Nutrition and dietary supplements II
They serve primarly as a building substance – their key role is to rebuild damaged parts of our bodies. From a sportsmens’ point of view, proteins are essential in the recovery phase following workout. They are multifunctional actually – they can substitute lack of carbohydrates and fat in organism. In that case the muscle is literally ‘eating itself’. Since a self-destruction is of a no use to anyone, we try to prevent this happening. How? By a proper nutrition before/during/after workout and by a little extra help in form of protein and amino-acids supplements (proteins are made of amino-acids). Out of the 20 amino-acids we know, 9 are essential that our body is not capable of producing and is fully dependant though on the intake from our nutrition. BCAA amino acids are considered as cyclist’s best friend since they can also be used as a fuel during a workout, directly from our blood. BCAA consist of 3 amino-acids: leucin, izoleucin, valin.
Proteins can be found in our muscles, but also in genes, enzymes, in tendons and body tissues. Their importance for our bodies is really endless. Protein supplements usually come in a complex form, combining a broad palette of aminoacids – no need to have 20 different capsulles, each containing different amino-acid.
Protein sources used for a protein supplements production vary. The most comonlly used ones are those that come from whey. They are very popular also for their rich amount of BCAA compared to other sources. Whey proteins of different protein amount are to be found in Kompava’s portfolio - ProteinFit 50%, ProteinFit 70% a ProteinFit 80 %. All of them come in different flavors and all are enriched with an easily-digestible carbohydrate formula and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals enhancing digestion and utilisation of protein. These drinks are a good and easily-digestible food option before a power workout – you get protein without the negative effects of heavy stomach.
A special protein BodyFit product, designed to reduce body weight, is also whey-based. It’s a drink to be prepared in shaker. Works only if drank alone, not as a drink accompanying your french burger menu with big fries.
Another special product, of the snack cathegory, is a Protein bar Gurman. It was created as an easy way of increasing amount of consumed protein throughout the day. Dosage of glutamine and BCAA is increased to comparable products.
Like I mentioned previously, I am mostly looking for a targeted intake of BCAA. I try to include a variety source of protein into my diet so as not have shortage of any other protein. Besides BCAA, it is also Glutamine and ArgiNO drink that are used separately. Other products represent a protein complex.
Recommended daily intake of protein for each 1kg of body weight differs according to the type of sport you do. It is up to 2g/kg for cyclists based on majority of literature. Just to get the idea and comparison with other sports, weight lifters usually consume up to 4g/kg daily. Women should be careful of the excessive dosage of protein due to a naturally lower level of testosterone in their body. Testosterone is responsible to a big extent for the utilisation of protein in the body fibres. If not used up, the excess protein is stored in the form of body fat. Excessive intake of protein can also result in kidney problems and increase acidity of the body. Therefore it is recommended not to care so much about the amount of protein consumed, but focus more on the source and quality of the protein and think of the right timing of intake.
The triumvirate of carbohydrates-fat-protein would not mean much without additional effects of minerals, trace elements and vitamins. It is useless to consume exessive amounts of protein without an additional intake of vitamins (esp. B complex) and minerals (esp. zinc, magnesium and selenium) that are supportive in the correct digestion and utilisation of these proteins. Good news especially to women – a positive side effect of a selenium and zinc intake is a good quality skin.
Dietary supplements are by no means a substitute niether of high-quality food nor of a hard training. Their role is stated in their name – supplements – they should only be a support to your body in case of special needs. Some of these supplements are used to increase amount of red blood cells responsible for oxygen transport (iron, zinc etc.), others are intended to help increase power and endurance (creatine Kreatín Pure, Glutamín, Tribulus Terrestris, chrome ets.), are supposed to mobilize and activate the body functioning (caffeine, ThermoFit complex) or have a defense function and boost the body immunity (Lysine, selenium, MSM, Probiodom, Premium Colostrum).
The role of antioxidants is generally neglected in one’s nutrition. Without antioxidant substances, our stressed organisms cannot function correctly. Free radicals destructing body cells develop as a side effect of natural process of fat oxygenation. Only antioxidants such as vitamins, minerals, aminoacids and enzymes can decrease their negative effects. Free radicals appear in our body also as a result of heavy work-out. The best way of antioxidants intake is through an adequate supply of raw fruits and vegetables (raw because of higher amount of enzymes than in cooked food). It is impossible to eat lets say 5kg of lemons daily just to make sure there’s no shortage of vitamin C – this is where the importance of dietary supplements comes in place, it helps us to have adequate intake of all we need without putting too much stress on our body in digesting of excessive loads of food. Coffee and green tea are natural antioxidants as well and that is due to their high contents of polyphenols.
The most important vitamins and trace elements for cyclist are sodium, zinc, calcium, magnezium, potassium, selenium, chrome, iron, betacarotene, vitamins C, B, A and E. They also serve as a useful prevention from virus and bacteria. We find very few of them in their pure form, usually they are combined for their joint effect and synergy into vitamin or mineral complex such as: L-Carnosine, AcidoFit, MSM, Premium Lactofferin and others.
No body works correctly when facing problems with digestion and unhealthy intestinal microflora. There is a saying that a good immunity of one‘s organism begins and ends with a correct digestion. Pro-biotics Probiodom can be served as a first aid in case of digestion problems, or simply as a prevention while travelling or overcoming a stressful time. The same symptoms can be cured by an enzymatic complex BIOenzyme. I am not saying it is a full-value replacement of probiotics and enzymes in food, but can be of a good help in urgent need. Both these products have univeral good impact on all functions of our body, thus can be taken as a wide-spectrum prevention.
There is one think I do miss in Kompava portfolio of products – small snacks that I could carry with me during workouts on bike and to races. They do have 3Energy Bar in their portfolio, which is not suitable for workout due to its chocolate coating. But I definitelly do recommend to try this bar – very juicy thanks to a high amount of fruit jelly. I usually use them as my last meal before a race in my cyclocross or cross country races.
Another bar in the product portfolio is a Joint bar which serves as a prevention of joints problems. They are designed mostly for people with exessive joint stress such as runners or tennis players, volley-ball players etc. A little extra dosage of joint nutrition will do no harm to anyone, so I recommend taking this bar as a snack from time to time just to secure a prevention of potential joint problems.
The most important part is to realize that every human being is an individual and therefore special. What suits one person, can harm someone else. What you can do for your health is to survey your body over a longer time, see how it reacts under stress and how does it react to the food and nutrition supplements consumed. That is the only way to find out what’s best for you. And don’t neglect the correct timing of supplements (e.g. caffeine reduces the effects of iron).
To summarize it all – dietary supplements will not help anyone to improve his/her stamina. They are there to help protect your body from an excessive sports activites, work load or just the negative impacts of our civilization. Good fitness level and muscular bodies don’t come as a result of good nutrition. The most important think is to do things that make you happy and dietary supplements should only ease you your life.