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Sports and Exercise Nutrition

Inflammation and the Changing Face of Sports Nutrition

March 08, 2016

by Tina Van Horn, Research and Business Development Coordinator at SL Technology, Inc., a Reliv Company


Redefining Sports Nutrition


The term “sports nutrition” invokes images of buff gym rats lugging around kegs of protein powder, as well as lithe distance runners throwing back concoctions of carbs and electrolytes en route to the finish line. Yes, these types of athletes have unique nutritional needs and use specialty supplements to support their performance goals. But sports nutrition can benefit more than just elite athletes. In fact, you don’t have to be an “athlete” at all to benefit from the research and products labeled for sport.


Elite-level athletes must be in tune with their bodies, and they have high expectations from their nutrition regimen. Dietary choices must address energy, endurance, performance, recovery and repair. Meeting these demands requires attention to macronutrients that support daily energy production and micronutrients that sustain health and promote optimal performance. Falling short in either category leads to short term effects on performance, as well as long-term effects on general health and well-being.


Current research in sports nutrition is adding a new dimension to the conversation — inflammation. As more research becomes available and the link between diet and inflammation is understood, athletes are poised to reap the immediate benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet.


Acute vs. Chronic Inflammation


Acute inflammation can be a good thing. It is a normal physiological response to physical activity that allows for conditioning and muscle strength gains. The inflammation process repairs damage during the recovery period, which begins about two hours after a workout, and typically resolves after 48 hours. Inflammation also promotes training adaptations leading to strength and endurance gains.


Swelling and redness are visual signs of acute inflammation, which is commonly associated with injury (think sprained ankle). Pain and discomfort are also typically present with acute inflammation. These responses inform athletes that they have exerted themselves beyond their physical ability. Although many athletes try to push through injury, sooner or later the symptoms prevail and treatment is required. Rest, ice, compression and anti-inflammatory agents are the standard of care, in most cases.


End of story? Not quite. Chronic inflammation is far less obvious, but far more insidious. It is often described as a smoldering fire that keeps your immune system in a constant state of alert. Chronic inflammation is a low-grade, systemic condition linked to diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, auto-immune disorders and aging. The symptoms of chronic inflammation are vague and typically acknowledged only as a component of other conditions.


Addressing chronic inflammation is imperative for wellness, disease prevention and healthy aging. It also can be detrimental to active lifestyles and sports performance. When the immune system is in this constant state of alert, joints and soft tissue (ligaments, tendons, cartilage) become more susceptible to acute and over-use injuries.


Systemic inflammation also has the following effects on performance:


  • Decreasing endurance

  • Increasing soreness and recovery time after strenuous activity

  • Impairing muscle synthesis

  • Intensifying perceived exertion

  • Disrupting cellular energy production


In general terms, inflammation can make workouts feel more difficult, sabotage results, extend recovery time and diminish energy levels.


Lifestyle (Epigenetic) Mediators of Inflammation


How do we extinguish this inflammatory fire? Moderate, daily exercise has been linked to decreases in biomarkers associated with chronic inflammation. But athletes must be cautious. Without appropriate recovery time, exercise can induce an inflammatory state, commonly referred to as over-training.

The primary culprit for a chronic inflammatory state: your diet. Saturated fats, trans fats, sugar and other simple carbohydrates are all linked to higher inflammation levels. Conversely, diet is also the first line of defense against inflammation. Many prominent health practitioners have now endorsed anti-inflammatory diets to improve wellness and as therapy for disease conditions.


Mother Nature is the leading supplier of anti-inflammatory compounds. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains deliver anti-inflammatory micronutrients and bioactive compounds. Produce with deeper and richer colors (dark greens, berries, beets, pineapple, etc.) in particular contain antioxidants and bioactive ingredients that fight inflammation. Omega 3 fats, found in cold-water fish and nuts, also decrease inflammatory biomarkers. And research has established the lunasin and isoflavones in soy as anti-inflammatory powerhouses.


While athletes may be conscious of their dietary choices, consuming foods rich in these anti-inflammatory compounds is still challenging, as it is for all of us. Dietary supplementation is a convenient way to assure you are meeting your micronutrient needs to fight inflammation and support optimal physical performance.


