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Enhanced Athletic Recovery Without Undermining Adaptation

Might the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of plant-based diets undermine some of the benefits of exercise?

October 18, 2013 |
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Supplementary Info

Sources Cited

N. B. J. Vollaard, J. P. Shearman, C. E. Cooper. Exercise-induced oxidative stress:Myths, realities and physiological relevance. Sports Med. 2005 35(12):1045 - 1062.

A. Mastaloudis, T.-W. Yu, R. P. O'Donnell, B. Frei, R. H. Dashwood, M. G. Traber. Endurance exercise results in DNA damage as detected by the comet assay. Free Radic. Biol. Med. 2004 36(8):966 - 975.

J. Kaiser. Hormesis. Sipping From a Poisoned Chalice. Science. 2003 302(5644):376-379.

D. Trapp, W. Knez, W. Sinclair. Could a vegetarian diet reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress? A review of the literature. J Sports Sci. 2010 28(12):1261 - 1268.

G. Howatson, M. P. McHugh, J. A. Hill, J. Brouner, A. P. Jewell, K. A. van Someren, R. E. Shave, S. A. Howatson. Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 20(6):843 - 852.

G. Davison, R. Callister, G. Williamson, K. A. Cooper, M. Gleeson. The effect of acute pre-exercise dark chocolate consumption on plasma antioxidant status, oxidative stress and immunoendocrine responses to prolonged exercise. Eur J Nutr. 2012 51(1):69-79.

L. Ramaswamy, K. Indirani. Effect of supplementation of tomato juice on the oxidative stress of selected athletes. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2011 8(Suppl 1):P21.

M. J. Jackson. Free radicals in skin and muscle: damaging agents or signals for adaptation? Proc Nutr Soc. 1999 58(3):673-676.

M. McHugh. The health benefits of cherries and potential applications in sports. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2011 21(5):615 - 616.

K. A. Lyall, S. M. Hurst, J. Cooney, D. Jensen, K. Lo, R. D. Hurst, L. M. Stevenson. Short-term blackcurrant extract consumption modulates exercise-induced oxidative stress and lipopolysaccharide-stimulated inflammatory responses. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2009 297(1):R70-R81.

L. Funes, L. Carrera-Quintanar, M. Cerdán-Calero, M. D. Ferrer, F. Drobnic, A. Pons, E. Roche, V. Micol. Effect of lemon verbena supplementation on muscular damage markers, proinflammatory cytokines release and neutrophils' oxidative stress in chronic exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011 111(4):695-705.

A. Nagao, M. Seki, H. Kobayashi. Inhibition of xanthine oxidase by flavonoids. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1999 63(10):1787-1790.

C. Spanou, A. S. Veskoukis, T. Kerasioti, M. Kontou, A. Angelis, N. Aligiannis, A. L. Skaltsounis, D. Kouretas. Flavonoid glycosides isolated from unique legume plant extracts as novel inhibitors of xanthine oxidase. PLoS One. 2012 7(3):e32214.

M. Gleeson. Can nutrition limit exercise-induced immunodepression? Nutr Rev. 2006 64(3):119-131.

M. Ristow, K. Zarse, A. Oberbach, N. Klöting, M. Birringer, M. Kiehntopf, M. Stumvoll, C. R. Kahn, M. Blüherc. Antioxidants prevent health-promoting effects of physical exercise in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 May 106(21):8665–8670.

A. J. Braakhuis. Effect of vitamin C supplements on physical performance. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2012 11(4):180-184.

Acknowledgements

Images thanks to theboybg and Wolf Gang via Flickr.

Transcript

Ultramarathon runners may generate so many free radicals during a race that they can damage the DNA of a significant percentage of their cells. Now some have looked on the exercise-induced increase in free radical production as a paradox: why would an apparently healthy act, exercise, lead to detrimental effects through damage to various molecules and tissues. This is somewhat of a misunderstanding as exercise in and of itself is not necessarily the healthy act, it's the recovery after exercise that is so healthy. The whole that-which-doesn't-kill-us-makes-us-stronger notion. For example, exercise training has been shown to enhance antioxidant defenses by increasing the activities of antioxidant enzymes. So yeah during the race ultra-marathoners may be taking hits to their DNA, but check out a week later.

