Natural Products Insider

MAR-APR 2019

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30 INSIDER March/April 2019 "While it's involved in over 300 processes in your body, a few specifi c to sports performance are its role in oxygen uptake (which allows the body to utilize more oxygen during intense workouts); transporting energy to your muscle cells; muscle contraction and relaxation; and its function as an electrolyte that gets depleted during sweaty workouts," she explained, adding athletes and active consumers should pay attention to the form of magnesium used. "Common forms, like magnesium citrate, can cause cramping and a laxative-like effect, which may interfere with performance goals. I always recommend magnesium glycinate because it's more available to your body than other forms, and it's not associated with any GI distress." Editor's note: Turn to page 68 for more information on magnesium's benefi ts. Several other minerals such as iron, copper and manganese also are required to make the necessary enzymes. Mineral or multivitamin-mineral supplements are widely available, but a few specialty mineral sources have reached the market to offer natural and multi-faceted supplements for energy and sports nutrition. Shilajit is a mineral-rich resin from Himalayan rocks used in India's Ayurveda traditional medicine for improved energy. Natreon, which makes Primavie ® shilajit, noted the ingredient helped preserve muscle strength in fatiguing exercise, 6 and also offers antioxidant benefi ts due to its fl uvic acid content. Ancient peat is another earthy source of minerals important to energy production. FutureCeuticals's elevATP™ combines ancient peat with antioxidant apple polyphenols to both increase energy and protect the mitochondria from harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS). Protecting the mitochondria from oxidative stress is an increasingly popular complement to ingredients that directly impact ATP production. Apples are one of several fruits and vegetables containing the fl avonoid quercetin, which can protect the mitochondria from oxidative damage and improve both mitochondria count and function. 7 The carotenoid astaxanthin, from red plants and seafood, is another antioxidant protector of the mitochondria that helps manage the energy-fatigue balance. 8 Tannins from French oak wood (Quercus robur) may offer antioxidant protection as well as impact signaling for increased energy production. Horphag Research, which developed the Q. r obur extract Robuvit ® , reported the extract can improve recovery time and reduce muscle fatigue. 9 Ellagitannins in the Robuvit can convert into ellagic acid. According to U.S. researchers, ellagic acid may increase fatty acid oxidation and activate AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPk), a type of switch that turns on ATP production when rising ADP and AMP levels indicate low cellular energy. 10 The botanical Gynostemma pentaphyllum may stimulate AMPk via the plant's saponins, including damulins A and B, which may also increase glucose uptake and fat oxidation into coenzyme A. A heat-processed extract (as ActivAMP ® , from Gencor) was shown to stimulate AMPk in muscle. 11 Glutathione is a potent antioxidant found in plants, animals and fungi; humans also produce glutathione. In addition to its antioxidant properties, glutathione may help improve blood fl ow via vasodilation. Scientists studying a combination of glutathione and L-citrulline (as Setria ® , from Kyowa Hakko) in resistance-trained men noted glutathione can support production of the vasodilator nitric oxide (NO) and protect NO from oxidative damage. 12 The men taking Setria had increased lean mass and strength, compared to those taking placebo. NO relaxes blood vessel walls and increases blood fl ow. The improved circulation delivers more nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and other cells. NO levels in the body increase in response to exercise. It is synthesized from the amino acid L-arginine. Citrulline can be converted to arginine and NO, and is often combined with malate, a participant in the krebs cycle. This combination can help increase oxidative ATP production and phosphocreatine restoration. 13 Citrulline may better increase blood arginine levels than arginine supplementation, as a good deal of ingested arginine may be lost, degraded or used for other processes than NO production. 14 However, an inositol-stabilized arginine silicate (as Nitrosigine ® , from Nutrition 21) may be an exception, as research shows the ingredient increased blood levels of arginine and NO in healthy male adults. 15 Blood fl ow increased to the brain and muscles, resulting in muscle function benefi ts. NO can also be made from nitrites and nitrates, which are found in the soil and, thus, in many plants. Beets and beetroot juice contain high amounts of nitrate and are one of the earliest forms of blood fl ow supplementation for athletes. A review of existing studies indicated beetroot juice consumption may improve performance, especially during intermittent high-intensity exercise. 16 The research reviewers noted the benefi ts were attributed to faster phosphocreatine re-synthesis. "The fi ndings of some studies also suggested improved indicators of muscular fatigue, though the mechanism involved in this effect remains unclear," they added. Another nitrate-rich plant is amaranth (Amaranthus dubius), also known as red spinach. A study of a proprietary red spinach extract (as Oxystorm ® , from PLT) found increased plasma nitrate and nitrite levels, resulting in improved NO production. 17 Delaying Fatigue Fatigue comes in different types. Muscular fatigue can result from the accumulation of glycolysis metabolites, a process still being explored and determined by scientifi c research, but cellular fatigue can result from an inability of the mitochondria to provide suffi cient energy, including from impairment, lack of nutrition and oxidative damage. The abundance or defi ciency of certain metabolites in the muscles—including potassium, hydrogen ions, magnesium, ROS and others—could affect the muscles' ability to contract. Infl ammation may also play a role in muscle fatigue. 18 Further, the breakdown of AMP and amino acids, particularly the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), in muscle elevates levels of ammonia, which can cross the blood brain Sports Nutrition: Energy

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