Are The High Protein Diets Followed by Bodybuilders/Weight Trainers Safe?

 

Tamara

Among the “controversial” nutrition practices often criticized in newspapers/magazines and other media articles are the high protein diets followed by bodybuilders, strength athletes, and CrossFit enthusiasts.  Registered dieticians, the health professionals whose job largely involves the formulation of diet plans for sick people, are often quoted in these articles giving warnings about the purported dangers of “high protein diets.”  Their warnings usually center around the following four (4) claims:  1) dehydration, or a loss of body water that occurs when consuming a higher protein intake. 2) high protein diets causing a loss or deficiency of calcium in the body. 3) “high protein diets can make you fat.” 4) high protein diets may cause damage to and eventual failure of the kidneys.

Each of these claims will be addressed separately, but we should first define some terms and principles.

What is Protein?

 Macronutrients, known to fitness enthusiasts as “macros,” are food categories that the body requires in relatively large amounts. Protein is one of the three nutrients found in food that the body requires in large amounts. Therefore, protein is a macronutrient. Carbohydrates and fat are the other two “macros.” Protein is essential to the human body for repair and growth. Proteins are made of small components called amino acids.  There are hundreds of amino acids that exist in nature, but the human body only utilizes 22 of them. The human body can produce all but nine of the amino acids that it needs. These nine are called “essential amino acids.”  We must obtain these essential amino acids from the food that we eat.

All protein foods have different quantities and combinations of amino acids. Knowledge of these differences is essential to planning a healthy, balanced diet. In general, animal proteins like meat, dairy, and eggs contain all the essential amino acids. Plant-based proteins from foods like beans, grains, nuts, and soy are rich in some amino acids but may be lacking in others. Therefore, protein foods containing the missing essential amino acids must be consumed for optimum health and wellness.

What exactly is a “high protein diet?”

According to most registered dieticians, a high protein diet involves consuming 15% or more of total caloric intake as protein. But this definition leads to some difficulties when we are discussing athletes. For example, let’s say you are at the upper end of what these people consider a high protein intake, which is 35% of your total caloric intake. Let’s further imagine that you are a female figure competitor that lifts weights and is on a strict diet that only permits 1,000 calories a day (1,000 calories/day would amount to a starvation diet in most athletic men). Therefore, if you consumed 35% of those daily calories as protein, you would be consuming only 87.5 grams of protein a day. Experience from the strength and power sports sciences informs us that this is not enough protein to support meaningful muscular growth/repair. 

Furthermore, there are vegan advocates who suggest even less dietary protein.  According to them, the suggested daily protein requirement for most people, 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram (2.2 pounds), is more than enough for anyone, even those engaged in sports and exercise.  Once again, the scientific research on protein requirements in those who exercise is not in agreement with the vegan suggestions. In these research studies, for the purposes of building muscle mass, the suggested protein requirement isn’t based on a percentage of total calories, but rather related to weight. And the usual suggested daily protein requirement for those seeking added muscle mass is a range of 1.4 to 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight, or roughly one gram per pound of body weight.

How does protein intake relate to muscle building?

There are two (2) general metabolic processes in the body: “Catabolism” and “Anabolism.”  The word “catabolic” refers to a breakdown process of body tissue. For example, in regard to muscles, elevated cortisol levels can promote the breakdown of muscle under high stress circumstances.  Injected or orally consumed corticosteroid medications in certain circumstances can similarly weaken/breakdown tendons and connective tissue.  In contrast, the word “anabolic” refers to a buildup process of body tissue. When it comes to the promotion of muscular growth the emphasis is usually placed on “anabolic” reactions.

An anabolic effect in muscle involves increased muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Increased MPS is promoted by resistance exercise and the ingestion of essential amino acids, particularly the so-called branched-chain amino acids, with leucine being the most beneficial in this regard. Your muscles grow when the rate of MPS exceeds that of muscle breakdown. Stated a little differently, muscular growth is the result of a dominance of anabolic effects over catabolic effects. At rest, catabolic effects dominate, but with the stimulus of resistance exercise and nutrition, anabolic effects such as increased MPS dominate. Nonetheless, both processes, anabolic and catabolic, are constantly occurring in the body.

Do high protein diets really cause significant dehydration or loss of water?

 Water is definitely required to excrete the primary breakdown product of protein metabolism, called urea. Urea is produced in the liver when amino acids from protein are processed. The nitrogen portion of protein, which comprises 16% of protein, is converted into urea, a water-soluble substance that is then sent to the kidneys for excretion. Again, the excretion of urea does require water to pass it through the kidneys in order to dispose of the urea out the body. The more protein you consume, the greater will be your urea excretion, since not all the protein you consume will be used for muscle-building purposes. In fact, those who consume huge amounts of protein each day, such as over 300 grams, are excreting large amounts of urea, along with the accompanying water to process/filter out that urea. It is this physiological fact that has caused critics to warn that consuming a high protein diet will cause dehydration. What these critics fail to consider is that the body is constantly replenishing its water from various sources. If you drink sufficient water, and consume foods that are largely composed of water, such as fruits and vegetables, the odds of becoming dehydrated from consuming a high protein diet are non-existent in normally healthy individuals.

Do high protein diets really cause loss of calcium and weakening of bones?

 Another criticism of high protein diets is the claim that they cause a loss of calcium in the body. Calcium is a very important mineral involved in maintaining bone mass and a variety of other functions that include muscular contraction and blood clotting. Calcium is also important for nerve function. The idea that consuming a high protein diet will lead to calcium loss is based on the fact that some amino acids, (the components of protein), are acidic. Certainly, all amino acids have some acidic properties, (which is why they are called amino *acids*). But some are a somewhat more acidic than others, like the sulfur-containing amino acids, methionine and cysteine. Critics argue that when these amino acids are metabolized, they increase the acid load of the blood. The body always seeks to maintain a certain constant level of acidity in the blood, so when these amino acids are released into the blood, the body seeks to buffer or bring down the acidity by producing hormones that release of calcium from bone. Just like the “Tums” tablets (that contain calcium) that people chew to reduce stomach acid, calcium is a natural buffering substance that reduces the higher acid levels that result from amino acid metabolism.