Six days after the race, they didn't just go back to the baseline level of DNA damage, they had significantly less, presumably because they had so revved up their antioxidant defenses. So maybe exercise-induced oxidative damage is beneficial, kinda like vaccination. By freaking out the body a little, maybe you'll induce a response that's favorable in the long run. This concept that low levels of a damaging entity can up-regulate protective mechanisms is known as hormesis. For example, herbicides kill plants. But in tiny doses… may actually boost plant growth, presumably by stressing the plant into rallying its resources to successfully fight back.

Wait a second, though. Could then eating anti-inflammatory anti-oxidant rich plant foods undermine this adaptation response? We saw that berries could reduce inflammatory muscle damage; and greens could reduce the free radical DNA damage. Dark chocolate and tomato juice may have similar effects. The flavonoid phytonutrients in fruits, vegetables and beans appear to inhibit the activity of xanthine oxidase, considered the main contributor of free radicals during exercise. And the carbs in plant foods may decrease stress hormone levels.

So in 1999, a theoretical concern was raised. Maybe all that free radical stress from exercise is a good thing, and increased consumption of some antioxidant nutrients might interfere with these necessary adaptive processes. So if you decrease the free radical tissue damage, maybe you don't get that increase in activity of those antioxidant enzymes.

The cherry researchers responded, look, although it is likely that muscle damage, inflammation and oxidative stress are important factors in the adaptation process, minimizing these factors may improve recovery so you can train more and perform better. So, there are theories on both sides, but what happens when you actually put it to the test? What does the data show?

While antioxidant or anti-inflammatory supplements may prevent these adaptive events, researchers found that a berry extract—black currant in this study, although packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties actually augmented—boosted the health benefits of regular exercise even further.

You take antioxidant pills—vitamin C and vitamin E supplements and you can also reduce the stress levels induced by exercise, but in doing so you block that boost in antioxidant enzyme activity caused by exercise. Now maybe you don't need that boost if you don't have as much damage, but vitamin C supplements may impair physical performance in the first place. Whereas with plant foods, you appear to get the best of both worlds.

Check out this recent study on lemon verbena, an antioxidant-rich herbal tea. It protects against oxidative damage and decreases the signs of muscular damage and inflammation, all without blocking the cellular adaptation to exercise. They showed that lemon verbena does not affect the increase of the antioxidant enzyme response promoted by exercise. On the contrary, glutathione reductase activity was even higher in the lemon verbena group. Here's the level of antioxidant enzyme activity before and after 21 days of intense running exercises in the control group. With all the free radical damage that caused, the body started cranking up its antioxidant defenses. But give a dark green leafy tea, and not only do you put akabosh on the damage due to all the phytonutrients and antioxidants, but you still get the boost in defenses—in fact, in this case, even better.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ariel Levitsky.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org.

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

More on enhancing athletic recovery in my recent three-part video series:

  1. Reducing Muscle Fatigue with Citrus
  2. Reducing Muscle Soreness with Berries
  3. Preventing Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress With Watercress

Then there’s my 15-video series on using nitrate-rich vegetables to boost athletic performance starting with Doping With Beet Juice and ending with So Should We Drink Beet Juice or Not?

More examples of plants over pills in:

If it’s lemon verbena’s antioxidant content, then there may be a better option. See The Healthiest Herbal Tea and Better Than Green Tea?

I’ll continue this thread in my next video, Preserving Immune Function In Athletes With Nutritional Yeast.

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    I’ll swim, bike and run to that!!!
    Your tireless work has helped so many, including those of the Original Hawai’i October Ironman World Championships which just completed last weekend.
    Cheers to good Health!

  • stevebillig

    This is great news for athletes. For performance and for health, plants rule.

  • Rich

    A plant only diet is superior in nearly all health areas. One area of concern is with elite athletes regarding tendon strength and ply-ability which often is neglected in a plant only diet. Complex b-vitamins and other specific proteins needed for tendon health (readily available in meat proteins) have been challenging to replace adequately in plant only diets leading to statistically significant tendon failures (ruptures). This is particularly evident in athletes competing in anaerobic events.

    Coach Rich (elite competitive runner +44years, track & field coach +25years)

    • Gabriel

      Hi Ric, which foods/supplements do you recommend for tendon repair? I already take protein as meat, I am not vegetarian. Thanks.

