Quenching Dehydration

When the sweating stops and dizziness, weakness and nausea set in, it could very well signal dehydration.

Derrick takes a water break every few minutes during practice. Dehydration has tackled him on and off the field before, and he remembers the pain all too well. “I was cramping from my neck all the way down to my foot.”

To head off dehydration, these football players are weighed before and after practice, and then again the next day to ensure they’re maintaining enough fluids. One pound of weight loss equals one pint of water loss.

When drinking fluids isn’t enough to maintain the weight, it may become necessary to replace the loss intravenously, under the supervision of a doctor.

That’s the only way that’s acceptable if it’s a physician who knows the athlete, knows the set of circumstances and a sterile environment.

During the IV, blood pressure must be monitored and a hospital should be nearby in case the athlete does not rebound quickly.

In any sport, pushing water and other fluids all day, everyday is good preventive medicine. Remember alcohol and soda don’t help!

If you get dehydrated, dizzy or nauseous, stop your activity immediately, get in the shade, and sip a drink slowly. If you’re not feeling better within a half hour, it’s time for the emergency room.

Experts say water is as good as sports drinks when it comes to keeping the body cool, but sports drinks add important substances, like electrolytes, back into the body.

Sports supplements

Protein supplements

Various types of protein supplements are available. They are usually sold as a means of increasing muscle bulk, sometimes as protein powders alone, sometimes with added carbohydrate. Some research supports the anabolic (muscle-building) effects of consuming about 2.0-2.5 g of protein per kilogram of body weight each day during resistance training by athletes who compete in strength/power events. However, because they have relatively high energy requirements, eating a balanced diet usually supplies all the protein they need. There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that taking protein supplements will enhance muscle mass in athletes who are eating well and doing high-quality resistance training.

Whey protein

This particular type of protein is a by-product of the cheese-making industry. The liquid left after the cheese curd is separated contains protein, which, it has been suggested, has a high biological value (i.e. it is a relatively “complete” protein and is easily used by the body) and promotes gains in muscle mass greater than other protein supplements. The studies demonstrating that whey protein builds muscle have mostly been done in animals. Evidence for any effect on performance related to muscle building in humans is limited.

Another proposed positive effect of consumption of whey protein is that it may enhance immune function. It is suggested that, because whey contains significant amounts of the amino acid cysteine, it promotes the production of an antioxidant, glutathione, which is necessary for development of the immune response. There is not a lot of scientific evidence for this, and again most studies have ben done in animals, but one study showed an increase in peak power, 30-second work capacity, and glutathione levels when 18 athletes were supplemented with 20 g of whey protein per day. The authors suggest that the whey protein reduced oxidative stress and muscle fatigue.

Not all whey protein is the same. Different methods of processing affect the amount and nature of the protein. Whey protein hydrolysate is considered inferior, as the protein is denatured by heat processing during preparation. Whey protein isolate (the most expensive type) contains most protein (about 90 g per 100 g), whereas whey protein concentrate contains less than half this (35 g per 100 g). Whey protein prepared using long-exchange filtration appears to retain most of the supposed immune-enhancing components. Thus, those wishing to gain the proposed immune system benefits should choose whey isolates prepared by ion-exchange filtration.


Chromium is a trace element that is involved in insulin action and maintaining blood sugar levels. Athletes appear to have increased urinary excretion of the mineral compared with sedentary adults. Chromium, usually as chromium picolinate, which is easily absorbed, is taken by some athletes in the belief that it will increase strength. Scientific evidence of this is equivocal.


This is a naturally occurring amino acid (methyl-guanidine acetic acid) found in skeletal muscles. It is made in the body from other amino acids, but is also present in meat. The average adult daily requirement is thought to be about 2 g: about 1 g of this is supplied by the diet in meat-eaters, but must be produced endogenously by vegetarians. In muscle, in the form of creatine phosphate, creatine provides a source of fuel for sprints or high-intensity exercise lasting up to 10 seconds.

Creatine monohydrate is the most common dietary supplement and it has been shown that large doses will increase muscle creatine and creatine phosphate. The response to creatine supplementation is variable, and about 30% of people will not show increased levels sufficient to improve performance, possibly because the levels in muscle were high to begin with. Creatine supplementation has been shown to enhance performance in exercise involving repeated sprints or bouts of high-intensity exercise followed by short recovery intervals. It has also been shown in some studies to increase strength. Athletes taking this supplement will be given a loading protocol, whereby the muscle levels are built up to saturation, followed by a daily small dose to maintain levels. Some studies suggest that carbohydrate taken with the creatine will enhance uptake into muscles. No long-term studies of creatine supplementation have been reported but as yet no adverse effects have been described.


This is an amino acid that acts as fuel for the immune system. Athletes who are training hard have been shown to have low circulating levels of glutamine in the hours after hard exercise.

