Oxygen is essential to life as we know it. All of our cells need it to function. Our lungs do an amazing job of pulling it out of the air and transporting it via our red blood cells throughout our body. In the cells, oxygen is used to fuel the ATP process. Today I want to talk about the role of Coenzyme Q10 in this amazing process of life, and how it is important for athletes.
What is CoEnzyme Q10?
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), is a fat soluble antioxidant that is either made in the body (from two amino acids Tyrosine and Phenylalanine), or consumed in the diet. There are two forms: Ubiquinol and Ubiquinone. Ubiquinone is an oxidized form that must be converted into Ubiquinol to be used. Ubiquinol is the active form that the body readily uses. It is found in every cell of your body, but in the highest concentrations in your Heart and Muscles (which have the largest demand for energy).
What does CoQ10 Do?
The main role of CoQ10 is energy production in the cells. The Kreb's Cycle (We are going to have to seriously discuss this tomorrow) is the process by which the cells break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins into useable energy. Oxygen is the fuel for this process and CoQ10 is the flame that ignites it.
Another function critical to athletes, is CoQ10's ability to protect muscles from oxidative damage from strenuous workouts. (The study was based on downhill runners).
Another Study looked at the effects of acute and long term use of CoQ10 supplements for athletes. It concluded that in acute (single dose), athletes saw increased concentrations of CoQ10 in the muscles, and reduces oxidative stress. Long term use (14 days) showed increased concentrations of CoQ10 in the plasma, and increased endurances, and longer time to fatigue.
What Causes Low CoQ10?
Being super athletic, in general, ups your demands for CoQ10, and by nature you need consume and make more. But, there are other reasons why you could be lower than what your body needs.
So, I want to dive into the medication-nutrient depletions a bit. This is a big topic, and I really wish more doctors took this seriously. Medications use different processes in the body, and nutrients that we derive from our food work in these same processes. Many of the medications deplete the nutrients in our body by overworking these systems and increasing our demand for certain nutrients. Also, many conditions that are mediated are unaddressed symptoms of nutrient deficiency and thus the underlying condition is not addressed, just masked, and the nutrient depletion becomes worse. Many of the side effects of drugs are, in turn, associated with the nutrient deficiency that they cause. So, instead of taking another medication to mask the nutrient depletion symptom, I suggest increasing dietary sources and supplementing. I topic more Doctors should take courses on. (off my pedestal)
Below is a list of medications that are known to deplete CoQ10. Death can be a side effect of some of these medications due do the complete deficiency of CoQ10 in organs like the Heart, causing heart attack or failure. This has been well documented in the Statin drugs, but there are many other non-statins that also deplete CoQ10
Where is CoQ10 in the Diet?
Consuming it in your diet, is a great way to make sure you are getting enough, especially if you fall into one of the above categories that puts you at risk for depletion. 25% of plasma CoQ10 is from dietary sources
It is mostly found in MEAT, the redder the better! In our bodies it is found in high concentration in the muscles, heart and organs, and thus by eating the muscles and the organs, you can consume CoQ10. (You should try heart, it is delicious, and similar to filet mignon, no lie). I have some tricks for sneaking Liver into your diet as well. If you are interested, let me know and I can divulge my secrets (my family gets it once a week without ever knowing...shhhhh, don't tell)
Seafood is another good sources. Shellfish in particular have a good amount.
It is also found in legumes, nuts and seeds: Peanuts, Pistachios, and Sesame Seeds
It is present if vegetables, but in extremely small amounts. Some vegetables that have the highest amounts are: Cabbage, Broccoli and Cauliflower
Some fruits, oranges and strawberries, also have a small amount.
2,000ft Elevation Gain
Pack Weight: 15 pounds
Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Porridge (Click Here for Recipe)
After feeling heavy and sluggish on my last hike, when I had a big eggy breakfast...I went with old reliable....porridge.
Quinoa is a seed, not a grain, and thus has more protein and fat than other grains. This helps to balance out the carbohydrates, giving you sustained energy. Carbs for immediate and fats and proteins for endurance. It also contains naturally occurring electrolyte and trace minerals.
Snack: PB & J on Sprouted Sourdough
Classic hiking pick me up!
I also remembered to pack my electrolytes for the hike. I made a separate water bottle and sip on it along the way.
Today was a MUCH BETTER HIKE, than the last one. Busted out the 10 miles, no problem, felt energized the entire time. No more heavy breakfasts before a hike for me.
Lunch: Spinach and Sausage Quiche
Dinner: Chicken Cobb Salad
Look at how beautiful the yolk on that egg is! That is the yolk of a pasture raised chicken (my chickens)...and you can just see the nutritional difference. You can't really see all the yumminess in this salad..but it's greens (from my garden), chicken, egg, green onion, corn (local), kidney beans, bell pepper, carrot, and cultured beets. Of course you can't have a cobb salad without good Ranch Dressing.
I am trying to make up for my lack of workout this past weekend...so adding in some extra exercises this evening, and upping my game.
