawntalbott.com

 

Follow me at:

YouTube

Amazon

Twitter

LinkedIn 

Facebook 

ShareCare 

 

My books related to stress, cortisol, vigor, and Feeling Your Best:

    Vigor Diet – The New Science of Feeling Your Best

    The Secret of Vigor - How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

    Killer at Large - Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat - an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic. FREE versions at  http://www.KilleratLarge.com

    The Cortisol Connection - Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnection.com/

    The Cortisol Connection Diet - The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/

    Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection - The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolcontrol.com/

    Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living - Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers - Currant Books) - http://painfreelivingbook.com/

    The Immune Miracle - The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)

    The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

    A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements - an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Tags:

Performance Benefits of Ginseng?

by Shawn 5. September 2013 13:01

This weekend, I’ll be competing in the 2013 CEO Endurance World Championship for a chance to win a significant donation to The MORE Project.
 
I’ve been training hard, but I’m up against some really stellar athletes – lots of fast and motivated CXOs who are also racing hard to support their own favorite charities.
 
Send good vibes and look on the blog and Facebook for updates after each of the day’s events (2 events on each of 3 days – 6 events total).
 
I’ll certainly be taking my “adaptogens” to help me adapt to the physical and psychological stresses of the events. Some of my favorite adaptogenic herbs are eurycoma (tongkat ali), cordyceps, rhodiola, ashwagandha, eleuthero, and several others. Perhaps the quintessential adaptogen is ginseng, especially good for the “stresses of aging” – so here is an article that I wrote for Competitor Group (Triathlete magazine, VeloNews, etc) about “Ginseng for Performance.”
 
You can read the full text below or visit their website HERE
 
Thanks for reading…
 
Shawn
 
About the Author: Shawn Talbott holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry (Rutgers) and a MS in Exercise Science (UMass). He trains for iron-distance triathlons and ultra-marathons in Utah – and is always sure to keep himself in biochemical balance and high vigor.
 =============================================
Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS
Nutritional Biochemist and Author
www.shawntalbott.com
 
Follow me at:
YouTube
Amazon
Twitter
LinkedIn 
Facebook 
ShareCare 
 
My books related to stress, cortisol, vigor, and Feeling Your Best:

  • Vigor Diet – The New Science of Feeling Your Best
  • The Secret of Vigor - How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy
  • Killer at Large - Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat - an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic. FREE versions at  http://www.KilleratLarge.com

 
 
 
Ginseng: The Root Of Improving Athletic Performance?
By Shawn Talbott, PhD
Published Aug. 9, 2013
 

 
Ginseng offers many benefits for runners and other endurance athletes, which includes boosting energy levels.
 
Table of Contents
What Is Ginseng?
Scientific Support
Safety And Dosage

Learn how this supplement can benefit you as an endurance athlete.


