How To Boost Sports Performance & Prevent Injuries, Especially In Today’s World of Year Round Sports

If you play sports or have kids who do, injuries and sore muscles are pretty much inevitable.

It can be really frustrating when you can’t perform at your best because of a nagging injury, or when your young superstar has a big showcase this weekend but might not be able to play well enough to impress the scouts.

We all pretty much know how important stretching, icing, water intake, and healthy foods are, but recent studies suggest that there are newer ways to dramatically boost performance, improve recovery, and prevent injuries, and chances are you have never heard of them.

Here are the major breakthroughs in sports performance and recovery…

Cold Laser Therapy

This has long been a secret of top tier professional athletes and Olympic champs. Now this technology is available for the average athlete who doesn’t have a million dollar contract…yet.

When many patients walk into my office for help with sports injuries or to enhance performance and they see my lasers, the first thing they usually think is “how is that crazy red light that looks like a barcode scanner going to help me?!”

I understand how they feel, because I thought the same thing when I was introduced to them in 2004. However, there is an abundance of research studies that show that we really already are in the age of “Star Trek” when it comes to advanced, non-invasive methods to dramatically alter human performance and recovery, and lasers are at the forefront. Here are just a handful of the studies that illustrate this fact…

-The Feb 2015 edition of  Lasers in Medical Science found that laser therapy “improves muscular performance and accelerates recovery mainly when applied before exercise.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24249354

– The Jan-Feb 2013 edition of the Journal of Athletic Training found that laser therapy “administered to skeletal muscle immediately before resistance exercise can enhance contractile function, prevent exercise-induced cell damage, and improve postexercise recovery of strength and function.”

-The same study concluded that laser therapy done before sports could “positively affect physical performance by delaying the onset of fatigue, reducing the fatigue response…and protecting cells from exercise-induced damage.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23672326

-The Nov 2014 edition of Lasers in Medical Science found that lasers applied BEFORE exercise “significantly increases performance, decreases DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) , and improves biochemical markers related to skeletal muscle damage.”   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24942380

What is great about this study is that they also used blood tests to verify that the lasers had an impact. Several studies showed lasers decreased lactic acid (blood lactate levels), creatine kinase, the inflammatory marker C reactive protein, and decreased the onset of fatigue, such as this one in the 2009 edition of Lasers in Surgery and Medicine:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19731300

– The Jan 2015 edition of Lasers in Medical Science concluded that laser therapy “can increase cytochrome c oxidase activity in intact skeletal muscle and …can enhance performance and protect skeletal muscles against fatigue development and tissue damage.”   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24957189

Why is increasing cytochrome c oxidase important to an athlete? This is necessary for your mitochondria to be able to make ATP, which means ENERGY for your cells. More cytochrome c oxidase = more ATP = more energy = better sports performance. Pretty powerful. And no side effects.

It gets even more amazing…

Ever hear of STEM CELLS?

It turns out that cold lasers can actually stimulate your body to make stem cells, which can then be used to repair the damaged muscle tissue.  This finding was presented in the Nov 2012 journal Photonics & Lasers in Medicine. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23626925

I have been using lasers for sports injuries since 2004 on Super Bowl champion athletes, World Series Champion athletes, and all the way down to youth travel teams, and have consistently been amazed at the results that they get not only with injury recovery but also by enhancing performance legally, without banned substances.

Functional Medicine, Genetic Testing, & Food Reaction Testing

Many of you may have never heard of this, and this really starts sounding like science fiction. Pros are hacking their diets with some of these tests I am going to discuss to get into Beast Mode more frequently.

We can now actually run blood tests to see what foods work for your body, what genes you have that could put you at higher risks for a knee or achilles tendon injury, and to see what nutrients and in what amounts you need for optimal performance. Amazing times we live in!