      • Rich

        Gabriel – am not prone to giving advice outside of my direct oversight and responsibility of athletes I coach and work with. In general I can say that I am very supportive of high plant diet content and support 100% plant diets for those that are not competitive high performance athletes. My experience is real world over 40+ years that few can match. I am a nationally certified coach, an engineer with significant scientific and sport medicine background (but I am not a doctor). I am generally not a big supporter of supplements since they seeks to short cut the body’s use of great naturally available nutrients that ingest and metabolize more effectively and safely in the athlete’s body.

    • AC

      Ligaments and tendons are made primarily of collagen, which our bodies make from non-essential amino acids. Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen synthesis. The only B vitamin at issue with non-meat eaters would be B12 – mostly among vegans. All ingested protein is broken down into the individual amino acids that comprise them – regardless of source – and only then does our body begin to utilize it. Apples, black beans, broccoli, a baked potato, peanut butter, and a million other non-meat foods contain “complete” proteins that supply all essential amino acids our bodies need to assemble our own proteins. By what mechanism does a plant only diet lead to more tendon failures?

      • Rich

        Short answer – its a matter of science vs engineering. It’s a matter of real world practice vs the theory. BTW – It’s not just what your body is made of. In the real world, based on what your “machine” is doing, getting the correct availability of specific building blocks at the right time is the key to prevent injury in high performance athletes. Sorry for the brevity, if you were one of my athletes we would spend quite a bit of time on this.

        • AC

          But you claimed statistical significance in the rate of tendon injuries among those eating a plant only diet, and statistical significance is not something typically associated with anecdotal evidence….but rather evidence-based scientific research. I was hoping you’d share your source so I could take a look and evaluate the data. If it’s a matter of noticing patterns over the course of your career, then that’s another matter….and I am tempted to point out that the runner in the picture for the video is Scott Jurek, who I assume you know is the greatest ultramarathon runner of all time, and also a vegan.

          • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

            And Rich Roll

          • Rich

            AC – sorry for my lack of clarity. I was trying to clarify that anecdotal is not statistically relevant as I run across “one up” examples all the time. I agree that vegan suits well for aerobic events, Scott is a great case in point. Little of my experience has been with marathon or ultra marathon athletes but with shorter distances ~1500m, sprints, jumps and other anaerobic events. A good part my experience is pattern identification over enough data be relevant. To your point it isn’t a scientific study involving controls. In the 1990s there were a few university sports articles on vegan diets and tendon injuries.

          • Veganrunner

            Again I have to ask. How many vegan/vegetarians have you come across? And of the few you have seen you can say they have torn tendon?

          • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

            Very relevant question. 2 vegans, one with a torn tendon, means that 50% of the vegans have weak tendons.

          • Veganrunner

            oh goodness. You are so funny. But you got my point.

        • Adrien

          It seems to me that Rich got a Phd in Bro Science.

          • Rich

            thanks Adrien – I’ll take that as a compliment to the many athletes (some of them “Bros”) I’ve had the privilege of supporting.

      • Rich

        hi AC – yes you nailed one of the issues B12.

    • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

      Interesting, but we need references – “statistically significant “?

      • Rich

        In this context I mean non anecdotal and non random outlier data. I’ll have to do some digging to find published references (it’s been quite a while). My experience of coaching 1000s of athletes over +20 years at all levels from Highschool through world class olympians (as well as my 40+ year extensive racing career – and still going) has demonstrated an increase tendon failure rate of over 3-4x with vegan athletes over typical dieters (i.e. animal meat eaters). Mostly in the legs and abdominal areas. There are of course many positive influences of plant diets. This problem area is very critical for safe high explosive performance (you might say it is an achilles heal of sorts, no pun intended). You can search a related tendon failure mechanism related to younger women (16 – 30) during menstrual cycles – this is well documented through scientific studies over the past 30 years and relates to low of ply-ability (and temporary brittleness of said tendons) due to specific hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. It’s not the same thing as I am referencing above , but there is some significant understanding to temporary loss of tendon robustness that is relevant to this topic.

    • elsie blanche

      Does anyone here know Carl Lewis? He is a vegan and if anyone on this message board knows him personally, maybe you could reach out to him and ask him his experience, in this regard, with his own body/tendons and with other elite Olympians he has trained with over the years. From what I know, Carl is still vegan and going strong.