Ginseng refers to a group of adaptogenic herbs from the plant family Araliacae. Commonly, ginseng refers to “true” ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer), as well as a related plant called Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), or Eleuthero for short.
Panax ginseng root extracts have been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years as a tonic indicated for its beneficial effects on the central nervous system, protection from stress, anti-fatigue action, enhancement of sexual function, and acceleration of metabolism.
Siberian ginseng did not really come into the picture as a botanical remedy until the 20th century. Found in the northern regions of the former Soviet Union, the roots of Eleutherococcus senticosus were sought out as a cheaper substitute for the expensive Oriental ginsengs. Soviet researchers found Siberian ginseng to be an excellent tonic to enhance athletic performance as well as to strengthen the body during times of stress.
Several other “ginsengs” are used as adaptogenic tonics throughout the world; among them are Panax quinquefolium (also known as American ginseng and with a rich history of use by Native Americans) and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), sometimes called “Indian ginseng” (although not a true ginseng, but with a long history of medicinal use by Ayurvedic healers in India). American ginseng is the most similar to “true” (Panax) ginseng and is highly prized in the Orient, where it is thought to provide a “cooler” invigoration than the native Panax ginseng (considered “warming” by traditional Chinese healers).
In general, the various ginseng supplements available in the U.S. market are claimed to increase energy levels, relieve stress, enhance athletic performance, enhance immune system function, control blood sugar, improve mental function, and promote general well-being. In most of these functions, ginseng, whether Siberian, Panax, or one of the other varieties, is often termed an “adaptogen.”
An adaptogen is defined as a therapeutic and restorative tonic generally considered to produce a “balancing” effect on the body. The properties generally attributed to adaptogens are a non-specific increase in resistance to a wide range of stressors, including physical, chemical, and biological factors, as well as a “normalizing” action irrespective of the direction of the pathological changes. In general, an adaptogen can be thought of as a substance that helps the body deal with stress.
Some studies of ginseng extracts have shown benefits in increasing energy levels in fatigued subjects, while the majority of studies on ginseng as an athletic performance aid have shown no effect. The differences between study results may have been due, in part, to the fact that many commercially available ginseng supplements actually contain little or no ginseng at all — and many researchers often take it for granted that a given product selected off the shelf for study will actually contain what it claims. That’s not always a good assumption.
The clearest indication that a supplement contains something other than real ginseng is the price — ginseng root is a very expensive ingredient and “bargain” ginseng products may either not contain real or enough ginseng, or the active saponin compounds that are thought to deliver ginseng’s anti-fatigue and adaptogenic effects.
Siberian ginseng (Eleuthero), is not truly ginseng (it’s a shrub rather than a root) but it’s a close enough cousin to deliver some of the same energetic benefits. Eleuthero is also known as Ciwujia in popular sports products. The Siberian form of ginseng is generally a less expensive alternative to “true” Asian or Panax ginseng, though it may have more of a stimulatory effect rather than an adaptogenic effect (not necessarily a bad thing if you just need a boost). Often promoted as an athletic performance enhancer, eleuthero may also possess mild to moderate benefits in promoting recovery following intense exercise — perhaps due in part to an enhanced delivery of oxygen to recovering muscles.
Ashwagandha is an herb from India that is sometimes called “Indian ginseng” — not because it is part of the ginseng family, but to suggest similar energy-promoting and anti-stress benefits that are attributed to the more well-known Asian and Siberian ginsengs. Herbalists and natural medicine practitioners often recommend ashwagandha to combat stress and fatigue — and it does appear to be particularly suited to relaxation uses following stressful events.
 
Scientific Support
The active components in Panax and American ginseng are thought to be a family of triterpenoid saponins that are collectively referred to as “ginsenosides.” In general, most of the top-quality ginseng products, whether whole root or extract, are standardized for ginsenoside content. The active components in Siberian ginseng are considered to be a group of related compounds called “eleutherosides.”
It has been theorized that ginseng’s action in the body is due to its interaction within the hypothalamic-pituitary axis to balance secretion of adrenal corticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH has the ability to bind directly to brain cells and can affect a variety of stress-related processes in the body. These behaviors might include motivation, vitality, performance, and arousal.
In a widely cited study of student nurses on night duty, 1200mg of Panax ginseng appeared to improve general indices of stress and mood disturbances. Levels of free fatty acids, testosterone, and blood sugar, which were all elevated by night work, were significantly reduced to those levels observed under day work. In another study, 2,700mg/day of Panax ginseng was able to reduce blood sugar levels and insulin requirements in a group of diabetic subjects following three months of supplementation.
One study on the effects of 200mg/day of Panax ginseng extract for 12 weeks showed improvements over baseline values of mental performance — attention, mental processing, logical deduction, motor function, and reaction time.
Over a period of several decades, German and Soviet researchers have studied the effects of Panax ginseng extract, typically standardized to 4 percent ginsenosides, on the performance of athletes. One study compared 200mg/day of Panax ginseng extract in 14 highly trained male athletes versus a placebo. The ginseng group showed an increase in its maximum oxygen uptake when compared to the placebo group, as well as a statistically significant improvement in recovery time and lower serum lactate values.
Other studies in various groups of young athletes have shown Panax ginseng extract to provide statistically significant improvements in performance measures such as forced vital capacity and maximum breathing capacity as compared to the placebo groups.
Unfortunately, the scientific evidence for ginseng is far from proven. For every study showing a positive benefit in terms of energy levels and/or physical or mental performance, there is at least one other study showing no benefits. Part of the discrepancy in results from well-controlled studies may have to do with differences between the ginseng extracts used in various studies (non-standardized extracts with unknown quantities of active components).
 
