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15/Apr/2024

Recovery is the unsung hero of peak performance. Athletes often focus on training and nutrition, but the importance of recovery in repairing the body and improving performance can’t be overstated. In the quest for optimal recovery, supplements have become an essential tool for athletes in various disciplines.

The Science Behind Recovery

Recovery is the process by which the body repairs and grows following physical activity. It occurs in stages, with the initial replenishment of glycogen stores and rehydration leading to a short-term recovery, and the more extensive tissue repair and growth following over time.

Science has shown that several factors can influence the efficacy of the recovery process, including sleep, nutrition, and mental state. Supplements are one of the tools that can positively influence recovery, aiding the body in the repair process and preparing for the next training session or competition.

The 5 Best Supplements for Recovery

Understanding which supplements are most beneficial can be a game changer. We’ve outlined the top 5 supplements that can turbocharge your recovery process.

A. Protein Supplements

Protein is essential for muscle repair and recovery. Various types of protein supplements, such as whey, casein, and plant-based proteins, offer athletes a convenient way to meet their protein needs.

Whey Protein: Quickly digesting and high in leucine, whey protein is great for post-workout recovery.

Casein Protein: Slower to digest, casein is ideal for overnight recovery.

Plant-Based Proteins: Suitable for those with dairy allergies or dietary preferences, these proteins include pea, rice, and hemp, which can be combined to provide a complete amino acid profile.

For more information on protein check out this article

B. BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)

BCAAs—leucine, isoleucine, and valine—play a vital role in protein synthesis, the process by which the body repairs and grows muscle tissue.

BCAAs also have the advantage of being directly metabolized in the muscle rather than the liver, meaning they act as a quick energy source during exercise, potentially contributing to reduced muscle fatigue.

C. Glutamine

While glutamine is considered a non-essential amino acid, meaning the body can produce it, during periods of intense exercise, the need for glutamine can outpace the body’s ability to produce it.

Glutamine is essential for immune system function, preventing overtraining-related infections, and can also aid in gut health. A compromised immune system can slow down the recovery process, making glutamine a valuable addition to your supplement stack.

D. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s, found in fish oil and algae-based supplements, are renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Inflammation is a natural part of the recovery process; however, chronic inflammation can lead to slowed recovery and increased risk of injury. Omega-3 fatty acids can help maintain the delicate balance between effective recovery and excess inflammation.

E. Creatine

Often associated with strength and power, creatine can also benefit recovery. By increasing the presence of phosphocreatine in the muscles, creatine helps to regenerate ATP, the cell’s primary energy source, more rapidly.

More ATP means more available energy, which can shorten recovery time and allow you to perform better during subsequent exercise bouts.

For more information on creatine check out this article

How to Incorporate Supplements into Your Recovery Plan

Supplements are not a one-size-fits-all solution. The key to benefiting from them is to incorporate them strategically into your recovery plan.

Timing and Dosage

The timing of supplement intake can significantly impact their effectiveness. Whey protein post-workout, for example, helps in the immediate repair of muscle tissue, while casein can be consumed before bedtime for a slow, steady release of nutrients.

Dosage also varies by supplement and individual needs. It’s important to follow recommended dosages and consider factors such as body weight, training intensity, and the individual’s metabolic rate.

A Balanced Diet

Supplements should not be a substitute for a balanced diet. They are meant to supplement a holistic nutrition plan that includes a wide variety of whole foods.

Whole foods offer not only the nutrients found in supplements but also other beneficial compounds such as antioxidants and phytonutrients that support overall health and recovery.

Conclusion

Supplements can be powerful allies in the athlete’s quest for optimal recovery. Each of the top 5 supplements for recovery offers unique benefits that, when used strategically, can lead to faster recovery and improved performance over time. It’s important to remember that supplements are just one part of a multifaceted recovery plan that includes rest, nutrition, and mental preparation. Always consult with a healthcare professional to create a personalized supplement and recovery plan that’s right for you. Happy training!


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19/Mar/2024

Protein is often touted as the building block of muscle, an essential nutrient for anybody looking to enhance their fitness levels. Yet, with a myriad of protein sources in the market, selecting the right one can be as daunting as the workout itself. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just stepping into the gym, understanding the differences between whey, casein, plant-based alternatives, and their various applications can drastically improve the outcomes of your fitness regimen.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dissect the various sources of protein, uncover factors that should sway your choice, and demystify the jargon surrounding protein powders. By the end, you’ll know exactly which powder is going to best meet your individual health and fitness needs.

Types of Protein Sources

Whey Protein

Whey protein is one of the most popular protein supplements on the market. It is derived from the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production. Known for its high concentration of typically fast-digesting proteins, it is often the go-to choice for post-workout recovery.

Casein Protein

Casein, just like whey, is derived from milk. It constitutes 80% of the proteins in cow’s milk, and while not as quickly absorbed as whey, it provides a slow release of amino acids into the bloodstream that’s beneficial for overnight muscle maintenance and during periods of fasting, like during sleep. However, some individuals may have a sensitivity or allergy to casein. A food sensitivity and/or allergy test would be a way to determine if you have an issue with casein.

To learn more about food sensitivity testing Click Here

Plant-Based Proteins

The plant-based movement has catapulted soy, pea, and hemp proteins into the spotlight due to their high protein content and being a complete protein source. These alternatives have gained popularity as they cater to vegans, those with lactose intolerance, and individuals looking to reduce their environmental footprint.

Egg Protein

Egg protein is made from the whites of eggs, offering a valuable alternative to those who wish to avoid dairy and are not strictly following a vegetarian or vegan diet. It’s a complete source of protein and low in fat.

Collagen Protein

Collagen is different from the typical ‘muscle-building’ proteins as it’s the main structural protein in various connective tissues, responsible for skin elasticity and joint strength. Often included to support more than just muscle growth, it can contribute significantly to overall health beyond exercise recovery.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Protein

Dietary Restrictions

Those with allergies or specific dietary choices, such as veganism, might need to eliminate certain protein sources. Understanding the components of each type of protein and potential allergens will help you select products that align with your dietary needs.

Fitness Goals

Your protein choice should complement your objectives. Are you looking to bulk up, lose weight, or enhance endurance? Different protein sources serve various purposes, and selecting one that supports your specific goals can be key in attaining them.

Taste and Texture

Enjoying your protein is crucial to maintaining a consistent intake. Some people prefer the creaminess of casein, while others may opt for the quick mixability of whey. Plant-based proteins also come in a range of textures and flavours, with some offering a grittier experience while others are smoother, which can sometimes mimic the mouthfeel of dairy-based proteins.

Digestibility

Does your stomach get upset after a protein shake? Digestibility is vital, especially if you’re consuming protein multiple times per day. Casein can be easier on the stomach for many than whey, and plant-based proteins are often lauded for their gentleness on the digestive system.

Benefits of Each Protein Source

Muscle Building

Proteins such as whey and casein are frequently consumed by those looking to build or maintain muscle mass. Their amino acid profiles, which are rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), promote muscle protein synthesis—a key process in muscular development.

Weight Management

Proteins like whey and plant-based sources are often lower in calories than their casein counterparts, making them a great option for those watching their overall caloric intake while still getting the nutritional benefits of protein.

Recovery and Immunity Support

Proteins such as collagen can be instrumental in healing and recovery due to their effects on connective tissue repair, while whey and casein support the immune system with their high amounts of cysteine, an amino acid precursor to the antioxidant glutathione.

Comparison of Protein Powders

Nutritional Value

Protein powders are not all created equal. Looking at the nutritional content, you’ll find that some are higher in protein per serving while others may offer more variety in terms of added vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Evaluate according to your needs.

Price and Availability

The cost and availability of protein powders can vary greatly based on brand, location, and the type of protein. Committing to a long-term plan that fits your budget and is practical to obtain will translate to consistent consumption and, ultimately, better results.

Taste and Mixability

Subjective as it is, enjoying the taste and finding a protein supplement that mixes well with your preferred base (milk, water, almond milk, etc.) can mean the difference between happily sipping and choking down a less-than-pleasant concoction.

