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Overtraining

Fortunately for most amateur athletes the problem of overtraining remains a theoretical issue. People training 4x a week or more may experience over-reaching or overtraining. And surprisingly enough, symptoms of overtraining can happen even to anoraks. This article describes useful aspects including the role of Aloeride® and probiotics.

Overtraining, also described as chronic fatigue, burnout and staleness has been defined as an imbalance between physical and/or psychological stress, training or competition and recovery. Early stages of overtraining result from ‘too much throttle and no breaking’ and are called the orthosympathetic form whilst in more advanced stages, your orthosympathetic tone gets exhausted enabling its opposite number, the parasympathetic system to become dominant.

The orthosympathetic overtrainee is in permanent ‘fight or flight’ mode. Both fight and flight should be incidental challenges during which your adrenal glands pump out hormones like adrenaline (epinephrine), noradrenalin (norepinephrine) and cortisol, whilst indirectly raising human growth hormone (HGH) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). These glands however are sprinter organs, they were not designed to cope with a marathon.

The parasympathetic overtrainee mimics some of Addison’s disease symptoms hence it is referred to as Addisonoid overtraining. The marathon of fight and flight has exhausted the adrenal sprinter glands and they now fail to regulate hormonal concentrations properly, this now is a serious problem. On routine blood work the overtainee is likely to show progressive anaemias with low haemoglobin and low haematocrit.

Athletes primarily complain of underperformance of course, other common symptoms are progressively susceptibility to common infections and injury, persistent high levels of fatigue, heavy muscles and depression. As said, an athletes’ reaction to underperformance is often to increase training rather than to rest which exacerbates their recovery deficit (I am tired, but I feel better after exercise, so I exercise is the strategic equivalent of flogging a dead horse). Often symptoms are ignored until performance is chronically affected.

Sleep disturbances like having difficulty in getting to sleep, waking up in the night and waking un-refreshed are experienced by some 90% of athletes suffering from overtraining. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, loss of weight, loss of competitive drive, increased emotional instability such as depression, anxiety, irritability and mental exhaustion, poor attitude to training and musculoskeletal soreness.

A simple DIY monitoring system is by checking the morning heart rate. Take your pulse immediately upon waking whilst still in bed. If your waking pulse any day is elevated by more than 8 beats/minute above its average level for the preceding week you are falling into overtraining.

Alternatively check your morning body weight, the weekly average weight should not vary by more than 2lbs. If it drops by more than 3lbs on any day from a previous stable body weight you are falling into overtraining.

As far as laboratory tests go, a useful immunological marker for excessive exercise is salivary IgA whilst a useful stress marker is Cortisol/DHEA. The stress hormones Cortisol and DHEA are not released constantly throughout the day, but are secreted in a cycle called the circadian rhythm (highest values being in the morning and the lowest at night). When the adrenal glands become exhausted (parasympathetic phase) Cortisol and DHEA in the blood stream become imbalanced. Adrenal Stress Index uses four saliva samples to measure the adrenal rhythm and gives you a DHEA to Cortisol correlation. Of course hypothalamic-pituitary impairment of the corticotrophic axis causing adrenal insufficiency should be taken into account and specific testing of hypothalamus and pituitary gland may be considered.

Three common pathways for overtraining are:
o intensity / load excess
o recovery deficit
o nutritional deficiency

To remedy the first two you need to lower stress load and increase recovery time. In severe overtraining athletes should stop training entirely for 7-14 days, increase sleep to 9 hours of solid sleep a night and increase broad spectrum antioxidant intake to 200% of usual intake.

To support the adrenal glands you can supplement with good quality organic glandular extracts from government inspected, New Zealand or Australia free range animals that have not been fed hormones or antibiotics. Or you can use a complex homeopathic remedy like Glandula Suprarenalis Suis-Injeel (Forte). Appropriate supplementation with good quality DHEA should only be considered if an abnormal adrenal stress test dictates this.

To remedy the last point you need to combine a right-for-you wholefood diet and should consider Aloeride® and probiotics. Combined ignorance and arrogance has many athletes train 3 – 4x /wk without fuelling their bodies appropriately. The famous 5Ps: poor preparation produces poor performance open the gates towards overtraining, injury, degenerative changes and illness.