      • Rich

        Elsie – thanks for your feedback. Yes, I am very familiar with Carl and his vegan diet. He wasn’t always a vegan. Carl has a very rare muscle composition which complimented his high performance for a longer period than most sprint (anaerobic event) athletes.
        Vegan is an excellent choice for post competitive athletes, and you are right there isn’t much (if any) long term data. My experience with 1000s of athletes shows significant challenges. Let me make a very crude comparison (please do not take this as an endorsement of any kind) – let’s say that high nutrient red meat is a form of performance enhancement drug (I won’t even mention the name but you know what drugs I’m referring). An athlete can take in this high content red matter and quickly build strength and robustness while training. But it comes at a cost – long term (and sometimes short term too) which can greatly damage the body beyond repair. My experience of success uses a safe balance which results in great performance and longevity in a practical way. Look at some of my other postings to gain additional background. Just remember that knowledge comes by using great wisdom in testing and evaluating the data (and not all data is equal). Best of success to you.

        • elsie blanche

          Rich, why is it that there are vegan athletes out there that dominate their sport of choice? It has to make the meat-eater wonder, hey maybe I should go vegan? Is it that some of these vegan athletes are so gifted that it doesn’t matter what they eat?

          • Rich

            Genetics are a primary factor, as are mental drive, spirit, experience, and life style choices. Vegan can be good, but it is not a magic bullet. Do your research, peek performance isn’t all science and competitive success isn’t that simple.

          • Ryan

            Rich, I just want to compliment you in how well you word your answers. You may not be a doctor but you are a bright individual and well spoken. I on the other hand hold a doctorate degree and only recently (18 months or so) have my eyes been open to the athletic improvements by eating a primarily plant based minimal processed food diet. Hence, despite my degree I was quite ignorant on this subject matter previously. Here’s to plants and to an occasional bite off my girlfriend’s meat based protein plate. ;)

      • Thea

        elsie: That’s a reasonable question. I don’t know the answer about long term data. But I thought since we were all sharing anecdotes, I would remind readers that there’s more than just one or two seriously competitive vegan athletes out there, some who have been vegan for many years.
        ————————-
        (from meatout mondays)
        Vegan Bodybuilders Dominate Texas Competition

        The Plant Built (PlantBuilt.com) team rolled into this year’s drug-free, steroid-free Naturally Fit Super Show competition in Austin, TX, and walked away with more trophies than even they could carry.

        The Plant Built team of 15 vegan bodybuilders competed in seven divisions, taking first place in all but two. They also took several 2nd and 3rd place wins.

        For More Info:
        http://www.plantbuilt.com/

        ———————
        When Robert Cheeke started VeganBodybuilding.com in 2002, being the only vegan athlete he knew of, he may not have imagined that the website would quickly grow to have thousands of members. Robert says, “We’re discovering new vegan athletes all the time, from professional and elite levels… to weekend warriors and everyone in between.”

        For More Info:
        http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/
        —————–
        There was that other guy who just did a world record in weight lifting. “Congratulations to Strongman Patrik Baboumian who yesterday took a ten metre walk carrying more than half a tonne on his shoulders, more than anyone has ever done before. After smashing the world record the Strongman let out a roar of ‘Vegan Power’…” For more info:
        http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/vegan-strongman-patrik-babaoumain-breaks-world-record/

        —————–
        Here’s another site that I like:
        http://www.greatveganathletes.com/

        I found this story on the above site: “Pat Reeves has set a new world powerlifting record at the WDFPA World Single Lift Championships. The 66 year old lifter, who has been vegan for 46 years, lifted 94 kg to set a record for the under 50.5kg weight class while competing in France in June 2012. The lift was more than 1.85 times her bodyweight, which is exceptional for her division. Pat is now officially the oldest competing weightlifter in Europe.”

        Hope everyone finds this helpful.

        • elsie blanche

          Thea, thanks for posting all this stuff.

        • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

          And bodybuilders need strong tendons

          • Veganrunner

            I work with athletes. And I have never come across a vegan athlete. So if Coach Rich has coached 1000 runners which is not difficult if you have a high school team with 120 runners, I can ‘t imagine he has actually come across vegans with torn tendons. And better yet, there are so many meat eaters who are running and tearing tendons! The sport is ridiculously intense. That causes injured runners. Especially when they are 16 and growing.