Although exercise is generally beneficial to health, it has been suggested that athletes in heavy training, or who have recently completed an endurance event, are more susceptible to infections than sedentary people. It is possible that severe exercise results in a temporary reduction in the body’s immune response. It has been proposed that the reduction in circulating glutamine may result in a reduced ability to mount an immune response to opportunistic infections. Experimental work investigating the idea that glutamine supplements may protect athletes from infections has not yet been conclusive. However, the supplements are sold widely and research is ongoing.

Sports drinks

These are drinks that are designed to enable athletes to replace fluid lost during exercise. Dehydration can affect athletic performance, especially in endurance exercise such as long-distance running, but also in sports such as football or tennis where there is intermittent high-intensity exercise.

Sports drinks usually contain sugars (often as glucose) and electrolytes (sodium and potassium), but may also contain other substances such as choline and glycerol. They are designed with specific concentrations of glucose and electrolytes that are said to allow optimal rates of fluid absorption. The carbohydrate is also a source of energy. Concentrated solutions of carbohydrate can cause gastrointestinal upsets in some people.

Glycerol added to sports drinks has been shown in some studies, but not others, to enhance fluid absorption and prevent fatigue. It may be useful in endurance exercise, especially in hot conditions, but it may cause headaches and nausea, and is not advisable for those with high blood pressure or kidney problems, or for pregnant women.

Chocolate Milk: Post-workout drinks

ONE OF THE BEST post-exercise recovery drinks could already be in your refrigerator, according to new research presented at the American College of Sports Medicine conference in 2010. In a series of four studies, researchers William Lund and Nancy Rodriguez, both of the University of Connecticut, found that chocolate milk offered a recovery advantage to help repair and rebuild muscles. Drinking low-fat chocolate milk after a strenuous workout could even help prep muscles to perform better in a subsequent bout of exercise.

Specifically, the researchers found a chocolate milk advantage for: Building muscle. Post-exercise muscle biopsies in eight moderately trained male runners showed that, after drinking 16 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk, the runners had enhanced skeletal muscle protein synthesis—a sign that muscles were better able to repair and rebuild—compared to when they drank a carbohydrate-only sports beverage with the same number of calories. The researchers suggest, “Athletes can consider fat-free chocolate milk as an economic nutritional alternative to other sports nutrition beverages to support post-endurance exercise skeletal muscle repair.”

Replenishing muscle “fuel.” Replacing muscle fuel (glycogen) after exercise is essential to an athlete’s future performance and muscle recovery. Researchers found that drinking 16 ounces of chocolate milk, with its mix of carbohydrates and protein (compared to a carbohydrate-only sports drink with the same number of calories), led to greater concentration of glycogen in muscles at 30 and 60 minutes post exercise.

Maintaining lean muscle. Athletes risk muscle breakdown following exercise when the body’s demands are at their peak. Researchers found that drinking chocolate milk after exercise helped decrease markers of muscle breakdown compared to drinking a carbohydrate sports drink.

Subsequent exercise performance. Ten trained men and women cyclists rode for an hour and a half, followed by 10 minutes of intervals. They rested for four hours and were provided with one of three drinks immediately and two hours into recovery: low-fat chocolate milk, a carbohydrate drink with the same number of calories or a control drink. When the cyclists then performed a subsequent 40-kilometer ride, the trial times of those who drank chocolate milk were significantly faster than the trial times of the cyclists who consumed the carbohydrate drink or the control drink.

Milk also provides fluids for rehydration, as well as electrolytes, including potassium, calcium and magnesium lost during exercise, that both recreational exercisers and elite athletes need to replace after strenuous activity. Plus, chocolate milk is naturally nutrient-rich, with the advantage of additional nutrients not found in most traditional sports drinks.

Source: Costco News

Nutrition Mistakes

Athletes have more at stake than non-athletes when it comes to making decisions about the food they eat. Not only do they need the right kinds of substances for good health, they also need them for good performance. Nevertheless, they make nutritional mistakes.

Kristine Clark, Ph.D., R.D., a sports nutrition expert at Penn State says, “All of their lives, athletes have been told that 55-60 percent of their calories should come from carbohydrates; but what they hear is that 55-60 percent of their calories should come from starchy carbohydrates. We try to make them understand that carbohydrates are found in four of the five food groups. Few athletes think of fruits, vegetables and dairy products as sources of carbohydrates. Consequently, athletes over-consume starches.”

Another misconception is that fat is bad. Some athletes feel almost superior if they survive on a fat-free diet. This practice is counterproductive. Fat is an essential nutrient. If you don’t eat some fat, there is a strong possibility that total calories will be inadequate. When carbohydrates are the only nutrient consumed, there may not be enough calories from carbohydrates left over to make glycogen.

“Athletes worry about other things that they shouldn’t be concerned with,” continues Clark. “One example is red meat, especially among women athletes. Red meat, eaten in appropriate amounts, is a source of protein and other nutrients.”

