Tag: panic

NAC: Best Supplement For Workout Junkies

NAC for workout junkies

One of the reasons I love yoga is that it combines strength, flexibility and mental wellbeing. Yoga keeps me centered. But I realize that for some people, yoga’s just too chill. (If that’s what you think, try ashtanga yoga. It’ll kick your butt!) I have friends who are serious long-distance runners, Crossfitters, and Ironman and Ironwoman competitors. 

High intensity exercise gets you in phenomenal shape. But there’s a downside to intense physical activity: it’s a form of stress that causes free radicals. 

When you’re doing an intense workout, your body doesn’t distinguish stress; stress is stress and hardcore Crossfit workouts, Mud Runs and other obstacle course challenges are just as much of a stress to the body as worrying about how you’re going to pay the bills after you’ve gotten laid off from your job. 

I’m a big fan of getting all the nutrients I need from organic local produce and other nutrient-dense real food. But if there’s one supplement I would take if I were a Crossfitter it would be NAC. 

What is NAC? 

It’s the synthetic form of the amino acid, cysteine. NAC (N-acetyl cysteine). Cysteine isn’t one of the 9 essential amino acids, which you need to get from food because your body can’t produce them on its own. But cysteine should be considered essential because most people don’t get enough of it. 

So why take it for exercise? The biggest reason why is that NAC helps restore your body’s most important antioxidant. 

When you think of antioxidants, what comes to mind? Vitamin C? Check. Vitamin E? Check. Polyphenols like resveratrol in red wine and grapes? Check. Plant-based foods are loaded with antioxidants. But virtually every single one of the cells in your body contain their own antioxidant. It’s called glutathione. 

Glutathione is the master internal antioxidant of the human body. It’s actually composed of three amino acids (cysteine, glycine, and glutamate). 

If you’re doing 50 burpees followed by 20 mountain climbers and 20 jump squats, your levels of cysteine are going to drop because of cellular oxidation caused by the intense exercise. 

That’s where NAC comes to the rescue. By restoring levels of glutathione, NAC helps you recover from the stress caused by a crazy Crossfit workout. 

NAC pills

Benefits of NAC

NAC does more than help your body recover from oxidative stress caused by intense exercise. It also helps detoxify the body in other ways. NAC helps get rid of toxins like heavy metals. And because free radical damage causes inflammation, NAC may prevent pain and swelling in the joints.

Even conventional medicine is on board with NAC. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) are given NAC in medical settings in order to facilitate healing. People who overdose on Tylenol are also given NAC to purge the body. 

People with cystic fibrosis are given NAC to thin out mucus in the lungs. 

There’s even more reasons I would consider using NAC outside of exercise recovery. For instance, it can help balance mood, blood sugar levels and more.

Boost Performance with NAC

A study in the Journal of Dietary Supplements says NAC supplementation may enhance performance and reduce soreness from acute, repeated-sprint, high-intensity exercise. NAC, it seems, has a knack (sorry, lame pun) for minimizing muscle fatigue and enhancing blood flow to the muscles. I’m not much of a runner, but if I were training for a long race, I’d definitely be down with stacking the NAC before my workouts. 


NAC Dosage

So how much NAC should you take? According to the Life Enhancement Foundation, you should take anywhere from 600-1,800 mg per day.  

If you have immune disorders like COPD, LEF says you can take even more, and you can split the dose in two servings. You may want to take NAC without food so that the amino acids from the food don’t interfere with NAC. 


We’re constantly bombarded by oxidative damage: Exhaust from car engines (unless you drive a Tesla or Prius). Other chemicals in the air. Pesticides like glyphosate in the food and water supply. Excess alcohol consumption, etc. 

We need every tool at our disposal to counteract the effects of free radical damage. Our bodies thankfully have that in the form of glutathione. But with the pervasiveness of synthetic chemicals, some of us are struggling to produce enough glutathione to stay healthy. Intense exercise is stressful to the body and reduces glutathione activity.

I’ll stick with yoga but if Crossfit is your thing, good on ya! You may want to consider supplementing with NAC to support your immune system, boost your workouts and recover faster. 

7 Tips For Keeping Your ISHT Together

summer cleanse

I’m lucky. I live in San Diego, CA where I’ll be spending plenty of time outdoors, even during what experts predict is going to be a “long, dark winter” because of the pandemic.

Or will I be basking in the Golden State’s brilliant sunshine this winter?

As I write this, California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, has instituted a state-wide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Also, Newsom has instituted a 14-day at-home quarantine for visitors and residents entering or reentering the state. He has also called on Californians to not fly for non-essential travel.

What’s next? Quite possibly a new stay-at-home lockdown mandate. So if you’re one of my loyal Green Drink customers in Fargo, North Dakota, we might be in the same boat. I might not be able to walk on the beach and you might not be allowed to go ice fishing.

How are any of us supposed to keep our isht together? (Don’t know what ‘isht’ is? Scramble the letters to form another word.)

Granted, when it’s freezing and dark outside, relatively few people are motivated to recreate outside. But considering that some of us may be required via governor mandates to stay at home, this will have a profound psychological effect.

But there’s no need to panic, feel stressed-out and anxious, and race to your local big chain store to hoard toilet paper. Not if you follow my tips to help you not just survive the long, dark winter but thrive. So without further ado….

#1: Morning Mantras

The first thing I want you to do when you wake up in the morning, unless you have to go to the bathroom really bad is recite health-conscious morning mantras.

You can do it with your eyes closed or open, sitting up or laying on your back. Take a few minutes, either reciting out loud or in your head one of the following (or something similar):

  • “All the trillions of cells in my body are healthy.”
  • “I am healthy.”
  • “I am calm, healthy and happy and no external influences invades my energy space.”

If you do yoga then you’re familiar with “Om,” the sacred mantra, which loosely translated means the entirety of the universe and the soul. What’s interesting about chanting is that research shows that humming increases levels of nitric oxide in the cells. Nitric oxide is in each and every one of your tens of trillions of cells, and its purpose is to keep blood vessels open so fresh blood can pump unobstructed to your organs, including the lungs.

So hum away while you’re driving or taking a shower.

#2: Deep Breathing

Before you get out of bed, after reciting a mantra for a few minutes, practice a round or two of deep breathing. Like humming and chanting, deep breathing increases nitric oxide levels and alkalizes the pH of the body. Many diseases are the result of pH being too acidic.

Deep breathing takes a little practice but it’s not that complicated. To begin either breathe in through your nose or pretend you are sipping a drink through a straw. While doing this, expand your belly like a balloon. The inhale should last 4-5 seconds. The key during the inhale is to also expand your lungs. That’s the part that takes practice. Then, exhale by deflating both your lungs and belly. The exhale cycle should also take about 4-5 seconds.

After about 25 breaths or so, your body might start tingling. That’s a good sign. It’s an indication that your tissues are receiving more blood and oxygen. If you start feeling lightheaded, stop.

#3: 3 Mini Yoga Sessions

If you’re stuck at home, keeping your blood pumping can be challenging. Even if you find the motivation to exercise at home for an hour, there’s a good chance for the other 17 hours or so that you’re awake will be spent being sedentary. And that’s a recipe for stagnant blood flow. Instead of doing one long exercise routine, set a timer for 11 a.m. 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. When the timer goes off stop what you’re doing and do a 10-minute yoga routine. (Not sure what to do? There are a ton of videos on YouTube that you can follow along to.

#4: Get Fresh Air

Even if there’s a lockdown in your area, you will still be able to get outside to buy essential items. Take that time to do some additional deep breathing. Unless you’re in a polluted area, the oxygen in fresh air has healing qualities. Don’t be stuck in your head, paralyzed with fear while walking into a store. Instead, as soon as you get out of your car and start walking, take deep breaths to steady your nerves.

And if you can spend time outdoors at a park or hiking trail, do it, even if the weather outside is frightful. Remember, there’s no bad weather, just bad clothes. Order a ski mask online and use it to protect your nose and cheek bones from the stiff, frigid wind.

#5: Buy a High-Quality Vitamin D Supplement

Research shows an association between developing severe Covid symptoms and having low vitamin D levels. During winter, most of us who live in the U.S. don’t get enough direct UV light from the sun for our bodies to synthesize vitamin D. More than any other nutrient, vitamin D is perhaps most important for supporting a balanced, healthy immune system.

#5: Buy a High-Quality Vitamin D Supplement

Research shows an association between developing severe Covid symptoms and having low vitamin D levels. During winter, most of us who live in the U.S. don’t get enough direct UV light from the sun for our bodies to synthesize vitamin D. More than any other nutrient, vitamin D is perhaps most important for supporting a balanced, healthy immune system.

#6: Keep Blood Sugar Levels Steady

Sugar is not the devil. Not natural sugars, anyways. Eaten moderately, natural sugars provide your brain and cells with the fuel they need for energy. But most people get too many carbs from starches, which convert into simple sugar.

If you didn’t read my article on resistant starches, do it as soon as you finish reading this. That’s because resistant starches are healthy carbs that you should include in your diet for gut health.

After you finish your morning mantra and deep breathing, start each day with a low-sugar flood of superfood nutrition with a 8 to 16 oz serving of Organic Green Drink. Wait about 30 minutes before you have your first meal of the day.

Make sure you’re eating enough healthy fats at each meal to keep your belly full and happy. Experiment with macro ratios. That means figuring out which proportion of carbs, protein and fat makes you the most satisfied. When you get that dialed in, then you can go 5-6 hours in between your main meals. This will keep your blood sugar levels steady and make your body more sensitive to insulin instead of requiring your pancreas to pump out a ton of it to keep your blood sugar levels down.

(I wish that health officials would stress the importance of blood sugar management for controlling the pandemic rather than putting faith alone in a vaccine.)

#7: Healthy Nighttime Routine

The best medicine is a good night’s sleep. So go to bed by a reasonable time, at the same time every night. Make sure to put your phone in airplane mode and turn off all other electronics well before you close your eyes.

And before you close your eyes, repeat steps #1 and #2. Take a couple minutes to repeat your “I am healthy mantra,” practice a round or two of deep breathing, purse your lips up into a smile and be grateful for the blessings you have in your life.

Before you know it, the long, dark winter will be over and you’ll emerge happier and healthier.

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.