So, you started an exercise program! Congratulations. But it’s disappointing: you get tired too quickly, you aren’t progressing like you want to, and you are ready to call it quits. But then you are told that you just need better food and some supplements to really turbocharge your program — then you’ll do fine. You try the best muscle-building supplements out there, make protein shakes, and eat extra meat — after all, protein is what your muscles are made of, and you need more to build muscle, right? Oh, and get tons of vitamins — you need those too. Now your exercise program will really get results. Except it doesn’t. Now what?
You catch some commercial titled, “What drug companies don’t want you to know.” Now that sounds exciting: there’s some secret formula out there that the big profiteers are trying to keep from you so you will keep buying their products. The secret is some sort of natural testosterone booster. Maybe that’s your problem — you’re tired because you don’t have youthful hormone levels, and an all-natural (whatever that means) product surely would help. Or maybe a nitric oxide booster is the answer.
Well, there is a formula that will make a big difference in your exercise performance, and while it may not be a secret, it certainly isn’t advertised by the drug companies or even the health food stores, because it’s not something that you can buy. It’s not even a particular food, although food is part of the formula. According to a new study, it can enhance exercise performance over 60%. Published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ conducted animal studies with three groups: those with normal gut flora (microbiota), those with gut flora limited to a specific microbe, and those where the microbiota was wiped out by administration of antibiotics. The normal gut flora group showed over 60% increase in exercise performance over the others, and further, later administration of antibiotics wiped out those increases in performance. Their conclusion was that an intact gut flora was vital to exercise performance.
Specifically, this study noted two major issues caused by the loss of normal microbiota: blood flow and mitochondria function. Blood flow is crucial to exercise performance because the muscles depend upon rapid oxygenation and removal of the toxic byproducts that they are rapidly creating during activity. Mitochondria are the energy centers of each cell, and without full energy production, exercise is limited and exhaustion occurs sooner. The purpose of the study was primarily concerned with athletes, who often get antibiotic treatments to reduce the periods of inactivity caused by bacterial diseases. You know that getting sick will limit your exercise until you recover, and athletes attempt to avoid those downtimes any way that they can. Athletes consume more oral antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and anti-allergy drugs than the normal population as they try to maximize their training and reduce down time. The study noted that antibiotics are working against that goal, damaging their performance.
If good gut flora is vital to exercise, it follows that maximizing a good microbiota culture is key to maximal performance. This isn’t just for athletes — it’s for you and me. To press an experiment to a conclusion quickly, researchers cause extreme conditions to bring about a conclusion much sooner, so the researchers are wiping out gut flora and pushing the animals to exhaustion to most dramatically see the impact of microbiota. But all of us want better blood flow and mitochondrial energy production. Therefore all of us profit from better gut flora. Athletes experience extreme conditions, and competitive athletes are looking for every edge, but we all want a more energetic and vibrant life.
Here’s another study: published in Sports (Basel), a review article from the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Italy looked at research that demonstrated that antibiotics may induce muscle weakness, pain, and fatigue when the athlete resumes physical activity after use. This study finds that the antibiotics cause alterations in the biochemical mechanisms underlying normal musculoskeletal activity, including mitochondrial respiration and the production of oxygen radicals (ROS). Athletes are more prone to upper tract (airway) infections due to their extreme activity, so they are drawn to antibiotic use to limit their risk, and according to this study, they use twice as many antibiotics as the non-sports population. Again, what affects the athlete is important to us as well, although less dramatically.
Better gut flora
if wiping out gut flora leads to dramatic exercise performance, optimizing microbiota is key to maximal performance, as well as overall good health for all of us. Our physiology is tied to these massive colonies of microbes that we carry throughout our intestines. Staying away from antibiotics as much as possible is the first step to a good microbiota balance; indeed, most oral drugs are at least somewhat harmful to good gut bacteria as they pass through the intestines. This is yet another strike against drug use. So what’s the next step?
Food isn’t just for your body. It feeds not only you, but your gut flora as well. Those microbes didn’t just show up for no reason: they are there because they can get room and board in your body. And there are millions of varieties of these tenants that are interested in lodging there. A landlord would want to attract the best tenants, and you want to attract the best microbes, because they will pay you back handsomely. You wouldn’t want tenants trashing your building and not paying the rent, but that’s the sort of tenants that you get in your gut when you eat bad foods. Sugar attracts different microbes that are very adept at living on sugar and multiplying rapidly, and that applies to simple carbohydrates that quickly break down into sugar as well. Fat, on the other hand, isn’t a diet that those microbes can handle, so they give way to different microbes that digest fat. These are the good tenants that pay their rent and don’t cause inflammation like the bad tenants do.