          • Thea

            Veganrunner: That was also my thought, but you express it with some authority that I lack. It’s my guess that Rich is really basing his comments on those magazine articles that he read decades ago. And who knows what those articles were based on? Thanks for chiming in.

          • Veganrunner

            And I am sure he is an absolutely wonderful coach! We need more people willing to dedicate their time to the high schools. It is often time a thankless job and parents can be so difficult to work with.

          • Thea

            ;-) My thought exactly.

    • Toxins

      A whole foods plant based diet based complex carbohydrates can provide plenty of b vitamins and there is no whole plant food that is missing an amino acid, as all whole plant foods contain all the essential amino acids. If you are referring to the fact that whole plant foods have different ratios of amino acids then animal products, this is also not a concern. Getting all the amino acids in at once at the same meal, or even in the same day, as some may suggest, is not necessary due to the amino acid pool, which is a circulating level of amino acids in the blood, that the body can draw from if needed. As long as one follows a whole foods plant based diet, the amino acid pool will maintain a sufficient stock of any potentially needed (or limiting) amino acids.

    • signmanbob

      “A plant only diet is superior in nearly all health areas. ”

      Mmmm…could it be that maybe humans were designed to eat just a plant-only diet? (:

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      Maybe that is what your experience is and that is interesting if it could be scientifically proven but all the evidence points to the weakest tendons in those with decreased blood flow to the areas in question: Poor blood flow=poor tendon health=increased risk of tendon rupture (Also those that use anabolic steroids have very high rates of tendon ruptures). The persons with the poorest blood flow will be those with the poorest diet, and the worst substance to put into the body from many perspectives (Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Cancer, Athletic performance) is meat, eggs and dairy, because the excess protein, saturated fat, and cholesterol (among many other destructive molecules PHiP, Neu5GC, Viruses, Bacteria, etc) cause a chronic low level of inflammation.

      Chronic mlow level inflammation (Meta-Inflammation) is destructive to our bodies! And low level inflammation decreases blood flow to working tendons and muscles, causing earlier fatigue.

      It’s important to remember vessel size in regards to blood flow: Blood flow is proportional to the blood vessel radius to the fourth power, meaning a 2 fold decrease (or increase) to the radius results in a 16 fold decrease (or increase) to flow respectively. Inflammation reduces blood flow!

      With regards to Anaerobic work and Plant based lifestyles:
      Tony Gonzalez, Tight-End Kansas City Chiefs which holds the record for most catches and touchdowns for tight ends in the NFL
      Billy Simmonds the 2009 Mr. Natural Universe—Plant based
      Joe Kirkillis, Bodybuilder, Plant based
      And now Patrik Baboumian, Vegan Strongman, Record for most weight carried 10 meters 550kg (1172 lbs)
      And of course 6 time IronMan champion Dave Scott all done while Vegan. If I remember correctly all the times he didn’t achieve first place he was not Vegan.

      And there are other numerous vegetarian/vegan athletes that have performed very well: Carl Lewis (Vegan) Billy jean King, Martina Navratalova, Robert Parish, Joe Namath and the list is growing.

      Vegan athletics is very doable. And I fail to see in the literature and in my own anecdotal experience the increase in tendon
      ruptures related to Veganism.

      It may not be for everyone, and that is because of their own values but not because of the scientific evidence, and there is some tweaking about eating enough calories for these athletes, but if done correctly appears to be quite superior to any other lifestyle for not only athletic performance but achieving the healthiest lifestyle known to date.

      This is what many researcher’s and scientist’s have shown but the most notable are: Dean Ornish, MD, Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, T. Colin Campbell, PhD, Neal Barnard,MD, John McDougall, MD, and of course Michael Greger, MD.

      • Veganrunner

        Good morning Dr Hemo,
        Len Miller is one of our most famous running coaches. He has coached many of our olympic athletes and he coached Steve Scott throughout his running career. He is a friend of mine and we have had this same conversation regarding his runners. He just read Jureks book and it seemed to have broadened his thinking.

        • HemoDynamic, M.D.

          Keep it up! I don’t say much to people about eating healthy unless they ask or are in my office. And sometimes I use the, “It may not work for you but it works for me.” statement to deflect direct criticism.

