Athletic Performance (Strength)

L-Arginine

Numerous studies appear to support the value of 1-arginine for athletes. It is necessary for production of various compounds needed for muscular energy production including creatine phosphate, guanidophosphate and phosphoarginine. Arginine is also required for the transport, storage and elimination of nitrogen, an action that is thought to be key in promoting efficient muscle metabolism.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs are needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue and appear to preserve muscle stores of glycogen (a storage form of carbohydrate that can be converted into energy).

BCAAs also help prevent muscle protein breakdown during exercise.

L-Glutamine

Glutamine has been shown to improve nitrogen balance, increase protein synthesis, and decrease muscle catabolism. Research also suggests that glutamine may elevate human growth hormone secretion. Theoretically this means faster recovery for both the endurance and strength athlete, along with faster muscle growth. Since glutamine also plays a role in the integrity of the immune system by acting as a key substrate for both lymphocytes and macrophages, supplementing with glutamine may help keep the immune system strong and decrease the risk of infection during frequent, intense, or lengthy training sessions.

Creatine

The body uses both aerobic and anaerobic systems for creating energy. The aerobic system supplies fuel for sustained energy expenditure, while the anaerobic system powers short bursts of energy output, like sprinting and weight lifting. Creatine is a natural compound that is converted by the body into creatine phosphate and used anaerobically for brief bursts of energy. When the bond between creatine and the phosphate is broken, energy is released to power muscles. Over 40 clinical trials have found that creatine is supportive in short-duration high intensity athletic performance.

L-Ornithine

Although recent research does not support the claim that ornithine supplementation can increase growth hormone release, as was first thought, studies suggest that it may still be valuable for strength athletes. Gains in strength and muscle size were reported in one study, despite no increase in growth hormone being noted. Through its conversion into arginine, ornithine may enhance the transport and storage of nitrogen in muscle tissue, as well as improving muscular energy through influencing the production of creatine phosphate. Strength training subjects taking arginine and ornithine in combination appear to excrete less of the metabolic markers of tissue breakdown in their urine, a factor that would appear to indicate an increase in muscle mass.

Phosphatidylserine (PS)

It appears that PS lowers levels of cortisol, a catabolic hormone that can speed the breakdown of muscle tissue. This is especially beneficial to athletes involved in bodybuilding and other forms of athletic training. PS may also offer protection against the effects of overtraining syndrome often seen in professional athletes.

 

 Athletic Performance Overview

Nutrient/Herb

L-Arginine1 (1)

Typical intake range

10OP – 4000mg per day (empty stomach)

BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, valine) (2) 500 – 10OOmg of each per day

L-Glutamine (3) 500 – 5000mg per day (empty stomach)

Creatine (4) 1000-5000mg per day

L-Ornithine (5) 500 – 2000mg per day (empty stomach)

Phosphatidylserine (PS) 100 – 400mg per day (empty stomach)

Reduce/avoid

Saturated fats

Trans/hydrogen a ted fats

Refined/processed foods

Alcohol

Caffeinated beverages

Pesticide exposure

Artificial additives/preservatives

Increase

Complex carbohydrates

High quality proteins

Vegetables

Fruit

Nuts and seeds

Oily fish

Water

Lifestyle Factors

Build adequate rest time in training programme – avoid over-training Ensure adequate sleep to aid recovery from intense training Build up training slowly to allow for physical and physiological changes to keep up with exercise intensity Ensure sufficient calorie “intake to cover energy needs Minimise impact of stress (Cortisol slows tissue repair, suppresses the immune system and promotes muscle protein breakdown)

Footnotes

1. Arginine is not advised with NSAIDs, platelet inhibitors, alendronate, theophylline products, oral or injectable corticosteroids. Caution should he exercised with potassium sparing diuretics and ACE inhibitors. May increase absorption of Ibuprofen, may potentiate effect of impotence drugs.

Not to be taken by schizophrenics, pregnant or nursing women and those suffering renal or hepatic failure.

2. May interfere with levodopa and other anti-Parkinsons medications. Theoretically very high doses of BCAAs could interfere with the uptake of 1-phenylalanine and 1-ryrosinc into the brain.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid BCAA supplementation.

3. High dosages of glutamine may affect anticonvulsant medication. Avoid if sensitive to monosodium glutamatc or suffering kidney or liver problems

4. Individuals with kidney disease should not use creatine unless under medical supervision.

5. Do not use if taking prescribed anti-coagulant drugs such as warfarin without the consent of a qualified medical health practitioner.