But, there is a problem with the calcium depletion theory promulgated by high protein critics. Calcium is not the only buffer or acid reducing substance at the body’s disposal. Sodium bicarbonate (you are familiar with it in its form as baking soda) is also naturally produced in the kidneys and is a potent blood buffer. In addition, more recent studies show that high protein diets actually appear to protect bone mass. This is accomplished by the release of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which among other functions, helps to maintain bone mass.

For real, do high protein diets actually “make you fat”?

 This one always gets a chuckle and is certainly news to the legions of bodybuilders and other athletes who, over the years, have used high protein diets to successfully lose body fat. Indeed, when various popular diets are compared in science publications, the high protein diets consistently prove superior to lower protein diets for improvement in body composition, such as greater body fat loss and more retention of lean mass (muscle). In active people, such as bodybuilders or those who regularly participate in sports, excess consumed protein is oxidized in the liver, with the nitrogen portion of the protein converted into urea and excreted out of the body through the kidneys and urinary tract. None remains to be converted into fat.

The claim that protein can increase body fat seems to come from the simple fact that protein does contain calories, precisely four per gram, and any EXCESS calories consumed can theoretically be converted into body fat. Just one problem: this generally does not happen in people who exercise vigorously.

Even with people who do no exercise nor participate in any sporting activity a study published in a major medical journal a few years ago examined sedentary human subjects with diets that contained either high protein, moderate protein, or low protein proportions. This study found that those having the highest protein intake not only didn’t gain body fat, but also showed the greatest loss of body fat compared to the moderate and low protein intake groups.

Clearly, the likelihood of getting fat from protein is comparatively remote. Nutrients other than protein are far more potent at promoting fat gains, such as refined carbohydrates and dietary fat, both of which are easily converted into body fat when consumed in excess of energy needs.  Of course, people can get fat from consuming an excess of calories in relation to their physical activity. But this discussion centers on high protein intakes among people that strenuously exercise.

 Do high protein diets cause kidney damage and eventual kidney failure?

 The most alarmist claims made about high protein diets is that they cause kidney damage and eventual failure. As noted, when you consume a high protein diet, you are placing a greater processing demand on the kidneys because of the greater urea production that results from the higher protein intake.  In actuality, in the human population, the risk of kidney damage and subsequent failure is far higher among those who chronically consume non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Kidney damage is also far more prevalent in people with untreated high blood pressure.

The idea that consuming a high protein diet is harmful to the kidneys derives from studies of humans with pre-existing kidney disease. In humans, the standard medical advice for those with confirmed evidence of kidney disease is to keep protein intake low in order to reduce the physiologic burden on the diseased kidney(ies). No one argues that consuming a high protein diet makes the kidneys work harder, especially diseased kidneys.  But the issue in this discussion is whether this also applies to normally healthy, active people without existing kidney disease. And, at present, there has been no conclusive short or long term scientific evidence that confirms that high protein diets directly cause kidney damage or kidney failure in normal, healthy, active people without existing markers of kidney disease or impending kidney disease.

Who We Are

We are a Sports Chiropractic and Rehabilitation facility located in Walnut Creek, CA. Feel free to contact us with your questions or concerns at (925) 945-1155 or info@performancesportcare.com.

http://www.walnutcreekchiropractors.com

Disclaimer: The images, text, video, or other media displayed above are intended  for informational purposes only and are not considered specific medical or chiropractic advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any form of doctor-patient  relationship. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking their own professional  consultation. The information contained in this web site is provided only as general information, which may or may not reflect the most current health care/scientific developments. This information is not provided in the course of a doctor-patient relationship and is not intended to constitute medical or chiropractic advice or to substitute for obtaining health care advice from a duly licensed health care provider in your state.

Pectoral Muscle Tears Are Increasing

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In gyms and playing fields throughout the United States pectoral muscle tears have been observed with increasing frequency.  In one year alone, 2015, five cases of pectoral muscle tear were reported by the Minnesota Vikings football team. Over a recent two-year period seven pectoral tears were reported among professional rugby players in Australia. Not a month goes by in our office where we do not receive a call from someone requesting advice or treatment for some sort of strain or tear involving a pectoral muscle.

Pectoral muscle injuries generally occur with forceful activities involving the upper body. It has been estimated that almost half of all ruptures of the pectoralis major muscle occur during weightlifting, particularly bench press type movements. But, strains and ruptures of the pectoralis major muscle are  also observed  in sports such as football, rugby, and wrestling. They also  occur in a variety of other traumatic accident situations. In football and rugby, injury to the pectoral muscle and/or biceps may occur not only in the weight room, but also , for example, when the athlete  reaches or “throws” an arm out to the side in order to make a tackle, the most injurious example being the so-called “clothes-line” tackle.

Clothes_line_tackle

 Pectoral Muscle Tears Are Not A Simple Matter Of Bench Pressing

Certainly, in popular discussions and in much of the published literature on the subject, blame for pectoral muscle injuries is usually placed squarely on the bench press exercise. But bench pressing is not some recently discovered exercise, so why do pectoral muscle injuries seem to be increasing in recent years? And, while bench pressing is often blamed for these injuries, we often find that the amount of weight being lifted during these incidents is not always unusually heavy or prodigious.