You to Super You


LunaRich® Super Pack inflammation fighters — and dietary sources:


  • Lunasin (active ingredient in LunaRich): soy

  • Pycnogenol®: pine bark extract, grape seeds, peanut skins

  • Cayenne: cayenne pepper extract

  • Papain: papaya

  • Bromelain: pineapple

  • Garlic

  • Rutin: buckwheat, amaranth, figs

  • Licorice root


The combination of Reliv Now® and LunaRich X™ also delivers additional vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support optimal physical performance, whether you are an athlete or simply looking to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle. Learn more at

ProVantage Delivers Patented Performance

March 08, 2016

Two of the loudest ovations of the 2012 Reliv International Conference came on opening night:


  • ProVantage has added LunaRich soy powder!

  • ProVantage is now the eighth Reliv product awarded a US patent!


And the celebration was on…


Major Advancement
ProVantage® marks a major advancement in the science of sports nutrition. It meets the needs of physically active people to improve performance, endurance, recovery and repair.


“Whether you’re working out in the gym or your backyard, you need the right nutrition to perform your best,” notes Dr. Carl Hastings, ProVantage’s creator. “ProVantage delivers that nutrition, and the patent confirms the uniqueness of a formula designed to deliver real results.”


Soy Powerful
Studies show the effectiveness of soy in promoting optimal fitness. ProVantage contains 13 grams of healthy soy protein per serving for increased muscle mass and function. With the addition of LunaRich®, the soy in ProVantage is more beneficial than ever.


The elevated lunasin levels in LunaRich protect against oxidative stress and inflammation caused by high-impact exercise. Over time, this oxidation can cause cell damage throughout the body. Lunasin works to protect cells by reducing the negative effects of oxidative stress and by regulating the body’s inflammatory response.


Protein Plus
ProVantage is much more than your average protein powder — it’s the only high-performance formula to unite such a potent combination of antioxidants and supercharged amino acids.


Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs): reduce body fat and increase muscle mass, improve muscle repair and quickness and provide more energy than carbohydrates.


Tonalin® (conjugated linoleic acid-CLA): reduces fat and increases muscle tone by helping the body extract more energy from food.


Creatine: sustains peak performance for longer periods of exercise and reduces muscle recovery time.

CoQ10 & Grape Seed Extract: promote energy production, combat free radicals and support the immune system.


L-Carnitine, L-Glutamine & Ornithine Alpha Ketoglutarate (OKG): combine to optimize muscle function, reduce fatigue, enhance energy production, shorten recovery time and convert fat to energy.


Winning With ProVantage
I’m 53 and still as active as ever. I do cardio, weights and play baseball and basketball — often with guys half my age. My wife, Nina Jean, became a triathlete at the age of 48 and exercises daily to keep in shape for her new passion. We both turn to ProVantage to get us through our workouts and help us recover afterward. It’s part of every shake we take.


ProVantage is also a big part of our Reliv business. We’ve set up booths at wrestling tournaments, swim meets and the local bike shop to market Reliv products, specifically ProVantage, Innergize!® and 24K™. Our approach can be found on our business cards: “What gets you to the finish line?” Athletes of all sorts have had great results on the products and come back for more. And now that we can tell them ProVantage has LunaRich and is patented, they’re even more eager to try it.


~Bill Guilford, Alpharetta, GA


I wouldn’t be a college athlete without ProVantage. I play volleyball for Benedictine University, and we put in up to seven hours a day between practicing, weights and conditioning. ProVantage fuels my workouts and helps me bounce right back the next day. I’ve also been able to recover from injury in record time. It must be helping at game time too — we’re undefeated so far this year!


~Kara Zuro, Crestwood, IL


Post-Grad Performance
We recently finished our collegiate athletic careers at BYU — I played basketball and Dani, now my husband, was on the swim team. My high metabolism burns energy quickly during exercise, so my nutritionist recommended using ProVantage right after workouts to replenish and recover. It made a huge difference. Dani added muscle mass with ProVantage and found he recovered from weight workouts more quickly than his teammates. We both continue to use ProVantage to fuel our active lives today.


~Stephanie Bates, Provo, UT


Ready to Ride
I’m 72 and a retired New York state trooper. Thanks to Reliv nutrition, I’m able to stay active and ride with a local cycling club. ProVantage fuels my rides and helps me recover quickly, especially when I push myself. I recently had a nasty spill when I bumped tires with the rider in front of me.