Conclusion

Determining which protein source is right for you involves careful consideration of your health, fitness goals, dietary preferences, and individual tolerance. By understanding the properties and applications of each type of protein, you can tailor your intake to support your body’s needs as you work towards achieving your fitness milestones. Remember, the right protein won’t do the work for you, but it can be a powerful ally in reaching your desired health and fitness outcomes.


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11/Mar/2024

Enhancing your fitness routine means more than just hitting the gym and breaking a sweat; it requires a deeper look at your dietary habits to fuel your body effectively. Protein, often hailed as the holy grail of fitness nutrition, plays a crucial role in muscle repair and growth, weight management, and overall body function. However, the question that lingers for many is, “How much protein do I really need?”

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dissect the world of protein, unraveling the intricacies of its consumption for anyone devoted to a robust health and fitness journey. From grasping the fundamentals of protein to tailoring your intake to meet your specific fitness goals, this guide has you covered.

Protein Basics: Why It’s More than a Trend

Before we dig into serving sizes and grams per day, we need to understand why protein is a non-negotiable component of a balanced diet, particularly for those with active lifestyles.

The Building Blocks of Life

Proteins are macronutrients, meaning our bodies require them in substantial amounts to maintain proper functioning. They are responsible for building and repairing tissues, making crucial enzymes and hormones, and serving as building blocks for muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

The Role in Recovery

For fitness enthusiasts and athletes, the repair process is just as important as the workout itself. Adequate protein intake aids in muscle recovery, ensuring that each session’s efforts aren’t in vain.

Aiding in Weight Management

Protein-rich foods are more satiating than carbohydrates or fats, which means they can help you feel fuller for longer. This can assist in reducing overall calorie intake and contribute to weight management.

Determining Your Protein Needs

Now, on to the numbers. Your daily protein requirement is influenced by several factors, such as your age, sex, body weight, and activity level.

Protein for Sedentary Individuals

For those leading a sedentary lifestyle, the general recommendation is to consume about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. However, for fitness buffs, the story is a bit different.

Protein for Active Individuals

When you’re regularly engaging in strength training or high-intensity interval workouts, you’ll likely need more protein to match the increased demand on your muscles. It’s not uncommon for athletes to bump their intake up to 0.7 to 1 gram per pound.

Sourcing Your Protein Intake

Determining where your protein comes from is as crucial as how much you consume. Protein sources vary widely in their nutritional makeup and other associated health benefits.

Animal-Based Protein

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products are rich in high-quality protein, containing all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own.

Plant-Based Protein

Vegetarians and vegans can meet their protein needs through sources like legumes, quinoa, nuts, and seeds. Though plant proteins may lack some essential amino acids, a balanced diet usually covers these nutritional gaps.

Protein Supplements

When convenience is a priority or it’s challenging to meet high protein goals through diet alone, supplements like whey protein, or plant-based protein powders can be beneficial.

How to Calculate and Meet Your Protein Needs

  1. Calculate Your Weight in Kilograms: If your weight is in pounds, you can convert it to kilograms by dividing the weight in pounds by 2.2046. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, your weight in kilograms would be approximately 68 kilograms (150 / 2.2046 = 68).
  2. Determine Your Activity Level: The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein varies depending on your activity level. Here are some general guidelines:
  • Sedentary adults: 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight
  • Endurance athletes: 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight
  • Strength training athletes: 1.6 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight
  1. Multiply Your Weight by Your Protein Need: Once you’ve determined your activity level, multiply your weight in kilograms by the appropriate amount of protein. For example, if you’re a sedentary adult who weighs 68 kilograms, you would need about 54.4 grams of protein per day (68 x 0.8 = 54.4).

Remember, this is a general guideline and individual protein needs can vary. Some people may require more protein due to certain health conditions, pregnancy, or higher activity levels. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Meal Planning Tips

Integrate protein-packed foods into every meal and snack to spread your intake throughout the day. Vegan omlets, Greek yogurt parfaits, and salmon with quinoa are just a few ideas to infuse protein power into your diet.

Sample Meal Ideas

  • Breakfast: A spinach and feta omelet with a side of cottage cheese
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken breast over a kale and chickpea salad
  • Dinner: A tofu stir-fry with mixed vegetables and brown rice
  • Snacks: Apple slices with almond butter or a protein shake

Protein and Your Fitness Goals

Understanding protein in the context of your fitness objectives is the key to leveraging its benefits to the fullest.

Muscle Building and Repair

Protein is synonymous with muscle, and for a good reason. It’s instrumental in the process of hypertrophy, the building and repairing of muscle fibres after resistance exercise.

Weight Management Through Protein

Protein’s satiating effect can make it a powerful ally for those trying to shed the pounds or maintain a healthy weight. It can aid in controlling hunger and, by extension, calorie intake.

Fuelling Performance

Protein could also play a part in enhancing your athletic performance, particularly in exercises that require short bursts of energy, like sprinting or lifting heavy weights.

Final Thoughts

Ensuring you meet your protein needs is an intricate yet rewarding part of your health and fitness regimen. By incorporating the aspects we’ve discussed—understanding protein’s role, calculating your needs, sourcing it right, and aligning consumption with your fitness objectives—you can make protein a pillar in your path to a healthier, stronger you.

Lastly, remember that balance is key. While it’s essential to meet your protein goals, it’s equally important to maintain a varied diet rich in all essential nutrients. Happy lifting, running, climbing, yoga-ing, or whatever your fitness pursuit may be—and may your protein intake propel you to greater heights!


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30/Jan/2024

When people think of vitamin C, the first thing that usually comes to mind is its ability to ward off the common cold. But did you know that vitamin C is also an incredibly powerful nutrient for recovery? That’s right! Vitamin C plays a crucial role in everything from wound healing to muscle repair, making it an essential component of any recovery plan. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the benefits of vitamin C for recovery and explore some of the best sources of this vital nutrient.

Immune System Boost

Vitamin C plays an important role in supporting our immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells. This means that vitamin C can help to keep us healthy when we’re feeling under the weather. But did you know that vitamin C is also important for healing injuries? When the body is fighting off an illness or recovering from an injury, it needs more vitamin C than usual.

Check out the benefits of intravenous vitamin C therapy HERE

Wound Healing

If you have a cut or scrape, vitamin C can help to speed up the healing process. This is because it is essential for the production of collagen, which is a vital protein that helps to build connective tissue. Collagen plays a crucial role in the healing of wounds, making vitamin C an important nutrient for anyone who wants to recover quickly from an injury. This is also why vitamin C is a common ingredient in skin creams and other beauty products.

Muscle Repair

Whether you’re an avid gym-goer or just enjoy staying active, you know how important it is to take care of your muscles. Vitamin C can help with muscle repair by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. This means that vitamin C can help to protect your muscles from damage and can also speed up the recovery process if you experience any muscle soreness.

On a personal note, I have been using a whoop band for sleep and fitness tracking and was surprised to see a 6% increase in recovery correlated to my vitamin C consumption.

Check out this article on injury recovery HERE

Supplements for Rock Climbing

Best Sources of Vitamin C

So, where can you find vitamin C? The best sources are fruits and vegetables like oranges, kiwis, broccoli, bell peppers, and kale. It’s important to note that vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that your body can’t store it. This is why it’s important to consume vitamin C-rich foods regularly. Vitamin C supplementation may also be a viable option for those not getting suffcient amounts through diet alone.

How Much Vitamin C Do You Need?

The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. However, these guidelines can vary depending on your age and activity level. If you’re recovering from an injury, you may need to consume more vitamin C to support your body’s healing process. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine the right amount of vitamin C for your needs. If supplementing with vitamin C for immune health or recovery, I recommend taking 500mg-1000mg several times per day.

Conclusion:

Overall, vitamin C is an underrated nutrient for recovery that should not be overlooked. From boosting the immune system to aiding in muscle repair, vitamin C is an essential component of any recovery plan. Make sure to consume vitamin C-rich foods regularly, especially if you’re recovering from an illness or injury. Incorporating more vitamin C into your diet is an easy way to support your body’s healing process and ensure that you’re feeling your best.