Interestingly, some observational studies seem to conclude that among those groups of athletes/exercisers that commonly lift weights it appears that “bodybuilders” are more likely to experience pectoral muscle tears than, for example, competitive powerlifters.  This observation, alone, is counter to what we would commonly expect: powerlifters specialize in the lifting of maximum weights in the bench  press, more so than bodybuilders, and would be expected to experience more pectoral muscle tears, but actually experience less.

pec_tear-3

Considering Other Contributory Factors

Minnesota Vikings Coach, Mike Zimmer, has suggested other contributory factors in the rash of pectoral muscle injuries his players experienced. These include dehydration, fatigue, and over-strengthening/overtraining. Coach Zimmer, further, indicated that the weight training programs of the Minnesota Vikings would be undergoing review. Such a review is a very wise direction to take, in our opinion.

It is now well established that the consumption of fluoroquinolone type antibiotics are associated with an increased risk of muscle/ tendon tears. These antibiotics include those marketed under the name Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox. In 2010, Levaquin was the best selling antibiotic in the U.S. However, intake of these antibiotics has not appeared highly prevalent in the reported incidence of pectoral muscle tears which have gained attention.

And, of course, there are those that conjecture that “steroids” are to blame for all of these pectoral muscle injuries/ruptures. However, steroids have been in wide use in sports for many years and their use, alone, does not adequately explain the more recent increase in frequency of these injuries. Moreover, these injuries can and have certainly occured in people who have never used steroids.

Improper Exercise Technique/Program Design The Most Likely Injury Factor

This brief video from “Buff Guys” describes 5 common errors that are observed when people are not coached, or are improperly coached in the standard bench press exercise:

Bench Press – 5 Biggest Bench Press Mistakes

But, there are many more considerations beyond exercise form/mechanics, repetition speed, cadence, and proper weight selection.  The training programs of competitive powerlifters certainly contain elements that other “weightlifters” would be well advised to take note of. Powerlifters carefully organize their workouts in training cycles that are performed over a pre-defined number of weeks. The number of sets, reps, and training weights are pre-planned and followed to the letter. The amount of weight lifted is gradually increased over the training cycle and then “re-cycled” after a lifting competition. This allows more adequate rest and recuperation of the challenged muscles.

The training programs of bodybuilders, particularly the “recreational” bodybuilder, is often loaded with injury risk. Workouts are less carefully planned.  There is often less regard for exercise form and proper weight selection. Training volume (number of exercises, sets, and reps) is usually higher and carried out over a greater number of training days, thus virtually guaranteeing eventual body fatigue and overtraining. Add in excessive “max” workout days and  and you have a recipe for injury.

In some athletic programs, the strength/conditioning programs include an over abundance bodybuilding/strength training activities. Such programs usually offer insufficient position-specific training and may saddle the athlete with more strength training/bodybuilding activities at the expense of needed speed and agility work. This can also compromise  recovery and lead to increased injuries.

About Us

Our facility, Douglas F. Cancel, D.C./Performance Sport-Care in Walnut Creek, CA, offers a variety of state of the art exercise and nutritional programs that target the needs of people that seek recovery from injury, better physical performance, increased strength, weight loss, weight gain, and improved overall wellness. Our programs involve the same protocols and equipment used in professional sports, but are custom tailored to be compatible and safe for people of different ages and fitness levels. If you are interested in recovering from injury, improving your strength, improving your physical appearance, and reducing future injury risk factors please contact us with your questions or concerns at (925) 945-1155 or info@performancesportcare.com.

http://www.walnutcreekchiropractors.com

Disclaimer: The images, text, video, or other media displayed above are intended  forinformational purposes only and are not considered specific medical or chiropractic advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any form of doctor-patient  relationship. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking their own professional  consultation. The information contained in this web site is provided only as general information, which may or may not reflect the most current health care/scientific developments. This information is not provided in the course of a doctor-patient relationship and is not intended to constitute medical or chiropractic advice or to substitute for obtaining health care advice from a duly licensed health care provider in your state.

Nutrition That May Help Heal Concussions

concussion_nutrition

Several scientific studies and investigative papers published in recent years have suggested that certain nutritional interventions may help patients that have sustained a concussion or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This prompted the U.S. Department of Defense to ask the Institute of Medicine to convene an expert committee to review the potential role for nutrition in TBI. John W. Erdman, Professor Emeritus, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, chaired the eleven member committee. Their report is titled “Nutrition and Traumatic Brain Injury: Improving Acute and Sub-Acute Health Outcomes in Military Personnel.”

TBI is a significant cause of death and disability among military personnel, with an estimated 10% to 20% of returning veterans having sustained a TBI. Some estimates suggest that TBI may account for up to 33% of combat-related injuries.

The committee reached the conclusion that military personnel with severe traumatic brain injury should receive early adequate nutrition immediately after their injury. “Given the complexity of TBI and the current gaps in scientific knowledge,” the committee noted, early adequate nutrition was the only “promising solution that can immediately improve treatment efforts.”

Because of the similarities between some types of combat-related TBI, such as concussions, and sports-related and other civilian brain injuries, “the nutritional interventions explored in this report can similarly be considered for other types of injuries.”

Based upon several studies of severely brain injured patients, the immediate goal of nutritional intervention is to limit the early inflammatory response, which typically is at a peak during the first two weeks after injury. The committee did not evaluate the role of nutritional therapies in the rehabilitation phase or address long-term health effects associated with brain trauma but did say this would be useful in improving health outcomes.

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Early Adequate Nutrition With Emphasis On Protein

Early adequate feeding was the only nutrition-related treatment that the committee recommended the Department of Defense to immediately implement for TBI. They recommended that, within the first 24 hours, the patient should receive a level of nutrition that represents more than 50% of the patient’s total energy expenditure and provides 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This nutrition level should be started within a day of the injury and be maintained for two weeks.

