Anti-Oxidants: Key Component in Performance Medicine
Anti-Oxidants: Key component in Performance Medicine
What is Performance Medicine and Super Foods?
Since its beginning, the Art of medicine has been to find cures for disease. But as a new era unfolds and science has evolved, we physicians have turned our attention to not only curing disease but improving health. We have discovered how to use medicine, nutrition and many other treatments to improve our bodies in a way that helps us become more productive, efficient and perform better. This philosophy has gained great acceptance in the field of competitive sports. For us, athletes have been the pinnacle of health and wellbeing, but what if through our understanding of science, we can use medicine to make our bodies perform better and be more efficient. Thus, the birth of Performance Medicine. This new way of utilizing medicine to improve health has yielded great results in the competitive sports arena. With better understanding of super foods, which are the ones that based on their components and nutritional value are believed to be of significant health benefit to humans, the way certain medications work and with more in-depth laboratory testing we can optimize our bodies to attain health.
What physiological stresses do athletes bodies undergo?
Athletes bodies undergo a significant amount of physiological stress during their training and competition. It is how their bodies deal with such stresses that separated the elite from the group. Yes, some athletes are born with genetic traits that help their bodies adapt and fight such stresses. But now medicine has figured out a way to help those without such genetic dispositions to achieve adequate levels of physiological efficiency.
What are key performance conditions?
Key athletic performance depends on:
• Maintain optimal nutritional status = bioavailability of nutrients
• Maintain adequate glucose metabolism
• Maintain good vascular elasticity and compliance
• Maintain blood flow
• Maintain peak Oxygen utilization
• Maintain insulin sensitivity
• Be able to fight the associated oxidation – damage that happens during exercise / competition
What impedes key performance conditions?
One key component that impedes all the above is something called oxidative stress and the production of free radicals. This process of oxidative stress impedes the adequate physiological functioning, natural detoxification and peak physiological functions that all athletes require. All of us have built in mechanisms to deal with oxidative stress and a wide range of free radical production but as physiological demands grow, through more intense exercise, such defense mechanisms become overwhelmed.
Science has described how polyphenols or better known as anti-oxidants are greatly responsible for aiding the body in managing oxidative stress and counteracting free radicals. Among all the positive benefits that this creates, they allow the body to maintain vascular compliance and thus greater blood flow throughout. It’s this blood flow that provides nourishment and energy to the muscle fibers and helps flush away all the pro-inflammatory byproducts from exercise.
How do we help our bodies deal with physiological stress?
Among the many available antioxidants, like Vitamins A, C and E and minerals like selenium we have oligonol. For any anti-oxidant to work is the same as with any other medication. It must be adequately absorbed and be bioavailable in the body for use. One of the draw backs of many nutritional supplements on the market is that in the lab they show great promise but are unable to be utilized efficiently in a human body. For anti-oxidants to work their molecular size must be small. Thus, oligonol’s small molecular size makes it extremely efficient as an anti-oxidant in the body.
Oligonol’s low molecular weight make it ideal to fight oxidative stress which in turn improves glucose metabolism, vascular compliance and improves a general anti-inflammatory state in an athlete’s body.
What should we look for in a supplement?
Our new era of medicine has come with a constant bombardment of recommended supplements. The key is which of those supplements can be used by our bodies and in vivo are able to be bioavailable and provide enhancement of our health. It all comes down to improving our health and physiological performance through the right components, the appropriate amounts, the best manufacturing practices and the toughest clinical and research data when deciding if you are going to add a new ingredient to your daily supplement regimen.
Kawamura, T., & Muraoka, I. (2018). Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress and the Effects of Antioxidant Intake from a Physiological Viewpoint. Antioxidants, 7(9), 119. doi:10.3390/antiox7090119