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Applied Bodybuilding Research: The Latest News - 3-25-04!

Learn why elderly bodybuilders need more antioxidants, why you need more fat and fruits and vegetables, the effects of steroids, how to cure baldness and much more...
Note: Do YOU know of new studies that have come out recently & we don't have them? Send me an E-mail!

Elderly bodybuilders: Get your antioxidants!

Antioxidants are powerful bodily scavengers; they seek out pollutants and free radicals, eliminating them from the body and preventing muscular and DNA damage.

Many bodybuilders do not pay close enough attention to the importance of antioxidants, but they should. Members of the general public should pay particular attention, too, as oxidative stress has been implicated in a multitude of cancers.

Bodybuilders have a unique need for antioxidants. Whereas bodybuilders will, like other members of the public, suffer oxidative stress resulting from environmental pollutants, bodybuilders will suffer further oxidative stresses, resulting from intense physical stress associated with training.

Furthermore, as a bodybuilder ages, the repair mechanisms of the body become slower and less efficient at initiating the repair process. Should a bodybuilder fail to compensate nutritionally, he or she will find themselves more likely to be in a state of overtraining. This will, naturally, decrease ones ability to train effectively.

A recent study on Italian men (n=986) ages 65 or over showed that plasma antioxidant levels are positively correlated with physical performance and strength as one gets older. Given that each of us is getting older every moment, and the fact that we constantly play dice with the grim reaper every time we take a breath, we are all "old" and on deaths doorstep. So, by taking antioxidants we can tip the scales in our favour.

SOURCE: Antioxidants and Physical performance in elderly persons: the invecchaire in Chianti (InCHIANTI) Study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition;2004, 79:289094.

Eat Fat: It is good for you!

Contrary to common belief, fat is not bad for you. In fact, new research is confirming what enlightened bodybuilders have known for years. It is not fat that is bad for you per se; it is the type of fat that you eat that determines its effects.

It has been shown that a diet moderate (20-30% of daily calories) in monounsaturated fats (olive oil, flax seed, and omega oils) help to improve overall lipid profile, and will lead to fat loss.

So eat fat, just eat the right kinds and in the right amounts!

SOURCE: Christine L. Pelkman, Valerie K. Fishell, Deborah H Maddux, Thomas A Pearson, David T. Mauger, and Penny M. Kris-Etherton. Effects of moderate-fat (from monounsaturated fat) and low fat weight-loss diets on the serum lipid profile in overweight and obese men and women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2004;79:204-12.

More reasons to eat your fruits and vegetables!

Many bodybuilders are protein obsessed to the point where they will consume large quantities of meat, often to the exclusion of fruits and vegetables. This type of approach to nutrition is a mistake.

When one consumes animal tissue, the body must undergo the laborious chemical and enzymatic processes of decomposition and synthesis. The breakdown of proteins produce acid, and these acids can seriously cause a disruption in the bodies alkaline-acid balance.

As a result, acid can begin to cause ruptures in capillaries. In its defence, the body produces cholesterol to patch the holes. This can then lead to blood flow restriction, and, ultimately, hypertension.

Further, depending on how the animal being consumed was raised, bio-accumulative substances can enter the human body, creating oxidative stress and damage to muscle tissue and human DNA. Should damaged cells reproduce, cancer can overtake the body. Not a good picture.

Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of antioxidants that function to ruid the body of harmful pollutants that cause internal damage.

Fruits (depending on the type) are high in fiber, and this serves to speed gastric emptying. Vegetables serve to counteract the increase in acid brought by the carbohydrate found in fruit, and they also help to do the same with respect to the acid resulting from protein digestion. Vegetables are extremely alkaline and as such serve to not only exert considerable antioxidant powers in themselves, but also they contribute to resorting alkaline-acid balance, this preventing and removing LDL cholesterol, and lowering hypertension.

A recent study examined fruit and vegetable intake in 2047 men with a mean age 0f 51.5 years.

The study, not surprisingly, found that LDL levels are inversely correlated with fruit and vegetable intake. For healthy capillaries and arteries, as well as low cholesterol, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

SOURCE: Fruit and Vegetable consumption and LDL cholesterol: The national heart, lung and blood institute family heart study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004;79:213-7.

The effects of steroids on your heart...

A recent study published in Australia examined the effects of AAS on heart function in conjunction with heavy resistance training.

The study had 46 highly-trained collegiate level athletes, who competed in various events, subject themselves to a variety of tests.

The results showed that, in comparison to non-steroid using athletes, steroid using athletes had abnormalities in the left ventricle of their hearts.

It was noted that training alone often results in changes in left ventricle function, but these abnormalities were exacerbated by the use of AAS.

SOURCE: M. Climstein, P. O'Shea, KJ Adams, M. DeBeliso. The effects of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids upon resting and peak left ventricular heart wall motion kinetics in male strength and power athletes. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 6(4):387-397.

A cure for baldness...

We all know about the various hair-regeneration products on the market today. Most of the time they are messy and require you to smear chemicals on your scalp. Do they work? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. One thing is for sure: They are not perfect, and if you stop using them the hair you regenerated will fall out, never to be seen again until the next "treatment." Clearly these products are a less-than perfect answer to a problem that plagues millions.

Not surprisingly, scientists have been looking for the answer, and they may now have found it.

Researchers in Philadelphia have examined stem cells and have discovered that they can be grown into hair follicles. These follicles could then be transplanted and could grow hair in selected areas on the recipient.

So, there is hope for bodybuilders who suffer baldness as a result of steroid use or natural genetics.

SOURCE: Stem cells found to renew hair growth. United Press International via COMTEX.

Is a pill the answer?

The general public often thinks that bodybuilders eat pills to get "the look." The common consensus is that hard work accounts for relatively little and that all one has to do it take this-or-that supplement to look like "Arnold" over night.

This is why the supplements, apparently, "don't work" for those of the general public and generate nothing but disappointment.

Well, there is no magic pill. A supplement can be designed perfectly, but if the consumer does nothing to change lifestyle habits, all the pills in the world will have no effect. And so users of various cholesterol lowering drugs have discovered.

A recent study showed that because of the quick-fix mentality of Western society, persons on cholesterol reducing drugs often change nothing about their lifestyle, thinking that the pills will offer them protection.

Bodybuilders recognize that the road to health involves total lifestyle change - a change of a persons most basic habits and tendencies. Only when a person changes their habits and behaviours will a supplement have any chance of working to its fullest.

SOURCE: Popping Pills Not Enough to Compensate for Bad Habits. The Boston Globe.

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