Of course, research has been conducted on the way food impacts the microbiota. In a study published in Nature, researchers from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA compared the effects on microbiota of an animal-based diet and a plant-based diet. With the animal-based diet, they found that bile-tolerant microorganisms (specifically Alistipes, Bilophila, and Bacteroides) levels increased while those that metabolize plant polysaccharides (Roseburia, Eubacterium rectale, and Ruminococcus bromii) decreased. Particularly troublesome was the increase of Bilophila wadsworthia, which is linked to inflammatory bowel disease, and a degradation in ability to manage polycyclic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogenic compounds produced in cooked meat. The plant-based diets, which were high in plant fiber, promoted quite different bacteria. The plant diet was high in fiber, which acted as support for them. The study found that the gut flora could change rather rapidly depending upon the diet involved, so that humans could adapt well to different food availability. But the bacteria promoted by the plant-based diet did not show the harmful and inflammatory effects of those promoted by the animal-based diet.
Yes, diet directly affects exercise performance. Sugar and simple carbs don’t provided sustained energy needed for endurance. Protein does, but raw plant fat supplies twice as much energy as protein does and protein in excess is stressful to the kidneys and blocks valuable recycling of damaged proteins within the body. Fat, if from a raw, living plant source, is significantly more energy packed than proteins without the downside problems. Getting the body accustomed to raw plant fat metabolism also promotes weight loss by making you a “fat burner.” All these reasons make vegetables, low glycemic fruits, plant fats such as avocados, and raw leafy greens excellent food choices for both the athlete and the average person. But we are also seeing that the gut flora is another very important reason for eating these foods — they promote good bacteria that also support exercise performance as well as general health.
A well-planned vegan diet is an excellent choice if it contains plant complex carbohydrates, plant-based proteins, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Many essential vitamins and minerals are abundant in these foods, and that they provide important anti-inflammation nutrients and antioxidants.
There is also a self-reinforcing effect of exercise on the gut flora: exercise also helps promote a good bacteria population. In a review article published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, researchers looked at study evidence of positive changes of the microbiota with regular exercise. They cited a study of elite rugby players where their activity enriched the diversity of gut microflora, in particular the Firmicutes phylum diversity which leads to a healthier intestinal environment. They also cited a study where a high peak oxygen uptake always led to an increased gut microbial diversity.
If you combine all the factors — a raw, plant-based diet and regular exercise — you maximize the gut flora diversity and exercise endurance, because these all improve the gut flora, which improve your digestion and nutrient absorption. That’s more effective than the internet supplements, and is yet another incentive to stay away from prescription drugs unless you really, truly need them.
Dr. Nemec’s Review
If you negatively impact your intestinal microbiome, you will decrease your athletic performance up to 60%. This is a fact.
This is done drastically by taking antibiotics, but it’s done subtly by eating acidic foods that grow bad bacteria and weeds in the intestinal garden.
What is an athletes primary goal? Is it to be the fastest, the strongest, the most enduring, the best in the world, or just to be the best they can be at this point in their life?
Well, let’s look at how to get your goals achieved in the best possible manner.
Goal number one: stronger muscle, bigger muscle.
According to media advertising and false teachings, started in the 1940s, Americans believe they need meat and dairy to stay healthy — and especially to get big and strong muscles. What does the average American do about goal number one? They eat a lot of animal, protein, eggs, meat, chicken, and fish — thinking more protein for bigger muscles, stronger muscles — this seems to makes sense, doesn’t it, because after all more is better, right? It’s not to a physiologist, not to a microbiologist, and not to a bio-chemist. More is not always better. Your body doesn’t need more protein, it needs protein distributed efficiently and effectively to the right cells and tissues.
Meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy all break down into an acid residue in the body. This means they acidify or decrease the pH of the body, which is naturally alkaline. When you do this, you greatly stress and inflame the body, which predisposes it to inflammation and disease — so more is not always better. More acid is worse: more harmful to the body, more inflammatory to the body.