“Many serious exercisers are pre-occupied with the mistaken need for dietary supplements. While supplements may be appropriate if a person is not getting 100 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) in certain food groups, I spend too much time answering questions about things like garlic, ginseng, herbs, creatine and protein supplements. In most cases, these substances are simply not necessary for good nutrition or to enhance performance.”

Pre-game and post-game nutrition has always been an issue among athletes. Clark warns them about the mistake of not consuming enough fluids. “Athletes should take in fluids before, during and after strenuous or extended exercise. They should also eat a balanced meal about four hours before competition plus a pre-game snack about an hour before game time.”

“Don’t wait too long after a game to eat,” she concludes. “Take in carbohydrate-rich foods within two hours after intense exercise. It doesn’t matter whether you eat solids or drink liquids. After an exercise period, you can eat almost anything you want. Sports drinks and juices are good for rehydration as well as providing carbohydrates.”

In summary:

Look for carbohydrates in four of the five food groups.
Don’t totally exclude fat from your diet.
Eat red meats in moderate amounts as a source of protein and other nutrients.
Use supplements only if you are not getting 100 percent of the RDA in specific food groups.
Drink fluids before, during and after exercise periods.
Eat a balanced meal about four hours before game time.
Eat high carbohydrate foods within two hours after an event.

Total Knee Replacement Surgery Improves Function, Reduces Long-Term Costs

Total knee replacement (TKA) dramatically improves a patient’s quality of life and significantly reduces his/her long-term treatment costs, according to a new study.

Total knee replacement is performed on people who have severe functional limitations due to traumatic injury, a systemic disorder, or osteoarthritis, a condition which destroys cartilage and joints.

More than 194,000 TKAs are done each year in the United States, and the number is expected to increase as the population ages.

Orthopaedic researchers compared the long-term cost-effectiveness of total knee replacement surgery to that of medical management (nonoperative strategy) for treatment of severe osteoarthritis of the knee, over the remaining lifetime of the patient.

“For both strategies, we calculated the patient’s estimated average time in various functional outcome states and the total direct health care costs over his/her remaining lifetime,” said Dr. Gottlob.

The four functional states are:

the person is completely able to carry on all their usual activities

the person has some discomfort or limited motion in the knee but otherwise is able to perform usual activities

the person can do little or no regular work; little or no self-care

the person is incapacitated, primarily bedridden, or wheelchair-bound, with little or no ability for self-care

Results of the study shows that patients treated nonoperatively with anti-inflammatory medications and/or supportive devices (cane, walker) would spend all of their time in the two worse functional outcome states-unable to work or incapacitated, said Dr. Gottlob.

In contrast, total knee replacement patients would spend most of their time able to perform their everyday activities.

The costs of the TKA strategy include total hospital costs (operating room costs, implant costs, nursing unit costs), physician charges, medication costs and acute rehabilitation costs, he said. “A patient gets twice as many quality years with a total knee replacement than without the surgery,” said Dr. Gottlob.

“Total knee replacement surgery is a cost-saving procedure, even for people in their 70s, 80s and 90s. These results are especially relevant for health care decision makers who wish to allocate resources, in part, on the basis of cost-effectiveness.”

Source: Ivanhoe

Tips On Avoiding Tendinitis

Sometimes the aches and pains we have may go away when we begin to exercise. That isn’t necessarily good news. Aches that go away with exercise may signal tendinitis, a recurring problem for many athletes. Tendinitis can take several forms: runners will often get Achilles tendinitis. Baseball players will get tendinitis in the shoulder. For tennis players the elbow is the susceptible joint. Even weightlifters can suffer from biceps tendinitis.

Tendons are strong, fibrous tissues that connect muscle to bone. When the tendon swells and becomes sore we have tendinitis. There are several causes of tendinitis, one of the biggest is overuse of the muscles. Not stretching properly can also cause problems. Flexibility is important in preventing tendinitis. Working out too vigorously can actually cause fibers in the tendon to tear. And wearing the wrong type shoes can cause stretching of the tendon which leads to tendinitis.

Pain and a reduction in the range of motion is a sign of tendinitis. The tendon can become so swollen that it actually makes noise when we move it. Even though continued exercising may make the tendon feel better don’t keep going. Exercise will do much more harm than good. Rest is the first step on the road to recovery. Because tendinitis comes in so many forms it’s a good idea to visit a doctor for proper treatment. Many times there are exercises that will aid in our recovery.

How can we avoid tendinitis? Dr. H. Winter Griffith, in his book “Complete Guide to Sports Injuries,” suggests that the athlete should become well-conditioned before attempting a regular sports program. He also stresses a good warm-up before we play a game or beginning a run. And he suggests that learning the proper techniques for a sport can help avoid injury.