Safety And Dosage
Generally, plants in the ginseng family are considered to be quite safe. There are no known drug interactions, contraindications, common allergic reactions, or toxicity to Siberian ginseng, Panax ginseng, or American ginseng. A word of caution is recommended, however, for individuals with hypertension, as the stimulatory nature of some ginseng preparations have been reported to increase blood pressure. Additionally, those individuals prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) should use ginseng with caution due to the reported effects of ginseng to reduce blood sugar levels.
Ginseng is one of the many herbal supplements that can be purchased readily as a whole root, a dried powder or a standardized extract. The most precise approach would be to use a standardized extract to ensure that you are getting an effective product. Products should be standardized to contain 4-5 percent ginsenosides for Panax and American ginseng, and 0.5-1.0 percent eleutherosides for Siberian ginseng. A daily intake of 100-300mg for 3-6 weeks is recommended to produce adaptogenic and energetic benefits.
****
About The Author:
Shawn Talbott is an avid endurance athlete (multiple-Ironman and ultramarathon finisher) and scientist (PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry and MS in Exercise Science) in Salt Lake City. He can be reached at www.ShawnTalbott.com
 
 

Tags:

Choosing & Using Dietary Supplements

by Shawn 26. August 2013 09:43

Here is an article that I wrote for Competitor Group (publishers of Triathlete magazine and VeloNews) about “how to choose dietary supplements” (because there is a lot of garbage on the market, making it difficult to find a high-quality, clean, and effective supplement).

You can read the full text of the article below – or read it on the Competitor website HERE

As always, let me know your thoughts and comments – and Thanks for reading!

 

Shawn

About the Author: Shawn Talbott holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry (Rutgers) and a MS in Exercise Science (UMass). He trains for iron-distance triathlons and ultra-marathons in Utah – and is always sure to keep himself in biochemical balance and high vigor.

 =============================================

Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

www.shawntalbott.com

 

Follow me at:

YouTube

Amazon

Twitter

LinkedIn 

Facebook 

ShareCare 

My books related to stress, cortisol, vigor, and Feeling Your Best:

    Vigor Diet – The New Science of Feeling Your Best

    The Secret of Vigor - How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

    Killer at Large - Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat - an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic. FREE versions at  http://www.KilleratLarge.com

    The Cortisol Connection - Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnection.com/

    The Cortisol Connection Diet - The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/

    Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection - The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolcontrol.com/

    Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living - Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers - Currant Books) - http://painfreelivingbook.com/

    The Immune Miracle - The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)

    The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

    A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements - an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

 

 

How To Choose And Use Supplements — And Why They’re Good For You

By Shawn Talbott, PhD

Published Aug. 1, 2013

 

Supplements come in a variety of forms and brands. Do your homework before buying.

Confused by nutritional supplements? Not for long.

Without a doubt, dietary supplements have widespread usage and appeal — to the tune of more than $25 billion in annual sales in the United States alone. Approximately 85 percent of Americans have used dietary supplements at one time or another, and more than six in 10 members of the population are regular users of supplements (using them on most days of the week). The numbers for supplement use are even higher for athletes.

Despite the large number of people currently buying and using dietary supplements, however, a huge gap often exists between the practice of supplementation and the knowledge behind those choices and usage patterns. For example, many consumers are not careful about recommended dosages for supplements — and the common assumption that “if a little is good, more is better” can pose serious health consequences.

Choosing A Supplement

In choosing dietary supplements, ask the following questions:

·      Is it safe and legal?

·      Do the product’s claims make sense?

·      Do studies exist on the actual finished product (not the individual ingredients), and were those studies conducted in endurance athletes?

·      Was the amount of the supplement in the study the same as the recommended amount on the label?

·      Is it right for you (do you need something for general nutrition or endurance or recovery or nothing at all)?

 

Natural Versus Synthetic Vitamins

In most cases, natural and synthetic vitamins & minerals are handled by the body in exactly the same way. A good example of this is the B-complex vitamins, which can be obtained in supplements as “natural” B vitamins (usually from brewer’s yeast or a similar substance) or as purified chemicals and listed on the product label as thiamin (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), and so forth.