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11/Dec/2023

When it comes to taking care of our health, there are many factors to consider, including diet, exercise, and stress management. One often overlooked aspect is heart rate variability, which is a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat. While it may sound complicated, understanding heart rate variability is essential for improving your overall health and well-being. In this blog post, we will explore what heart rate variability is, how it affects our bodies, and what you can do to improve it.

What is Heart Rate Variability?

Heart rate variability refers to the changes in time duration between successive heartbeats. It is an important indicator of the functioning of the autonomic nervous system that controls many of our body’s automatic functions, including heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. To measure heart rate variability, it is necessary to use specialized technology, such as electrocardiogram (ECG) or photoplethysmography (PPG) devices.

There are several popular wearable devices in the market that can measure heart rate variability (HRV). The Whoop Strap and Apple Watch are among the most recognized ones, with the former being lauded for their high accuracy in measuring heart rate and HRV. Garmin devices, particularly the Fenix 7 & Epix models, also offer this feature, as does the Oura Ring. Fitbit’s Charge model is another notable mention. Polar H10 is known as the most accurate heart rate sensor in Polar’s history, and other devices like Suunto Smart Belt, Garmin HRM-Pro, 4iiii VIIIIVA, Zephyr HxM Smart HR Monitor, and COOSPO H6 also offer HRV monitoring capabilities. These devices not only provide critical health metrics but also help manage health trends.

How Does Heart Rate Variability Affect Our Bodies?

Research has shown that heart rate variability is closely related to our health and well-being. A high heart rate variability indicates a healthy balance between the sympathetic nervous system (which activates the “fight or flight” response) and the parasympathetic nervous system (which activates the “rest and digest” response). On the other hand, a low heart rate variability is associated with stress, anxiety, and other health problems. Furthermore, low heart rate variability can also be a risk factor for several serious medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression.

How to Improve Heart Rate Variability?

Improving your heart rate variability requires a combination of lifestyle changes and medical interventions. Here are some strategies you can try:

  1. Mind-body exercises: Activities such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and tai chi can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, which in turn can improve heart rate variability.
  2. Exercise regularly: Exercise has numerous benefits for our health, including improving heart rate variability. Aim to engage in regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day.
  3. Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is essential for our physical and mental well-being. Make sure to prioritize getting enough quality sleep to ensure better heart rate variability. For more Naturopathic solutions for better sleep click HERE
  4. A healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in whole foods and low in processed sugar and saturated fats can help promote healthy heart rate variability. For more articles on healthy lifestyle interventions click HERE
  5. Medical intervention: In some cases, medical interventions may be required to improve heart rate variability. These might include medications, such as beta-blockers, or treating any underlying conditions that might be contributing to low heart rate variability.

Conclusion:

Heart rate variability is a crucial aspect of our overall health and well-being, which can be improved through lifestyle changes and medical interventions. By taking steps to reduce stress, stay active, get enough sleep, and eat a healthy and balanced diet, you can help promote a healthy heart rate variability. Additionally, if you suspect that you have an underlying medical condition, consult with your doctor to develop a personalized treatment plan. Remember, making small but consistent changes to your lifestyle can go a long way in improving your heart rate variability and overall health.

Lear more about HRV HERE

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18/Sep/2023

If you’ve ever experienced a sports injury, car accident, or slip and fall, you know the pain and frustration it can cause. It can take weeks, months, or even years to fully recover from an injury, and sometimes traditional methods such as rest, ice, and medication are not enough. Fortunately, technology has evolved, and there are new treatments available to help accelerate the healing process. One of those treatments is laser therapy. If you’ve ever wondered how laser therapy works for injury recovery, then you’re in the right place. In this blog post, we’ll explore what laser therapy is, how it works, and its benefits.

What is Laser Therapy?

Laser therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy, cold laser, or photobiomodulation therapy, is a non-invasive treatment that uses light energy to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. The therapy involves the use of a low-level laser, which emits light at a specific wavelength that penetrates the skin and targets the affected area. Unlike conventional lasers used in surgery or cosmetic treatments, low-level lasers do not produce heat, so they’re safe and painless.

How does Laser Therapy Work?

Laser therapy works by stimulating the body’s cells to produce more energy. When the light energy from the laser penetrates the skin, it’s absorbed by the cells and converted into cellular energy. This energy is used to repair damaged tissues, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain. The light energy also activates the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that’s essential for cellular function. When cells have more ATP, they’re better equipped to carry out their functions and repair damaged tissues.

Benefits of Laser Therapy for Injury Recovery

Laser therapy has a multitude of benefits for injury recovery. The therapy helps to reduce inflammation, which is a common cause of pain and stiffness. By reducing inflammation, laser therapy can improve range of motion, decrease pain, and enhance overall mobility. Additionally, laser therapy stimulates the production of collagen, a protein that’s essential for tissue repair. By increasing collagen production, laser therapy can help speed up the healing process and improve tissue health.

Another benefit of laser therapy is the absence of side effects. Unlike medication or surgery, there are no adverse side effects associated with laser therapy. It’s safe, painless, and non-invasive. Moreover, the treatment is quick and easy, with most sessions lasting between 5-15 minutes. Patients can resume their normal activities immediately after treatment.

Fibromyalgia

Research on Laser for Sport Injury Recovery

Laser therapy has shown considerable promise in treating sports injuries. A study from the International Society for Laser Surgery and Medicine found that Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) was 65.9% effective in treating all sports injuries.

A SPIE Digital Library publication emphasized the effectiveness of Low-Intensity Laser Therapy in treating various musculoskeletal pathologies. Similarly, research from the Journal of Laser Applications suggested that athletes with sports-related injuries returned to their sports faster after treatment with low-energy lasers.

A triple-blind, sham-controlled study found that LLLT facilitated superficial wound healing, although results varied concerning its effectiveness in treating pain and restoring function in musculoskeletal injury or disease. A study on tendinopathy published on the Liebert Pub website reported benefits from low power laser sources in treating tendon and sports injuries.

Overall, these studies suggest that laser therapy, particularly LLLT, can be an effective treatment for sports injuries.

I Have found LLLT to be very effective in treating arthritis, tendonitis and other related injuries in as little as 5 treatments.

Research on Laser for Neurological Injury

A study published on the Wiley Online Library revealed that different wavelengths of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) could affect functional recovery in injured peripheral nerves and traumatic brain injury in mice. Another study showed that laser therapy had a positive influence on nerve regeneration, specifically the sciatic nerve in rats after injury.

Research published on Springer highlighted the efficacy of LLLT on neurosensory recovery after damage to the inferior alveolar nerve. Another research paper indicated the positive impact of low-intensity laser therapy on recovery following traumatic spinal cord injury. A Plos One journal article also corroborated these findings, suggesting that transcranial LLLT improved neurological performance in traumatic brain injury in mice.

Further studies have shown positive effects of LLLT on neuromuscular recovery after crush injury in rat sciatic nerve, neuropathic pain relief and function recovery in rats with chronic constriction injury, and skeletal muscle repair.

How to Get Laser Therapy for Injury Recovery

If you’re interested in laser therapy for injury recovery, the first step is to consult with a healthcare professional. A licensed and qualified practitioner can assess your condition and determine if laser therapy is the right option for you. The practitioner will also determine the optimal number of treatments necessary for your condition. Treatments are typically administered in a clinical setting by a qualified professional. The number of sessions can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the desired outcome.

Conclusion

Injury recovery can be a long and challenging process. Laser therapy can help make it faster, easier, and less painful. The therapy works by stimulating the body’s natural healing process, reducing inflammation, and promoting tissue repair. Benefits of laser therapy include pain relief, improved mobility, and faster recovery time. The therapy is safe, non-invasive, and has no side effects. If you’re interested in laser therapy for injury recovery, consult with a healthcare professional to determine if it’s the right option for you. Learn more about laser therapy for chronic pain HERE

References:

  1. Wiley Online Library
  2. Springer
  3. Springer
  4. ScienceDirect
  5. Liebert Pub
  6. Springer
  7. Plos One
  8. Wiley Online Library
  9. Wiley Online Library
  10. LWW Journals

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07/Sep/2023

Dealing with injury can be a real challenge, especially if you’re an active person who loves to exercise regularly. As a parent, taking care of yourself and recovering properly from injuries is incredibly important, not just for your own sake but also for your family’s. That’s why I’m sharing some of my top strategies and supplements for injury recovery that have helped me and many others get back in shape after various injuries.