20 squats with weight (50 pound child on back)
15 push ups
Hyaluronic Acid 120mg
200 mg Potassium
240 mg Sodium
40 mcg Chromium
200 mg Copper
18 mcg Selenium
4 mg Zinc
20 mg Magnesium Malate
50 mcg Iodine
30 mg Calcium
+ Other Vitamins
I am going to stop the Hyaluronic Acid...I had no more clicking in my knee on this hike.
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 1: Intro
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 2: Electrolytes
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 3: Trace Minerals
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 4: Hydration
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 5: Hyaluronic Acid
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 6: Coenzyme Q10
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 7: Top 10
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 8: B Vitamins
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 9: Kreb's Cycle
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 10: Calories
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 11
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 12
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 13
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 14
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 15
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 16
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 17
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 18
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 19
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 20
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 21
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 22
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 23
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 24
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 25
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 26
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 27
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 28
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 29
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim 30 Day Crunch - Day 30
I love my family, but I'll be honest...a weekend with my sister, I was not motivated to get any working out done...it was all play. When we left this afternoon I had to squeeze in some quick exercises. Tomorrow hiking day!
10 push ups
20 wide squats
20 narrow squats
Repeat 3 X
This lovely, little starchy chemical is one of my favorite things to talk about. I've talked about it before in "Planning Nutritionally for Labor and Delivery" post. Today, I, obviously, want to focus on the need for hyaluronic acid with athletes.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a lubricant. It is a carbohydrate, and is aqueous, holding significant amounts of water. It is found in high amounts in the eyes, mucous membranes, skin, and cartilage. It is also a huge component of synovial fluid.
Functions of Hyaluronic Acid
Obviously, the main function of hyaluronic acid is hydration (see the tie in). It's purpose is bring large amounts of water into soft tissue.
Where do We Get Hyaluronic Acid
There are two main ways to get hyaluronic acid.
That seems easy enough. So, why are so many people low in Hyaluronic Acid?
Diet, Diet, Diet....I seem to come back to this a lot, it might be important.
There are so many EXTREME diets out there...Paleo, Vegan, Raw-Food Vegan, Keto....what do they all have in common? THEY ARE MISSING NUTRIENTS! Sorry! Quality and Balance are key to a good diet. Sure you may lose weight and body fat on a Keto diet, but you'll be missing out on electrolytes. Sure, you'll be detoxing like a champ on a raw-food vegan diet, but you're going to end up anemic. What does this have to do with Hyaluronic Acid...easy.
The food sources of hyaluronic acid are SKIN and CARTILAGE (or eyeballs, but that's a bit hard to swallow....pun intended)...so right off the bat, those vegetarians and vegans are out one way.
The other way is via starches in the diet (potatoes, bananas, dates)...so right there those keto and paleo diets are out one way.
Making sure you have a good balance in your diet of quality meats (bone in, skin on...or broth), and quality carbohydrates (sprouted grains, whole potatoes), you can make sure you are consuming enough constituents of hyaluronic acid.
Your body turns over about 1/3 of your total hyaluronic acid every day (for non-athletes), so making sure to consume these foods daily, especially if you are an athlete and using more, is essential.
When Would You SUPPLEMENT?
Some of the main symptoms of a Hyaluronic Acid deficiency are clicking and pain in the joints, eyesight changes, dry eyes, dry skin, early aging, gums that bleed easy, and others.
If I have clients that come in with cartilage issues, or joint pain, I will almost always supplement with hyaluronic Acid capsules, and modify the diet. Then once we establish a healthy, hyaluronic acid rich diet, we remove the supplement.
Women over the age of 50, and men are more likely to have deficiencies due to lower levels of circulating estrogen. These people may do well with supplementation.
Athletes with extreme diets, or who are showing signs of joint clicking, may do well with supplementation.
Anyone with spinal injuries, such as herniated discs, are using more synovial fluid to maintain hydration, and may do well with supplementation.
Breakfast: Country Potatoes, Fried Egg, Sourdough Toast, & A Side of Green Chili
Not the best breakfast, but one last meal out with my sister before she left. Could have done a lot better. No really veggies or fruits to be seen. Lots of starches (good for my hyaluronic acid production though).
Lunch: Beet & Bacon Salad; Iced Tea
After my poor breakfast, I decided I better up my game at lunch. Beets are one of my FAVORITE vegetables. (Have you ever eaten the greens? Do! They are delicious.)
Beets are a great vegetable blood tonic. Not only are they rich in nutrients like Iron, B6, & B9 which aid in blood building, but they are also excellent sources of electrolytes Potassium, and Phosphorus, and other nutrients like Vitamin C.
Beets also contain phytochemicals that reduce inflammation by inhibiting COX-2.
