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  • Supplements Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for Millennia may Help Improve Running Times and Performance, According to Results of a Human Study

    Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has brought some effective remedies to the West over the past century, allowing millions to benefit from them.

    The results of a new study indicate that a combination of two herbs used in TCM can help significantly improve running times, and promote subsequent recovery.

    The Supplements In Question

    The study, undertaken by researchers from Kaohsiung Medical University in Thailand, used a combination of Astragalus membranaceus and Angelica sinesis in a 5 to 1 ratio and marketed as a product known as Danggua Buxue Tang (DBT).

    The Study

    The study analyzed the data obtained from 36 men that identified as recreationally active runners, who consumed the combination DBT supplement before beginning a 13 km run, or a placebo over the course of 11 days.

    The Results

    The men that consumed DBT displayed on average, 12 minutes earlier completion of the run, equating to approximately 14% faster time when compared to the men that were given placebo. By the time the study was in its eighth day, men assigned DBT were able to run the 13 km distance at maximum intensity, whereas at the inception of the trial, this was not possible.

    The Role of DBT in the Trial

    DBT has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for well over three millennia, where it was reported to improve physical activity significantly. However, this was all anecdotal evidence until this study was undertaken.

    In particular, DBT appears to play an important role in the regulation of serum iron levels. Many athletes fall victim to the development of iron deficiency anemia as a result of rigorous training [1], even though iron's its role in physical performance is typically underestimated.

    However, ensuring post exercise serum iron levels are maintained is critical to your overall recovery. In athletes, iron levels may be compromised as a result of:

    • Hemolysis as a results of exercise, owing to oxidative stress and mechanical force placed on muscles and joints.
    • Gastrointestinal and urinary tract blood loss as a result of compromised visceral blood circulation during exercise (causing microscopic tears).
    • Reduced iron absorption due to increased levels of hepcidin post-workout (brought on by acute inflammation), and also iron sequestration in macrophage cells.

    Following a workout, hepcidin levels are elevated [2], leading to decreased iron transport and a reduction in serum levels.

    Supplementation with DBT reduces the impact of hepcidin post workout [3], allowing for increased serum iron levels and accelerated recovery.

    Other Findings

    Subjects that supplemented with DBT during the trial also displayed lower levels of the oxidative marker malondialdehyde in blood 72 hours following exercise, along with an immediate 63% increase in serum iron levels post exercise, and an average 31% elevation after three days of rest.

    Conclusion

    Even though anecdotal evidence has been pointing to improved physical performance attributed to DBT supplements for millennia, this is the first study that confirmed these findings. What this indicates is that these supplements used in TCM may find a role as an ergogenic aid in your training program.

    References

    1. Chih-Wei Chang, Chao-Yen Chen et al. (2018) Repressed Exercise-Induced Hepcidin Levels after Danggui Buxue Tang Supplementation in Male Recreational Runners. Nutrients, 10(9), 1318
    2. Marjan Wouthuyzen-Bakker, Sander van Assen (2015) Exercise-induced anemia: a forgotten cause of iron deficiency anemia in young adults. British Journal of General Practice 65(634):268–269 doi: [10.3399/bjgp15X685069]

    3.Raúl Domínguez,  Antonio Jesús Sánchez-Oliver et al. (2018) Effects of an Acute Exercise Bout on Serum Hepcidin Levels. Nutrients. 2018 Feb; 10(2): 209 doi:  [10.3390/nu10020209]

  • Top 3 Ways an Iron Supplement Can Boost Your Fitness Results

    Of all the supplements that you hear about in the popular fitness magazines and on health websites, iron is rarely talked about. You'll be flooded with pre-workout and post-workout supplement articles until you can't stand it but information about how iron can help you with your fitness goals is rarely seen.

     

    Iron is a very important nutrient. Found in all cells in the body, iron plays countless roles in important bodily processes. For athletes and those who are very active, iron is even more important because of the loss of iron through sweat. Let's take a look at the top 3 ways an iron supplement may be able to boost your fitness performance and recovery for better results.

     

    1. May Boost Performance

    One of the main functions of iron is to make sure oxygen rich blood is delivered to the tissues that need it. For fitness enthusiasts, if your working muscles are short on oxygen rich blood then you're going to notice it when your performance starts to decrease. Remember that you're constantly sweating during exercise and this is one way that you lose iron. Supplementing with iron may help to keep oxygen rich blood flowing to the working muscles that need it, resulting in better performance. (1)

     

    1. May Provide You with More Energy

    On a cellular level, your body breaks down carbohydrates and stored body fat and uses it as energy. Iron plays an important role in assisting the body break down those carbohydrates and turn them into usable energy. When you're low in iron, your body may not be able to efficiently create energy as needed. When you take an iron supplement, you may be able to support the conversion process of carbohydrates to energy. More energy means the ability to go longer in the gym with high intensity. (1, 2)

     

    1. May Support the Post-Workout Process

    Most importantly, iron may help us bounce back after a tough workout. We all know the feeling of smashing into the wall after an intense workout or running session. If you supplement with iron, this may help you avoid that onset of fatigue. First, as mentioned above, iron helps supply oxygen rich blood throughout the body. Secondly, it has been shown in studies to accelerate recovery after a blood donation. Anyone who has ever donated blood knows that feeling of tiredness following the donation. Iron supplementation may help to boost recovery post-workout when taken regularly.

     

    Conclusion

    Iron supplementation may be an important part of an athlete's nutritional program as it may help to boost performance, improve recovery, and support energy production.

     

    Click here to check out the entire Amino Z line-up of high quality iron supplements.

     

    References

    1. Pasricha SR, Low M, Thompson J, Farrell A, De-Regil LM. Iron supplementation benefits physical performance in women of reproductive age: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Nutr. 2014 Jun;144(6):906-14. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.189589. Epub 2014 Apr 9.
    1. Woods A, Garvican-Lewis LA, Saunders PU, Lovell G, Hughes D, Fazakerley R, Anderson B, Gore CJ, Thompson KG. Four weeks of IV iron supplementation reduces perceived fatigue and mood disturbance in distance runners. PLoS One. 2014 Sep 23;9(9):e108042. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108042. eCollection 2014.

     

     

  • I have recently started Vital Greens which is fantastic, I have definitely noticed improved energy levels after 2 weeks of taking it. I was just wondering if you could recommend an Iron supplement to go with it, as I don't think it contains Iron? Thanks for your help.

    Glad to hear you've had the benefits of Vital Greens! When it comes to iron, you've got a choice of a few forms:

    http://www.aminoz.com.au/ethical-nutrients-iron-capsules-vegecaps-p-3550.html  is a vegan iron capsul

    http://www.aminoz.com.au/nutralife-organic-iron-plus-vitamin-tablets-p-2410.html is another option

    Iron absorbs well with vitamin C, and does not absorb well with caffeine or calcium- be sure to pair it up well, and take it on an empty stomach. Also, even though these are relatively low doses of iron, they can cause constipation, and change the colour and texture of the stool- be aware!

    If you are iron deficient, these are not appropriate supplements. With a blood test, or by describing your signs/ symptoms to a physician, you might get a recommendation for ferrous fumerate, a supplement intended to increase blood iron levels from deficient to normal. 

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