Detoxify To Grow and Recover
It is here that this concept lines up with Mr. Haney’s comments that serve to alert all his fellow bodybuilding and fitness enthusiast that because of their unique dietary and physical exertion habits of the importance of this aspect of their training, and why they should be engaged in some standardized detoxification routine. Correspondingly, over the last several years, sports nutrition researchers have discovered that the intake of raw fruit and vegetable juices, green foods and nutritional extracts called phytonutrients or phytoconcentrates offer resistance and fitness training individuals another way to get needed extra nutrients to augment training, paralleled by the up-regulation of mechanisms that promote detoxification. In fact, numerous studies have shown that these cleansing foods and extracts can help reduce body fat, tone muscles, enhance muscle performance, reduce pain, improve digestion, increase energy, discourage insulin resistance, promote healing and improvement in a host of other anabolic parameters.
In this report we will take a look at this emerging trend, and what researchers in the sports medicine community have discovered when more emphasis has been placed on this important but under-utilized aspect of resistance and fitness training.
Cleansing Repair and Nutrient Rich Aspects of Phyto-Concentrates
*Beet Root Juice- Dr.Andrew Jones Ph.D. Director of Sport and Health Sciences of the Bioenergetics and Human Performance Research Group at the University of Exeter, in the UK recently looked at the role of dietary nitrate in enhancing nitric oxide production and in modulating blood pressure, blood flow, and muscle efficiency and performance. Interestingly, the phyto-nutrient they were examining was beetroot. In a collaborative research study with colleagues at the University of Exeter Medical School, a public research university located in South West England, these researchers reported that men enrolled in the study were given 500 milliliters (slightly less than 17 ounces) of organic beetroot juice for six consecutive days before completing a series of cycling tests. For comparison, one group of men was given a placebo drink of blackcurrant juice. Data indicated that men who consumed beetroot juice were able to exercise up to 16% longer.
While the exact mechanism of action is unknown concerning beetroot, it is packed with phyto-nutrients or concentrates known as betalains, categorized by two color types. For example, betacyanins are red/violet in color, and betaxanthins, are yellow. From an anabolic or metabolic perspective, both these betalains are naturally loaded with nitrate (NO3), which the body uses to make both nitrite (NO2) and nitric oxide. Nitrite is known to protect the blood vessels from injury, while nitric oxide expands blood vessels (the infamous perpetual pump) and therefore accelerates the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the cells. The combined effects as you know of this union has a significant impact on improving muscle performance and reduced injury, whether low-intensity or high-intensity protocols are being performed.
*Cherry Juice- In a recent study conducted at the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Vermont, fourteen male college students drank 12 fl oz of a cherry juice blend or a placebo twice a day for eight successive days. These researchers found that cherry juice was more effective in decreasing some of the symptoms of exercise induced muscle damage, most notably, strength loss. Their study results revealed a 22% decrease in the placebo group’s strength following exercise, but only 4% within the participants administered cherry juice. Researchers attribute cherry juices muscle recovery activities to the numerous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phyo-nutrients called anthocyanidins, anthocyanins and catechins found in tart cherries. As a reminder here, you may be familiar with catechins as they are also found in and are about 27% of the make-up of the fat-burner green tea. These guys also exhibit a wide range of protective effects, including being cardio- protective, chemo-protective, and antimicrobial protective.
The Antioxidant Connection
According to Dr. Maurio Di Pasquale, the well-known sports medicine researcher, antioxidants are nutrients namely certain vitamins, minerals and amino acid that help protect the cells of the body from oxidation caused by free radicals. Uncontrolled free radical aggression causes muscle damage, soreness, inflammation and acute muscle wasting. Incidentally, a mass amount of studies have shown that foods from the plant kingdom, such as fruits and vegetables have a greater capacity to illicit an antioxidant response as compared to foods from the animal kingdom.
Green Foods- Uniquely, green foods are often referred to as the elixir of life, due to the fact that they contain ample amounts of chlorophyll. Chemically, under the microscope, a moleculeof chlorophyll closely resembles a molecule of human blood. The late Dr. Ann Wigmore, founder of the renowned Hippocrates Health Institute in Boston was a pioneer in the use of wheatgrass juice and Living Foods for detoxifying and healing the body, compared consuming chlorophyll to receiving a healthy blood transfusion. Today, natural health practitioners contend that these energy rich super foods and concentrates keeps the human bioenergetics system functioning at its peak. This is based on the process known as photosynthesis, whereas these green foods trap energy from the sun and store them in little warehouses so to speak called chloroplast found in green foods. Once we consume these green foods, own bodies are able to convert that energy into energy the body can use.