However, the committee identified several other nutritional interventions that hold promise for improving TBI outcomes. The Department of Defense “should prioritize research on these interventions,” the committee advised.

Promising Nutritional Interventions – Immediately After Injury

creatine

Creatine

The dietary substance, creatine, is used by athletes to increase muscle mass and performance. However, animal studies, have suggested that creatine may also reduce damage associated with brain injury in people.

In a study, published in The Annals of Neurology, researchers fed rats and mice a diet high in creatine, and then simulated a concussion. They found that rats who ate a creatine diet for four weeks had a 50% reduction in brain damage, compared to rats on a normal diet. Mice who received three days of creatine pre-treatment had a 21% decline in damaged cells, while those who received five days of creatine pre-treatment had a 36% decline.

This doesn’t mean people should routinely eat creatine ahead of time before having a concussion, because concussions, obviously, are not planned events and the long term ingestion of creatine supplements is still the subject of investigation. But these animal studies, nevertheless, show that creatine works by increasing energy production in the part of the brain cells responsible for generating energy, called the mitochondria. Thus, creatine may give the brain an intense and immediate “hit” of energy that may help brain cells heal right after an injury.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

carlson-fish-oil

Inflammatory damage to the brain may be reduced by consuming Omega-3 fish oil. The brain is made of fat. About 30% of the weight of the brain is comprised of a particular kind of fat formed from omega-3 essential fatty acids. They are essential fats because they are required for optimal health, cannot be produced by the body, and must be consumed in our diet. Omega-3 fish oil contains two main components, DHA and EPA. DHA (Decosahexaenoic Acid), in particular, is an integral part of the brain cell wall. Omega-3s are well known to be healthy for the heart and brain – so much so that DHA is added to 100% of all infant formula in the United States.

DHA represents, therefore, important building blocks for the brain. When the brain gets injured, rest is vitally important while the brain tries to heal itself. But if the basic building blocks of the brain are not present in sufficient quantity, the brain is going to have a more difficult and longer time rebuilding itself.

It would be great if the typical American ate fish high in omega-3s, like anchovies or sardines, three to five times a week, but most people are not likely to do so. Therefore, the “normal” American diet is not enough. The best way to nourish our bodies is to take a high-quality, purified fish oil supplement with the omega-3s we are missing most: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (decosahexaenoic acid).

Dosing of omega-3 fish oil is based on the amount of EPA and DHA in the product, and not on the total amount of fish oil. Supplements vary in potency as well as the percentage of EPA and DHA in the oil. Many nutritional scientists recommend 500–1000 mg EPA and DHA per day, just to avoid deficiency. Therapeutic doses of EPA and DHA range from 1 to 4 grams. To support the body’s anti-inflammatory response, clinical studies suggest a minimum of 3 grams of EPA and DHA with some studies using 10 grams or more.

The FDA has classified omega-3 fatty acids as “generally recognized as safe”. In fact, The FDA has ruled that up to 3 grams of EPA and DHA is safe to be included in the food supply of Americans without fear of adverse events. In addition, there are no known significant drug interactions with omega-3 fatty acids, with the exception of anti-coagulants. Nevertheless, when using higher amounts of EPA and DHA, it is advisable to do so under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

Nutritional Anti-Inflammatory Substances

capsules

Grape seed extract, bromelain, quercetin, ginger, and the polyphenols such as turmeric and resveratrol have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help to fight cell damage and to reduce inflammation.

Other Nutritional Antioxidants

Alpha-Lipoic Acid is a nutritional supplement that may help to protect both the fat and water soluble components of brain cells.

Choline

Choline is a vitamin present in many types of food that we eat on a day to day basis, including, milk, chicken, tofu, cauliflower, cod fish, quinoa, soybeans, egg, spinach, peanuts, almonds, and many other foods. Choline supplements are also readily available. These supplements are used by many to help treat liver disorders, hepatitis, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder, and atherosclerosis.

Researchers from Lomonosov Moscow State University undertook animal tests with rats given moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury, and found that choline supplementation improved the cognitive functioning of the rats. They also managed to optimize the choline supplementation to create the best outcome for the rats with the brain injury.

Vitamin D

Sunshine Vitamin D letter on white background

Sunshine Vitamin D letter on white background

The many health benefits of Vitamin D has been widely reported. Vitamin D is now considered to have neuroprotective properties as well.

Neuroprotective Minerals

Micronutrients such as zinc and magnesium are critical for optimal functioning of many organ systems in addition to the brain and central nervous system. All athletes or individuals at risk of TBI should consume balanced diets to ensure adequate levels of these nutrients. One study has demonstrated that plasma levels of magnesium and zinc in athletes can effectively be elevated by oral supplementation during a 4-week period of intense athletic activity. Low levels of magnesium have been shown to greatly increase the vulnerability of the brain to injury.

Glutathione – Master Antioxidant Of The Body

glutathione

Glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant and has even been called “the master antioxidant.” It is found inside every single cell in your body. It is especially important in the liver. Antioxidants are crucial in eliminating free radicals from your body. Free radicals are basically very reactive particles emanating from injured tissues that can damage everything they touch.

Because free radicals are so destructive, cells have a network of defenses designed to neutralize them. This antioxidant network is composed of numerous components that include vitamins, minerals and special chemicals called thiols (glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid).

The main function of glutathione is to protect your cells and mitochondria from oxidative and peroxidative damage. As you age, your body’s ability to produce glutathione decreases. But glutathione isn’t just an antioxidant. It is also an essential factor in energy utilization, detoxification, and preventing the diseases we associate with aging.

An article published in Sports Illustrated in August 2014 featured studies showing that the administration of glutathione after a concussion reduces brain tissue damage by an average of 70 percent. To optimally support the glutathione pathway, additional nutrients are required such as vitamin C, selenium, niacinamide, N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), and broccoli extract.