          That said, last week I had a young patient get really irate and almost throw a punch at me because I wouldn’t give him opiates for his acid reflux. He had just been discharged from the ER for severe stomach and chest pain which they determined was GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). And he was clearly altered by pain medication while in my office–glazed over eyes and slowed responses.

          I explained to him the physiology of the acid production of eating animal foods vs. Plant foods. I had to explain this multiple times because he wasn’t wanting to understand what I was saying because it didn’t fit into his malingering needs.

          But eventually he repeated back to me, “I have all this pain and you’re sitting here telling me to stop eating all meat, and dairy and to start taking Prilosec and that will fix all the PAIN I HAVE!?! That’s a bunch of crap and I want something for my pain!”

          While in the office he was such an a$$hole to his wife, whom he kicked out of the room by yelling at her and told her to leave and go to the lobby, and belligerent towards me that I just stated he is going to have to find another doctor to take care of his needs and yes, “No I will not prescribe pain meds for your GERD!”

          But Veganrunner, the more we get the word out the less the world will challenge the benefits of eating a plant based diet!

          • Veganrunner

            Dr Hemo I feel for you. Most of my patients are back patients so opiates are often prescribed. Poor guy. He must think you are crazy!

    • Veganrunner

      Hi Coach Rich,
      As a runner, mother of young competitive runners, and an orthopedic physical therapist IMHO the problem is the intensity of the sport. Have you actually ran into that many runners who don’t eat meat? We are a rarity.

      • Rich

        Only a few dozen athletes but growing in the past decade. It’s a small percentage of those I’ve coached (but with disproportionate injuries). Training & diets have evolved significantly since the 70s (when I began). My baseline is decades of experience and it iterates conservatively. Continued learning may lead me to a plant only solution, but I’m not there yet. Coaching & running is my passion and I strive to keep improving. Enjoy the journey with your kids.

        • Veganrunner

          Wow. More than I would of thought.

          There are so few research articles on running. I would bet 0 on vegan runners and tendon injury. Some on mechanics of course but injury, not so much.

          You would be surprised.

  • DanielFaster

    Here is a wonderful 5-minute totally paleosafe video that explains how strenuous exercise generates free radicals that damage DNA, but the recovery process more than makes up for it.
    Antioxidant supplements like vitamin C and E pills (unavailable to the caveman) may actually interfere with the recovery process as shown in some studies, while the phytonutrients in plants are shown to greatly enhance it. Another blow to the supplement industry.

    • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

      The only “magic bullet” i know of, is made of broccoli….

    • Thea

      DanielFaster: That was a really nice summary. I appreciated it. And actually, I had read your comment before watching the video. I think your comment helped me absorb the information in the video better. Thanks!

  • jurij

    hello!
    can you please do video about controlling asthma with nutrition.
    greetings from slovenia!

    • Thea

      jurij – So cool that someone from Slovenia is tuned in. Welcome to the group!

      • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

        Yes. This is “The invasion of The Planteaters”
        :-)

  • Veganrunner

    I just forwarded this to my husband who is competing in a cyclocross competition as we speak. Plants are the best!

    • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

      I have a colleague who is running more than 100 km per. week without any problems. I think he attributes his stamina to WFPD

      • Veganrunner

        Absolutely. And recovery is faster. Both Rolls’ and Jureks’ books were the last push I needed, along with my nutrition facts.org friends to push me into the abyss.

        • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

          Actually Rich Rolls book inspired me to do much more cardio – and my NF friends help me stay on track. No support in the MD community – sad but true. And I appreciate your comments on NF.

          • Veganrunner

            Well thank you Plantstrong. Oh I know. Most MDs think I am nuts but that is ok. They also can’t argue with the fact that we are ridiculously healthy. One of my doctors just said to me, “But most people can’t do what you do.” What is that? Why do people make the choice to eat crap and be unhealthy? It baffles me. Or to not exercise.

          • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

            I learned nothing at all about nutrition and health in medschool, doctors dont talk about it, and probably dont care. I have worked in a stroke unit, and nutrition was never mentioned. Actually it was a coincidence, that I came across the subject of WFPD and health, but I immediately got interested. MDs know about diseasecare, not healthcare.