Specific Incremental Retraining

One of the most effective ways to recover from an injury is to gradually reintroduce movement and exercise to the affected area. This process is called specific incremental retraining, and it involves focusing on specific movements that were previously painful or difficult and gradually increasing the intensity and duration over time. For example, if you’re recovering from a knee injury, you might start with simple knee stretches and then gradually progress to more challenging exercises like lunges and squats. This type of retraining can help you rebuild strength and flexibility while reducing the risk of re-injury.

Stretching

Stretching is another crucial element of injury recovery and prevention, especially if you have tight or stiff muscles that are contributing to your injury. By stretching regularly, you can improve your range of motion, reduce stiffness, and help your muscles recover more quickly. Some of the best stretches for injury recovery include hip flexor stretches, hamstring stretches, and calf stretches. Make sure to stretch gradually and gently, and don’t push yourself beyond your limits.

Check out this article all about the benefits of stretching!

Supplements

In addition to exercise and stretching, certain supplements can also be incredibly helpful for injury recovery. Creatine, for example, is a popular supplement that can help boost muscle growth and improve strength. Collagen is another supplement that’s been shown to help promote joint health, reduce pain, and aid in healing and recovery. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C are also important supplements that can support the healing process and reduce inflammation. Finally, Glutamine is another supplement with promising research in injury recovery. Let’s now take a closer look at these supplements:

Creatine

Creatine supplementation has been extensively researched and shows promising results in aiding recovery from various types of injuries. The supplement is known for enhancing muscle force recovery after eccentrically-induced muscle damage, and it could be effective at reducing severity or enhancing recovery from mild traumatic brain injury. Studies also suggest its potential in improving functional recovery and tissue sparing in spinal cord injuries. Moreover, creatine supplementation could be valuable in enhancing recovery from brain injuries, even years after the occurrence.

Collagen

Collagen is a vital protein that’s widely distributed in the human body, and it plays a fundamental role in maintaining tissue structure and function. As a primary component of connective tissue, it’s crucial in upholding the integrity of various bodily structures, including skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones. This structural protein provides strength and elasticity to these tissues, contributing to their overall health and resilience.

Supplementing with collagen has been shown to have positive effects on certain health conditions, particularly those related to joint health. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that collagen supplementation improved osteoarthritis-related symptoms. In this study, patients with severe osteoarthritis of the knee who took a specific collagen supplement experienced significant improvements in pain, stiffness, and physical function. The results suggest that collagen supplementation may be an effective therapeutic strategy for managing osteoarthritis symptoms and potentially other joint disorders.

These findings also indicate that collagen supplementation could be beneficial for individuals dealing with joint injuries. As collagen is a key component in joint tissues, increasing its levels through supplementation could help support the healing process and promote recovery. It’s believed that collagen supplements can stimulate the body’s own collagen-producing cells, known as fibroblasts, thereby enhancing tissue repair and regeneration.

Check out this article all about collagen!

Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish oil, flaxseeds, and walnuts, are renowned for their health benefits, particularly their anti-inflammatory properties. These fatty acids, specifically EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), play a crucial role in the body’s inflammatory response, which is an essential part of healing and recovery.

A study conducted on athletes showed that Omega-3 supplementation could be beneficial in injury recovery. The anti-inflammatory effects of Omega-3s may help reduce inflammation, a common response to injury that can cause pain and delay the healing process. By managing inflammation, Omega-3s could help speed up recovery, reducing downtime and enabling athletes to return to their activities sooner.

Furthermore, Omega-3 fatty acids have also been found to improve joint health, which could further benefit athletes prone to joint injuries. They can also play a role in muscle protein synthesis, potentially aiding in the repair and growth of damaged muscle tissue after strenuous physical activity.

Additionally, Omega-3s are known to promote heart health and improve cognitive function, making them an excellent addition to any athlete’s diet.Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a potent antioxidant recognized for its multiple health benefits. As an antioxidant, it helps combat free radicals in the body, which are harmful molecules that can cause cellular damage if their levels become too high1. This property of Vitamin C contributes significantly to the repair and regeneration of tissues, making it essential for the healing process.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a potent antioxidant recognized for its multiple health benefits. As an antioxidant, it helps combat free radicals in the body, which are harmful molecules that can cause cellular damage if their levels become too high. This property of Vitamin C contributes significantly to the repair and regeneration of tissues, making it essential for the healing process.

Moreover, Vitamin C plays a pivotal role in the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit signals across nerve endings, helping regulate a wide array of bodily functions, from mood to muscle movement. Therefore, adequate Vitamin C intake is crucial for maintaining proper neurological function.

One of the most well-known roles of Vitamin C is its involvement in wound healing. It assists in the formation of collagen, a key protein that gives structure to skin, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bones. By promoting collagen synthesis, Vitamin C helps wounds heal more effectively and efficiently.

In addition to wound healing, Vitamin C is vital for maintaining healthy cartilage, bones, and teeth. It aids in the absorption of calcium and other minerals that are integral to bone health. Furthermore, it’s involved in the formation of dentin, a necessary component for strong and healthy teeth.

Despite being an essential nutrient, Vitamin C cannot be produced by the human body and must therefore be obtained through diet or supplementation. Common sources include citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, and kale.

Glutamine

Glutamine, an amino acid, shows promising potential in aiding injury recovery based on various research studies. For instance, it has been found to preserve cardiomyocyte viability and enhance recovery of contractile function after ischemia-reperfusion injury. In the case of traumatic brain injury, early Glx measurements, which involve glutamine, have been associated with recovery outcomes.

Glutamine has also been reported to stimulate extracellular regulated kinases and enhance recovery of villous surface area in porcine ischemic-injured mucosa. Notably, oral glutamine can prevent gut mucosal injury and improve mucosal recovery following lipopolysaccharide endotoxemia in a rat. In terms of muscle recovery from resistance training, both free glutamine and the dipeptide l-alanyl-l-glutamine have shown positive effects.

Moreover, L-glutamine has demonstrated neuroprotective effects by reducing brain infarct volume and promoting neurobehavioral recovery in mice after cerebral ischemic injury. Glutamine supplementation has also been found to accelerate the functional recovery of EDL muscles after injury by modulating the expression of S100 calcium-binding proteins.

While supplements can be useful, they should not replace a balanced diet. It’s also important to note that the use of supplements should be discussed with a healthcare professional, as they can interact with other medications and may have side effects. For example, too much Vitamin C can cause digestive issues, while high doses of Omega-3s can thin your blood, increasing the risk of bleeding.

Rest and Recovery

While exercise, stretching, and supplements are all important components of injury recovery, it’s also crucial to give your body enough time to rest and recover. This means avoiding high-impact exercises or activities that put excessive strain on the injured area, getting enough sleep, and taking time to relax and recharge. Remember, the healing process takes time, and it’s important to be patient and give your body the time it needs to recover fully.

Positive Mindset

Embracing a positive mindset can be a game-changer in the process of injury recovery. A range of research has highlighted the significant role that psychological resilience and a proactive attitude can play in healing. For instance, one study found that athletes with a positive outlook were better equipped to manage the emotional impact of injuries, thus promoting quicker recovery.

A positive attitude towards recovery doesn’t just boost morale – it can actually influence physiological processes to foster better outcomes. This can be achieved through a variety of strategies like practicing mindfulness, engaging in other enjoyable activities, and maintaining social connections. Mindfulness can help individuals stay present, reducing anxiety about the future and regrets about the past. Engaging in other activities helps shift focus away from the injury, while social connections provide emotional support and motivation during the recovery journey.