Who We Are

We are a Sports Chiropractic and Rehabilitation facility located in Walnut Creek, CA. Feel free to contact us with your questions or concerns at (925) 945-1155 or info@performancesportcare.com.

http://www.walnutcreekchiropractors.com

Disclaimer: The images, text, video, or other media displayed above are intended  for informational purposes only and are not considered specific medical or chiropractic advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any form of doctor-patient  relationship. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking their own professional  consultation. The information contained in this web site is provided only as general information, which may or may not reflect the most current health care/scientific developments. This information is not provided in the course of a doctor-patient relationship and is not intended to constitute medical or chiropractic advice or to substitute for obtaining health care advice from a duly licensed health care provider in your state.

Concussion Recovery May Take Longer Than We Think

soccer_head_injury

Looking Beyond Current Beliefs

A recent study led by Anthony Kontos, PhD, from the University of Pittsburgh now suggests that recovery from a concussion might take much longer than the presently accepted range of 7 to 14 days.

This 7 to 14 day recovery period, based on certain peer-reviewed journal articles as well as a consensus statement published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, was derived from studies of male American football players that looked only at neurocognitive tests performed on them as well as a recording of symptoms they reported.

school_of_hard_knocks

Clinical Decisions Based Upon Minimal Information May Be Risky

However, Dr. Kontos and his colleagues recognized that it might be risky to send young athletes back to play on the basis of a somewhat limited set of parameters. “More and more people are starting to realize that you need to take a comprehensive approach so that you don’t send a kid back who might be recovered on one measure but not another” says Dr Kontos.

In fact, in the study conducted by Dr Kontos and his colleagues, athletes took 3 to 4 weeks to recover, and women took longer than men!

To test the accuracy of this, Dr Kontos’s team followed 24 female and 42 male high-school and college athletes after a diagnosis of concussion in accordance with established medical guidelines. The mean age of the athletes was 16.5 years.

The athletes were tested every week for 4 weeks after the diagnosis. Measures of symptoms, verbal memory, visual memory, visual motor processing speed, reaction time, dizziness, and balance and visual-motor symptoms were self-reported.

The biggest improvements in self-reported symptoms occurred in the first 2 weeks, but they continued to improve up to 4 weeks.

Balance and visual-motor symptoms lasted 1 to 3 weeks, and verbal memory impairment continued up to 4 weeks.

The male athletes were 2.5 times more likely than the female athletes to have recovered by week 4.
Females reported more dizziness, balance and visual related symptoms than males.

The study ran out of funding after 4 weeks, but some imaging studies suggested abnormalities beyond that time period, said Dr Kontos.

On the basis of these findings, Dr. Kontos suggests that health care providers use more than one measure to assess whether an athlete has recovered from a concussion. Certainly, the experience of many health care providers and team physicians suggests that having general expectations for full resolution of concussions within two (2) weeks is simply not reasonable. Although many cases of concussion appear to resolve within that period of time, certainly not all do. And it is this reality that should be kept in mind with regard to our young athletes.

ConcussionSigns

We are a Sports Chiropractic and Rehabilitation facility located in Walnut Creek, CA. Feel free to contact us with your questions or concerns at (925) 945-1155 or info@performancesportcare.com.

http://www.walnutcreekchiropractors.com

Disclaimer: The images, text, video, or other media displayed above are intended  for informational purposes only and are not considered specific medical or chiropractic advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any form of doctor-patient  relationship. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking their own professional  consultation. The information contained in this web site is provided only as general information, which may or may not reflect the most current health care/scientific developments. This information is not provided in the course of a doctor-patient relationship and is not intended to constitute medical or chiropractic advice or to substitute for obtaining health care advice from a duly licensed health care provider in your state.

Nutrition For The Female Athlete: To Win And Avoid Injuries

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Poor or sub-optimum nutrition is more common in female athletes than in male athletes. Proper diet is of the utmost importance in order for active individuals to maintain adequate energy during intense bouts of exercise/activity and for recovery afterwards. In our sports injury practice, we often see female athletes with exercise related injuries in which inadequate nutrition may play a factor in the development or perpetuation of their injuries. Indeed, several scientific papers in recent years have raised concerns about inadequate nutrition and its effects upon female athletes.

Female athletes who are at the greatest risk for nutrition related problems are those who participate in sports that encourage “leanness” because of a need to wear contour-revealing clothing or those that are involved in competitions that involve scoring on the basis of body appearance. It is these women who often have inadequate nutritional intake.

Sports that emphasize “leanness” or a particular body aesthetic include:

• Gymnastics
• Distance running
• Diving
• Figure skating
• Classical ballet
• Bikini/Figure competitions

Indeed, some studies have found that female dancers, for example, consume less than 70% of recommended daily energy needs. Too often such restrictions are employed to achieve a certain “look” rather than to achieve maximum physical performance. And, very often, this is where problems begin.

Therefore, in order to formulate a winning nutritional plan the athlete’s sex and body size, the demands of the activity performed, and the duration for which that person performs the activity, or trains for that activity, must all be carefully considered.

What Are Macronutrients And Micronutrients?

The essential nutritional components are categorized as “macronutrients” (calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat) and “micronutrients” (fluids, electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals).

Macronutrients

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are necessary to meet energy needs. Carbohydrates are, generally, more important to endurance athletes than strength athletes.

When creating a sports nutrition plan, carbohydrate needs are generally formulated on the basis of an athlete’s body size and activity level. There is no optimum carbohydrate intake that universally suits all people in all circumstances. However, for discussion purposes, some researchers suggest that persons engaged in moderate-duration sports/exercise require at least 2.5-3.5 g of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. Those participating in long-duration endurance sports/exercise might require 3.5-5.5 g of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. Again, proposed nutrient ratios such as these constitute very general guidelines that are not prescriptive since they do not take into consideration individual factors relevant to each individual athlete.

