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    Coming Back From Injury Part 4: Supplementation

    By Ian Matthews
    NCSF Certified Personal Trainer
    NCSF Certified Nutritionist/Weight Management Specialist

    In this fourth and final installment of my Coming Back From Injury series, I will be discussing nutritional supplements I am currently using. Many of these supplements are a component of my recovery, but some are just great supplements in general, and all of them are supplements I would use even if I had never been injured.

    Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants

    Vitamins and minerals function as facilitators of body processes. They perform various functions in the body to promote growth, assist enzymes, and maintain health. Vitamins and minerals are found in all food products, but many people do not get adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals from the food they eat, thus supplementation is necessary. Athletes and hard-working individuals may also need more than the RDA of the various vitamins and minerals.

    I believe everyone should take a good multi-vitamin supplement that contains the RDA of all the vitamins and the RDA of most of the minerals. Since some minerals compete with each other for absorption, a multi-vitamin that contains the RDA of every single vitamin and mineral will not be fully absorbed. Also, multi-vitamins with mega amounts of various vitamins and minerals are probably not needed, although some individuals will need more than the RDA of many vitamins and minerals. I take my multi-vitamin with my morning meal.

    In addition to a multi-vitamin, I also take vitamin C, vitamin E, NAC(N-acetyl- L-cysteine), and ALA(alpha-lipoic acid) after my workouts. Vitamin C is a water-soluble anti-oxidant and vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant. NAC is a precursor to the critical antioxidant glutathione. ALA is an antioxidant that affects insulin sensitivity. Antioxidants protect the body from attacks by free radicals. Free-radical damage can impair recovery and promote disease. Vitamin C also improves iron absorption. Iron is particularly important for females, especially during pregnancy. Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency worldwide.

    Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It is vital for bone density. The RDA for calcium is 1000mg per day, but adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, and women over age 50 need more. Since calcium is mainly found in dairy products, those who do not consume enough dairy may need supplemental calcium. I use Bone Meal Powder from NOW. The calcium in bone meal is highly absorbable.

    A final vitamin and mineral supplement I have used is ZMA. It contains zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. Zinc is a cofactor for more than 100 enzymes. It is important for growth and sexual function, which is one reason why ZMA may increase testosterone levels. Magnesium is important for bone mineralization, the building of protein, and muscle contraction. Vitamin B-6 plays a critical role in protein metabolism that makes it very important for immune system function and the building of muscle. ZMA is best taken before bed on an empty stomach.

    Proteins and Amino Acids

    Proteins are the building blocks of muscle and all living tissue in the human body. Proteins also perform other numerous functions. Protein is found in many foods, but many people do not get enough to effectively reach their goals.

    Whey protein is currently the most common protein powder on the market today. It is derived from milk and absorbs quickly. This makes it a great supplement when the body needs protein immediately, such as after a workout. Casein protein is also derived from milk, however it is absorbed much more slowly making it ideal for bedtime and during the day to insure a steady flow of amino acids to the body. Egg protein and soy protein powders are two other great sources of supplemental protein.

    The proteins I use are 100% Whey Protein from Optimum Nutrition and Max Pro from Max Muscle, which contains both whey and casein proteins. I will often mix these protein powders with milk protein isolate or soy protein isolate.

    There are so many amino acids that serve so many different functions. I supplement with the amino acid glutamine before and after my workouts. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the muscle. Supplementation with glutamine can help prevent muscle catabolism, enhance immune system function, and increase growth hormone levels.

    A new amino acid that is showing a lot of promise is arginine. In particular, arginine alpha-ketoglutarate has been shown to increase levels of nitric oxide in the blood. Nitric Oxide plays a role in oxygen delivery, blood flow, glucose uptake, power output, nutrient delivery, and muscle growth. Elevated levels of nitric oxide can improve muscle hypertrophy by increasing intramuscular blood flow for greater pumps, strength improvement, increased endurance, pain reduction, ATP production, and nutrient delivery. It can also elevate gonadotroptin releasing hormone and adrenaline for even more muscle growth. I use BLUE NITROUS from LMR Sports as it uses 3250mg of the highest quality German arginine alpha-ketoglutarate per serving and also includes magnesium peroxide, which may further increase nitric oxide levels.