In the April 2015 edition of the journal PLoS One, they found that “recent genetic research provides valuable information to help reduce sports injuries and to optimize nutrition. There are many genetic studies for health and disease that can be mined to provide useful information to athletes about their individual risk for relevant injuries.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4412532/

The July-Aug 2015 edition of the journal Nutrition had this finding: “we advocate the need to adopt an individualized diet for each athlete performing a specific sport or in a specific period of training, clinically supervised with inclusion of blood analysis and physiological tests, in a comprehensive nutritional assessment.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26059364

So just what are the tests that are recommended? At minimum, an athlete should get their Vitamin D level tested, as well other markers such as serum iron, homocysteine, inflammatory markers like C reactive protein, ESR, and uric acid, thyroid function tests including antibodies, blood sugar status including an HBA1C, and more.

Genetic testing for injury risk can also be done, although that is far less common. It could be beneficial because then the athlete could perform specific training activities to strengthen the weak area to prevent injury, or even change which sport or position they are playing.

Food reaction panels, like the ones from Cyrex Labs, can tell if an athlete is eating foods that are actually triggering inflammation, sapping their metabolism, and even triggering auto immune attacks on their muscles, brain, nerves, thyroid, joints, or other tissues.

Many athletes I have tested are reactive to grains like rice and gluten, or proteins like casein and whey.

An incredibly high percentage of athletes are downing whey protein shakes every day to enhance performance, and for some of them this is actually triggering inflammation, tissue destruction, and sapping performance.

Cyrex’s tests can even tell if you are able to eat raw versus cooked versions of foods, and even sauces, spices, and fillers. They also have a fantastic test for Celiac and gluten sensitivity.

This is statistically pretty important to athletes. Current rates of Celiac disease are 1 to 2 people in every 100. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity rates are estimated to be between 5% and possible 15%, which means that is at least 1 in every 20 athletes. 

Eating that food can not only create stomach discomfort, but can create neurological symptoms, muscle weakness, depression, poor coordination, and more. None of these are good for a top athlete. In some athletes, it can actually trigger them to attack their own body tissues, like muscle, joint, bone, etc. Cyrex’s Array 5 can tell you exactly what tissues you attack when you eat foods you react to.

So What Do I Do Now?

Well, if you read all the way to here, sports performance is pretty important to you. The difficult thing will now be finding a provider who knows how to utilize these methods for athletes.

For finding a laser doctor, I recommend going to www.Erchonia.com and using their “find a provider” search option. You can enter your zip code and find someone near you. You will still need to question them, however, to see how much training they have completed in working with athletes, as not all will know what I have shared with you here.

For the blood testing, you will need to search for a Functional Medicine trained specialist. You may have a tough time finding someone who does both like I do.  I wish I could provide a better resource for finding someone who knows how to use functional medicine for sports, but unfortunately I do not. However, here is a resource of providers who have received similar training to mine, although they tend to specialize more in thyroid disorders and chronic illnesses compared to sports performance: www.thyroidconnections.com

I hope you found this article helpful and that you are excited about the potential for you or your future superstar.

You can contact me at laserchiro@yahoo.com, follow me on twitter @drkirkgair, or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LaserChiropractic or www.Facebook.com/ThyroidInfo, or at www.LaserChiropractic.net

As always, please consult with your personal physician before trying any of the methods discussed in this article. This article is not intended to provide a diagnosis or offer a treatment plan or medical advice for any condition. 

 

 

 

Could Vitamin D Actually PREVENT Hashimoto’s, Diabetes, and Even Cancer? And If So, How Much Do You Need?

Ah, Vitamin D…the “sunshine vitamin”. When most of us hear about it, we usually just associate it with healthy bones…but it is actually so much more than that.

Many people have the mistaken idea that “all you have to do is get a little sun and you will have enough.” This simply is not the case, as I routinely find severe deficiencies even in kids and people who are outside all day playing sports or working.

Deficiency in the US is currently 41.6% of causcasians, 69.2% of Hispanics, and a whopping 82.1% of African Americans, according to a study in the Jan 2011 edition of the journal Nutrition Research.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21310306

I got curious to see if there was any research that showed not just that vitamin D was good for those who already have auto immune diseases like Hashimoto’s and Diabetes, but if any studies showed it could help prevent your kids from developing the same disease. What I discovered in the research studies is very promising!

So what else does Vitamin D do besides make healthy bones?

