There is more to cycling performance than mental strength and ample energy gels. Regardless if you are racing, training to improve your personal best, or enjoying a scenic ride, your health and wellness play a role in your experience. Licensed Naturopathic Physicians (ND) are able to bring cyclists an innovative set of personalized treatment options that focus on performance, recovery and the feeling their best.
Naturopaths attend a four-year graduate-level naturopathic medical school and receive standard education in laboratory testing, physiology, pathology, and prescription medication. They are also trained in clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, and have a strong background in disease prevention.
Naturopathic medicine is an excellent choice for the endurance athlete. The rigors of training and competition can change an one’s hormone levels, thyroid function, energy levels, and blood markers. Naturopathy believes that looking at the overall health picture is more important than treating the symptoms alone. Treatment includes nutritional supplements, herbal extracts and prescription medications while conforming to the international sport governing bodies banned substances list.
Hemoglobin (Hgb), Hematocrit (Hct) and Ferritin (Ft) are common blood constituents that are monitored in endurance athletes and are markers for iron deficiency and thus, oxygen carrying capacity. These levels decrease in elite cyclists by 11.5% during the Tour de France. Unusually high Hgb and Hct values can be indicators that an athlete has been artificially increasing their red blood cell production (blood doping). Iron from supplements and dietary sources is poorly absorbed by the body and for those who are not iron deficient, especially healthy men, supplementation with high doses may have negative consequences. Naturopaths can order these tests and have training in effectively managing deficiency.
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