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What Supplements ?

modramodra Posts: 14
edited March 2008 in Pro race
We all see adverts on cycling sites for supplements for better performance some saying this or that rider uses them.

So what supplements have people taken and which do people think work ?


  • ash68ash68 Posts: 320
    Don't really take many supplements. I reckon for most of us a healthy balanced diet gives everything we need. I use energy drinks on rides over 50 miles, usually High 5, a protein drink once a day from Holland and Barret and that's it. Suppose if i was a competative cyclist i may look to take other supplements but for me, I don't need them. Sure some people will disagree but to me there is a thin line which is easy to cross when you start taking supplements between what is legal and what is not. I'd rather not reach that line at all. :!:
  • overmarsovermars Posts: 430
    I take are nuun and salt sticks.
  • modramodra Posts: 14
    I am interested in particular in Optygen I saw it advertised on (as used by tour winner !!)

    The web site boasts all sorts of amazing improvements - can any of these claims be justified ?
  • modra wrote:
    I am interested in particular in Optygen I saw it advertised on (as used by tour winner !!)

    The web site boasts all sorts of amazing improvements - can any of these claims be justified ?

    No. In the peer reviewed research on it, using a randoomised placebo double blind crossover study, there was no effect. I don't have the reference to hand at present

    Professional cycle coaching for cyclists of all levels
  • I take CoQ10 to allegedly offset the effects of taking blood lipid modifiers (including statins). Vit C now and again, as I have to careful what (acidic) fruit I eat. Some of Patrick Holford's book is quite interesting.
  • CajunCajun Posts: 1,048
    edited March 2008
    Excerpt from Nutrition for Endurance (Finding another Gear) by Dr. Bill Misner, Ph.D. (Chap. 27 : Electrolytes, p264 –269)

    Notice: The following data is NOT intended for treatment or prevention of any disease, nor as a substitute, or alternative, for professional medical treatment or advice. It is based on reviews of scientific evidence presented for information purposes only. Applications of the herein is at the sole choice of the reader and risk of the reader. Consult your licensed medical practitioner prior to considering the use of this data.

    Getting the right amount of water
    On the average, an athlete loses a liter of fluid/hour of exercise. These perspiration-loss rates may be controlled or lessened by acclimation and training. The human body, when fit, will store enough muscle glycogen to provide energy for approximately 90 minutes of aerobic exercise. This extra glycogen storage through training helps balance the hydration equation. As muscle glycogen is burned to create energy for movement, water is released within the cells as metabolic by-product and is diverted to cool the body through skin-surface sweat. Shepherd and Kavanagh (1978) found that during a marathon, competing runners released an average of 2 liters of perspiration through the process of burning muscle glycogen stores. If an athlete supplements this glycogen water by taking in 16 ounces of fluids for every hour of exercise, dehydration will normally be avoided in those events which last from three to four hours.

    Researchers, however, have recently noted the dangers of too much hydration during events lasting over four hours. Noadkes (1985, 1988) reported that runners who drank too much during ultra-marathons and triathlons developed hyponatremeia (low blood serum). Hyponatremia, it turns out, may be caused by drinking too little or too much.
    In ultra events, it is typically the front runners who dehydrate; those in the back of the pack tend to over-hydrate. Both suffer from the same hyponatremic symptoms – one from too little fluid intake and too much sodium loss due to profuse sweating; the other from too much fluid intake with proportionately less sodium loss.

    Of the 17 runners who were hospitalized from after the 1985 Comrades ultra-marathon, nine had hyponatremia caused by diluting blood sodium levels with too much water. The tendency to linger at aid stations in a vain attempt to relieve the symptoms of fatigue or heat by drinking too much water is a fault found primarily in the runners who populate the back of the pack (Noakes 1990).

    Overcoming the Heat
    Air temperature and humidity are factors for overcoming heat related stress that one must consider along with fitness and acclimatization. When external temperature and humidity both exceed 70%-degrees, or when either temperature or humidity exceeds 80%-degrees, an athlete may do better to slow down his/her pace, expose as much skin as possible to cooling breezes, and take frequent walk breaks.

    Some believe that simple mesh shirts are the coolest (Noakes 1990) but wearing no shirt at all will reduce core temperature 1º in the first mile of running, compared to wearing any type of shirt).

    Increased body mass also increases metabolic heat production. A 100kg runner puts out twice the heat of a 50kg runner. No wonder the smaller, thinner runners tend to do better in the heat, year after year.

    What replacement fluids should contain
    Body fluid losses include both water and electrolytes. Electrolytes are chemical substances which, when dissolved in the water within the body or lost in our perspiration, are the missing electrically-charged particles, or ions, necessary for cellular metabolism. They help the body’s intra-/extra- cellular chemical balance and assist in the neuro-metabolic expenditure of caloric energy.

    Athletes who are more fit and more acclimatized to heat lose less fluids and electrolytes. The rate of loss through sweat for a fit marathon runner includes a sodium loss of 2,000mg in that liter of fluid lost each hour (2kg/liter/hour). The average American athlete stores an excess of 8,000mg of dietary sodium within body tissues

    Losses per 1 hour of exercise.
    Electrolyte. Fit/Acclimatized athlete. Unfit/Unacclimatized athlete
    Sodium 1,800mg 3,500mg
    Chloride 900 mg 1,400 mg
    Potassium 100 mg 200 mg
    Magnesium 100 mg 100 mg
    Water 1 liter 1 liter
    (the above values should be read under the appropriate column headings...I can't get the document to paste in correctly :()

    When one considers the possible losses during a 4-hour competitive event, it becomes obvious that maintenance of a balanced electrolyte supplement and moderate amounts of liquid are absolutely necessary both for survival and optimal performance in the heat.