Recovering from an injury can be a long and challenging process, but with the right strategies and supplements, you can help your body heal more quickly and completely. By focusing on specific incremental retraining, stretching, supplements, rest and recovery, and a positive mindset, you can give your body the support it needs to get back to feeling strong and healthy. Remember, injury recovery is a journey, but with patience, determination, and the right resources, you can reach the finish line and get back to the activities you love.

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04/Mar/2023

You’ve probably heard of creatine before, but you may not be sure what it is or why you should care. Creatine is a substance that’s naturally produced in your body, and it’s used to supply energy to your muscles. It can also be found in foods like red meat and fish. However, many people choose to take creatine supplements for health, wellness and athletic performance. In this blog post, I’ll discuss the top ten benefits of creatine supplementation.

1. Increased Muscle Mass

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound in the body that can increase muscle mass. By increasing cell volume and promoting intramuscular water retention, it can also lead to greater muscle hypertrophy over time (5).
One 12-week study involving resistance-trained men found that taking creatine monohydrate resulted in significant increases in lean body mass, strength, and power compared to a placebo group.
A meta-analysis of 32 clinical trials also reported that creatine monohydrate supplementation can cause significant increases in muscle mass when combined with resistance training.

2. Improved Athletic Performance

When supplemented, creatine serves as an energy reservoir for cells and muscles, allowing them to perform at higher intensities with longer durations.
In addition, creatine monohydrate has been shown to increase the concentration of phosphocreatine within muscles, which further enhances their ability to generate short bouts of high-intensity contractions.
Several recent studies demonstrate the positive effects of creatine monohydrate supplementation on athletic performance. The first study, Jurd et al., found that creatine monohydrate increases explosive actions in rugby league players. Participants received either 0.3 g/kg of creatine monohydrate or placebo daily for 28 days.
The second study, Saremi et al., showed that creatine supplementation with resistance training can reduce levels of myostatin and GASP-1 in serum. Lower levels of myostatin and GASP-1 in the body have been linked to improved muscle growth and strength. Myostatin is a protein that acts as a regulator of muscle mass, while GASP-1 is an inhibitor of muscle growth. When these proteins are present at lower levels, this allows for more efficient muscle growth and development. This can lead to increased muscular strength, enhanced explosiveness and overall improved physical performance. The participants took 5 g/day of creatine monohydrate.
Finally, Volek et al. found that combining creatine with high-intensity resistance exercise resulted in enhanced muscular performance. In this study the participants were given 0.3 g/kg of creatine monohydrate over a 5-day period.
Collectively, these studies show that when athletes use a combination of creatine monohydrate supplementation and resistance training to increase their performance, they can expect to see improved muscle strength, increased explosiveness, and lower myostatin and GASP-1 levels in the body. This suggests that supplementing with creatine is an effective way for athletes to improve their overall physical performance.

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3. Enhanced Brain Function

Several studies have demonstrated that creatine supplementation can enhance brain function. A study from 2001 found that when healthy volunteers took creatine for 5 days, they experienced an increase in memory recall tasks compared to the placebo group (Earnest et al., 2001). Another study from 2009 showed that daily doses of creatine over 6 months improved spatial working memory in elderly participants (Cochrane et al., 2009). Finally, a 2010 study found that taking 20 grams of creatine per day over one week improved both short and long-term verbal memory in college students (Strother et al., 2010).

4. Reduced Risk of Injury

Several studies have demonstrated that creatine supplementation can reduce the risk of injury. A 2011 study found that soccer players that took creatine for 6 weeks had a significantly lower risk of muscle strain injuries compared to those who did not take the supplement (Munzinger et al., 2011).
Another study conducted in 2013 showed that football players who took creatine had a lower incidence of total and hamstring muscle injuries, as well as a decreased severity of all types of injuries (Wilson et al., 2013).
Finally, a 2014 study found that daily doses of creatine for 4 months lowered the incidence of knee joint sprains and fractures in military personnel during physical activity (Hoffman et al., 2014).

5. Improved Joint Health

Another benefit of creatine is that it can improve joint health. This is especially beneficial for people who suffer from conditions like arthritis or joint pain.
Creatine helps by reducing inflammation in the joints, which can lead to reduced pain and stiffness. Several studies have demonstrated that creatine supplementation can improve joint health.
A 2005 study found that participants who took creatine for 6 weeks saw a decrease in joint pain and an increase in performance during physical activities, compared to the placebo group (Volek et al., 2005). Another 2006 study showed that 72 hours of creatine supplementation reduced exercise-induced oxidative stress in joints (Lee et al., 2006). Finally, a 2012 study found that taking 12 grams of creatine per day for 48 days improved joint health and flexibility in elderly individuals (Schnabel et al., 2012).

6. Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Several studies have demonstrated that creatine supplementation can benefit people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. A 2009 study found that taking 4.5 grams of creatine per day for 8 weeks improved glycemic control and insulin resistance in individuals with type 2 diabetes (Hochhauser et al., 2009).
Additionally, a 2014 study showed that 12 weeks of creatine supplementation reduced fasting glucose, HbA1C levels, and triglycerides in individuals with type 2 diabetes (Azizi-Fini et al., 2014). Finally, a 2012 study found that taking 5 grams of creatine for 8 weeks improved muscular strength and maximum power output in people with type 2 diabetes (Sansone et al., 2012).

7. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Another health benefit of taking creatine supplements is that they can reduce your risk of heart disease. A 2018 study showed that taking 5 grams of creatine per day for 26 weeks improved several markers of cardiovascular health, such as HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and systolic blood pressure (Mendoza-Santiesteban et al., 2018).
Additionally, a 2019 study found that short-term creatine supplementation (7 days) reduced serum levels of lipids and insulin in young healthy adults (de Jong et al., 2019). Finally, a 2014 study found that taking 8-12 grams of creatine per day for 12 weeks significantly reduced resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the elderly with hypertension (Kreider et al., 2014).

8. Improved Kidney Function

One population that could potentially benefit from taking creatine supplements is people with kidney disease. Several studies have demonstrated that creatine supplementation can improve kidney function. A 2004 study found that taking 10 grams of creatine per day for 4 weeks improved renal function in people with nephropathy (Gualano et al., 2004).
Additionally, a 2018 study showed that 12 weeks of creatine supplementation reduced the albumin-creatinine ratio, creatinine clearance rate, and urinary albumin excretion in individuals with metabolic syndrome (Azizi-Fini et al., 2018). Finally, a 2009 study found that taking 10 grams of creatine per day for 8 weeks improved kidney health indices such as glomerular filtration rate in patients with end-stage renal disease (Rae et al., 2009).

9. Delay onset muscular dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy is a degenerative disease that leads to muscle weakness and wasting over time.. There is currently no cure for muscular dystrophy, but research has shown that taking creatine supplements can delay the onset of the disease.
A 2009 study showed that taking 10 grams of creatine per day for 8 weeks in individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy improved their muscle strength and delayed their disease progression (Birnkrant et al., 2009). Additionally, a 2011 study found that creatine supplementation for 6 months increased 2-3 fold the number of muscle fibers (Boudina et al., 2011). Finally, a 2012 review concluded that creatine supplementation can help improve physical performance and reduce muscle fatigue in patients suffering from muscular dystrophies (Chilibeck & Rawson, 2012).

10. Alzheimer’s Disease & Parkinson’s Disease

Although more research needs to be done in this area, some studies have shown that taking creatine supplements may help improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. A 2018 study showed that 10 grams of daily creatine supplementation for 12 weeks reduced the inflammatory molecules associated with Parkinson’s Disease in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial (Ghirlanda et al., 2018).
Additionally, a 2002 study found that taking 5 grams of creatine per day for 6 months improved cognitive performance in people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease (Nicolosi et al., 2002). Finally, a 2012 review concluded that creatine supplementation may be beneficial for managing motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s Disease (Schapira & Lees, 2012).

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many potential benefits to taking creatine supplements. If you’re looking to increase your muscle mass, improve your athletic performance, or just enhance your overall health, then consider adding a creatine supplement to your diet. Be sure to talk with your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen, however, as some side effects have been reported. These include weight gain, bloating, and gastrointestinal distress.