Now let’s look at the studies that we reviewed from the Nature publication that stated the increase of bacteria that grows in the intestinal microbiome from animal protein was linked to inflammatory bowel disease. The more animal proteins, the more bad bacteria in the intestinal tract, the more weeds growing — and you end up getting up to a 60% drop in athletic performance. This does not serve your goal very well.
What about getting the same protein just from plant sources instead? Here we see more improper advertising and word-of-mouth promotion of something that is not true. What do you need to grow muscles; what do you actually need? Amino acids are the base building blocks of all proteins. The only difference between animal protein and plant protein is that animal proteins have all the amino acids in a single food source and plant proteins need two food sources to make the complete proteins. This is not a problem: you’re supposed to be eating more than one food anyway; you are always going to be eating two or more foods — so it is not a problem to get sufficient complete proteins. The advantage of the plant protein is it’s not acidic like the animal proteins. It doesn’t grow weeds in the intestinal microbiome, it doesn’t decrease your athletic performance up to 60%, and it does not acidify your body — which can cause other negative outcomes in health and increase general stress and inflammation in the body. Instead just by eating two foods instead of one you counter all this.
Can you see how much we’ve been incorrectly taught?
Having more energy and endurance is often goal number two.
Here comes another fallacy: you get energy from animal products and animal proteins. Quite the contrary, protein has the same energy units per calorie as carbohydrates; raw plants plants, on the other hand, have twice as many energy units per molecule, and they are readily available and digestible. They do not cause free radical formation; they do not cause acidic buildup. They do not cause inflammation at all; in fact, they counter inflammation.
So if your goal is more energy and endurance, your diet would be more living raw leafy greens, green vegetables, low glycemic index vegetables, low glycemic index fruits, and raw plant fats. Keep animal products out of the diet: they are too acidic, too inflammatory, too hard to digest, and they grow bad bacteria — intestinal weeds that decrease your athletic performance up to 60%.
A wise man and a wise woman choose their goals that benefit the whole person, not a part of the person. Do you want to choose a diet and lifestyle that supports muscle strength, growth, endurance, and energy — along with being anti-inflammatory — growing a good intestinal garden with diverse intestinal microbiome bacteria that come primarily from plant foods and plant fibers? Do you want food that supports your health, healing, longevity, strength, energy, and endurance? This is a living, raw plant-based diet.
We will close with an analogy to the male silverback gorilla. This animal is 575 pounds of pure muscle, strength, speed, agility, and endurance — everything you want, he has naturally. What does he eat? His diet is living plants, living leaves, vegetables that grow — nothing cooked, nothing stored, and no animals. The average male gorilla is able to lift more weight than you ever could. He has a percent body fat that reflects his diet and lifestyle. He can run 25 mph with those small little legs. In contrast, the fastest human ever ran 28 mph, which is the speed of the average gorilla. The average human runs 10 mph.
So let’s stop with the false advertising, the misinformed information that states you need animal products to be healthy, strong, and energetic — you absolutely do not and never have: this was just promoted heavily especially in America in a time when the meat and dairy industry propagated this false advertising, and it’s stuck with us ever since
You sow in the garden of your life what you want to reap, so sow seeds that serve all your goals, including health, life, and longevity — and being disease-free permanently.
Here are the ways we can help you in your health journey:
- Outpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-has the most benefit of teaching, treatment, live classes and personalized coaching. This program has the most contact with Dr. Nemec with 3- 6 month programs that can be turned into a regular checking and support program for life. This is our core program that has helped so many restore their health and maintain that restoration for years.
- Inpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-is our four-week intensive inpatient program for those that are not in driving distance, usually over 4 hour drive. This is the program that is an intensive jumpstart with treatment, teaching, live classes and coaching designed for all our international patients along with those in the US that do not live in Illinois. This program is very effective especially when combined with our new membership program support.
- Stay at Home Program-is offered to continental US patients who cannot come to Total Health Institute but still want a more personal, customized plan to restore their health. This program also includes our Learn Membership Program.
- Membership Program is our newest program offered for those that want to work on their health at a high level and want access to the teaching at Total Health Institute along with the Forums: both Dr. Nemec’s posts and other members posting. And also, to have the chance to get personalized questions answered on the conference calls which are all archived in case you miss the call. The Membership Program has 3 levels to choose from: Learn, Overcome and Master. The difference is at the Overcome and Master levels you received one on one calls with Dr. Nemec personalizing your program for your areas of focus.