Correspondingly, the body uses this energy to remove cellular waste and harmful by-products accumulating in the blood, essentially revitalizing old worn cells and inborn metabolic pathways. Today these green energizers and detoxifiers can be purchased singularly or as a multiple combination and made into shakes or green smoothies with other fruits combinations. Many natural health researchers recommend consuming a combination of these live whole food enzymatic concentrates once daily, and or using green food extracts as part of your daily supplement routine. While there are literally hundreds of combinations you can use, some well known green foods are: chlorella, green barley, green sprouts, kale, spirulina (blue green algae) and wheat grass. By the way, spirulina is one of the richest known sources of protein to humankind.
*Resveratrol- This is the active compound found in grapes and red wine and has shown the ability to extend life, reduce inflammation and has anti-cancer properties. Resveratrol appears to activate some of the same metabolic pathways that are stimulated by exercise without actually working out. This was corroborated in a study published in The Journal of Physiology showing that resveratrol up-regulated physiological changes comparable to that of endurance training, in fact at a 25% higher rate. These researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada, found that subjects exhibited not only improvements in aerobic capacity, but greater strength in their leg muscles. They attributed this to resveratrol’s ability to improve the function of mitochondria in muscle cells, the energy powerhouses that supply the energy molecule ATP to hard-working muscles.
*Tomato Juice -Recently, researchers at Stockholm University found that five weeks of drinking 150 ml per day of tomato juice standardized with 15mg of lycopene (the active phyto-concentrate), substantially reduced levels of 8-dihydro-2 deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG), a key marker of oxidative stress. Studies indicate that this inflammatory chemical can elevate at levels from 42% to 82% above normal during periods of intense exercise. These researchers reported that after 5 weeks at the dose ranges cited above, the activity of 8-oxodG was barely detectable. Basically, tomato juice appears to turn off inflammatory signals that inhibit recovery and accelerates muscle fatigue. These researchers concluded from their research that the most active constituent in tomato’s lycopene was responsible for its powerful antioxidant activity. In practical terms here tomato juice has a definitive role in accelerating recovery from intense workout sessions.
Your Choices Are Unlimited - Detoxify To Grow
While this report has focused on the use of various fruit and food based drinks and extracts that offer some quick detoxification options, paralleled by some recovery and growth attributes, there exists an unlimited source of options of simple and elaborate protocols concerning detoxification. For example, while the vinegar or Epsom salt bath or soak is used to minimize pain and soreness, this soak also eliminates toxins via the skin. Also, certain single and herbal combination extracts and drinks are used to promote Blood Detoxification and Purification. The goal here is to gradually change the properties of the blood from unhealthy to healthy, providing the body with the support it needs to rejuvenate a healthy blood supply, as well as aiding the lymphatic system in enhancing the cleansing action of the cells. As a reminder here, thelymphatic system aids the immune system in removing and destroying waste, debris, dead blood cells, pathogens, toxins, and cancer cells. Some widely used herbs to cleanse the blood are burdock, dandelion, garlic, golden seal, kelp and red clover. Lastly, there are also many quick and several different protocols designed to cleanse and flush the liver of accumulated toxins. Some as easy as consuming lemon juice or freshly squeezed lemons in water. As you know the main function of the liver is to process nutrients from food, make bile, remove toxins from the body and build proteins.
As quoted by Lee Haney, I urge all of you to do your own research on this topic, and to take care of your insides the same way you work so hard on your outsides. This same sentiment was once expressed by the famed chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur, who stated that the inner terrain is everything. In retrospect, while a pleasing outward physical appearance is something that drives the majority of resistance and fitness training individuals, the path and conviction Mr. Haney has taken is one that should be emulated. His understanding that enhanced physical form is a direct result of maintaining one’s internal anabolic functioning over the long haul, however, paralleled to also promote long-term health is something we should all aspire to attain and sustain, even if our goal isn’t to be one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time.
About the Author
George L. Redmon, Ph.D.
Dr. Redmon has been associated with the vitamin and health industry for over 25years, having served as The National Product and Education Director for one of the countries largest retailers of nutritional supplements. He has been widely published in many major bodybuilding, fitness and alternative medicine publications. He is the author of Natural Born Fat Burners, Energy for Life and is a member of The National Academy of Sports Medicine and The International Society of Sports Nutrition.