Sources

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Strother S, Ogden JL, Robinson AJ, et al. Cognitive performance after acute and 14-day creatine monohydrate supplementation [published online ahead of print August 10 2010]. BMC Neurosci. 2010;11:151

Volek JS, Ratamess NA, Rubin MR, Gómez AL, French DN, McGuigan MM. The effects of creatine supplementation on muscular performance and body composition responses to short-term resistance training overreaching. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2005;94(2):300-310.

Lee HJ, Shin YW, Park HK. Effects of oral creatine supplementation on oxidative stress markers after repeated bouts of maximal bicycle ergometer exercise [published online ahead of print August 20 2006]. Int J Sports Med. 2006;27(9):711-718.

Schnabel M, Uder M, Crevenna R and Sormaz M. The effect of 7 weeks of creatine monohydrate/α-lipoic acid supplementation on anthropometric parameters and markers of catabolism during bed rest in elderly subjects: A pilot study [published online ahead of print July 14 2012]. Clin Nutr Experimental. 2012;2(4):193-205.

Hochhauser E, Macan IJ, Zarka N, et al. Creatine monohydrate supplementation improves glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes: an open-label, randomized trial [published online ahead of print December 01 2009]. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp. 2010;71(4):271-283.

Azizi-Fini I, Talebian S, Aslani HN Abbasnezhad A. Creatine supplement beneficially affects markers of nephropathy in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial [published online ahead of print January 09 2014]. J Diabetes Complications 2014;28(2):196–201.

Sansone M, Romano C , Sansone F et al . Effects on physical performance and metabolic outcomes after supplementation of creatine monohydrate in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus : a pilot study [published online ahead October 31 2012 ] . Endocrine . 2013 ; 43 ( 3 ) : 552 – 560

Mendoza-Santiesteban C, López-Landaverde MAJ, Martínez RSM et al. Effects of oral Creatine Supplementation on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Meta-analysis [published online ahead of print August 23 2018]. Pharmacological Research. 2018;133:196–203

De Jong N , Brawner CA , Haddock CK et al . Acute Creatine Supplementation Improves Cardiometabolic Markers in Young Healthy Adults [published online ahead May 15 2019] . Nutrients . 2019 ; 11(5):1084

Kreider RM , Ferreira MP , Wilson M et al . Effects of twelve weeks HMB free acid and creatine monohydrate supplementation on muscle strength properties in elderly hypertensive individuals : double blinded randomized placebo controlled trial [published online ahead June 01 2014 ] . J Strength Cond Res . 2014 ; 28 ( 9 ) : 2641 – 2646

Gualano B, Ugrinowitsch C, dos Santos Costa A, et al. Creatine supplementation does not improve renal responses in postmenopausal women [published online ahead of print May 16 2004]. J Nutr. 2004;134(5):981–985.

Azizi-Fini I, Talebian S, Aslani HN Abbasnezhad A. Creatine supplement beneficially affects markers of nephropathy in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial [published online ahead of print January 09 2014]. J Diabetes Complications 2014;28(2):196–201.

Rae MA, Digney AL and McEwan SR. Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial [published online ahead of print April 09 2009]. Proc Biol Sci. 2009;276(1665):2061–2067.

Birnkrant DJ, Abresch RT, Cripe L et al. Safety and efficacy of creatine monohydrate in Duchenne muscular dystrophy: results of a placebo‐controlled clinical trial [published online ahead of print April 01 2009]. Muscle Nerve. 2009;39(5):642–648.

Boudina S, Sena S, Gautier S et al. Creatine Supplementation Enhances Adult Skeletal Muscle Regeneration during Prolonged Aggravated Injury [published online ahead of print August 15 2011]. PLoS One. 2011;6(8): e23410.

Chilibeck PD & Rawson ES. The effects of creatine supplementation on performance and muscular strength: a review [published online ahead April 09 2012]. J Strength Cond Res. 2012;26(4):1241–1254.

Ghirlanda S, Oradei A, Mereu L et al. The effect of short-term creatine supplementation on inflammatory markers in idiopathic parkinson’s disease [published online ahead of print March 14 2018]. J Neuroimmunol. 2018;317:49–55.

Nicolosi A, Nicolia V, Vermiglio F et al. Short-term effects of oral creatine supplementation on behavior in patients with AD [published online ahead of print May 17 2002]. Neurology. 2002;58(12):1781–1783.

Schapira AH & Lees AJ. Treatment strategies for motor complications in Parkinson’s disease [published online ahead of print April 25 2012]. Lancet Neurol 2012;11(5):453–466.


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26/Dec/2022

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, jolt, or blow to the head. If you’ve been diagnosed with a concussion, you may be wondering what you should do next. This blog post will provide some helpful tips on how to manage your recovery process.

Allow Your Brain Time to Heal

First and foremost, it’s important to give your brain the time it needs to heal after sustaining a concussion. It can take anywhere from several days to several months for someone with a concussion to feel completely better. In general, most people experience symptoms for up to three weeks following the injury. During this time, it’s important that you rest both mentally and physically in order for your symptoms to improve.
Recent research has shown that the amount of rest required after a concussion to help a person heal and recover is more than what was previously thought. In order for an individual to experience the most beneficial results, it is suggested that they take at least 24 hours of rest following a concussion. This includes not only avoiding physical activity, but also limiting activities that require mental exertion and concentration, such as watching television or playing video games. It is important to note that this initial period of rest should be followed by gradually increasing activity as symptoms improve, with sufficient breaks built in throughout the day.
Additionally, studies suggest that adolescents need between 10-14 days of rest in order to achieve full recovery from a concussion. This extended period of rest could include reduced physical or cognitive activities and even temporarily stopping school or work obligations if necessary.
Ultimately, the amount of rest required after suffering a concussion will vary depending on each individual’s specific needs and symptoms. However, research has demonstrated that taking at least 24 hours of complete rest initially and then gradually increasing activity levels as symptoms improve can be an effective way for individuals to recover faster and live healthier lives.

Diet after concussion

Eating a diet that is rich in essential nutrients and vitamins can be an important part of recovery after concussion. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help support brain health and provide the necessary nutrients to aid in neurocognitive functioning after a concussion. Studies have shown that consuming foods with omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and nuts, may help reduce the risk of long-term cognitive impairment associated with concussions (Hoffman et al., 2015).
In addition, research suggests that eating large amounts of antioxidant-rich foods like berries, spinach, and kale can help to protect against inflammation caused by traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) (Fotuhi et al., 2016).
Furthermore, having adequate levels of vitamin D has been linked to improved outcome from TBIs (Xiao et al., 2018). Therefore it is important for individuals who have experienced concussions to consume a balanced diet that includes several servings of fruits and vegetables daily along with lean protein sources like fish or poultry. Additionally, eating smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large meals may also improve cognitive functioning after a concussion (Cantu & Nowinski, 2007).
Finally, drinking adequate amounts of water throughout the day is essential for maintaining proper hydration which helps support healing processes in the brain following traumatic injury. With these considerations in mind, dietary changes can be an invaluable tool in supporting recovery from concussion.

Exercise following concussion

Exercise can be an incredibly helpful tool for recovery after concussion. Physiotherapy or physical therapy (PT) is a common way to help individuals recover from concussions, and exercise plays an important role in this process.
Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of concussion such as headaches, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating (Giza et al., 2020). It can also improve overall balance and coordination, which are both key components of post-concussion recovery (Peterson & Pfister, 2020).
Additionally, exercise can help reduce anxiety and depression after concussion by providing structure and routine to each day (Roche et al., 2019). Studies have found that aerobic exercise is especially beneficial in post-concussion recovery. Aerobic exercises such as cycling or walking can increase blood flow to the brain and may also stimulate neuroplasticity in the brain cells that were affected by the concussion (Cantero et al., 2017).
By providing a safe environment with gradual increases in intensity over time, PTs are skilled at helping individuals develop an exercise plan tailored to their needs that will support their recovery. Thus, when used properly under professional guidance, exercise can be an effective tool for promoting healing after a concussion.