    Creatine

    Creatine is a nitrogen-containing compound that combines with phosphate to form creatine phosphate. Creatine phosphate donates phosphates to ADP to create ATP. ATP produces the energy that fuels muscular contractions. Supplementing with creatine will allow the body to store more creatine phosphate so more ATP can be produced. When more ATP can be produced, an individual can train with greater intensity.

    I use creatine monohydrate before and after working out to increase my creatine phosphate levels so I can train more intensely. There are other forms of supplemental creatine such as creatine citrate and magnesium creatine chelate, but Creapure creatine monohydrate powder is a safe and economical form of creatine. Cheaper creatine monohydrate powders may have partially degraded to creatinine, which is a harmful by-product of creatine monohydrate.

    Joint, Ligament, and Tendon Health

    I have been using glucosamine, MSM(methylsulfonylmethane), and gelatin to help repair the damage to my tendons and ligaments from my injury. However, even before my injury, I used these supplements to help build and repair my joints, ligaments, and tendons. Intense training and old age can wear down the joints. Supplementing with joint-building nutrients can help repair and rebuild these areas.

    Fat Burners

    There are numerous fat burning supplements on the market. Most of them contain thermogenic substances like ephedra, caffeine, and synephrine. Thermogenic substances will generally increase basal body temperature and heart rate. This will cause a slight elevation in metabolism and may help individuals who need more energy to make it through a tough training session.

    I use CLEN CAPS from LMR Sports. It currently contains the thermogenic substances ephedra(ephedra will be dropped from the new formula due to liability and insurance reasons) and caffeine. CLEN CAPS also contains vinpocetine. Vinpocetine increases blood flow to the brain so it utilizes glucose, oxygen, neurotransmitters, and other nutrients much more efficiently. Vinpocetine also lowers blood pressure.

    Prohormones and 1-testosterone

    Prohormones are substances that are a metabolic step away from steroids. When introduced into the body, the body uses them to create its own natural steroids. 4-androstenediol is a prohormone that will convert into testosterone. 19 nor4-androstenediol and 19 nor4-androstenedione are two prohormones that will convert into nandrolone(nortestosterone) through different pathways. 1,4-Androstediene-3 diol is a prohormone that will convert to boldenone. Increasing testosterone, nandrolone, and boldenone levels within the body can give similar results to using the steroids Testosterone Enanthate, Deca-Durabolin, and Equipoise.

    I use NANDROTEST, NANDROVAR, and EQUILONE from LMR Sports. Each of these products contain the highest quality pharmaceutical grade ingredients. The prohormones are suspended in an oil base and supporting nutrients are added to increase absorption. Since these products are in liquid form, they can be absorbed liposomally. This means the prohormones can be absorbed through the inner lining of the mouth and directly into the blood stream. The stomach and liver often destroy oral prohormones before they are ever absorbed into the blood stream. NANDROTEST contains the 4-androstenediol and 19 nor4-androstenediol prohormones, NANDROVAR contains the 19 nor4-androstenediol and 19 nor4-androstenedione prohormones, and EQUILONE contains 1,4-Androstediene-3 diol. These products, like steroids, will build muscle at an accelerated pace. They will also accelerate recovery time, and EQUILONE in particular can help to repair connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments due to the action of boldenone, which I why I included them in my recovery plan.

    1-testosterone(17beta-hydroxy-5alpha-andro-1-ene-3-one) is actually a legal steroid. 1-AD(1-androstene-3beta, 17beta-diol) is the prohormone that converts into 1-testosterone. 1-testosterone is similar to the steroid primobolan.

    I use PRIMOTEST from LMR Sports. It contains 1-testosterone attached to a propylcarbonate ester. The propylcarbonate ester further protects the 1-testosterone from breakdown before it reaches the blood stream. Like NANDROTEST, NANDROVAR, and EQUILONE, PRIMOTEST is also a liposomal formulation, therefore it is much more effective than oral versions of 1-testosterone.

    There you have it, the complete breakdown of all the supplements I use. When using any new supplement, you should first consult your physician.
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