Sunday, November 15, 2009

Supplements for Sports and Exercise

I am 57 years old and still participate at a high level in a sport called paddle tennis. It is similar to tennis but played on a smaller court using an underhand serve. Playing the sport with any proficiency requires tremendous leg power and upper body strength and at my age full strength, stamina and cardio are needed to stay competitive with the younger players. A combination of supplements and a focus on breathing and oxygen consumption have allowed me to maintain a level of ability equal to that of when I was a much younger player.
As I grow older, I find that breathing is the aspect of physical activity that hinders me the most. When I was younger I took breathing for granted during exertion. I would simply recover when there was time to rest between points or games. These days I find that when I am not getting enough air my body is weaker, causing me to lose more points. When I was younger I could just ‘suck it up’ and play.
These observations lead me to focus on sport supplements that would increase the efficiency of my breathing and my absorption of oxygen. The first supplement I take before sports is called Ginsana. Ginsana has a special ingredient called G2G extract and is a form of ginseng. I first learned of it through the books of the sports scientist Dr. Michael Colgan. Dr. Colgan is a scientist of the highest integrity and not someone to make suggestions lightly. I have read many books on health, supplements and nutrition and I still find Dr. Colgan’s books to be the best written, mainly because of the extent of the scientific evidence used to formulate the ideas in his books. Hence, when Dr. Colgan revealed that the extract G2G could increase Vo2 Max, I was impressed and immediately began taking the supplement. In studies it has been found that taking Ginsana for 4 weeks can increase your Vo2 Max, which is what determines the maximum level of oxygen you can utilize at any given time. This is exactly what I needed for sports, as my breathing began to weaken due to aging. Incidentally, professional athletes train in preseason for weeks to increase their Vo2 Max. The idea that 2 pills a day for 4 weeks can accomplish the same effect seems almost supernatural.
The next supplement I take prior to a sports event is 500mg of niacin. I learned of the power of niacin from the book “Oxygen Multi-Step Therapy,” written by Manfred Von Ardenne. The scientist and researcher Manfred Von Ardenne spent 20 years researching the effects of oxygen and cancer and although it was a scientist named Otto Warburg who first made the connection that cancer thrived in low oxygen environment, it was the scientist Ardenne who followed up Warburg’s ideas with over 20 years of solid research. Ardenne spent twenty years using live subjects, looking for methods to increase the oxygen levels in the body in order to defeat cancer. A common slogan, “cancer doesn’t like oxygen” was taken from Ardenne’s work. He found that 500 mg of niacin and ginsana could increase oxygen levels in the bloodstream. He used these ideas for cancer therapy, but I have adopted them to increase sports performance. After reading Ardenne’s research I added 500 mg of niacin to my pre-sports protocol along side my regular Gisana.
Another supplement I take prior to sports or workout is CoQ10. I only take the gel capsule form of CoQ10 as it has been proven to be more effective than powder capsules. I believe the most effective CoQ10 sold in the U.S. is from Life Extention (They can be reached at 800.544.4440). You can do some independent research online to learn more about the many positive effects of CoQ10. The key to my inclusion of CoQ10 in my pre-sports supplement regimen is that it has been proven to increase blood volume and heart stroke. The increased blood volume and greater heart stroke power can enhance the energy and oxygen output of athlete and non-athlete alike. I take a very high dosage for sports (400 mg) and have found that it allows my body to respond like a young man to any exercise.
These are the three supplements are the cornerstone of my ability to stay competitive and active at my age and on the occasion that I forget to take them, I always get a reality check. When I don’t take them, I begin to feel my heart and breath straining within minutes of hitting a tennis ball. I almost feel in danger, as if I could die if I don’t quit soon. Additionally I can tell my Vo2 max is way off, because I begin to feel weaker as I run to hit the tennis balls. When I take these three supplements, I can go for 1 and ½ hours easily, feeling no discomfort what so ever and hitting the tennis ball as hard at the end of the workout as at the beginning! I always wonder and am amazed at how my body responds to exercise after I take these supplements. It is almost like being 30 years old again.
Check back soon for part two of my advice for how you can improve your performance in sports and exercise.