Improving the immune system of athletes helps reduce the number and length of infections suffered by them. The large, highly immune modulating aloeride fraction within Aloeride® together with good probiotics do exactly that. Also they improve the uptake of necessary nutrients. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial – published in Br J Sports Med. 2008 Feb 13 – was conducted in Australia over a four-month period of winter training of twenty healthy, elite male distance runners. The conclusion was that prophylactic administration of probiotics was associated with a substantial reduction in the number of days and severity of respiratory illness in a cohort of highly trained distance runners likely due to a two-fold (p=0.07) greater change in whole-blood culture interferon gamma (IFN-fx) compared with placebo.

Athletes, anoraks or anybody else suffering from an imbalance between physical and/or psychological stress, training or competition and recovery should change that balance, and ingest Aloeride®, probiotics and highly absorbable wholefood nutrition to recover.

How does aloe vera work?

The plant aloe vera contains a complex mixture of molecules. The Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants by James A. Duke states that there are as much as 300 different types of molecules in aloe vera. Hardly surprising then that it has multiple effects on multiple tissue types. Unfortunately this broad spectrum of activity also fuels ‘academic’ scepticism because aloe vera does just too much to be true.

To put that last criticism into perspective, even in Prescription Only Medication (POM) there is not just one thing any drug does. This is why we have monthly editions of MIMS and BNP to show, next to the indications of POMs, their contraindications, warnings, other drug interactions and adverse effects. POMs are as targeted molecules as a pharmaceutical company can make them, yet they affect so much. Imagine a plant with 300 different types of molecules, of course it is going to act broad spectrum.

Aloe vera has been used by millions of people worldwide throughout the ages. Empirical evidence accumulated in accolades like ‘miracle plant’ and ‘burn plant’ but for academic validity such a sustained track record is said to be meaningless. But even in today’s climate of evidence based medicine (EBM) much of day to day healthcare is characterised by non evidence based practice, variation in practice, inadequate outcome data, inequality of access to optimal treatment and ultimately a lack of evidence base. (Virus Research, Volume 89, Issue 2, November 2002, Pages 175-181). Entrenched sceptics should note that lack of evidence of efficacy should not be confused with evidence of lack of efficacy. The former says that there is insufficient evidence to pass judgement. The latter says it does not work.

Of course good aloe vera works. Quite beside that there is safety and validation in the numbers (millions of people) and in the length of time aloe vera has been used (centuries), there is a lot of good quality research on aloe vera as well as scientific knowledge about what its different type of molecules do. This said, how well an aloe vera product works depends entirely on its quantity of working molecules, the quality of them and purity of product. On all counts Aloeride® is an exemplary product that stands head and shoulders above its competitors.

So how does it work? Aloeride® is mostly taken by mouth but can also be applied to the skin. When taken by mouth, in the fluid environment of the stomach, the Aloeride® capsules dissolve within 1 or 2 minutes giving our powder plenty of time to mix with the ample water (your stomach’s mixing waves occur every 15-25 seconds) with which you swallowed the capsules. So you have now rehydrated your aloe vera powder. Only when you have lesions or inflammation in your mouth or oesophagus is there a need for opening the capsules and ingesting the powder with water. This is easy and it does not taste horrible.

With all 300 different types of molecules are out of the capsule, Aloeride® goes to work. Broadly speaking the action is threefold and interconnected: anti-inflammatory, immune-modulatory and tissue healing with the target being mostly epithelium (tissue that separates tissue cells from air). Of course the first point of contact of these molecules is the alimentary canal, so it is hardly surprising that Aloeride®’s molecules show their effect there first. Because Aloeride®’s molecules also are absorbed into your bloodstream, they also find their way to peripheral tissue. Thus Aloeride® exerts effect way beyond the alimentary canal and causes powerful inside-out healing, the only route for safe wound healing and 24/7 skin care. Just how broad spectrum aloe vera works is underpinned by good research: cell growth, anti-inflammatory effect, anti-microbial effect, effect on burns, anti-diabetic effect, cardiovascular and lipid effect, anti-ageing effect and response to UV light, wound healing, gastrointestinal effects and immune modulation.

Broad spectrum action is the result of 300 types of molecules as well as domino effect. To explain the latter, an inflamed intestinal wall for example becomes permeable to macromolecules that ought to stay within your alimentary canal. Enterocytes (intestine’s absorptive lining cells) normally determine what may enter the body – via transcellular crossing – and what stays inside the intestines. In leaky gut syndrome gaps occur in between the enterocytes so indiscriminate, paracellular crossing now can happen.

Macromolecules gate crashing into your body trigger immune reactions. Aloeride® helps close the gaps between enterocytes, thus indirectly changing immune response beyond its direct, researched effect on phagocytosis, lymphocytes and T-helper cells. Beyond that Aloeride® also creates a more favourable milieu for good gut bacteria which in turn improves immunity.