          • Veganrunner

            I hate to bag on doctors because I work with you guys on a daily basis but you are so right. What is really interesting now is that they are starting to talk about the importance of movement. Like that concept is something new! And prevention. Well I am glad they are starting to show up. Better late than never.

          • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

            Exercise is also important. The most common injury among modern man is probably – and sadly – repetitive strain injury from using the computer, and lumbago from reaching out for the TV-dinner…..

          • Veganrunner

            Found it.
            http://findingultra.com/mobile/index.php

            Who said vegans can’t be tough!

          • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

            It`s a great story – and he`s tough!

          • Veganrunner

            Did you ever watch the video he released to promote his book? He looks amazing doing butterfly across the pool. I look at that and I want some–good health not Rich. ;-)

        • Toxins

          I agree, although anecdotal, I am a competitive climber and I have noticed significant endurance gains since going pant based.

          • Veganrunner

            Very true toxins but we so rarely sway–it’s fun every so often to remind each other how great we feel!

          • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

            I need less sleep since going plantstrong.

          • Toxins

            In regards to sleep, what I noticed was that I had high energy all day, until it was time to sleep at night. Then I was hit by a wave of tiredness and had to sleep or risk being a mindless zombie.

  • luveggies

    Approximately how many of gms of dried lemon verbena leaves was utilized/day? I can see from the second page of the Lemon Verbena/cytokine article that an extract was prepared. But only pages 1-2 are available for free online. Is there enough information in the rest of the article to roughly estimate the amount of dried leaves that would be equivalent to the extract and how often it was ingested? Thanks for the excellent video!

  • Lara

    I wonder whether pure freeze dried montmorency cherry capsules would count as food, or as a supplement? I take these to improve my post-exercise recovery and don’t want to think it is counter-productive! Surely it is the same as eating the cherries (just more convenient and cheaper) and therefore OK? I would be interested to know thoughts on this….

  • matt

    I like the hormesis way of thinking. Radiation hormesis strengthens the immune system.

  • Lara

    I do eat a vegan diet, but also take a freeze-dried cherry supplement to speed exercise recovery – this is just pure freeze-dried cherries in a capsule, nothing else.(Cheaper and easier than eating pounds of cherries!!) Would this count as food and therefore be OK? Or would it behave like a supplement in undermining the benefits of exercise recovery? I would be interested in thoughts on this…

  • marta

    Great video, thank you! You mention “the right time” of getting blackcurrant or/and cherry juice. What is this right time for runners? Is it before running or during the workout? Best regards, marta

  • HereHere

    I love this website and the analysis, and making research available to all. That said, this was a very difficult video to follow, and since I have analysed it in more detail, I’m a bit disappointed. There is a claim that “Plant Foods Offer the Best of Both Worlds”, yet, it is based on one study of athletes who took a lemon verbena tea supplement. So, they weren’t eating the plant,and I don’t think they were even drinking the tea. As a supplement, wouldn’t that imply that it has been processed (like the Vit C supplement, that impaired physical performance in athletes?) Vit C is obviously in a lot of plants, too. I would say the claim that plant foods offer the best of both worlds is unsubstantiated by the evidence provided in this analysis.

  • Curious Man

    Hello, this is not really a question specific to this video, but I am curious as to any other websites that focus more on exercise that you would give your approval to. I essentially use this website as my end all for any question that arises nutritionally, and I wish I had a similar ‘encyclopedia’ to reference when wondering about more fitness related questions.

  • Oliver Theunissen

    Dear Dr. Greger,

    you mentioned black currant in this video and its antioxidant content activity. There is an antioxidant substance in black currant which appears to be especially interesting: Keracyanin (Sambucin, Cyanidin 3-rutinoside, Meralop, (same as Antirrhinin?)). It is an antioxidant and appears to inhibit some proteases (MMP1, MMP9, neutrophil elastase), protecting erythrocytes from apoptosis, but inducing apoptosis in the highly tumorigenic RE-149 DHD cell line. When added to food, keracyanin chloride significantly reduces body weight gain, resistance to insulin, and lipid accumulation in mice fed a high-fat diet. I think this is an interesting topic on its own, what about producing a video on keracyanin, a polyphenolic anthocyanin found in black currants and other plants?

    You find references here at a research product vendor site: https://www.caymanchem.com/app/template/Product.vm/catalog/15778