Fruit, vegetables, brown rice, enriched whole-grain breads, whole grain cereals, rolled oats, beans, legumes, and sweet potatoes are examples of valuable carbohydrate foods for athletes and active people.

Protein

Active individuals have a higher protein requirement than less active people. This is due to the fact that active people and athletes: 1) generally have a higher percentage of lean muscle mass to support, 2) they need protein to repair muscle tissue that is damaged during exercise, and 3) they require additional protein for energy during exercise.

The amount of protein each athlete requires, again, depends on the type of activity being performed. For the purpose of discussion, some researchers conservatively recommend a minimum protein intake of around .5 grams per pound bodyweight/day for individuals participating in endurance sports and around .75 grams per pound bodyweight/day for those involved in strength/anaerobic activities. Again, these protein intakes are not prescriptive for all individuals under all circumstances. Certainly, those athletes who have achieved an “elite” level in strength sports, contact sports, and bodybuilding would probably find these dietary protein ratios inadequate for their needs.

The benefits of emphasizing protein over carbohydrates can include the following:

• Enhanced weight loss
• Reduction of fat in the belly and waist areas
• Optimal maintenance of blood sugar levels
• Improved blood lipid profiles/improved cardiovascular risk factors

Protein-rich foods include lean beef, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, whey protein, and other low-fat dairy products. Women at risk for having a low protein intake are those who restrict their energy intake to achieve weight loss or those who eat a vegetarian diet. It is often difficult to persuade vegetarian women who visit our office with chronic injuries or overtraining syndrome that they may need to increase their intake of quality proteins. However, we often note that when protein intake is improved in these individuals their strength, power, muscle tone, and recovery from injury rapidly improves.

We occasionally encounter questions as to whether a high-protein diet can cause kidney damage. In this regard, there has been no conclusive evidence suggesting that a high-protein diet negatively affects healthy adults with normal kidney function.

Fat

Fat provides essential elements for the cell membranes and is essential for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Many researchers suggest that fat provide 25-30% of a person’s energy intake. Diets should be limited in saturated and trans-fats, while providing adequate amounts of essential fatty acids (EFA’s). For female athletes, the following essential fatty acids are very important:

• Linoleic acid
• Alpha-linoleic acid intake (ALA)
• EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
• DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)

Essential fatty acids are important in the regulation of blood clotting, blood pressure, heart rate, and immune function. Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA) may play a role in reducing inflammation, regulating blood sugar levels, and optimizing brain lipids.

Dietary fatty acids should come from naturally lean protein foods, grass fed meats, certain nuts & seeds, fatty fish (eg, salmon, mackerel, anchovies), fish-oil supplements, flaxseed oil, safflower oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, avocados, and egg yolks. Women should avoid consuming fats found in processed foods because of their highly saturated nature.

Low-fat diets are not recommended for high activity individuals. Low-fat diets decrease energy and nutrient intake, reduce exercise performance, and decrease oxidation of body fat stores. Fat provides the most energy per gram of all the macronutrients and can help in achieving a positive energy balance. Dietary fat also maintains concentrations of sex hormones and may prevent menstrual problems.

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Micronutrients

Fluids and electrolytes

Dehydration impairs performance. It is important that athletes are well hydrated. Adequate fluid intake starts with approximately 1/2 gallon per day for women aged 19-30 years. Increased drinking is required for active individuals or those doing activities in hot environments.

Athletes should consume 14-20 fluid ounces of water 2 hours before exercising. During exercise, 6-12 fluid ounces should be ingested every 15-20 minutes. For exercise lasting longer than 1 hour or occurring in hot environments, the fluid may be a drink containing carbohydrates and electrolytes. Post-exercise meals should include fluids and foods containing some sodium, because increased urinary output may occur with the ingestion of plain water alone.

Vitamins and minerals

Female athletes are at increased risk for iron, calcium, vitamin B, and zinc deficiencies. These nutrients are vital for building bone and muscle and for energy production. Vegetarians are particularly at risk for developing deficiencies in these vitamins and minerals.

Iron insufficiency is one of the most prevalent nutritional deficiencies among the female athlete because of menstrual losses. Iron deficiency may lead to fatigue. On the other hand, excessive iron ingestion by iron over-supplementation may also cause problems, including gastrointestinal distress, constipation, and iron toxicity.

For female athletes that spend most of their time indoors, supplementation with vitamin D-3 may be appropriate. The impact of vitamin D on women’s health is very important. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, and strokes. Vitamin D is also involved in maintaining bone density.

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Signs of Nutritional Deficiencies in Females

Girls and women with low energy and nutrient intake may develop the following signs and symptoms:

• Fatigue
• Dehydration
• Delayed growth
• Decreased immune response that make the body more susceptible to foreign invaders and increase the frequency of conditions such as upper respiratory tract infections.
• Irritability
• Poor performance

Among athletes, a lack of proper nutrition can have many negative effects, including the following:

• Loss of motivation
• Decreased maximal performance
• Increased short- and long-term fatigue
• Poor concentration
• Preoccupation with food
• Hormonal imbalances
• Muscle soreness
• Increased frequency or lingering of musculoskeletal injuries

Amenorrhea

Inadequate nutrition can lead to the absence of a menstrual period in a woman of reproductive age. This is called “amenorrhea.”  Inadequate nutrition can also delay or arrest puberty in some girls. Amenorrhea can also occur because of emotional or physical stress, such as intense training. Amenorrhea is more prominent in the female athlete population (3-66%) than in the general female population (2-4%).