Three hundred different types of aloe vera molecules, working synergistically and causing domino effects, will act broad spectrum and the magic of all this forms the basis for aloe vera’s much deserved accolades.

What is aloe vera, Aloeride® and Climate Change

Among plants aloe vera may be an Ugly Betty but it has a 4,000+ year track record of being hugely valued for improving both health and beauty. Earliest recorded pharmaceutical use dates back to 2100 BC (Sumeria/Babylon), also hieroglyphic inscriptions of aloe dated to 4100 BC were found in the tomb of an Egyptian Court physician. Queen Cleopatra and Queen Nefertiti, both renown for their stunning beauty, used aloe vera to stay healthy and beautiful. Aloe vera today still is unfailingly popular for the same reasons it was valued for throughout the ages.

Although aloe vera looks like a cactus, it actually is a succulent and a member of the Liliacae family (like the onion, garlic, asparagus, lily and the tulip). Unsurprisingly one of aloe vera’s nick names is ‘lily of the desert’ because that is where it grows naturally. To survive long periods of droughts these xeroids plants have the ability to retain and preserve large quantities of water.

Being able to survive such a harsh environment has interesting implications for you. When for instance an aloe leaf gets damaged it instantaneously repairs this damage thereby avoiding loss of water. Failure to quickly repair the injury site would result in evaporation of its precious reservoir and might jeopardise the plant’s health or survival. Such tissue repair and other powerful aloe vera properties are transferred to you when you ingest Aloeride®.

There are more than 350 varieties of aloe vera yet only 4 contain significant healing properties, the most nutrient dense of these is aloe vera barbadensis miller, the plant used to make Aloeride®. Aloe vera is a complex, interacting mixture of some 300 constituents including beta-linked polysaccharides, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, lignins, saponins and anthraquinones.

The challenge in processing aloe vera is how to extract all of these synergistic molecules without damaging them or without significantly altering their ratios to one another. Next you must deliver all these synergistic molecules in meaningful quantities for only then can the many properties attributed to aloe vera manifest themselves. We chose to grow the best and process in the cleverest possible way and as a result Aloeride® emerges as the top flight aloe vera product in multiple, independent laboratory tests.

With a nick name like ‘lily of the desert’ you won’t be surprised to learn that aloe vera cannot tolerate frost. Its water content freezes at 28° Fahrenheit (minus 2°Celcius) causing the plant to die. Consequently most commercial growth of aloe vera happens south of the Equator. North of the Equator commercial growth still is precarious, aloe growers in the ‘dust bowl’ of southern Spain got clobbered when in February 2005 temperatures fell to minus 10° in Madrid and minus 20° in Aragon. But also south of the Equator the climate is changing, until recently Australia was a large producer of aloe vera like it was of wheat, cotton lint, wine grapes and rice. Their prolonged droughts caused a drop in wheat production by over 58% which made wheat

prices surge to a 10-year high, these drought also affected Australia’s aloe vera production where one company alone converted some 7,000 tonnes of aloe vera leaf into around three million litres of gel each year. An aloe vera plant needs 150mL water a month as otherwise it dies. Plants that do survive the drought generate more aloin and emodin, resulting in their gel having an even more bitter taste and stronger odour than usual. It is what dehydrated aloe does for self-preservation because emodin and aloin have anti-inflammatory, bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal and anti-cancer effect. These hydroxyanthraquinone compounds become life savers as the dehydrated plant fights cell disorganisation and bacteria, viruses or fungi that prey on it.

However, what is good for a distressed aloe vera plant isn’t necessarily good for you. In the lower gastrointestinal tract barbaloin molecules are hydrolysed to create aloe emodin which acts as a laxative by increasing water retention and mucus secretion in the large intestine. Aloe vera crop surviving droughts may come with a sting in its tail that causes mayhem in sensitive digestive tracts.

In order to achieve product consistency in a changing climate, we perform routine laboratory tests on trial processed harvests and base our purchases on those outcomes. The effect of climate change reaches aloe vera crops worldwide and to date Aloeride® has needed to make two rejections because of our very exacting Quality Control. Climate change certainly makes optimal harvesting more challenging than it has been in the past decades but the customer feedback shows that keeping to our unique standards makes an appreciable difference to customer’s quality of life. An Ugly Betty aloe vera may be, but in Aloeride® it waves its magic wand supremely.