When either of these supplemental sources of B vitamins is consumed, the vitamins are absorbed, transported, and utilized by the body in exactly the same way — so we can say with confidence that there is no difference between natural and synthetic when it comes to B vitamins.

Two interesting exceptions to this rule are folic acid, which is better absorbed in the synthetic form (compared to natural forms found in foods), and vitamin E, which is far superior as the natural form (absorbed and retained in the body two to three times better than synthetic vitamin E).

 

Brand Name Or Generic?

This is one of the most common questions I get when it comes to multivitamins. People want to know if they can just buy the “grocery store version” to get their daily nutrients. The ultimate answer is really less about generics vs. brand-name products than it is about choosing between supplements that provide “basic” versus “optimal” levels of particular nutrients. Therefore, the answer to this question will depend on two primary factors: How much money can you afford to spend on a supplement, and are you looking for a basic or an optimal supplement?

Many of the generic or private-label store-brand supplements on the market will do a satisfactory job of helping you meet the basic RDA (recommended daily allowance) levels for essential vitamins and minerals. The primary limitation with these generic products, and even with many brand-name supplements, is that the basic RDA levels of most vitamins and minerals fall far below the levels associated with optimal health and certainly below those needed for optimal endurance performance.

With respect to the B vitamins, there is good scientific evidence to support daily intakes at 200-500 percent of RDA levels for optimal stress response and cortisol control. These levels are two to five times higher than the levels found in most multivitamin products.

Calcium and magnesium are two minerals that are known to help regulate the body’s stress response, yet most generic supplements and one-tablet-a-day-type brand-name supplements provide only a small fraction of the 250–500 milligrams (mg) of calcium and the 125–250 mg of magnesium needed to promote a normal stress response. The primary reason for skimping on the calcium and magnesium in these products is not cost (both are very cheap), but rather space considerations in the capsules and tablets. Both calcium and magnesium are bulky minerals — that is, they take up a lot of space — so an optimal daily dosage requires more than a single capsule each day (and sometimes as many as four capsules, depending on the mineral source).

The bottom line here is that everybody should take at least a basic multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement (MVMS) — and virtually any product, generic or brand-name, on the shelf at Wal-Mart, Rite-Aid, or your local grocery store will satisfy the basic RDA-level requirements. However, if you are interested in a supplement that delivers more than the rock-bottom levels of nutrients, and if you can afford to spend a little more on your daily supplement regimen, then you will want to consider a MVMS that provides higher levels of B-complex vitamins, calcium, and magnesium.

 

Herbal Supplements

When it comes to selecting herbal supplements, the situation can quickly become very confusing. Because herbals are really a form of natural medicine, it is crucial that you select the right form of the herb so that you get the safest and most effective product.

Herbal supplements are an area in which generic products are not equivalent to brand-name products. It is vitally important to select either the exact product that has been used in clinical studies, or a product that contains a chemically equivalent form of the herb that has been studied. The easiest way for most consumers to select a safe and effective herb is to select only those extracts that have been “standardized” to provide a uniform level of the key active ingredients in each batch of the product.

The best scenario would be to select only those specific products that have undergone clinical studies of their own and in endurance athletes (rather than selecting products that contain ingredients on which studies have been conducted) — but there are far fewer finished products that have been subjected to clinical testing than there are raw ingredients (cordyceps, rhodiola, glucosamine, etc.) that have been evaluated in such research.

 

Where To Buy Supplements?

The preceding three points should offer enough general guidance to help you weed through the many less desirable supplement products on the market and select products that can make a difference in your overall health. With the explosive growth in the supplement market over the past decade, consumers can now find vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other supplements for sale in a variety of places — including specialty supplement stores, natural foods stores, drugstores, grocery stores, discount department stores, and through direct marketing, infomercials, catalog sales, and the Internet.

Are any of these outlets “better” than the others? Not really — but each has its own particular niche. For example, the least expensive, “bargain” products will be found at supermarkets and discount department stores (e.g., Walmart), but these products may suffer from many of the problems outlined above with regards to basic versus optimal supplementation.