It is involved with the regulation of over 900 genes, influences and modulates the immune system, modulates inflammation, has a role in fighting preventing cancer, and even plays a role in brain function and diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Vitamin D deficiencies are also associated with other conditions besides just Rickets and Osteoporosis, such as PCOS, Lupus, Diabetes, Celiac, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Grain Brain author, Dr David Perlmutter, thinks optimal vitamin D levels are so important that has made a video that explains why he tests ALL his patients… http://www.drperlmutter.com/delightful-vitamin-d/

What Does The Research Say About The Link Between Low Levels and Auto Immune Disease?

When searching through peer reviewed articles on this topic, I found several promising studies.

In the May 2013 edition of the journal Endocrine Practice, they found the following:

“We demonstrated that serum 25OHD (vitamin D3) levels of HT (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) patients were significantly lower than controls, and 25OHD deficiency severity correlated with duration of HT, thyroid volume, and antibody levels. These findings may suggest a potential role of 25OHD in development of HT and/or its progression to hypothyroidism.”   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23337162

Several other studies found the same thing. One study in the 2015 edition of Scientific World Journal found that “lower serum D levels were associated with higher thyroid antibody levels.”   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25654127

Other studies also linked low vitamin D to Childhood Obesity, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Cancer, Diabetes, Insulin Sensitivity problems, and more.

Can Optimal Levels Reduce Risk?

In the May 2014 Journal of Endocrinological Investigation found that higher levels of Vitamin D on blood tests could actually reduce the risk of Hashimoto’s.

“Our study suggested that higher serum 25OHD levels was associated with decreased risk of HT  (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) so that each 5 ng/ml increase in the serum 25OHD levels results in 19 % decrease in odds of HT.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24639121

This is huge. So if you raised your D level from a mild deficiency of 25 ng/ml to the recommended 50 ng/ml, you would decrease your odds by 115%. Pretty powerful for such an inexpensive supplement.

And the Dec 2012 journal AutoImmune Review found “Basic, genetic, and epidemiological studies indicate a potential role of vitamin D in the prevention of autoimmune diseases.”   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22776787

There were many more articles that had similar conclusions for not just Hashimoto’s but also other auto immune diseases ranging from Diabetes to Lupus to Rheumatoid Arthritis.

And this study from the British Journal of Dermatology in Aug 2002 even showed a protective benefit from cancer, as vitamin D was shown to help with the “inhibition of tumour invasion and metastasis potential” and that it has “an inhibitory effect on the spread of MM (malignant melanoma) cells.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12174089

So What Level Is Optimal, and How Much Is Safe And Necessary to Take to Get There?

When looking at all these studies, in general the minimum level seemed to be 50 ng/ml. Compare that to the fact that most patients are being told their levels are “fine” if they are in the 30 ng/ml range.

Other studies suggested that the target range should be 60-80 ng/ml for auto immune and cardiac patients, and between 80-100 ng/ml for cancer patients.

The Feb 2001 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that doses of 4000 IU (100 mcg) per day were safe. The Mayo Clinic has various ranges depending on the condition, and some doses are much higher than those in this study.

My recommendation is to find a good functional medicine practitioner and get your D3 level tested instead of just going off a chart for a condition. This way you and your provider can work at getting the right dosage for you to get into your optimal range.

When I have patients who are deficient in my office, we will usually start them off with a daily dose of sublingual D3 with cofactors and will test them each 1 to 2 months until we hit the target range.

Some patients may need only 4000 to 6000 IU per day, while others need it much higher. This is why blood testing is crucial, especially follow up testing. I have seen patients come in who had been on supplements for years who were still deficient.

So What Do I Do If I Am One Of Those Patients Who Remains Deficient Despite Supplementing?

First thing I would do is to look at which type of vitamin D you are taking. D2 has been shown to be ineffective at raising blood levels, yet that is the form I regularly see doctors prescribing. In fact, large HMOs still do this despite the evidence that it is ineffective. Studies show D3 to be more effective.

Second, if you have gut issues, such as Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or had gastric bypass surgery, it will be more difficult for you to absorb D3. This is why I utilize the sublingual forms with my patients. You may also require a form that has co-factors in it such as vitamin K for better utilization.  Still others may have genetic issues that affect absorption.