    Dose Recommendations per hour for beyond a three-hour performance
    Calcium 250 to 500 mg
    L-tyrosine 50 to 100 mg
    Magnesium 125 to 250 mg
    Manganese 5 to 20 mg
    Potassium 99 to 198 mg
    Pyridoxine HCL (B-6) 20 to 40 mg
    Other formulations worth your consideration would increase sodium levels, if not raised to the point where they become problematic and cause negative side effects, more sodium may serve to assist electrolyte depletion and performance depletion in hyperthermic circumstances.

    Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body; about 2.85 lbs. are retained in the average person. When blood volumes run low, the body extracts calcium from the bones in a process that usually takes more time than even endurance competition typically allows. A constant blood calcium level is required for a normal rhythmic heartbeat, healthy nerve transmission, and strong muscle contractions.
    Deficiency in blood calcium levels during endurance events may produce high blood pressure, muscle cramps, and weakness. During exercise, energy is produced by the conversion of fatty acids and amino acids with enzymes which are calcium-dependent.

    Magnesium accompanies calcium in an ideal ratio of 1-part magnesium to 2-parts calcium.
    It works like this: when calcium flows into working muscle cells, the muscle contracts; then when calcium leaves and magnesium replaces it, the muscle relaxes. Deficiency of magnesium contributes to muscle cramps, tremors, sleep disturbances and, in some cases, convulsive disorders. Many enzymatic reactions necessary for fuel conversion to muscular energy occur with the aid and presence of magnesium substrates.

    Potassium is the chief cation, or positively charged ion within all muscle cells. It is necessary to obtain the lowest optimal concentration and balance of sodium. Potassium deficiency symptoms are nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, muscle spasm, cramping and rapid heart rate.

    Sodium is the chief cation outside the muscle cells. As previously noted, American dietary practices cause the average person to carry a reserve of 8,000 mg of sodium in his/her extracellular tissues. During endurance events, 3 to 4 hours are necessary to deplete this reserve of sodium. Deficiency usually begins to occur after 4 hours and may produce symptoms of abnormal heartbeat, muscle twitching and hypoventilation.
    The relative anion, which must accompany sodium in the extracellular tissues, is Chloride. This mineral is absolutely necessary to maintaining the osmotic tension in both blood and extracellular fluids.

    Manganese is necessary in trace amounts for optimal muscle cell enzyme reactions, permitting conversion of fatty acids and protein into energy. Research shows that Manganese deficiency plays a vital role in glucose tolerance factors, free-radical buildup from intense exercise and nerve function disorders, especially in older athletes (Balch 1990).

    Pyridoxine HCL (Vitamin B-6) is a co-enzyme which plays a role in 60 known enzymatic reactions involving metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein. This water soluble B-vitamin actively maintains the sodium-potassium balance and assists in the formation of red blood cells.

    L-tryosine, an amino acid, has been added recently to the electrolyte formula. When blood plasma deficiencies occur during extreme endurance events, low thyroid and low adrenal production result. The lack of adrenal and thyroid glandular secretions are due to endurance exercise-induced L-tyrosine depletion, which may be observed by measuring These glandular secretions are necessary for maintaining the rate of metabolism. Deficiency of the amino acid L-tryosine in blood serum appears first as depression, later anger and then despondency, degenerating gradually into total despair.

    *The MSRP for this book is $22.95US (287 pages/PB/1998); so beware of some crazy pricing found on the internet.
  • CajunCajun Posts: 1,048
    "Optimum Sports Nutrition-Your Competitive Edge- A complete Nutritional Guide for Optimizing Athletic Performance" by Dr. Michael Colgan. 563 pages now out of print and sold New for $25.00US but can be found at Amazon....Covers virtually every aspect: Basics, Fuel, Building Materials (Proteins, Vitamins, Minerals, Nutrient toxicity), Performance, Ergogenics, Anabolics, Drugs (Steroids, Beta-Blockers/Boosters), etc.

    I believe the Amazon Site in the US is about half-price of the UK Site, International shipping for a book is about $12.50US [£6.3UK) ... 86-2863625 ... 970&sr=8-1
  • Just been discussing the virtues of L-Carnosine (not to be confused with L-Carnitine), which some are claiming has anti-ageing propeerrties. It's also supposed to have a benefit of improving muscular enduranec - anyone tried it?
    I have tried L -carnitine and had no noticeable effect. I occasionally take a multivitamin with a B vits supplement which makes the most noticeable difference (makes my nails and hair grow a lot faster for a start).
  • CajunCajun Posts: 1,048
    I read some on L-carnosine and it's possibilities to help keep the aging at bay....I tried some last weekend, along with a few Baby Chams, and by golly I woke up with younger and smoother skin...thank goodness she wasn't under age.. 8) I think the Baby Chams had more to do with it than the L-carnosine..(sorry couldn't resist :roll: )

    Seriously, L-carnosine does seem almost too good to be true, but according to the articles, there's no/little side effects, and is supposed to also help other aging issues, as well as the skin....

    Thanks for the 'heads up'... I need all the help I can get....I can certainly use the 'Improve blood flow to the brain' ...Bilberry & Ginko Biloba are having a tough time. :D
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