Supplements that are a step above the cheapest and most basic of products can typically be found at drugstores, natural foods markets, and specialty supplement outlets, including running and cycling shops. These are the middle-of-the-road products that do a decent job of balancing high-quality and optimal nutrient levels with moderate prices.

The most expensive products, and those with the widest range in terms of quality, safety, and effectiveness, are typically sold through direct sales channels such as the Internet, catalogs, and independent sales agents. In some cases, these products are designed to deliver optimal levels of all nutrients in the most bio-available forms, but the obvious downside is their high price (you often get what you pay for – so a “high” price relative to a grocery-store brand might very well be worth the cost if the product delivers high-quality nutrients that you need). In other cases, all you get is the high price — without any of the optimal levels of the crucial nutrients.

So how can you differentiate among these premium-priced products? By asking to see the results from their clinical studies. Products in this “premium” category will almost certainly need to justify their high price with strong scientific evidence to support their claims and to show that their product is justified at this price. If the company cannot provide you with scientific evidence to support its premium products, then you are well advised to look elsewhere for your supplement.

 

Using Supplements

After you have selected your supplements with the help of the above information, the following guidelines can help you use those supplements in the proper manner (that is, to optimize both safety and effectiveness):

·      Remember that a dietary supplement is just that — meaning that it is meant to be added to an otherwise healthy diet. It is not meant to substitute for a balanced diet or to make up for a poor diet.

·      Follow the dosage recommendations on the package. The recommended dosage is important for safety and effectiveness — especially for herbals and other supplements that combine multiple ingredients. Don’t assume that if one tablet is recommended per day, two or three will be even better.

·      Keep all dietary supplements in a safe place — away from heat and light that may accelerate their breakdown, and away from children who may accidentally ingest them.

Now that you know how to choose your optimally-formulated, research-proven, endurance-specific supplement based on the broad criteria above, you can put it to its best use by adding it to your otherwise super-charged diet and training regimen (and not hoping that the supplement will act like a magic bullet).

 

Tags:

Are Your Supplements "Clean"?

by Shawn 12. August 2013 06:17

 

 

 

 

With all of the “doping” stories in the news these past few weeks, I thought it might be good to post this article that I wrote awhile back for Competitor Magazine (the same group that publishes Triathlete magazine and VeloNews). You can read the article online HERE.

 

 

You’ve probably heard all the hullabaloo over the Major League Baseball players, including the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, who were caught using anabolic steroids – and maybe you’ve read a blurb about the two Olympic sprinters (Tyson Gay from the USA and Asafa Powell from Jamaica) who are not at the World Track Championships in Moscow this week because of positive doping tests. There have also been dozens of positive doping tests in Moscow this week – so I’ll be surprised if we don’t see future reports blaming some of these positive results on contaminated supplements. Read about how to protect yourself from contaminated supplements – and still reap the LEGAL benefits of optimal nutrition in the article below.

 

Speaking of performance enhancing supplements, I tested a new one this past weekend in the Katcina Mosa 100k trail run – probably the most challenging 100k in the country. The run was a long day out – I finished in 15 hours and 40 minutes – good enough for 14th overall (5th Masters and 3rd in my age group of 40-49y). I had a bad patch on the 10-mile section after the high point at Windy Pass (mile 30-ish) – I got dehydrated and bonked, so I was feeling pretty low when I reached Little Valley (mile 40-ish).

 

At Little Valley, I took my time to eat and drink lots – and I also took my new “mental clarity” supplement (super-duper-secret formula) – and it literally brought me back from the dead within a few miles. The general idea here is that by improving mental performance, you can also enhance physical performance (especially when you’ve got more than 20 miles of hot steep rocky trails left to travel). I still have a bit of testing to do, but I think this new formula has a great deal of potential outside of the endurance athlete arena – to help improve mental performance (focus, clarity, creativity, etc) throughout the day at work and school. Stay tuned…

 

Here’s the article about “Tainted Supplements” – please take a read and let me know what you think.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Shawn

 

About the Author: Shawn Talbott holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry (Rutgers) and a MS in Exercise Science (UMass). He trains for iron-distance triathlons and ultramarathons in Utah – and is always sure to keep himself in biochemical balance and with high vigor.