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The Female Athlete Triad – An important warning to athletes and parents

The so-called “female athlete triad” can lead to severe and long-standing effects. Characteristics of this triad are the following:

• Amenorrhea
• Disordered eating
• Osteoporosis (loss of bone density)

At least one study has demonstrated that athletes competing in “leanness sports” (70.1%) are more likely to be at risk for the female triad than those participating in “non-leanness sports” (55.3%).

Disordered Eating

Examples of disordered eating or deficient nutrient intake include the following behaviors:

• Skipping meals (eg, because of busy schedules, training, work, school, and/or desired weight loss)
• Engaging in unsafe weight-loss methods, such as consumption of ultra-low calorie diets, fasting, laxative abuse, self-induced vomiting, or use of diet pills, energy drinks, “fat burners,” or “pre-workout” drinks.
• Using supplements to compensate for inadequate diets

Healthy Weight Control

Weight loss can be accomplished in a healthy manner. It should be achieved during a period without competitive events scheduled.

The goal of maximizing fat loss while minimizing loss of lean tissue is best accomplished with a gradual weight loss of no more than 1-2 pounds per week.

Energy intake should not be restricted to less than 1800 calories per day in highly active athletic women. Severe caloric restriction can lead to many of the complications described above.

Nutrition in Endurance Athletes

Triathletes and runners have been known to consume 5 or 6 meals per day, whereas cyclists may consume 8-10 meals per day. Bodybuilders are also famous for multiple feedings, but of different composition. This frequent eating ensures that the athlete’s high-energy needs are met, while decreasing the gastrointestinal discomfort associated with consuming large meals.  It is very important that endurance athletes maintain good hydration, as mentioned previously.

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Nutrition in Strength Athletes

Studies indicate that women who are focused on gaining muscular mass and strength appear to rely less on glycogen during exercise than on other body energy sources. They are less responsive than men to carbohydrate-mediated glycogen synthesis (“carb-loading”) during recovery. Therefore, to enhance their training and general health, the diet of these women should focus on good-quality proteins and fats rather than on a large amount of carbohydrates.

Female strength athletes should also include high-quality proteins in their diet because they provide essential amino acids, vitamin B-12 and vitamin D, thiamine (vitamin B-1), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), calcium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. These women should consume protein-rich foods every day before and after exercise, as well as between meals to maintain and promote the growth of lean muscle.

Many of our patients ask us about creatine supplementation. Creatine has been shown to improve anaerobic performance. Creatine augments strength and gains in lean body mass when it is used in conjunction with weight/resistance training. However, in our clinic, we find creatine supplementation unnecessary in those athletes consuming frequent red meat meals.

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About Us

Our facility, Performance Sport-Care in Walnut Creek, CA, offers a variety of state of the art exercise and nutritional programs that target the needs of people that seek recovery from injury, better physical performance, increased strength, weight loss, weight gain, and improved overall wellness. Our programs involve the same protocols and equipment used in professional sports, but are custom tailored to be compatible and safe for people of different ages and fitness levels. If you are interested in improving your strength, improving your physical appearance, and reducing injury risk factors please contact us with your questions or concerns.

We are a Sports Chiropractic and Rehabilitation facility located in Walnut Creek, CA. Feel free to contact us with your questions or concerns at (925) 945-1155 or info@performancesportcare.com.

http://www.performancesportcare.com

How Women Can Prevent Knee Ligament Injuries And Develop Great Looking Legs

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Every year 350,000 people seek ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction surgery in the United States. An estimated 24 to 30% of high school athletes who undergo ACL reconstructive surgery re-tear their ACL within the next several years.

Young women facing the greatest risk for ACL injuries are those who play sports involving frequent pivoting, such as soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and handball. The most common age for women to sustain such injuries is 14 to 17 years.

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Although ACL reconstructive surgeries appear to be the best available treatment for ACL tears, they do sideline most athletes for 6 to 12 months and many athletes do not succeed in returning to their previous level of athletic performance. In addition, the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the knee, a degenerative condition, is increased after such injuries. Therefore, effective strategies to prevent ACL injuries in the first place or to preserve a healthy knee joint in order to reduce risk factors for a recurrence of ACL injury would be very valuable.

A research paper published in the December 2014 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that some training methods are better than others at preventing knee ligament injuries in young women. Based on a meta-analysis of 14 previous studies, the researchers concluded that training programs that focus on strengthening the legs and hips, and stabilizing the abdomen, are the most effective for preventing injury to the anterior cruciate ligament.

The researchers carefully considered the effects of balance, jump training, abdominal stabilizing exercises, and strengthening of the legs and hips. But it was programs that focused on building strength in the back of the legs and in the hips that most significantly reduced the number of ACL injuries compared to exercise approaches that did not. Programs that focused on strengthening and developing more control of the abdomen were also shown to be very beneficial.

Our facility, Performance Sport-Care in Walnut Creek, CA, offers a variety of state of the art strength training programs that target the calf, hamstring, buttock, low back, and postural muscles as well as abdominal strengthening/toning protocols. Our programs involve the same protocols and equipment used in professional sports, but are custom tailored to be compatible and safe for people of different ages and fitness levels. If you are interested in improving your strength, improving your physical appearance, and reducing injury risk factors please contact us with your questions or concerns.

We are a Sports Chiropractic and Rehabilitation facility located in Walnut Creek, CA. Feel free to contact us with your questions or concerns at (925) 945-1155 or info@performancesportcare.com.

http://www.performancesportcare.com

Proper Weight Selection For Rapid Muscle Building Progress

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by Dana McDaniel, Strength & Conditioning Coach at Performance Sport-Care
 If I was to ask people who lift weights what key factor is required to make the most progress toward building a strong, well developed body, most people might reply by saying things like “dedication,” “hard training,” “high protein intake,” “balanced nutrition,” and so forth. But my personal experience as well as my experience training injured people and athletes at Performance Sport-Care has convinced me that the biggest factor preventing most people from making maximum gains from their training program is training with weights or resistance that is too heavy.

