Sports beer for athletes

There's nothing like a cool pint after exercise on a warm day. But is this a good idea? In a previous blog I discussed the effects of binge drinking on recovery and these effects were not positive. However, others have argued that beer drinking, in moderation, can have positive effects, beer adds to hydration, it contains vitamins, especially B-vitamins and chromium. The malt and hops used in both lager and bitter contain flavonoids, which counter cell damage and help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Recently I was contacted by the producers of a TV program on Channel 4 (UK) called Food Unwrapped. This program looks into the origin of our foods and tries to find out the truth beh

Cold water therapy and bad journalism

A couple of weeks ago a paper was published in the Journal of Physiology with the title “Post-exercise cold water immersion attenuates acute anabolic signalling and long-term adaptations in muscle to strength training”. Essentially the study compared the effects of cold water immersion and active recovery on changes in muscle mass and strength after 12 weeks of strength training. After 12 weeks of training, effects were better with active recovery versus cold water therapy. In the past studies suggested that cold water therapy can reduce soreness and improve recovery he next day(s). The current study addresses the longer term effects (12 weeks) of training, not the short term effects. Dr Sho

Probiotics: can they help to prevent illness?

What are probiotics? Probiotic-rich foods and supplements contain non-pathogenic bacteria that colonise the gut and can potentially yield a variety of health benefits that include reduced incidence of respiratory and gastrointestinal illness. There are several possible ways in which probiotics can act to produce these effects. By their growth and metabolism, probiotics help inhibit the growth of other bacteria, antigens, toxins and carcinogens in the gut, and reduce potentially harmful effects. Probiotics can also influence immune function via interaction with immune cells associated with the gut. Probiotics are found in several foods, particularly dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and c

You are your bacteria? really?

We (humans) are a host to many many microbes - bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses. In fact, there are trillions of them. That is more than we have cells in the human body. It was often assumed that the the number of microbes outnumbered the number of cells in the body by about 10-fold, but more recently this myth was busted. The majority of these microbes live in our gut, particularly in the large intestine. In total these microbes may weigh as much as 1.5-2.5 kilograms (3-5 pounds). The term microbiome although technically meant to represent the genetic material of all the microbes, is often used to describe our collection of microbiota. The microbiome could be regarded as the human equi

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