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The Truth about Sports Recovery Drinks
By Joe Stout B.Sc., M.S.

 

In the vast market of sports and energy drinks most are advertised as performance enhancing or health improving in nature. However a quick comparison of various brands and it is soon discovered that they are not so much miraculous as they are well marketed. The fact is, these caffeinated syrups do little more than over excite the nervous system and cause an inevitable crash after consumption. Unfortunately for too long, the consumer has had to suffer from an over abundance of highly processed, sugar laden, sports/energy drinks. The lineup of ingredients in these so called performance enhancing “supplements” plays like a bad detective story. In each drink, the usual suspects are rounded up (sugar, sucrose syrup, high fructose corn syrup, caffeine, artificial sweeteners/colors/stimulants, etc.) and yet each product claims “magical” performance enhancing benefits. The obvious problem is that if each drink is made with the same unhealthy ingredients, what real health benefits are there going to be? In all actuality a company can say all they want about their sugary caffeine water but I can make the same claim for a cup of stale coffee and we would both be on similar nutritional grounds.

There are two functions of a sports drink (actually three but I’ll get to that in a moment). The first is to rehydrate the body from the effects of dehydration often brought about by mild, moderate, or intense exercise. The second, to replenish electrolytes lost by sweat and metabolic activity. Certain sports drinks handle the first function with ease because they’re composition is mainly plain water. However many miss even this simple goal by containing carbonated water which has been cited as causing a variety of health related problems. As a side note, I should mention that during my graduate research work, we found that on average around 80% of people were chronically dehydrated regardless of their level of thirst. Bottom line, you probably need more water.

The second function, that of replenishing electrolytes, is almost always either overlooked or executed poorly by the leading beverages. The discrepancy lies in the fact that the majority of the minerals found in each bottle are synthetic and exist in ratios not found in nature. For example, the potassium to sodium ratio should be around 3 parts potassium to 1 part sodium (3:1) but in almost every leading beverage I have analyzed the ratio is always 1:3, 1:4, and even 1:5. This is backwards and leans far too heavily on sodium chloride (salt) a substance which nearly everyone over-consumes.

As I alluded to earlier, there is actually a third function of sports drinks that, while rarely addressed, is absolutely crucial. I am referring to the role of antioxidants in combating the damaging effects of free radical oxidation. In a nutshell, free radicals cause oxidative damage in living organisms by disrupting a portion of DNA which then creates a new free radical. These two free radicals will then disrupt more DNA creating more free radicals, fueling a vicious cycle. The bad news is that this DNA damage is often at the root of sickness, aging, and cancer. Even worse news is that oxidation happens all the time and is difficult to avoid. But perhaps the worst news, especially for athletes, is that exercise (yes life extending exercise) creates massive amounts of free radical in the form of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). As exercise frequency and intensity increases, so does the production of ROS. Obviously, I am not advocating against exercise as it is clearly a healthy activity. However, if we are not actively combating the ROS created during said exercise, we are taking 3 steps forward to 2 steps back.

Solar Synergy by Mt. Capra - Sun to Earth Energy - The Ultimate Sports Recovery & Anti-Aging FormulaFortunately there is hope. Although healthy sports drinks are far and few between, there is one that addresses each of the three functions discussed above. Solar Synergy, when mixed with pure filtered water, counteracts the effects of dehydration. It also replenishes electrolytes by providing over 20 bio-organic minerals and electrolytes in natural ratios (including a healthy 3:1 potassium to sodium ratio). Solar Synergy also contains an impressive array of superfruits which when paired with the aforementioned bio-organic mineral/electrolyte combo, provide an antioxidant synergy that is sure to give free radicals a knock out blow.

Recover With Antioxidants and Electrolytes

As you read this, your body is waging an endless war against silent and invisible assassins. These assassins aren’t a new strain of swine flu, they haven’t caused any widespread panic, and no amount of antibiotics or vaccines will get rid of them. They are free radicals and they, and the oxidative damage they cause, are here to stay. Every single human on God’s green earth is engaged in this battle and the consequences of this war are linked with diabetes, hypertension, cancer and many other disease states. These microscopic hit-men (free radicals) are infinitesimally small and are continuously attacking and destroying the very foundation of our living cells, our DNA. Free radical oxidation happens everyday; when we eat, when we work, and especially when we exercise.

Free radicals cause oxidative damage and although they are invisible to the human eye, their effects can be noticed in mere minutes. Find an apple, cut it in half, then wait and within moments, oxygen molecules will attack the flesh of the apple, cause oxidative damage, and cause the apple to turn brown. In living organisms, this occurs as well. There is often a chain reaction wherein one free radical disrupts a portion of DNA which creates a new free radical. These two free radicals will then create more free radicals, fueling a vicious cycle.