ProVantage and other Reliv products helped me bounce back right away. People couldn’t believe it when they saw me three days later ready to ride!


~David Clarke, Parrish FL

10 Ways to Prevent & Care for Sports Injuries

March 08, 2016

1. Get in shape before you play the sport. Work up to it.
Instead of shocking your body in an out-of-the-blue, strenuous physical activity, prepare your body by following a conditioning program designed for that kind of exercise. Ease into it and don’t do too much too soon. Gradually increase the intensity and amount of time you exercise. Be patient with yourself.


2. Get informed.
Research the sport or activity you want to pursue. Learn proper form. What are some of the common injuries experienced in your particular sport and how do they happen? What can you do to lower your risk? Learn from a personal instructor or someone who’s been doing the activity for a long time and knows what’s what. Consult your physician to identify potential problem areas specific to you.


3. Warm up and Stretch!

Take a light 5-10 minute jog to increase blood flow to your muscles. Then stretch your muscles, especially those that tend to be tight or that you will be using a lot of in the particular sport or activity you’re about to do. Cool down and stretch afterwards as well. We’re often tempted to skip these steps, but once you’re injured, you understand all too well their importance.


4. Take at least one rest day a week.
Our bodies need time to recuperate and repair itself. You may need more than one day a week to rest. It all depends on what your body is telling you, where you’re at fitness wise, what activities you’ve been doing, and how you’ve been doing them.


5. Wear safety gear and the right shoes.
More extreme sports are best done wearing proper safety gear – helmets, pads, goggles, mouth guards. Also, make sure you’re wearing appropriate shoes that give you the right support, stability, shock absorption; protection for your activity and that fit your feet and gait. Sometimes these things can get expensive, but it’s important to invest in your physical safety and health – if you lose those, it can make it more difficult or impossible to enjoy the activities you love.


6. Keep hydrated.
While drinking enough water is important on a daily basis for our overall health, it is especially critical before, during and after intense activities when we’re sweating. If you’re going to be playing hard outside in the heat for more than an hour, you should supplement your water with a sports drink that contains electrolytes and 6 to 8% carbohydrates, such as Reliv Innergize!®


7. Give your body the nutritional support it needs to stay active and perform well.
Getting proper nutrition is always important, but when you’re pushing your body’s limits you need to make sure you’re ingesting the right foods and nutrients for energy and recovery. ProVantage® with LunaRich® is an excellent supplement for athletes as it contains CoQ10, creatine, L-Glutamine and many other nutrients for improved endurance and muscle repair. Also, experts recommend getting 70% of your calories from carbohydrates – breads, cereals, pasta, vegetables and fruit. Make sure you get enough protein, but not too much. The average person needs 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. That would come to about 88 grams for a 150-pound person. A serious strength athlete may need up to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.


8. If you feel pain, STOP!
Listen to your body. If you’re in pain, your body is telling you something is wrong and you need to stop it. Don’t try to work through the pain. This can cause injuries that put you on the bench for months and set you way back in your fitness goals. I learned this one the hard way and I definitely do not recommend it.


(Side note: Do not run on the treadmill at the same speed for long periods of time and ignore that pain in your knee. It’s an embarrassing way to injure yourself and your knee may never be the same.)


9. If you do get injured, see a doctor right away if…


  • The injury causes severe pain, swelling or numbness

  • You can’t put weight on the injured area

  • An old injury hurts or aches

  • An old injury swells

  • The joint doesn’t feel normal or feels unstable

  • There are changes in skin color beyond mild bruising


10. RICE
If you do not experience any of the above symptoms when you get injured, it may be fine to treat yourself at home with Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE) for at least 48 hours. If your injury doesn’t get better after a few days of RICE, you should go see a doctor. It’s important to completely rehabilitate your injury or it could turn into a chronic problem.

Hopefully, taking the proper precautions, we can all stay injury free this summer. Enjoy all the benefits of sports in the great outdoors!



HOw to Refuel After A Workout

March 08, 2016

Carefully choosing what you eat after you work out can magnify the benefits of exercising.


What Should I Eat After a Workout?


Your post-workout nutritional needs include fluids, carbohydrates and protein. This is true not just for the endurance athletes and serious bodybuilders but for the general exercise enthusiast also.

Each provides distinct benefits:


Fluids. Hydration helps restore fluids lost from sweating.