 

Follow me at:

 

YouTube

 

Amazon

 

Twitter

 

LinkedIn 

 

Facebook 

 

ShareCare 

 

 

 

My books related to stress, cortisol, vigor, and Feeling Your Best:

 

    Vigor Diet – The New Science of Feeling Your Best

 

    The Secret of Vigor - How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

 

    Killer at Large - Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat - an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic. FREE versions at  http://www.KilleratLarge.com

 

    The Cortisol Connection - Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnection.com/

 

    The Cortisol Connection Diet - The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/

 

    Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection - The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolcontrol.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Buyer Beware: Are Your Supplements Tainted?

 

Don't always trust the label on your supplements: it could be tainted with an illegal substance.

 

Do you know what’s really in your sports nutrition supplements?

 

 

 

Doping.

 

Even uttering the word makes many of us in the endurance community cringe. It is a word charged with ethics, emotion, and politics. For us non-elite athletes, the issue of doping, or use of banned performance-enhancing drugs and methods, is mostly a theoretical one. Even if you were stuffed to the gills with testosterone and amphetamines at your next event, chances are you wouldn’t have to fear urinating in a cup or providing a blood sample for a doping test (even if you were on the top step of the podium).

 

However, if you plan on stepping onto the podium at Kona, or an Olympic Trials race, or a state championship cycling event, or even an NCAA-sanctioned running race, your chances of peeing in that cup are greater. The higher your level of competition is, the more likely you are to find yourself subjected to a doping analysis. (I’ve been tested twice as an elite-level rower, but never as a triathlete.)

 

Are Your Supplements Tainted?

 

According to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), athletes are “strictly liable” for any prohibited substances which are found in their bodies (blood and urine samples) — no matter how the banned substance made its way into the athlete’s body. It’s not overly cynical to “expect” any doping athlete to blame a contaminated dietary supplement for his or her positive dope test, but WADA doesn’t let athletes off the hook for “accidents;” even when some supplements have clearly been found to contain undeclared steroids and stimulants.

 

According to a much-quoted 2001 study commissioned by the International Olympic Committee, nearly 15 percent of sports supplements (634 products from 215 suppliers in 13 countries) tested positive for undeclared prohibited substances (anabolic agents or stimulants). Such findings have led to a policy of “supplement avoidance” among many people in the endurance community — even when scientific evidence clearly supports the use of some types of dietary supplements for promoting wellness, enhancing recovery, and generally helping athletes maintain a high state of mental and physical performance.

 

Taking a “just say no” approach to supplements is simply unrealistic for some endurance athletes, however. We need to explore every option that can help keep us going amidst the demands of work, family, and other aspects of our life outside of our endurance training.

 

None of us, elite or amateur, wants our supplements to contain any “undeclared” ingredients, especially if they’re prohibited by the rules of our sport. If your electrolyte powder has a smidge of testosterone in it, you probably won’t have to give back the Tour de France’s maillot Jaune, but you want your nutrition products to contain what they’re supposed to and nothing else. This is where good quality control comes in.

 

Contamination And Quality Control

 

Most manufacturers of dietary supplements are responsible and ethical, and they have no desire to market contaminated products. But even while many companies will tell you that their products are “formulated without banned substances” or that their products are “manufactured in a facility which contains no banned substances,” you never really know that the products you’re ingesting are clean unless those products are specifically analyzed to confirm the absence of prohibited substances.

 

Testing products for banned substances is an extremely intricate area of analytical chemistry. The credibility of a banned substance screen really comes down to the sensitivity (or the “limits of detection” — the smallest amount of a substance that can be detected) of a particular analytical method, because even a minute “trace” amount of a banned substance present in a nutrition product could result in a positive doping result. Many labs can analyze substances down to microgram levels of sensitivity (mcg), but banned substances present at nanogram-levels (ng = 100 times lower than most labs can detect) could cause a positive doping result.

