Q & A With Clayton South: August 2004!

What supplements can you take to slow the growth of goiters in your thyroid, a sample quad routine, what supplements for joint pain, what mrps are best and more...

I've been diagnosed with a goiter on my thyroid. The doctor told me to eat more salt to help prevent the growth from becoming larger. I am an athlete, and I am worried that salt is not that good for you. I've always tried to avoid it because it makes me look fat. Are there any supplements that I can take to stop the growth from getting larger, without having to consume all that salt?

Your situation is common. Many people with goiters are instructed by their physicians to consume sodium, or sodium rich foods, in order to stop the proliferation of a potentially cancerous growth. The only problem with sodium, as you point out, is that is not good for you in excessive amounts.

The chief concern with sodium intake is its impact on blood pressure. Research has demonstrated conclusively that a positive dose-dependent correlation exists between sodium and blood pressure, even when other factors like obesity are controlled for.1

Sodium is a chemical compound made from sodium chloride (NaCl). Sodium chloride on its own is not effective at preventing the growth of a goiter. What is needed is Iodized salt - NaCl with iodine added. Goiters develop as a result of iodine deficiency. It stands to reason, therefore, that the substance of relevance to stopping the growth of a goiter and preventing iodine deficiency is, well, iodine. It is for this reason that iodine was added to NaCl in the early twentieth century.

For your doctor to suggest that iodized salt is the best - and only - way to obtain iodine is for your doctor to be medically irresponsible, and factually ignorant. Whenever health problems arise, the best place to begin an investigation into the matter is the diet of the afflicted person. Usually the solution is found where the problem is.

Iodine can be obtained easily not from supplements, but from the best source of all: nature. Spinach a great source of iodine, and not only will spinach provide you with plenty of iodine, it will also help to normalize your blood acid levels. Protein and carbohydrates raise the ph balance of blood, and vegetables lower the balance, because they are extremely alkaline - so its important to consume a healthy portion of vegetables daily.

Any health issue that you have can usually be sufficiently remedied through nutritional means - not pills. Think of pills or supplements as something that SUPPLEMENTS, but does not constitute - your diet. Try incorporating spinach into your nutritional plan three times per week, and you should begin to see the results you desire-minus the high blood pressure.

I tried your bicep routine as outlined in Biceps Blitzkrieg, and I have to tell you that I gained a full inch on my arms. It was awesome! But a weak spot for me has always been my quadriceps. Can you suggest a routine to make them grow?

I would be pleased to. I am going to assume that your nutrition regimen is appropriate for your goals. You did not provide me with any details about your current training plan, but that will not be much of issue.

Here Is What I Recommended:

  1. Barbell Front Squats - 5 x 6
  2. Leg Extensions - 4x8
  3. Barbell Lunges - 3x8

Click here for a printable log of this routine.

You should complete this routine in 20 minutes, and should perform it two times per week for a period of six weeks. If you decide to work quadriceps on leg day with hamstrings and calfs, employ the priority principle and work quadriceps first when you are fresh.

For leg extensions, bring your knees to pre-lockout position during the contraction phase, and hold for two seconds. While your quadriceps are contracted, simultaneously contract your core muscles to create a center of gravity, and drive your buttocks down into the seat.

If you have to hold your self down by using your arms, you are either in the incorrect position, or you are using too much weight and should lower the wait until you select an appropriate poundage that you can do properly for the required number of repetitions.

Try this routine and your quadriceps should grow in no time.

I've been having joint pain and it is starting to affect my performance in the gym. I've been lifting for about a year. Is there anything I can do?

If you have been lifting for one year and are experiencing joint troubles at this early stage, it tells me that your symptoms are due to genetics, or maladaptive exercise form. Either you are either genetically predisposed to having joint troubles, or your form is poor and you are hyper-extending or over flexing your joints. Experience tells me that it is probably the latter.

When a person first undertakes resistance training, their first priority should be to use correct form for all exercises. In other words, through high repetitions the trainee should reinforce adaptive and correct muscle firing patterns. Failure to do so can result in nerve, spinal and joint abnormalities. Overtime, cumulative damage can occur, and sometimes this damage is irreversible. The key is to catch such problems in their infancy before they become chronic.

Here Is The Protocol That I Recommended For You:

  1. Consult your physician to rule out any other ailments or conditions that may produce these symptoms naturally (i.e. audible sclerosis, arthritis, etc.)

  2. If possible, obtain a bone scan to determine that there are no signs of degeneration and that blood flow is adequate to the extremities.

  3. Have an experienced friend check your exercise form to ensure that the bio mechanical is correct.

  4. Increased mile and polyunsaturated fat intake, and correct for any nutritional deficiencies that may exist.

  5. And sure that your water intake is sufficient and that you do not suffer from dehydration. Hydration levels are critical for joint health

  6. Employ the use of the continuous tension principle for all of your sets. Never lock-out on any exercise as this act will place the entire weight load on the joint. If you cannot handle the wait, do not rest on the joints, just reduce it until it is appropriate for your strength level.