Third, work with your doctor on gradually increasing your dose safely until you can get the level to increase. Once you get to your target level, then you will work on your daily level to maintain it at optimal. I would recommend testing the level at least twice per year.

I hope you found this article helpful. You can follow me at www.Facebook.com/ThyroidInfo, www.Facebook.com/LaserChiropractic, or @drkirkgair. You can also join my mailing list to get my latest blog posts sent to you free.

And remember to discuss all these issues with your healthcare provider before starting a supplementation protocol.

Rheumatoid Arthritis? Recent Studies Show Cold Laser Can Decrease Inflammation & Repair Damaged Tissue

Recently, a patient asked me if Cold Laser could help with RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, since it had worked so well on her son’s injured shoulder and she wondered if it could help other more serious conditions.

While I had seen patients with the condition improve when I treated them, especially if we did the functional medicine protocols in combination with laser, I wasn’t sure if there were any studies that supported this.

I actually found several that showed that Cold Laser not only decreased the INFLAMMATION associated with Rhuematoid Arthritis, it also stimulated the formation of new cartilage and bone and slowed down the tissue necrosis (death).

As with all the other studies I have seen, there were no side effects to the therapy.

Here are a couple of studies that you can take a look at. This study in the Feb 2013 journal Lasers in Medicine and Surgery had this conclusion:

“LLLT both at early and late RA progression stages significantly improved mononuclear inflammatory cells, exudate protein, medullary hemorrhage, hyperemia, necrosis, distribution of fibrocartilage, and chondroblasts and osteoblasts compared to RA group (p < 0.05). We can conclude that LLLT is able to modulate inflammatory response both in early as well as in late progression stages of RA.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22538842

This study from Russia (their research in cold lasers was actually decades ahead of US research) showed that cold lasers “not only increases the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects but also has the antioxidant properties”.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25876429

Now, for the most effective alternative combination, I would also recommend that you get tested to see what foods are triggering the antibody flare up.

A great test is available from Cyrex Labs (www.cyrexlabs.com). Many patients with auto immune diseases have “leaky gut”, aka intestinal permeability. Cyrex’s Array 2 is great for assessing if you have this.

Auto immune patients are often reactive to gluten, casein, and other foods. Cyrex’s array 3 and 4 tests for gluten and gluten cross reactors, which have been shown to be able to trigger auto immune flare ups.

I would also make sure that your vitamin D level is optimal. Many studies suggest that optimal blood levels for an anti-inflammatory effect and for immune support range from 50 to 80 ng/ml.

Also be sure your Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio is well balanced. Anemias, blood sugar imbalances, and chronic infections should also be addressed.

I hope you find this helpful. Feel free to message me with questions or sign up for my free email health tips. You can also follow me on twitter @drkirkgair or on facebook at either www.Facebook.com/LaserChiropractic or www.Facebook.com/ThyroidInfo

As always, be sure to check with your qualified healthcare provider before starting any of these protocols.

What is Better to Use for a Fresh Injury? Ice? Heat? Creams? Cold Laser? This study’s results just may surprise you…

I get asked this question all the time by patients. And when I treat athletes at the LADABC Fantasy Camp (with retired Dodger and Angel legends), I always get a strange look from players and trainers when they come over with a hamstring or ankle injury and I go right for my laser before the ice.

Same thing when a high school or college athlete comes in on crutches. I can see the subtle snicker or that they think I’m a little crazy when I pull out my laser, which looks like a bar code scanner or laser leveler, and start to use it on their ankle sprain.

However, when they walk out with less pain and better range of motion, they know I wasn’t crazy, but it still looks like “voodoo” to them.

Well, now there are some studies that show that there actually is a method to my madness, and that it is supported by these studies.

In general, we think of using ice first because it decreases inflammation, pain, and swelling, and not starting with heat until 48 hours have passed. But a recent study has found something that really surprised me.

In the March 2014 edition of Lasers in Medicine and Surgery, they actually found that Cold Laser was superior to both ice and topical medications for acute (fresh) injury. Here is the link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23812849

They measured the amount of  inflammatory molecules, interleukin-1β and interleukin-6 (IL-1β and IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), immediately after injury, and then after treatment with either ice, topical medication, or cold laser.