So is there any hope? What can we possibly do to slow or prevent the role of free radical induced oxidative damage? First, there are some things to avoid. Although total elimination of oxidative damage is impossible, there are many lifestyle practices that if engaged in will increase damage. Some practices that speed up free radical oxidative damage are smoking, eating charred/fried foods, and overexposure to ultra-violet (UV) light, (i.e. sun/tanning bed). Merely avoiding these practices is an excellent way to slow down oxidative damage.

But should we really only play defense when it comes to our health? As the adage goes, “the best defense is a good offense” and that is exactly the position we need to take to combat oxidative damage. Free radicals have a veritable foe in the oxidation war, they are called, you guessed it, antioxidants. Let’s go back to the apple analogy from earlier and instead of having the apple merely “avoid” unhealthy practices like smoking and extreme UV exposure, let’s have the apple take the offense. We will douse the apple slice with a potent antioxidant such as lemon juice and then wait for oxidation to occur. We had better have a good book to read because it is going to be a lot longer wait than before. The lemon juice is packed with ascorbic acid, (aka vitamin C) which prevents the apple from oxidizing. Vitamin C is only one of a long list of antioxidants. Others include vitamin A, vitamin E, Coenzyme Q10, glutathione, and astaxanthin. There is a much longer list than just these few, and all of these antioxidants are working to neutralize the damaging effects of oxidation. Antioxidants are literal life savers because if we didn’t have these “good guys” in our system, free radical oxidation (the bad guys) would kill us in a matter of days. It is really that crucial!

Now that we’ve got the background, let’s hear some bad news. Oxidation happens all the time. Sometimes we can avoid it, sometimes we can’t. Exercise is an area where we just can’t avoid oxidation. Free radical damage will happen if and when you exercise. But as we all know, exercise is a cornerstone of health and therefore it is an interesting juxtaposition that exercise can actually induce a life shortening process like free radical oxidation. When we exercise we generate Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) which function as free radicals. As exercise intensity increases, so does the production of ROS. The problem, as we have seen above, is that these highly unstable (reactive) oxygen species are directly responsible for causing oxidative damage during exercise. In fact, ROS has been shown to have a highly negative impact on muscle performance as well as muscle recovery. Therefore, everyone involved in a daily exercise routine must make getting enough antioxidants a priority!

The natural question at this point is “what foods have the most antioxidants?” and the answer is, “those foods with a high ORAC value.” The ORAC value stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity and is based on how many free radicals a specific food can absorb or neutralize. So, if a cucumber has an ORAC value of 214 and a yellow bell pepper has an ORAC value of 694 then the bell pepper has the capacity to absorb three times more free radicals than the cucumber. The higher the ORAC, the higher the antioxidant power.

Capra Mineral Whey A uniquely processed, 100% natural, mineral-rich, goat’s milk whey powder.Mt. Capra’s SOLAR SYNERGY is the perfect choice for athletes and non-athletes who are looking for a sports recovery drink that not only refuels their electrolyte stores but also delivers an antioxidant knock-out blow to the destructive force of oxidation. SOLAR SYNERGY contains a proprietary blend of superfoods, antioxidants, and electrolytes, the primary being Capra Mineral Whey.

Intense exercise will always produce free radical oxidation as well as diminish the body of crucial electrolytes such as sodium, chloride, and potassium. The Capra Mineral Whey that is found in Solar Synergy supplies the body with much needed bio-organic sources of over 20 minerals. Remember that bio-organic, or whole food sourced minerals, are key. There are countless sport recovery drinks that contain nothing more than table salt and sugar water and have no natural food sources.

Mt. Capra’s new Double Bonded Goat Milk Protein formula, specifically designed for body builders, athletes, and everyone looking to gain lean body mass.Mt. Capra has really taken Solar Synergy to the next level by insisting all their electrolytes/antioxidants, have a natural food source. Along with supplying key minerals/electrolytes, SOLAR SYNERGY contains such superfoods as goji berries, wild blueberries, acerola cherries, and many more! These superfoods combined with the bio-organic minerals present in Capra Mineral Whey make for a powerful post-workout recovery drink. When SOLAR SYNERGY is combined with Mt. Capra’s Double Bonded Protein the pair creates a synergistic muscle recovery duo that can replenish systemic electrolytes, fuel new muscle growth/repair, and stave off dangerous free radical oxidation.

SOLAR SYNERGY contains over 20 bio-organic minerals and 9 superfoods, but for now we are going to focus on one of its many functional ingredients: Sensoril. In a nutshell, Sensoril is a multi-patented, proprietary, standardized extract of the Ayurvedic botanical, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). But it really is so much more than just another Ashwagandha extract. This mind and body supplement has a list of clinically proven health benefits that is longer than my arm. We will examine and explain 5 of them. For the sake of this article length, I will limit my explanations of each health benefit.