 

I have personally been involved in several projects where doping risks have been associated with dietary supplements used by elite athletes. In two instances, we were able to trace contaminated herbal extracts (containing undeclared ephedrine in one case and intentionally spiked with sildenifil, the active ingredient in Viagra, in another) back to their origin (China in both cases). In another instance, the individual raw materials checked out clean but the finished product tested positive for testosterone precursors (DHEA and androstenedione) — with contamination eventually traced to an improperly cleaned encapsulating machine that had been used months before to manufacture bodybuilding supplements.

 

Endurance athletes also need to understand that some dietary supplement ingredients (and medications) that are perfectly legal in the United States may also be considered prohibited by WADA for use in sport (training and competition). DHEA, a precursor for testosterone synthesis used for anti-aging benefits, and sildenifil (Viagra), used for other types of “performance enhancement,” are two examples of substances that are perfectly legal for the market, but banned for athletes.

 

You could take one of several positions on the issue of dietary supplements and the risk of consuming banned substances:

 

1. I’m an elite athlete who can’t afford to take the risk with supplements, so I’ll just say no, even if that means I’m giving up a legal performance edge to my competition by forgoing the all supplements.

 

2. Who cares? I’m an age-grouper doing this for fun and a challenge. I’ll take the risk of taking supplements so I can gain any edge that can help me train harder and go faster.

 

3. I want the benefits of the right supplements, but I don’t want to break the rules, and I want to know what I’m putting into my body.

 

 

 

No matter which group you fall into, you ought to be concerned that your nutrition products are produced under Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), which are mandated and overseen by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and that they contain only those ingredients that are disclosed on the label (which is mandated by U.S. law).

 

There are a handful of organizations that can analyze dietary supplements for the presence of prohibited substances (primarily anabolic agents like steroids and stimulants like ephedrine and amphetamines). They include Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG), HFL Sports Science, NSF International (which certifies supplements for Major League baseball and the National Football League), ConsumerLab, and the National Products Association. Be aware that the limits of detection and the compounds they analyze differ between the organizations.

 

Buyer Beware

 

As you’ll read in coming editions of the “Performance in a Pill?” series, there are certainly some dietary supplements that are of potential value to endurance athletes — but the responsibility for choosing and using the right supplements (and avoiding the “wrong” ones) comes back to the individual athlete. Only through self-education and asking the right questions can you make an informed decision about which supplements are right for you.

 

 

 

Tags:

Proven Endurance Supplements

by Shawn 9. August 2013 08:13

Here’s an article that I wrote for Competitor Endurance Sports Network (the folks who publish Competitor magazine, Triathlete, VeloNews, and Women’s Running).

 

You can read the article online here

 

Tomorrow, I’ll be running the Kat’cina Mosa 100k Trail Run – perhaps the most difficult 100k run in the country. It’s a loop course in Springville, Utah that traverses nearly 35,000 feet of elevation gain/loss (17,404 feet of elevation gain and 17,404 of elevation loss).

 

The weather forecast is calling for 93 degrees of bright sun with a very high (10) UV index – so it’ll be cooking out there!

 

During the race, I’ll be using all of the supplements listed in the article below – in addition to a new supplement that I think is a true breakthrough in endurance performance (perfectly legal and amazingly effective – so look for info in future posts).

 

Send me good vibes for the run tomorrow – and let me know what you think of the article below.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Shawn

 

=============================================

Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

www.shawntalbott.com

 

NEW BOOK: The Secret of Vigor - How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

Order at Amazon = http://amzn.to/ovkwJf

 

Follow me on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/smtalbott?feature=mhee

Follow me on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001IU0YV6

Follow me on Twitter  http://twitter.com/DocTalbott

Follow me on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/ShawnTalbott

Follow me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/DocTalbott

Follow me on ShareCare http://www.sharecare.com/user/shawn-talbott/blog

 

-Killer at Large - Why Obesity is America's Greatest Threat - an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic  (http://www.KilleratLarge.com)

-The Cortisol Connection - Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) - http://www.cortisolconnection.com/

-The Cortisol Connection Diet - The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) - http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/

-Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection - The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) - http://www.cortisolcontrol.com/

-Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living - Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers - Currant Books) - http://painfreelivingbook.com/

-The Immune Miracle - The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012) - http://amzn.to/SPLV4W

-The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens) - http://www.supplementwatch.com/

-A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements - an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press) - http://www.supplementwatch.com/

 

 

 

Supplements For Endurance Performance

 

By Shawn Talbott, PhD

 

As an endurance athlete, you might be interested in dietary supplements that have proven benefits to enhance oxygen efficiency, improve blood flow, balance hormone profile, and improve stress adaptation.