Carbohydrates. Carbs help restore glycogen, which provides fuel that muscles need for continued training.

Protein. Protein and amino acids help rebuild muscle tissue.


You can satisfy your post-workout nutritional needs by eating a meal or a snack, or you can choose a protein shake that also contains carbohydrates. The Mayo Clinic lists yogurt and fruit, cheese and crackers or a peanut butter sandwich as snacks that can meet your post-workout nutritional needs.


But for those who don’t want to eat after exercising, protein shakes are one of the best options for post-workout nutrition, says Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Carl W. Hastings.


“Everybody that exercises on a regular basis can benefit from protein shakes,” Dr. Carl says. “Protein shakes can help enhance athletic performance and endurance, and help the body recover and repair after exercising.”


Post-Workout Nutrition 

Dozens of brands of protein shakes are available; they vary in the types and amount of protein and carbohydrate levels they contain. Milk, soy, whey and casein are some of the protein sources in shakes. Soy protein is as effective as other sources of protein but has the added benefit of containing antioxidants that are beneficial to health.


ProVantage® includes 13 grams of soy protein in each serving. Soy protein increases muscle mass, reduces fatigue and burns fat for increased energy.


ProVantage also contains antioxidants from soy and other ingredients that support the immune system and a blend of amino acids that reduce fatigue and shorten recovery time after working out.


Nutritional studies have found that soy protein can lower total cholesterol levels and lower the “bad” cholesterol called low-density lipoprotein (LDL). This important benefit, while not necessary for post-workout nutritional needs, may lead some people to choose soy over other proteins for their shakes.


ProVantage, like other protein shakes, contains carbohydrates as well. The combination of protein and carbohydrates enables the body to store more glycogen for your muscles.


The top priority for post-workout nutritional needs is replacing fluids lost during exercise in order to prevent dehydration, and water generally is considered the primary way to replace fluids. But intense workouts lasting an hour or more  require a sports drink for better hydration.


Isotonic sports drinks such as Innergize!® can help maintain the body’s electrolyte balance and provide energy because they contain fast-acting carbohydrates.

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Training Full Time


Name: Joshua Fleagle
Nationally ranked swimmer at age 17
Hometown: St. Marys, Ohio

Life in Athletics: Qualified for 2012 Olympic trials in 50m freestyle and nearly there in 100m. Competes in national Grand Prix events against former Olympians — usually the youngest in the pool by 3+ years. Plans to use 2012 Olympic trials as a springboard for Olympic bid in 2016.

Because of Reliv… “I can train full-time — up to 5+ hours a day — without limitation. Before I started on Reliv two years ago, I used to experience shoulder soreness between events. Not anymore. When training, I take three main shakes of ProVantage®,Reliv Classic® and Reliv Now® for Kids throughout the day, plus Innergize!® and Arthaffect® in a water bottle during practice. My dream is to represent my country at the Olympics, and Reliv will be with me every step of the way.”

Reliv Athlete Update: Greg James


I was struck by an IED while serving my country and I thought that was the end. They flew me back to Bethesda Naval Hospital and my prognosis was grim. I went from 220 pounds down to 145 and spent 44 days in a coma. It was a very rough ride for me.


Someone introduced me to Reliv and it changed my life. I started withArthaffect® and immediately felt improvement from the soreness from my latest seizure. Reliv’s recuperating powers aren’t miraculous; they’re scientific. Reliv gave me the courage to come back after being told I couldn’t walk, after being told that I was out of the game.


I started doing judo again and by 2010 I had secured a gold medal and a world title. I’ve been in martial arts all my life and I’m here to tell you that this stuff works. Thank you, Reliv, for giving me my life back. I’m training for the 2016 Summer Olympics and can’t wait to be on the podium drinking my Reliv shake!


Master Greg James is the head instructor at the Agoge Martial Arts Academy. He is a Special Forces combat veteran, US Navy, with an honorable discharge. He specializes in military and law enforcement training, and regularly instructs the Secret Service, FBI, Green Beret, Army, Naval Academy, US Marine Corps, SWAT and many local law enforcement agencies. He is also an undefeated MMA competitor and competes on the World Brazilian Jiu Jitsu circuit.