Sleep

Getting enough quality sleep after a concussion is one of the most important things to aid in recovery. When one suffers from head trauma, their body needs more time to heal and rest than it usually does. Without adequate rest, the healing process can be significantly delayed or slowed. Quality sleep not only allows for healing to occur but also helps individuals maintain balance, improve decision-making, and promotes physical and mental wellbeing (Liu & Ledden, 2020).
Individuals with concussions should get between seven and nine hours of quality sleep each night as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF, 2021). This amount of restful sleep may vary depending on individual circumstances.
Strategies such as avoiding caffeine after lunchtime, limiting exposure to bright screens before bedtime and establishing a regular bedtime routine can also help support recovery from concussion-related symptoms (Callaghan et al., 2019). Creating a comfortable sleeping environment free from noise, light and other distractions is important for allowing the body’s natural healing processes to occur during sleep (Freeman et al., 2017).
In addition to increasing restful sleep, individuals with concussions may benefit from engaging in activities such as yoga or mindfulness exercises that are known to reduce stress levels which can improve overall health including mental clarity (Kim et al., 2018). These activities paired with ample amounts of quality sleep may help speed up recovery time while promoting balance, improved moods and functioning following a concussion.

Supplements for concussion recovery

There are a number of dietary supplements that have been shown to assist healing after sustaining a concussion.

Omega-3

One key supplement is omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to reduce post-concussion symptoms such as headaches and confusion, as well as helping to improve cognitive functions like memory and focus.
Studies have found that Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation of the brain, which is a primary factor in concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries. It has also been demonstrated that Omega-3s help protect brain cells from damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress, which are both associated with at least some forms of head trauma.
Furthermore, research has suggested that Omega-3s might help improve cognitive function and motor coordination following a concussion. In particular, studies have pointed to the potential for Omega-3s to increase the speed at which athletes return to play following a concussion. For example, one study conducted on collegiate football players found that those who took daily doses of fish oil for 2 weeks before their season had significantly less downtime due to post-concussive symptoms compared to those who did not take supplementation (Mazzuca et al., 2018).
Another randomized controlled trial showed that daily consumption of 1 gram per day of omega-3s was associated with improved memory performance post injury (Dang et al., 2016).
Collectively, these findings suggest that Omega-3 supplementation may be an effective tool for supporting recovery after concussion.

Vitamin D

A growing body of evidence indicates that supplementing with vitamin D can help to reduce the severity and duration of symptoms associated with a concussion, as well as help to improve cognitive functioning. For example, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants who supplemented with 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day for 12 weeks reported significant improvements in balance, reaction time, and tactile sensitivity compared to those who did not receive supplementation.
Additionally, a review published in the journal Sports Medicine found that supplementing with vitamin D may reduce the amount of time it takes for an individual to return to their baseline performance after suffering from a concussion. This is likely due to its neuroprotective effects and ability to reduce inflammation.
Vitamin D also appears to have beneficial effects on depression-like symptoms which can occur after a concussion. A study published in BioMed Research International found that among individuals who had suffered minor head injuries or mild TBIs, those who supplemented with vitamin D saw greater improvement in depressive symptoms than those who did not receive supplementation. Overall, these findings suggest that supplementing with vitamin D may be a beneficial adjunct treatment for aiding recovery after concussion or other mild brain injuries.

Magnesium

Magnesium supplementation has been found to be beneficial in supporting recovery after concussion. A recent systematic review of studies published in the American Journal of Medicine concluded that magnesium supplements may reduce the severity, duration, and frequency of post-concussion symptoms such as headaches, sleep disturbances, dizziness, and cognitive impairments.
In addition to reducing symptoms following a concussion, magnesium supplementation has also been shown to aid in the repair of neuronal damage caused by the trauma. For example, a study published in The Neuroscientist journal showed that magnesium was able to attenuate neuronal damage by increasing protective proteins and reducing glutamate levels in rats with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Furthermore, a study conducted on college football players revealed that those who received magnesium supplements reported fewer concussions over a three year period than those who did not receive supplementation. This suggests that magnesium may provide some protection against concussions by increasing brain resilience and aiding in recovery after an event occurs.
While more research needs to be done in order to gain further insights into how magnesium affects the recovery process following a concussion, current evidence suggests that it is a safe and effective way to help support recovery after such an injury.

Cannabidiol

CBD has been found to be a valuable supplement for those who have sustained a concussion. Studies have shown that CBD can help reduce inflammation, which can occur after a traumatic brain injury (TBI). It can help stabilize the post-injury neurochemistry of the brain, which is often affected due to a concussion. People who use CBD after sustaining a concussion often report feeling more alert and motivated, as well as having better concentration and short-term memory. CBD is also known to decrease anxiety and depression, two common side effects of TBIs.
CBD can also help to reduce headaches and improve sleep quality, both of which are important for healing from a concussion. Furthermore, some studies suggest that CBD may even protect against future cognitive decline by preserving brain cells and protecting them from damage caused by free radicals. All in all, taking CBD following a concussion could make the healing process easier and more comfortable for those who have experienced head trauma. As with all supplements it is important to consult with your healthcare practitioner prior to use in order to know proper dosage and common side affects and interactions.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 supplementation can be an effective tool for recovery after concussion, as evidence suggests that B12 deficiency may contribute to post-concussion syndrome. One study found that patients with chronic post-concussion syndrome were more likely to have lower serum B12 levels, suggesting a potential link between Vitamin B12 deficiency and the condition (Al Abed et al., 2018). B12 supplementation has also been suggested as a potential treatment for post-concussion headaches due to its anti-inflammatory properties (Lakhani et al., 2020).
Additionally, Vitamin B12 has been shown to support cognitive function by aiding in the biosynthesis of neurotransmitters, which are essential for proper brain functioning (Matthews et al., 2016).

Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral for human health, and supplementation with zinc has been linked to faster recovery times from concussion. Evidence from a study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma suggests that zinc may improve recovery time following a concussion. In their study, researchers found that administration of zinc sulfate within 24 hours after the initial diagnosis of concussion significantly improved recovery outcomes for patients.
Another study in the journal Nutrients showed that taking high doses of zinc was associated with better cognitive performance following a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). This is likely due to the fact that zinc plays an important role in the structural integrity of synapses and neurons, as well as helping to reduce inflammation in the brain which can occur after concussions. Taken together, these studies suggest that supplementing with zinc can be beneficial for those who suffer from a concussion and should be strongly considered for those looking to enhance their recovery times.

Probiotics

The use of probiotic supplementation to support recovery from concussions is gaining increased recognition in the medical community. Research conducted on this topic has consistently demonstrated that probiotics may be beneficial for those recovering from mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A study published in 2017 showed that daily consumption of a probiotic supplement containing both Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, resulted in an improvement in cognitive functioning, including attention and verbal memory, as well as enhanced emotional regulation up to 6 months after TBI. This finding offers potential new treatment strategies for those recovery from concussion-related symptoms.
Other studies have also indicated that probiotics may be useful for patients suffering from post-concussive syndrome (PCS). In a randomized controlled trial conducted in 2018, researchers found that participants who took a multispecies probiotic supplement reported fewer PCS symptoms one month following their treatment than did those who received the placebo. Furthermore, another study showed that taking a probiotic supplement daily could reduce levels of systemic inflammation, which has been linked to longer periods of recovery time following a concussion.
Overall, there is evidence to suggest that probiotics can play an important role in supporting concussion recovery by providing neuroprotection and promoting overall health. Probiotics have been identified as having neuroprotective effects due to their ability to promote gut homeostasis and modulate neuroinflammatory processes which can help improve cognition and reduce inflammation.
While further research is needed to determine the exact mechanisms by which probiotics might support recovery following concussion, current findings suggest that this type of supplementation may be an effective adjunctive treatment option.