1. Sensoril® a Superior Solution to Stress

When the body is stressed, its normal state of balance, or homeostasis, is disrupted. This causes a series of physiological reactions along the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis which results in increased secretion of cortisol into the bloodstream. Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” because it produces a wide range of stress-related symptoms. Sensoril is an optimal ingredient in Solar Synergy because it lowers cortisol levels in the body thus relieving stress. This was demonstrated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in which the level of serum cortisol dropped by 24.2% in subjects taking Sensoril. Interesting thing about this is that those taking the placebo saw their cortisol levels rise by nearly 5% that is bad news for those on the placebo and great news for those consuming Sensoril!

These same subjects also experienced a 69.9% reduction in an overall measure of stress-related symptoms. Bottom line is that we’re seeing some pretty hefty clinical data backing up the ability of Sensoril and thus Solar Synergy to reduce stress in the body.

2. Sensoril is Clinically Proven to Provide Healthy Energy

Solar Synergy contains the therapeutic dose of Sensoril (250mg) which has been clinically proven to provide long-lasting, balanced energy in a safe and effective manner. This type of stimulant-free energy enhancement lacks the feelings of nervousness and jitters that normally accompany use of stimulant-based energy ingredients.

In the previously described double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, subjects taking Sensoril felt their energy level increase by 79% with no negative side effects reported.

This energizing effect was accompanied by a rise in the subjects’ levels of serum dehyroepiandrosterone (DHEA), an energizing hormone that becomes depleted when people are stressed and as they age. Research has also found that Sensoril enhances energy-related metabolism at the cellular level by increasing levels of ATP and other energy-related cellular metabolites that are produced in mitochondria, the cell’s energy factory.

3. Sensoril is Proven to Enhance Mental Cognition

Chronic stress and aging are associated with decreased brain activity due to altered neurotransmitter levels, inhibition of neural connections, and even neuron death caused by high cortisol levels and free radical-induced oxidative damage. Parts of the brain like the hippocampus and cerebral cortex, which are associated with memory and concentration, are particularly vulnerable to stress and aging-induced damage.

Sensoril has been clinically proven to significantly reduce forgetfulness and the inability to concentrate.

Its ability to enhance cognitive function in this way is caused by the extraordinary, multifunctional properties of Sensoril’s with anolide glycoside bioactives. They raise levels of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter associated with memory in the hippocampus, by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that degrades acetylcholine. Through their cortisol-inhibiting properties, Sensoril bioactives protect parts of the brain that are vulnerable to cortisol-induced neuron damage, including the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. They also reduce oxidative damage to neurons in the brain both by stimulating greater concentrations of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase, and by neutralizing free radicals directly with their own antioxidant activity.

4. Sensoril can Help Maintain Glucose Balance

Increasingly, more people are having difficulty with elevated blood sugar levels, Metabolic Syndrome, and insulin resistance. Research is now showing that the relationship between heightened cortisol levels and elevated blood sugar levels culminates in compromised health as a result of the way the body responds to stress (particularly psychological stress). When stressed, the body secretes cortisol, which stimulates conversion of stored energy (fat and muscle protein) into glucose to provide energy that can be rapidly metabolized to bolster the ability to run away from a stressor or rise up to confront it (known as the “fight or flight” response).

In the double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial mentioned previously, Sensoril significantly lowered fasting blood sugar levels in subjects by an average of 4.7%.

This demonstrates that it is a highly effective anti-stress and adaptogenic agent and that Sensoril can provide blood sugar balance support through a reduction in cortisol levels.

5. Sensoril can Support Cardiovascular Health

Prolonged stress can contribute to increased blood lipid levels, high blood pressure, heart disease, and atherosclerosis, all of which negatively impact cardiovascular health. Sensoril helps support cardiovascular health in several compelling ways.

In that same double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, Sensoril significantly lowered blood pressure and improved blood lipid levels in subjects.

It also reduced their levels of C-reactive protein, an acute-phase protein that is associated with systemic inflammation and has been found to be correlated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Together, these clinical results demonstrate that Sensoril enhances many factors that are associated with cardiovascular health.

The implications are clear. Sensoril is a powerful and healthy supplement to add to your regime. I use this ingredient everyday when I drink a glass of Solar Synergy. Shouldn’t you be doing the same?

Notes from Christine Dreher CCN, CCH:

Solar Synergy by Mt. Capra - Sun to Earth Energy - The Ultimate Sports Recovery & Anti-Aging FormulaMt. Capra’s Solar Synergy is my recommendation for sport’s recovery drinks. Along with supplying key minerals and electrolytes from natural whole food sources, SOLAR SYNERGY contains such superfoods as goji berries, wild blueberries, acerola cherries, and more. These superfoods combined with Sensoril and the bio-organic electrolyte minerals present in Capra Mineral Whey create a powerful post-workout recovery drink and an amazing anti-aging and restorative health product.

When Solar Synergy is combined with Mt. Capra’s Double Bonded Protein the pair creates a synergistic muscle recovery duo that can replenish systemic electrolytes, fuel new muscle growth/repair, and stave off dangerous free radical oxidation.

Resources

For more information on the Solar Synergy click here.

For more information on the Capra Mineral Whey, click here.

For more information on the Double Bonded Protein, click here.

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