It is well known that competitive cyclists and other groups of endurance athletes are frequently under intense, prolonged oxidative stress and are subject to injury, viral infections and inflammation of their muscles, joints and other tissues. This is especially applicable to older athletes who do not produce as many of their own antioxidants as their younger counterparts.
Large quantities of antioxidants are needed by endurance athletes to counter the massive release of damaging free radicals that occurs during endurance training and events.
If athletes do not have sufficient antioxidant protection they become susceptible to colds, flu, cramps, joint, tendon and muscle inflammation and other exercise related problems. They are also predisposed to over training symptoms like poor recovery after exercise, headaches, fatigue, depression, moodiness, irritability, insomnia and decreased immunity.
Individual antioxidants like vitamin C and E do not help counter oxidative stress in athletes. On the contrary, taking too much vitamin C before exercise has been shown to delay recovery and increase tissue inflammation.
Only a wide range of different antioxidants can counter the overwhelming onslaught of free radicals that are responsible for the adverse effects frequently associated with endurance sports.
Spices have by far the highest antioxidant activity of all food types including fruit and vegetables (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2006). They also contain a large variety of natural anti-inflammatory compounds and other beneficial phytonutrients.
A balanced selection of different spices can provide the endurance athlete with well over 100 potent antioxidant compounds as well as anti-inflammatory compounds and other protective phytochemicals.
In May this year medical doctor, Keith Scott undertook a survey of 20 female and male competitive cyclists who had volunteered to take the spice-based food supplement, VitaSpice.
The survey was designed to assess the role that a spice supplement could play in improving the endurance, performance, recovery and other health parameters of endurance athletes.
As scientific studies have shown that older athletes usually require more dietary antioxidants than their younger counterparts, most of those Dr Scott selected for the survey were over 40 years of age. He gave the cyclists one month’s supply of the spice supplement and asked them to fill in a multiple-choice questionnaire when they had finished the capsules.
Of the 20 cyclists taking part in the survey:
* 85% experienced a significant improvement in their post-ride recovery rate.
* 80% found that there was a decrease in exercise-related joint, muscle, ligament and tendon pain.
* 70% experienced a significant increase in their performance.
* 70% noticed a reduction of over training symptoms.
* 65% experienced an improvement in their training capacity.
* 70% noticed other non-exercise related benefits such as increased energy, fewer viral infections, improved memory, better concentration, reduction of joint pains etc.
* 55% of those who suffered with muscle cramps found that they improved significantly after taking VitaSpice.
The findings of this survey confirm the benefits that spices can provide endurance athletes. The reasons for these excellent results are supported by a substantial body of scientific literature.
These studies explain the underlying biological mechanisms whereby appropriate antioxidants and other phytonutrients contained in spices can help to counter the adverse effects of oxidative stress and other exercise induced problems like inflammation, over training and immune suppression.