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Volume 8

Q: Tracy, when I do a hard leg workout I feel nauseous, why is this? I work other muscle groups and don't feel this way

A: Good question. Leg training is always tough; the legs (quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes) are the body's largest muscles and require more oxygen during exercise than any other bodypart. Anaerobic training challenges the body’s acid-alkaline balance by producing lactic acid, which in turn floods muscle cells and the bloodstream with hydrogen ions. This lowers blood pH and acidifies the blood. The body can buffer acid naturally with support from the pulmonary and renal systems, as well as with bicarbonate, phosphate and protein; however it takes time and should improve with each subsequent workout. In addition to excess acid, free radicals and excess ammonia also build-up in the blood stream. This is why most athletes feel nauseous. Dehydration and excess acidity in the body are the major contributing factors. I suggest that you ensure a state of optimum hydration before you train and consume plenty of alkaline foods in your daily diet. You should also consider taking an assortment of antioxidants before and after each workout including vitamin E, C, mixed carotenoids, alpha lipoic acid and CoQ10.

Q: I've heard that an ideal diet is alkaline forming. What makes food alkaline or acidic?

A: Alkaline-rich foods contain more alkaline-forming elements (minerals) than acid-forming elements. Alkaline-forming elements include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. In contrast, the acid-forming ele¬ments include sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine. All natural foods contain both acid and alkaline-forming elements, but it's the alkaline minerals that most people aren't getting enough of. Ultimately pH (potenz Hydrogen) is a measure or degree of hydrogen ion concentration in moles per litre of a solution.

The pH of any food depends on its elemental dominance, such as sulphur, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium and its moisture content. This affects the acid or alkaline residue generated in the body, after it is digested, absorbed and oxidized. Enzyme viability of the food is also a factor, as well as whether sufficient alkaline bicarbonate is produced by the pancreas. If the chemical buffers of the body are exhausted, light acid foods, which would normally be neutralized without any problem, will acidify the blood. In addition, stress, sleep deprivation, hard workouts, infection, medication, disease and an angry disposition all tend to acidify the body.

One of the worst acid offenders is bread, even heavy black bread and pretty much everything made with wheat, rye, barley and oats. Things like muffins, pasta, buns, bagels and pita pockets. All junk food is acid-forming. Overcooked animal flesh is acidic, luncheon meats and canned tuna are right off the scale. Most nuts, legumes and beans are acidic, so are oatmeal and most oils. Coffee and alcohol liberate an acidic pH in the blood, but not so with a mango, a glass of freshly squeezed carrot juice or a serving of non-denatured whey protein isolate. All are alkaline-forming.

Q: Cory I take protein shakes throughout the day and use things like creatine, glutamine and ribose to improve my performance as a soccer player. Do I need to take any extra vitamins or minerals?

A: To optimize performance without compromising your health you need to obtain all of the essential micronutrients with precision in the right balance. Diet alone will not achieve this no matter what you’ve read or heard otherwise. Insufficient micronutrient intake is a common cause of fatigue, disordered eating, sports injuries, physical weakness, poor workout recovery and the development and progression of degenerative disease and premature aging. Athletic demands and strenuous exercise increase the excretion of many nutrients from the body in sweat and urine. Routine physical activity increases the need for antioxidants, many of which are utilized to quench the reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by athletes who typically consume up to 20 times more oxygen than sedentary individuals. The best time to take your essential vitamins and minerals is with your pre- and post-workout protein shake. I take an antioxidant/vitamin/enzyme complex and an antioxidant/mineral/trace element complex in capsule form with every shake.