Dinner: Roasted Chicken & Brussel Sprouts, with Pesto Pasta
Choosing Bone in Skin on chicken is an easy way to increase your dietary hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic Acid 120mg
Total Water Today: 8 Cups
We eat A LOT of eggs! In fact, we now have chickens, 13 to be exact, and we were so afraid we would be overrun with eggs. It is actually just the right amount for our family of 4 and our egg usage. Eggs are one of my foundation breakfast items...I typically eat one every morning.
Many of you grew up thinking that only the whites were good for you and that you should limit your yolk quantity (based on horribly performed research....long story). Please eat the yolks, that is where the nutrition is, and the egg supplies almost everything you need nutritionally, except for the minerals found in the shell.
Is it Healthy to Give my Children That Much Cholesterol?
The answer in simple terms is, YES! It is very healthy, and almost essential to your growing child's needs. Children NEED dietary cholesterol and actually quite a bit of it.
Oh, that poor nutritional myth that dietary cholesterol increases heart disease. If you are still living this lie, change now. In fact, research, and dietary common sense, point to the opposite. In fact, having too little dietary cholesterol can cause an increase in LDL back cholesterol...okay, I am getting way off track here...children Sarah, we are talking children's diets (more on this at some other point, cause it is important for us grown ups).
So, back to children and dietary cholesterol! I want to talk specifically about this! There are so many other nutrients in eggs that are important for your child's health: 13 different vitamins and minerals, choline for brain health, protien for growing muscles, and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. But, today our focus is on the cholesterol, which many of you will be amazed to know is essential for your growing child.
Cholesterol for Learning and Memory
The brains of our children are growing like crazy! They are learning new things every single days, whether it is learning to walk, or learning Calculus. With each new thing that our children learn, new nerves must be formed, and multiple neurological functions must occur to store memories, and hold onto this knowledge.
This is where cholesterol comes in. The brain NEEDS cholesterol to work properly. The process of developing neurons for learning and memory is called synaptogenesis. Synaptogenesis requires cholesterol. The synapses between nerve cells in the brain is how they communicate. The more you have the quicker your brain can make connects, and the more effectively you can learn. This is important for our children who are making new connections every day. In an in vitro experiment done in Europe, external cholesterol was added to neuron, in culture. With this cholesterol exposure, neuron formation multiplied, leading scientists to conclude that cholesterol was vital to the formation of healthy nerve connections.
The understanding of cholesterol is complicated and involves many different parts of the body at different times, for different reasons. LDL and HDL bound cholesterols cannot cross the blood brain barrier, but the Liver has this really cool ability to convert cholesterol in the body (diet) into a form of cholesterol that CAN cross the blood brain barrier, and affect different receptors that contribute to brain neuron health. And this is why studies show that dietary cholesterol positively influences learning tasks.
Cholesterol and Hormones
Even if you're not dealing with a tween, whose hormones are raging, your child's hormone development and health is important.
Next to the brain, the biggest user of cholesterol is the endocrine (hormone) systems. Cholesterol is the foundation of our steroid hormones (DHEA, testosterone, estrone, estradiol, pregnenolone, progesterone, cortisol, corticosterone, aldosterone, and others). Without dietary cholesterol, these hormones don't exist.
Sex hormone imbalances in adolescence (especially young women) are become all too common. These hormones do more in the body than work on reproduction. Estradiol is necessary for the process we discussed above, the conversion of body cholesterol into a form that can pass through the blood brain barrier.
Testosterone is responsible for the growth of muscles and bone. Typically there is a burst of testosterone with each growth spurt.
Proper cortisol levels help your child navigate new experiences, and regulate their fight or flight response.
Many neurotransmitters needed for brain health, learning, memory, and attentiveness (Dopamine, GABA, Serotonin, Melatonin, Acetylcholine) are regulated by steroid hormones. Children who struggle with attentiveness often have lowered levels of steroid hormones. In fact the drug Ritalin is used to stimulate the production of a specific steroid hormone found low in ADHD children, DHEA. It is hypothesised that ADHD children need more cholesterol and fat than those without ADHD, because they need more steroid hormone.
Cholesterol and Vitamin D
The new pediatric guidelines recommend supplementing ALL children with Vitamin D3. Why? Because Vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic.
Do you know how Vitamin D is made?
Cholesterol, yes cholesterol, is the foundation of Vitamin D. UVB rays from the sun that enter the tissues come into contact with circulating cholesterol. With the help of zinc, UVB radiation changes cholesterol into Vitamin D.
Now, here is the kicker...why is everyone deficient. How, I have no way of researching, but I have my theories (and many scientists and research share the same view). My theory combines several different issues into one big problem.
So, based on this, my theory goes: Because we are nutritionally deficiency, and/or blocking the UVB rays needed, we are limiting our ability to process Vitamin D and thus becoming deficient.
Cholesterol and Zinc, almost, like an internal sunblock, grabbing the sun's rays and converting them into a needed hormone (yes Vitamin D is a steroid hormone).
Other Cholesterol Functions
There are many other functions of cholesterol, that for time, I want to quickly highlight.
Breakfast of Champions: