Be Active. Be Healthy.

We may not all be good enough to make a living from it, but we run, hike, bike, ski, golf, and enjoy being active. If you’re like me, you want to perform at your best. From marathoners to hockey players, we want to be our strongest, fastest, fittest selves.

But how do we get there? Diet and supplements are important, but they can be confusing, even when you read all the research. Naturopathic doctors are specialists in this– they have the knowledge and can provide the support you need. Pure North’s team of naturopathic doctors have this specialized training and work with many athletes to build strong health bodies which leads to optimal performance regardless of the sport.

We have different dietary needs.

We put a lot of demands on our bodies with sport and physical activity. Dietary needs vary between gender, sports and individuals; we have different likes, dislikes and some of us have dietary restrictions or allergies. Dietary recommendations are not one-size-fits-all.

Whether you are a carnivore or vegan or somewhere in between, it is important to ensure you get the right amount of high-quality protein from plant and/or animal sources, such as beans, nuts, seeds, animal protein, eggs, lentils, dairy products and fermented soy.

Strength training builds muscles by first breaking them down and then repairing them. The average person needs 0.8-1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight (that’s 68 grams for a 70 kg or 150 pound person) to meet those demands. Professional athletes and body builders need more protein.

We all have different goals.

You may want to increase muscle mass, lose body fat or just maintain your current state. You may want to try Keto, paleo or vegan diet but do not know where to start.

The quality of our diet is important for our performance, both mentally and physically. When, how much and what you eat, drink and supplement with can help active adults and competitive athletes perform at their best.

We have different nutrient requirements.

L-Glutamine, creatine and protein supplements such as whey, pea, and soy, offer convenient ways to increase protein but may not always be appropriate.

Vitamins and minerals are needed for all processes in the body. Magnesium can help with muscle cramps. Zinc is important for growth and healing. Iron is needed to deliver oxygen to our cells and B vitamins to make energy. Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are needed to support your immune system. Any deficiencies can lead to fatigue and reduced performance. You may be able to meet your needs by adjusting your diet or by adding a supplement.

If yours is an endurance sport – maybe you’re a marathoner, ultra-marathoner or an ironman – electrolytes are critical. You may experience gastrointestinal upset while training for or during your events. This may be due to irritable bowel syndrome, inflammation in the gut, food sensitivities, a disruption of your normal gut flora (healthy bacteria) or other causes. Some dietary changes can help, such as avoiding fermentable carbohydrates before a race, but getting to the root cause is the only way to make sure that your digestion is optimized to enhance your body’s performance capabilities.

While we may not all be professional athletes, we do all need to provide our muscles and bones with the nutrients they need for our physical health.

By making an appointment for a comprehensive Health Vitality Assessment, as an athlete you can provide your body with an extra level of care to support the unique demands of your sport. Pure North health care practitioners will work with you to ensure that you are at your best, physically and mentally.

Dr. Samantha Kimball, PhD
Nutritional Scientist