Nutrition and Martial Arts

 Most martial arts students think they have an adequate diet and nutritional program. Many don't give it much consideration at all, reasoning that they are young and healthy.

Considering the fact that the SAD diet (standard American diet) is prevalent, one must assume that like the Rolls Royce, we need to supply ourselves with pure, high octane fuel to run at our most efficient best. If we do not give our body what it needs, it will tell us in the form of fatigue and illness, or proneness to injury. In fact, it may undermine our will, our resolve to practice the art in the first place.

Marathon runners, for example, are some of the unhealthiest athletes along with gymnasts. The punishment heaped on the body is rarely if ever compensated or balanced. Cardiopulmonary health is only one component of the paradigm. While they are healthy in this regard, they suffer from joint problems, premature aging and often look much older than they are. How does this happen?

Free radical damage is the answer. Free radicals are generated by the act of living. The more active we are, the more stress we put on the body, physical and emotional, the more free radicals we generate. By ingesting free radical scavengers, we balance out this process. It is a simple question of doing the math.

Our food contains many compounds that do this but not in amounts that therapeutically matter. We need to flood the body with these substances found in fruits and vegetables. The easiest way to do this is eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, organic, and to take concentrated supplements.

This article will be added to but in the meantime, if you have any questions regarding this subject, e-mail me. Martial arts students are in the same category as the marathon runner or gymnast. You want to get quality years out of the physical organism. Nutrition is one component but not the only one.

The equation for health is the following:

15% Genetic

15% Diet

15% Exercise and physical conditioning

55% Mental (Stress management, world view, temperament, proactive rather than reactive behavior, positive thinking). Under this heading we would place those stress reducing disciplines like Chi Kung, Tai Chi, Yoga, meditation as a few examples.

Genetics is like the loaded gun. Environment pulls the trigger and makes genetic weaknesses or predispositions a reality. Look at it this way:

When we are born we are dealt a hand to play, one with strengths, weaknesses, personality traits and other qualities. We are here for a reason; to be better people and progress. Now we have a choice. We can play that hand and react in the same predictable ways we always do or we can change that hand dealt to us by being proactively involved in dealing with the world and behaving in different ways.

Chi Kung, particularly breath control, has a curious and significant effect on our will, that power we will need to make difficult changes. In addition, our attitude toward our fellow human beings will be more inclusive, more tolerant. When we react negatively to others or are impulsively selfish, we restrict the chi flow to ourselves. We also shrink our beneficent divinity and wall ourselves off from that energy whether we call it chi, prana or the God life force.

In all the cells of the body there are energy producers called mitochondria that produce ATP. ATP is the energy source for the body.

The presence of toxins with the mitochondria inhibits, often severely, energy production. Toxicity also affects respiratory function. Oxygen to cells is reduced compromising energy production and our ability to burn fat.

Toxins from various sources; the foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, environmental exposures, the soft drinks, alcohol, drugs, processed and microwaved foods, the SAD diet, the stress we mismanage...all contribute to the toxic overload that manifests itself in fatigue and disease. The body's ability to detoxify is minimized by the attack on the neurological, gastrointestinal and immune systems. Glutathione, the most abundant antioxidant in the body, is reduced significantly.

We can increase the amount of this antioxidant, the final pathway to removing toxins through the lungs, skin, bowel and urine.

NAC or N-Acetyl L-Cysteine, is a precursor to glutathione that produces the antioxidant in about half an hour after ingestion, affording the body the ability to begin detoxification almost immediately. 1200-1800 mgs per day is a good start. 

Martial artists and athletes create free radicals which must be scavenged through a smart program of pushing the physical while maintaining that balance of controlling the aging process through diet, supplementation and stress management.

List of antioxidants:

Vitamin C (Mineral Ascorbates only) 3000-5000 mg./day in 3 divided doses. The Rolls Royce of powdered vitamin C is obtainable from Gary Null's online store.

Ascorbyl Palmitate - fat soluble vitamin c that is stored in the cells, lasting longer in the body. (250-500 mg/day)

R-Lipoic Acid - powerful antioxidant that helps recycle all the others in the body. The R-Lipoic variety is more bioactive than regular alpha lipoic acid. (100 mg/day minimum) Extremely effective for diabetics.

Hydrogen Boost/Microhydrin - very powerful antioxidant; the most potent out there.(1 cap 2x/day)

IP-6 (Iron chelator). Men are now advised to avoid iron supplements and even food high in iron. If your blood test comes back with a ferritin level of over 100 you need to reduce your iron intake via diet or by IP-6 supplementation.

Resveratrol - the active agent in red wine or red grapes. Essential in any good program. Hickey Chemists has a good product with 25 mg of resveratrol per cap, as well as grape seed extract. Pure Caps has a 500 mg.capsule with 20% trans-resveratrols. This is a very potent antioxidant that has the added benefit of controlling fat in the liver.

Coenzyme Q-10 - essential in the body, particularly the heart. 200-300 mg/day is sufficient. The best form of CO-Q10 is Ubiquinol. Most CO-Q10's are oxidized and must be converted in the body for absorption. People over 25 lose the capacity to do so. That is why Ubiquinol is more preferable.

Full spectrum Vitamin E - containing all the mixed tocopherols and 8 isomer palm tocotrienols. Hickey Chemists and Pure Caps have good products.

Green Tea - can be in tea form or liquid concentrate. If you are looking to lose weight, 200 mg/day should do it along with 7-keto DHEA (100-200 mg/day)



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