Only cold laser decreased the levels of these inflammatory molecules. Ice and topical medication did not.

So what does this mean for you? Well, it doesn’t mean not to use ice or topical creams, as those do decrease pain. But if you are an athlete or want to heal much faster, adding in cold laser will actually have a greater impact than either ice or topical creams.

In my office, when I treat sports injuries or auto accidents, we always get them on a laser ASAP because it rapidly increases their healing rate. We have noticed that patients that get laser usually get better 30 to 50% faster than those who choose not to receive cold laser for their acute injuries.

This study in the May 2014 edition of Lasers in Medicine and Surgery found that cold laser also had a positive impact on neutrophils and macrophages in acute injuries. Here is that study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24173911

When you add in the other studies that show lasers stimulate the formation of new cells, increase ATP (energy production) in cells, increase glutathione (antioxidants), and improve circulation, cold lasers are being shown to be very important for athletes, weekend warriors, and auto accident victims who want to get better faster.

Additionally, Cold Laser has been shown to even Enhance Sports Performance and even Protect Against Injuries and Inflammation You can read about that by clicking the link.

If you would like to get my blog articles sent to your email for free, you can go to my blog at www.DrKirkGairBlog.com and put your email in the box under “Email Health Updates” on the right side under my picture.

I could not imagine treating injuries today without cold lasers, as that would be like riding a bike to get to work when I could teleport there instead…

You can follow me on twitter @drkirkgair, or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LaserChiropractic, or www.Facebook.com/ThyroidInfo, or at www.LaserChiropractic.net

As always, please consult with your personal physician before trying any of the methods discussed in this article. This article is not intended to provide a diagnosis or offer a treatment plan or medical advice for any condition. 

Anxiety? Panic Attacks? Depression? Recent Studies Showed Cold Laser Helped Patients and Had No Side Effects

So many patients come into my office complaining of “Panic Attacks”, “Anxiety”, “Depression.” For Hashimoto’s patients, these are very common to experience, and they can be extremely frustrating to manage.

Obviously optimizing thyroid function and making sure you have adequate free T3 and T3 uptake should be addressed in all depression patients. Also with panic attacks you should seek the help of a qualified psychologist and also rule out neurological problems or cardiac causes.

However, there are several recent studies that have shown Cold Laser, also known as low level laser or photobiomodulation, to be beneficial for not only mood and anxiety but also overall brain function.

In the 2009 edition of the journal Behavioral and Brain functions, they found that just 1 treatment with a cold laser to both sides of the head reduced depression and anxiety for several weeks.

“We gave one 8-minute treatment with NIR-PBM (cold laser) to 10 patients with major depression, including 7 with a history of substance abuse (6 with a past history of opiate abuse and one with a past history of alcoholism), and 9 with an anxiety disorder, including 3 with PTSD. We found significant reductions in both mean HAM-D (depression measurements) and HAM-A (anxiety measurements) rating at 2 and 4 weeks following treatment. At 2-weeks post treatment 6 of 10 of patients had a remission (a score ≤ 10) on the HAM-D and 7 of 10 on the HAM-A. We observed no side effects.” (parenthesis added by me for clarification)

Here is the link to that article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796659/?report=reader

This is pretty exciting news, especially when you consider the other studies I have been writing about on my facebook page, www.Facebook.com/ThyroidInfo, that have shown that cold laser can increase serotonin levels in the brain, decrease inflammation, stimulate the formation of new brain cells, modulate the activity of glial cells, and even decrease thyroid antibody levels and normalize thyroid tissue on ultrasound.

So what does this mean for you? Well, the good news is that cold laser is something you can try that is inexpensive and has no side effects and may be able to help with these conditions. The bad news is that, although lasers have been around for over 40 years, they are still relatively in their infancy in Western Medicine.

I have been using them for over 11 years, but patients may find it challenging to find a well trained provider who knows how to use the laser properly.  A good resource to find one near you can be found at www.Erchonia.com. You can use their zip code search engine. Still, be sure to question the doctor to see if they are aware of this info and have completed training.