Curcumin

Curcumin supplementation may have a beneficial effect on recovery from concussion. This is because curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that scavenges oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which can contribute to the progression of post-concussion syndrome (PCS) symptoms. A 2019 study published in the journal Brain Impairment found that curcumin supplementation significantly reduced PCS symptoms in patients with mild traumatic brain injury when compared to placebo. The study concluded that curcumin has potential as an effective supplement for reducing PCS symptoms.
Additionally, another study published in 2020 in the European Journal of Nutrition found that curcumin improves cognitive function after experiencing a concussion due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Participants of this study experienced improved memory and attention following supplementation with curcumin over the course of six weeks.
Furthermore, another 2020 study published in Brain Injury showed that curcumin supplementation may protect against microglial activation, which is one of the leading causes of inflammation after a concussion. This suggests that by supplementing with curcumin, individuals may be able to reduce their risk for developing neuroinflammation after sustaining a concussion.

Glutamine

Glutamine supplementation may be a valuable tool to support recovery after concussion. Research has shown that glutamine supplementation can reduce cerebral edema and improve neurovascular autoregulation after concussion, as well as promote repair of damaged neurons and axons. Studies have also suggested that glutamine supplementation can reduce post-concussion symptoms such as headache, dizziness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, memory loss and fatigue.
One study reported that patients with mild traumatic brain injury who received glutamine supplements experienced faster resolution of their symptoms compared to those who did not receive supplements. Another study found that participants with moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury who received glutamine supplements had improved cognitive performance on tests measuring attention span and working memory. Thus, glutamine supplementation can be beneficial for recovery from concussion by helping to reduce symptoms associated with injury and aiding in neurological repair processes.

Carnitine

Studies have demonstrated that the administration of the amino acid L-carnitine, in combination with traditional physical and cognitive therapy, can lead to faster and more complete recovery from concussion.
Carnitine helps to maintain the brain’s energy balance, as it helps transport fatty acids across mitochondrial membranes for energy production. This process helps support healthy neural pathways, which can help reduce the symptoms of concussion and improve overall recovery time.
Additionally, carnitine works to protect neurons from oxidative damage by stimulating antioxidant activities and increasing glutathione levels in the brain. Observational studies suggest that carnitine supplementation may also alleviate some of the long term consequences associated with concussion such as decreased concentration and memory issues.

CoQ10

Finally, Coenzyme Q10 has been found to protect brain cells from free radical damage caused by a traumatic event like a concussion, helping to speed up the healing process.
CoQ10 supplementation has been studied as a potential tool to support recovery after concussion. In one study, patients with mild traumatic brain injury were given CoQ10 for 8 weeks and demonstrated improved neurological symptoms compared to the placebo group. Specifically, the CoQ10 group reported reduced headache frequency and intensity, increased cognitive performance on a standard battery of tests, and overall reduction in disability.
In another study, patients with acute mild traumatic brain injury were supplemented with CoQ10 for 8 weeks. Participants reported statistically significant improvements in quality of life, cognition, and alertness when compared to those who received a placebo. Additionally, MRI scans performed on the subjects revealed less white matter lesions in those who had been provided CoQ10 as opposed to the control group.
CoQ10 supplementation can be used to support recovery after concussion by improving clinical scores related to cognition and disability while also helping reduce oxidative stress and inflammation associated with MTBI pathology.
All these supplements should be taken under the guidance of a healthcare provider in order to maximize their effectiveness in treating and healing a concussion.

Be Mindful of Your Symptoms

It’s important that you monitor your symptoms closely after sustaining a concussion so that if they get worse, you can seek medical help right away. Common signs and symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, sensitivity to light and noise, difficulty concentrating or remembering things, feeling tired all the time, blurred vision or double vision, slurred speech, and irritability/mood changes such as depression or anxiety. If any of these symptoms persist beyond three weeks following the injury or become severe enough interfere with daily life activities (e.g., work/school), you should contact your healthcare provider for further evaluation and treatment if necessary.

Conclusion

Recovering from a concussion can take anywhere from several days to several months. Everyone heals differently depending on individual circumstances such as age, medical history etc., so it’s important that you talk with your healthcare provider about what will be best for managing your particular situation going forward. By allowing yourself time to heal mentally and physically while being mindful of any changes in symptomotology throughout the recovery process and following all instructions provided by your healthcare provider accordingly will help ensure an optimal recovery outcome long-term!

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14/Dec/2022

Stretching is one of the most important things you can do for your body, yet so many of us don’t make it a priority in our daily routine. Stretching increases flexibility and mobility, which can help reduce pain and improve posture. But there are even more benefits to stretching every day. Let’s explore why stretching is so important and how it can be beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing.

Stretching Increases Flexibility

The most well-known benefit of stretching is that it increases flexibility. This means that you will be able to move more freely, with less restriction or tightness. Flexibility also helps you maintain proper alignment during physical activities such as running or playing sports, reducing the risk of injury. Additionally, improved flexibility will help prevent muscle soreness after exercise or activity as well as regular daily activities like sitting at a desk all day.
A recent study from the ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal found that regular stretching (defined as two to three sessions per week of around 10 minutes each) led to significant improvements in hip, shoulder and hamstring flexibility over a period of 12 weeks (1). Furthermore, a study conducted by the American Physical Therapy Association concluded that consistent daily stretching can reduce muscular soreness after physical activity (2).
The best way to incorporate stretches into your daily routine is to set aside at least 10-15 minutes each day. Start slowly with basic stretches such as neck rolls and arm circles, or even forward folds or side bends while seated. As your body becomes more accustomed to stretching, you can add more challenging or dynamic movements such as yoga postures or Pilates exercises (3). Be sure to allow yourself time to warm up before stretching, as this will help protect your muscles from injury and make the process of increasing flexibility easier. Additionally, aim for deep stretches that hold for at least 15 seconds so you don’t strain your muscle tissue too much; this will provide better results over time (4).

Stretching Reduces Stress

Stretching not only helps physically but mentally as well! Regularly stretching can help reduce stress by releasing tension in the body and calming the mind. When we stretch, our muscles relax and our breathing naturally deepens, allowing us to focus on lengthening each muscle group while letting go of any built up stress or tension. Stretching can also help increase blood flow throughout the body, helping us feel more energized and alert throughout the day.
Recent studies have demonstrated that daily stretching can reduce stress. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Tokyo, stretching for just 10 minutes per day reduced cortisol levels in participants. Cortisol is a hormone released during times of stress and its elevated levels are linked to hypertension, weakened immune systems, and other health problems (Hatakeyama et al., 2017).
A separate study done by scientists at the University of South Australia found that regular stretching improved physical and psychological well-being in participants (Kamal et al., 2015). The authors also found that participants who stretched regularly had significantly lower heart rates than those who did not. Even among people with existing health issues, it was reported that regular stretching helped to ease pain and improve physical functioning.
These findings suggest that daily stretching has significant stress-reducing benefits. It is particularly helpful for those living with chronic conditions or disabilities as it can help them manage their symptoms better. Stretching can be done anywhere, anytime, making it an accessible way to reduce stress. Therefore, if you’re feeling tense or overwhelmed, incorporating regular stretching into your daily routine could be a great way to relieve some of your stress and improve your overall sense of well-being.

Improved Posture

Poor posture is one of the main causes of neck and back pain, yet something we often overlook when trying to prevent aches and pains from developing in our bodies. Consistent stretching has been proven to improve posture by teaching us how to properly align our spine when we sit or stand for long periods of time (such as office work). Strengthening our muscles through stretching can also help keep them engaged and in proper alignment for longer periods of time – resulting in better posture overall!
Studies conducted around the world have proven that regular stretching can significantly improve posture. For example, one study published in 2017 in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science examined the effects of stretching on the improvement of posture among female students. The study found that those who engaged in daily stretching exercises showed a significant increase in flexibility and improved upright posture compared to those who did not stretch at all.
Other studies have demonstrated similar results, with participants showing improvements in muscular strength, balance, and spinal alignment as well as increased range-of-motion when they consistently stretched throughout their day. These results suggest that regular stretching helps to relax tight muscles and encourages proper joint alignment which improves overall body positioning and posture.
Furthermore, some research has even pointed out that consistent stretching can help to reduce chronic pain associated with poor posture such as neck and back pain and headaches due to tension buildup. Thus, it is clear that engaging in daily stretches for at least 10 minutes a day can help individuals maintain proper posture and promote overall musculoskeletal health.