  7. Supplement with the quality glucosamine / chondroitin / MSM product.

  8. If necessary, retain the services of a chiropractor with sports medicine training.

You may also want to take a hiatus from training to allow for recovery. Any kind of injury requires rest and time to heal. If you approach this situation as outlined and take responsibility for your medical condition, your situation should begin to improve rapidly.

I am looking to buy a meal replacement supplement for those times that I cannot cook food. The problem is that there are so many to choose from and I am not sure which one to buy. What would you recommend?

Meal replacement powders are an excellent way to ensure that you receive adequate nutrition necessary to sustain continual muscle growth. Any disruption in nutrient supply will result in a catabolic state and the destruction of your nitrogen balance.

A great meal replacement powder with a proven track record is MyoPlex by EAS. It is available in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cream flavors. I have used it and I like it a lot. With an impressive profile containing 42 grams of protein, 23 grams of carbohydrates, and only 270 calories, MyoPlex delivers the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you require, while making sure that you will not gain unnecessary and unsightly body fat.

Another meal replacement powder on the market that shows promise is Lean Mass Matrix by Prolab. Several months ago my contact at Prolab sent me some advanced samples, I was impressed by the product. It is free from aspartame and other sweeteners, and the consistency is nice, with no aftertaste. The cinnamon oatmeal is especially delicious.

If you want a meal replacement powder, EAS and Prolab are two reputable companies that manufacture quality products. They cost more than other meal replacement powders out on the market, but that is because they are worth more than other meal replacement powders out on the market. Your body demands the best, and the best doesn't come cheap. So, put your money or your muscles are and give these two meal replacement powders a try.

I was at the FAME Fitness and Model Expo in Toronto in May, and Muscle Marketing USA had a booth set up, and they were giving away samples of liquid creatine. They also handed out a scientific report and it looked convincing. The problem is that I've heard that the stuff doesn't work - so now I am confused. Have you seen any clinical data on liquid creatine serum?

Yes, I have seen the science and independent lab reports on this product, and unfortunately hard science does not bode well for liquid creatine serum.

The company marketing liquid creatine is, as you mention, Muscle Marketing U.S.A. and they have several "creatine serum" products. The one I am going to focus on is their most popular product in this genre - Alpha ATP.

This product comes in several flavors including wild strawberry flavor, wild cherry flavor, and Apple. The makers of liquid creatine serum claim that it has been shown to be 100 percent stable in liquid solution. The company goes so far as to issue a paper on their formulation which they claim demonstrates the products stability and efficacy.

The only problem with this paper is that it is a research "summary" - and the summary is biased and incorrect in its conclusion.

A study by Almada et all. tested creatine serum against a 2500 mg (2.5g) dose of powdered creatine monohydrate, and a water placebo. Test subjects were randomly assigned to one of the three conditions, and each was screened to examine the appearance of creatine in the bloodstream for eight hours after the administration of the substance appropriate to their assigned groups.

The researchers found that "ingestion of powdered creatine monohydrate resulted in a significant increase in plasma creatine and urinary creatine excretion. No increase in plasma creatine occurred on ingestion of 5 mm of creatine serum or water."2

What this means is this: when subject to scientific scrutiny, liquid creatine did as well at elevating muscle creatine levels as ordinary tap water!

Some may argue these results and claim that urinary creatine tests measure only the level of creatine excreted by the body. They may go on to claim that because ordinary creatine was found in urine and creatine serum was not, that creatine serum is better at being absorbed by the body.

This claim would convince, if not for the next study that was performed on the levels of creatine present in the creatine serum product.

After the subject testing-phase of the study was complete, Almada et all tested creatine serum by Muscle Marketing USA at three independent laboratories and found that for every 5 mm dose of creatine serum there was only ten milligrams of creatine. This means that liquid creatine by Muscle Marketing U.S.A. contains 200 times less creatine than is listed on the product label! Interestingly, this double-blind controlled study was not included in Muscle Marketing USA's "research summary."

The bottom line is that I think liquid creatine is nothing more than snake oil - a total scam and a total waste of money. Not only that, but Alpha ATP tastes terrible. And, in my view, the name Muscle Marketing is appropriate because liquid creatine is about only that - marketing - and has certainly never been about muscles or science.


  1. Tobjan L. lessons from animal models that relate to human hypertension. Hypertension, 1991; 17 (Suppl.1):52-58.
  2. Almada, A., Harris, R., Harris, D.B. "Ingestion of Creatin Serum has no Effect on Plasma Creatine" Imaginurtiion, Inc. / MetaResponses Science, School of Sports Studies, University College Chichester, Chichester, U.K.

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