For Immediate Release


Reliv International

Athlete Greg James 
Wins Gold Medal at Miami Jiu-Jitsu Competition


CHESTERFIELD, Mo., Nov. 15, 2010 – Reliv International-sponsored athlete Greg James recently won a Gold Medal at the Miami International Open jiu-jitsu championship in Miami, Fla.


This represents James’ first Gold Medal of the year after having won two Silver Medals in previous tournaments this year.


James won his medal in the Brown Belt Senior Heavyweight Division, which is the 93 kilogram class (approximately 205 pounds). James lives and trains in Omaha along with a group of competitors who went to Miami under the Team Reliv banner.


Ryan Montgomery, Reliv’s executive vice president, worldwide sales, said, “Greg has set a goal of competing on the U.S. Olympic jiu-jitsu team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, and this medal gets him one step closer. He’s a world-class athlete and we couldn’t be prouder that he relies on Reliv products as a key part of his training regimen.”


James is a retired U.S. Navy Petty Officer who has served in three wars. He was injured in Iraq in 2003. Currently, he teaches martial arts to members of the Air Force, Marines and Navy, as well as to various law enforcement officials around the United States. James holds Black Belts in karate, kung-fu and jiu-jitsu.

Reliv Nutrition Fuels Obstacle Course Mama
Jackie Rust of Aubrey, TX

Running and physical fitness have always been a part of Jackie Rust’s life. In fact, when she and her husband welcomed two children into the world, she just put them in strollers and kept right on adding to her hundreds of 5K and 10K medals. But things really changed for Jackie, 33, when a pharmacist friend with an interest in nutritional science suggested Reliv products back in 2007.


“She told me that I had to give Reliv a try because she knew how serious I was about running,” Jackie says. “I placed an order and took it every day until it ran out. I knew it was good for my body, but didn’t realize just how good until I stopped taking it.”


Feeling the Difference
After a few weeks without Reliv Now®, the fatigue, muscle aches and pains returned. She also experienced more injuries and longer recovery times. “That’s when I decided to sign up as a Master Affiliate and use all the products,” Jackie says. “I know the stress and strain I put my body through with training and competing, and Reliv is the nutrition I need to keep me healthy and strong.”


A few years later, Jackie ran her first marathon to celebrate her 30th birthday. Then she heard about something entirely new that would revolutionize her life: obstacle course racing (OCR). She first ran a “Tough Mudder,” an 11-12 mile non-competitive untimed race with obstacles and, obviously, mud. Then she heard about the newly created Spartan races, in which competitors brave a timed 4-5 mile course with much more difficult obstacles.


“If you can’t complete an obstacle, you’re penalized with 30 burpees,” Jackie said. “It forces you to become very good at completing tasks like spear throwing to avoid penalties. Just before my first Spartan race I had finished a marathon with a Boston-qualifying time of 3:37, but the Spartan race humbled me.”


Spartan Endurance
These grueling races can last for hours, taxing both mind and body. Jackie allows herself ample recovery time between races (at least a month), and makes sure to up her intake of Reliv Now before and after each event. “Reliv is high-quality nutrition,” Jackie says. “The body is a machine and it needs the best fuel possible. If I give my body what it wants, I see the best results. The science is there; we know what it states and Reliv has it.”


Jackie achieved first place in the Texas Spartan race and has reached the podium frequently in Vermont, Utah and other events across the country. She has run to support wounded veterans, and encourages children at her kids’ school to get active by introducing a daily running program that teaches them the merits of a fitness routine.


Spreading the Word
Now that Jackie is running among elite athletes in nationally televised races, people have started asking her about her nutrition regimen. “I think I’ll be able to take on more races this year because Reliv will cut my recovery time, my joints will be healthier and my muscles will be stronger. I want to tell everyone I see about Reliv!”


“I’m always so happy to tell people about Reliv and what this amazing nutrition has done for me,” Jackie says.


Jackie has her focus set on success at a road race in March, another OCR in April and the Spartan Championship in September. Reliv Now will be with her along the way, and she has also integrated ProVantage® and Innergize!® into her Reliv regimen.


“I am here to inspire other women,” Jackie says, “I know we’re moms and I know we’re all getting older, but we’re not done yet. I’m proof that all women can be athletes. I want to live every day of my life and not sit around on the couch watching other people live theirs on TV.”


Follow along with Jackie’s endeavors, and look for her to start sporting Reliv race gear on the podium this year!

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