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Nitric Oxide and Running Performance

Nitric Oxide? It makes me think of pushing a button on my car dashboard for a little boost! However, NO is an important neurotransmitter important for nerve signaling, nerve signaling, tissue turnover, and blood vessel dilation

 

Seems like most research focuses on the dilation part and exercise as a performance enhancer via delivery of oxygen and removal of waste products. Along with that dilation comes an improvement in running economy and time to exhaustion. In terms of running economy, I have seen 5% thrown around. To put that in perspective, that’s higher than what the Nike Vaporfly’s claim to obtain and have taken the running world by storm.

 

So, who does that benefit? Running economy will benefit those running long distances (half marathon and above) while time to exhaustion will benefit shorter times. While we do produce NO in our bodies, we often don’t eat the right amino acids, or enough, to see a performance benefit. We also see a drop in natural NO production as we age. 

 

The research can get dicey because of the way it is set up. What worked for older athletes, didn’t have the same effect on younger athletes. The dosages that worked on 1500 meter runners, didn’t affect the longer distance runners. What worked for recreational runners didn’t exactly show promise for elite runners. There’s a lot of factors like dosage, quality of ingredients, and length of studies that come into play. With that said, let’s look at some practical advice.

 

For older and less trained athletes, you should take a single dose of 60-70 ml of nitrates 2.5 to 3 hours prior to your workout or race. Keep in mind that levels of NO will stay elevated for some time. These groups will see more response on fewer amounts, so max the response on the least amount of dose. 

 

For younger and more trained athletes, you should be at two doses of 60-70 ml of nitrate. You folks have things like naturally higher levels of NO and training adaptations that are going to make seeing a response require a larger dose. The same time frame applies here. 

 

NOTE: Unless you are building up to a goal race, these shouldn’t be taken every day as it can blunt the natural production of your NO. 

 

Ok, so, the second way to do this, is to do a gradual supplementation of 3-15 days, leading up to a goal race. Using the same two groups I just discussed, let’s determine the probable length of time to NO load. Less trained or older athletes may want to stay in a single daily dose for 3-7 days. The younger or more trained athletes may want to do a single daily dose for 7-15 days. 

 

What I will do for a workout: 

 

Night before a workout: 1 60 ml bottle of Amped Nox

AM before workout: 1 60 ml bottle of Amped Nox

 

What I will do prior to my goal marathon:

5 days prior to marathon: 1 bottle of Amped Nox nightly

 

HOWEVER: After reading more into the updated research, I think I am going to extend this out to 10 days prior to the race of a nightly dose and then one bottle the morning of the race. 

 

Interested in what I use? Check out my supplement site.

Antioxidents: Blunt our training adaptations?

Below is an infogram from @YLMSportScience. We’ve talked about this before with ice baths for recovery. Part of the training adaptations are triggered by the damage that we do to the muscles and the stress we place on our cardiovascular system. If we limit that, then is it possible we limit the triggers for adaptation? It’s looking like we at least blunt these responses. So, be careful with the mega doses of things like vitamin C. You might feel better the next day, but you might end up having to work even harder in the long term…

 

 

 

 

Do you load up antioxidants?

Keeping up with research is tough, but luckily the twitterverse makes it a little easier if you follow the right people. This little tidbit came across this morning and I had a chance to read through: Vitamin C and E supplementation

Recently, there has been increasingly more evidence that taking mega doses of antioxidants like vitamins C and E can actually hinder your hard earned aerobic adaptations. In fact I think I’ve seen a few people posting things about what’s true and what’s not. Anyway, here’s a easy breakdown of what this article found:

  • supplementation blunted certain protein up regulations that typically occur with training BUT training induced improvements  in VO2max and running performance were not altered.
  • However, these proteins being depressed could contribute to blunted mitochondrial growth. This, we know, would not be good! Keep in mind that this study was done over 11 weeks, which simply may not be enough time to show what happens long term. We know it takes years to develop our aerobic systems and a several week study just can’t represent long term effects. Imagine taking a huge dose of vitamin C several days a week over several years? It’s a very possible scenario.
  • Also, gened expression of certain signalling proteins were depressed, BUT capillarisation and stress proteins were not altered. I would consider what we just discussed in this case too.

Another study didn’t show any alterations, but the primary difference was the amount of vitamin C given. In the study that showed no “depression” in activity involved daily doses of 500 mg/day, whereas the current study used 1000 mg/day. Also, the previous study didn’t look at the same markers. The markers observed in the current study are directly related to the state of mitochondrial growth.

The bottom line is to be careful. People take these antioxidants to recover faster, but if you potentially blunt the growth of mitochondria, then it doesn’t particularly matter is you are recovered! Honestly, it simply shows that more is not always better- just like a lot of running related topics.

My 2 cents- Luke