 

The Magnificent Seven

There are seven dietary supplements that have been evaluated in research studies of endurance athletes:

 

  • Rhodiola – helps improve oxygen transfer from lungs to red blood cells
  • Cordyceps – helps speed transfer of oxygen from red blood cells to mitochondria
  • Eurycoma – balances hormones (lower cortisol and higher testosterone)
  • Quercetin – improves blood flow by dilating blood vessels
  • Arginine – improves blood flow by dilating blood vessels
  • Eleuthero – provides resistance to physical stress and increases energy levels
  • Ashwagandha – provides resistance to mental stress and induces relaxation

 

Rhodiola is a Himalayan root used by the Sherpa people to “adapt” to the stress of living and working at high altitudes. Even today, Sherpa climbers chew on rhodiola for an energy and endurance boost when helping mountaineers scale Mt. Everest. One mechanism for rhodiola’s anti-fatigue effects is an enhancement of oxygen efficiency – with subjects living at high altitude (5,380 meters) showing a beneficial effect of rhodiola supplementation on blood oxygen levels, time to exhaustion, VO2peak, and pulmonary ventilation during endurance exercise.

 

Cordyceps is a Tibetan mushroom used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for “lung protection” and to balance the “Qi” – the fundamental “energy of life.” In clinical studies, cordyceps feeding results in significant improvements in fatigue, oxygen uptake, and endurance exercise performance.

 

Eurycoma is a root, often called Malaysian ginseng, that is used as a traditional remedy in Southest Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam) to help individuals “adapt” to the reduced energy and depressed mood that often come with chronic stress and overtraining. Eurycoma contains a group of small peptides that are effective in restoring the balance between the catabolic hormone cortisol and the anabolic hormone testosterone.

 

Quercetin (an antioxidant) and arginine (an amino acid) have been used effectively to improve blood flow in patients with high blood pressure and heart disease – and have become popular in some endurance supplements, but it is unknown whether or not the small levels typically contained in some supplements would be effective in improving endurance performance.

 

Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng) and ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) are used in traditional medicine as “adaptogens” to help the body adapt to stressful situations. Eleuthero tends to be more “energizing” while Ashwagandha is regarded as more “relaxing” in its effects.

 

How to Use Them

Dosage ranges to consider are listed below and are dependent on delivery of effective levels of the active compounds – rather than to the total amount of the herb itself. Pay attention to product labels, which are required to list the percentage of active compounds provided by each herbal extract. For example, one product might provide 1,000mg of a low-potency cordyceps (and a low content of the active adenosine compounds), while another product might deliver a lower total amount of cordyceps, but at a higher potency with a higher level of active adenosine. Focus on the total amount (percentage) of active compounds rather than the absolute amount (milligrams) of each herb to maximize the endurance effects and your performance benefits.

 

  • Rhodiola = 150-300mg (standardized to 5-6% rosavins)
  • Cordyceps = 100-500mg (standardized to 5-10% adenosine)
  • Eurycoma = 25-50mg (standardized to 20-25% eurypepides)
  • Quercetin = 100-300mg (pure)
  • Arginine = 2,000-3,000mg (pure)
  • Eleuthero = 100-200mg (standardized to 0.5-1% eleutherosides)
  • Ashwagandha = 10-30mg (standardized to 5-10% withanolides)

 

Summary

No amount of any herb is going to take you from the couch to the podium without your dedication to proper training and nutrition. However, if you’re already doing what you can in terms of diet and exercise, then adding a daily supplement to enhance the effects of your training might serve as a “biochemical tune-up” for your body and help you reach the next level of performance.

 

Shawn Talbott holds a MS in exercise science (UMass) and a PhD in nutritional biochemistry (Rutgers) and competes in iron-distance triathlons and ultramarathons.

 

Tags: