Dr. James DiNicolantonio: Using Salt, Creatine & Sauna to Get Stronger and Improve Exercise Performance


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By Mike Mutzel, Author Mike Mutzel interviews Jeff Bland, Datis Kharrazian, Ben Greenfield, Abel James, Dave Asprey, Ben Lynch, Jade Teta, and Corey chuler. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Dr. James DiNicolantonio shares amazing tips about how salt, hydration and sauna strategies can help improve strength and exercise performance.

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Time Stamps

03:15 Maintain your muscle and cardiovascular health through exercise. Reduce the risk of sarcopenia with resistance training, 30 – 60 min 3 – 4 times per week. Running at 60 – 70% of your max heartrate boosts your endurance. HIIT or super maximal interval training 2 – 3 times per week helps your cardiovascular system.

07:10 Preloading with salt and fluids is 10 to 20 times better than other supplements. Dosing salt correctly, allows you to exercise up to 20 minutes longer. Beta alanine allow you to vigorously exercise 1 to 2 minutes longer.

07:40 The main benefit from preloading with salt and fluids is from the boost in blood volume prior to vigorous exercise. You have an 8 to 10% drop in blood volume within 5 minutes of vigorous exercise. The biggest adaptation during vigorous endurance exercise is the attempt to increase baseline blood volume.

08:54 Elite athletes have a 40% increase in blood volume over typical males and females. High doses of salt and fluids should be reserved for just prior to competition.

10:32 Dehydration acclimation, inducing mild amounts of dehydration multiple times, can help build blood volume.

12:05 Before a typical workout, you can ingest 1,000 mg of sodium and 10 to 16 ounces of fluid. High levels used for competition would be 3,000 to 4,300 mg of sodium and about 26 ounces to 33.8 ounces of fluid. This matches to saltiness of your blood.

13:40 Increased blood volume increases cardiac output, decreases oxygen demand on the heart and gives you a larger volume to dissipate heat. We lose blood volume to sweat. You can better pull waste from your cells and better deliver nutrients.

15:30 Sauna therapy is similar in metabolic adaptations to dehydration therapy. When you become heat activated, your baseline core body temperature becomes lower. You have a larger pool to soak up heat. You can train and perform longer before the enzymes that produce ATP start shutting down.

16:05 When you are heat activated, your sweat becomes more dilute. You lose fewer electrolytes. The diluted sweat evaporates faster, so your cool faster.

16:34 To become heat activated, you need to do a sauna session every day for 2 weeks or so, raising your core body temperature to 101.3 and maintain it for 20 to 30 minutes. You can go as few as 4 days per week, but it will take you longer to achieve being heat activated. The benefits of doing this will last as long as 2 weeks, as long as you maintain a good exercise program.

18:57 Endurance exercisers with large blood volumes typically have good blood pressure. As long as your arteries vasodilate well, and you do not have increased vasoconstriction with increased blood volume, you should not see an increase in blood pressure.

20:07 Body temperature is highly influenced by circadian biology. Post exercise sauna for 13 sessions, improves performance by about 10%.

23:28 Postpone your cold plunge for 2 to 4 hours after exercise, if your goal is hypertrophy. Sooner than that inhibits some of your muscle size and strength gains from exercise. Elite athletes plunge directly after exercise to limit inflammation and accelerate recovery.

26:55 Exercise timing is individual and depends upon whether you are a morning person or a night owl. About 8 hours after you wake up is typically when you perform at your best. Your cognition is shot for a few hours after vigorous exercise. Exercise close to bedtime impacts your ability to go to sleep.

29:20 Avoid caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime.

31:48 If you are a vegetarian, you are not getting many nutrients found in red meat. Carnitine is important for fat oxidation for fuel. Carnosine is an advanced glycation end product inhibitor and buffers acid produced during exercise. Beta alanine boosts carnosine levels. Taurine is an amino acid that helps with blood pressure, blood flow, antioxidant status in the central nervous system.

33:45 Red meat is more nutrient dense than chicken. Pork is 10 times higher in thiamine (vitamin B1). Consume liver (for vitamin A and copper) and heart (for coQ10) on a fairly consistent basis. Many of us are deficient in vitamin A and copper and anemia is driven by this.

35:10 Creatine improves cognition. 50% of methylation is for the creation of creatine in your body. Supplementing frees up that effort for you body.

36:35 Supplementing 3 to 5 grams of creatine per day brings most benefits. Eating red meat may not get you to that level.

37:20 The more hydrated your muscle is, the better blood flow, oxygen delivery and pump you get. Your muscle is about 75% water. Creatine enhances cell hydration.

38:40 Supplementing with creatine at doses of 5 grams per day is completely safe.

39:40 To induce hypertrophy, the key is to go near or to failure. Heavy weight is not necessary. Inositol helps to improve insulin sensitivity, thus preserving muscle mass.

41:51 For prolonged vigorous explosive activity, preloading with carbs improves performance. It helps you to tap your muscle glycogen reserves. There are benefits to training fasted. Metabolic flexibility is when you can burn either fats or carbs.

42:50 It is taxing to force your body to make glucose, rather than ingesting exogenous glucose.

45:00 Longevity populations are generally smaller and have less muscle mass than Americans, so they can get away with lower protein intake. Our needs are higher.

46:42 Exercise improves insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance chronically elevates mTOR.

48:40 Elevated LDL (outside of genetic influences) is not a risk factor for increasing heart disease, in the face of good insulin sensitivity, low triglycerides, and good HDL.

49:30 Oxidized LDL is a contributor to heart disease. The amount of linoleic acid in LDL influences oxidation. Eating heart for ubiquinol and eating high quality meat for carotenoids, helps to protect LDL from oxidation. Increasing olive oil consumption increases monounsaturated fats in LDL, decreasing susceptibility to oxidation.

51:30 When you replace animal fats with vegetable oils, there is an increase in all-cause mortality. LPa is a functional marker of oxidation, with elevated LDL.

55:05 Salt intake recommendations are based upon expert opinion, not clinical evidence, or meta-analysis. Lowering salt intake barely lowers blood pressure. Some may have an increase in blood pressure with the decrease of salt intake. Decreases in blood pressure from reducing salt is from depleting blood volume. Stress hormones increase.

56:00 When you go below 3000 mg of sodium, all the stress hormones increase. Insulin resistance increases as well. 3000 to 5000 mg of sodium is associated with the least amount of rise in stress hormones and the lowest amount of risk of cardiovascular disease.

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