To be sure, every successful strength athlete or bodybuilder on this planet attained championship level by constantly attempting to use increasing poundage/resistance in their workouts. This is concept is called “Progressive Resistance Training.” The training principle is a simple one: as we became stronger, our muscles also become firmer or larger as a result of our muscles adaptation to the greater resistance or exercise challenge placed a upon them.

Unfortunately, problems arise when trainees insist on using weights they can’t handle in proper form, or by performing weight training exercises in rep ranges that do little to stimulate growth. This also raises the probability of injury in the former case and slower training progress in either case.

Walk into any busy gym. Look around. Let’s see what we find. Oh, here’s a guy on the bench press. He says his goal is to develop larger pectoral muscles like a competitive bodybuilder. But every time he comes in to the gym he is always attempting to increase his one-rep max on the bench press exercise. Why? Is it to put himself on a fast track to a shoulder or chest injury? Ego gratification for this guy is all I can think of. If he was a powerlifter, performing such maximum lifts might be better understood. Powerlifters need to be able to bench press a lot of weight for one rep. Bodybuilders, or even the ordinary person starting an exercise program usually seeks a larger, more aesthetically shaped chest. Training like a powerlifter will not make you look like a bodybuilder!  Yet you see guys attempting to use so much weight that their spotter has to risk back injury in order to assist them from the very first rep. More often than not, this constitutes a waste of time and effort.

Many studies have been done to determine the optimal rep ranges for building strength vs. muscle mass. Training for pure strength requires that you handle very heavy loads, usually in the 1-5 rep range. To stimulate muscle growth, however, the reps need to be higher: 8-12 in general. In the bodybuilding world, many have found success with even higher reps for legs, as in 12-20. The key thing to remember is that optimal growth stimulation from exercise requires that you keep the muscles under the right amount of tension/load for the right amount of time. Going too low on the reps means you are stimulating the nervous system more than the muscles, not to mention greater stress on joints and structural components. Going too high on the reps means you are building muscular endurance. That’s fantastic for sports like triathlons, not optimal for those seeking bigger or more shapely muscles.

But even after selecting the optimal repetition range for their exercises we still find some misguided people that insist on using so much weight that they have to heave, swing, and use momentum to perform their exercises, thus recruiting a variety of muscle groups unrelated to the target muscle group they are supposedly trying to develop. Again, you can see it in the busy gyms, especially the CrossFit gyms: the people using such a heavy barbell or pair of dumbbells for curls that what they are doing more closely resembles a clean and jerk. Others using so much weight that they need to cut the range of motion short. Every gym has at least one guy who loads up the bar with 405 or more for squats, then proceeds to “bust out” 3-inch reps, going down nowhere near parallel, grunting and screaming all the while. And usually what you find is that most of them have very little leg development to show for the big weights and theatrics on display.

There is one very important concept from the bodybuilding world that anyone can benefit from…..and it is the critical difference between bodybuilders and the other 95% of people who train with weights. When performing weight training exercises most people simply move a weight from point A to point B, whereas a bodybuilder strives to feel the target muscle forcefully contract and stretch with each rep. The very best exercise results come from an understanding that we are ‘training the muscles,’ not just lifting weights!

Getting stronger is certainly important. And increased strength will inevitably come from faithfully following a properly performed exercise routine. So, remember this above all else: only increase your exercise weights IF you are using good form, getting enough reps, AND you are feeling the target muscle do the work. The muscle(s) that you are exercising should get pumped after just a few good sets. But, if you’ve just done a marathon workout of 12 sets of 3 different types of curls and your biceps aren’t pumped, tight, and burning with lactic acid, then something is wrong….(and probably not with your body) and is likely related to over/improper training!

Every gym has dozens of guys who train very heavy, yet aren’t particularly impressive to look at. Far more rare is the man or woman with an impressive physique that immediately identifies them as something beyond ordinary. Watch them train, and you’ll usually find some things that are very different. They train with more precision, better focus, and typically with somewhat higher reps than the average person. You can see their target muscle working when they are performing an exercise because they know how to isolate that muscle and make it do the work, regardless of the weight used or the particular exercise being performed. They are in tune with their bodies and what their muscles are doing when they exercise. Strangely enough, in the big commercial gyms sometimes populated by “haters,” these correct exercisers will sometimes be criticized for being ‘weak’ by the smaller gym members who don’t understand how and why muscles grow. They operate under the myth that heavier weights at all costs mean bigger muscles, without understanding all the other factors involved that we have been discussed above.

In conclusion, never hesitate to go a little lighter if that’s what it takes to improve your exercise form and allow you to feel your muscles working. If your goal is to build a body that sets you apart not only from the general public but also from the herds of “knucklehead” weight lifters in commercial gyms everywhere, ignore your ego, select weights that you can handle properly, and work like heck on those movements/exercises. You will be well rewarded.

Big commercial gyms and health clubs are not always the best places to obtain information or instruction on proper exercise program design or performance.

One final thought. Big commercial gyms and health clubs are not always the best places to obtain information or instruction on proper exercise program design or performance. Very often, people receive misinformation or acquire bad exercise techniques in such environments. We provide expert exercise instruction and design for beginners as well as competitive athletes. We provide close, individual attention in a safe, private, distraction-free, positive environment. Health histories and personal goals are carefully reviewed by a licensed health care professional in order to provide a customized exercise program designed to achieve your physical performance goals. Feel free to contact me directly, if you would like an improved and more effective exercise experience at Dana@performancesportcare.com.

We are a Sports Chiropractic and Rehabilitation facility located in Walnut Creek, CA. Feel free to contact us with your questions or concerns at (925) 945-1155 or info@performancesportcare.com.
http://www.performancesportcare.com