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Bulletin #94 – Nutritional Supplementation: An Overview, Part 1

Many of the calls we get on our infor-mation line are questions regarding supple-ment selection . There are so many choices available that sometimes it can be confusing trying to decide which ones are the best for you. In this bulletin I want to highlight a few of our supplements, describing what they are, how they can help, and how to use them. This knowledge will help you make intelligent choices about which supplements are best for your particular needs.Before I get started, two general comments: First, what are the best supple-ment choices for you depend on your immediate goals, and will change as your goals change. For example, the best supplement program to support muscular weight gain will not be identical to the best supplementation program to facilitate fat loss, although there will be some common features.

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Also, strength athletes, such as bodybuilders and power lifters, have somewhat different nutritional needs than endurance athletes. Finally, dietary intake varies from person to person according to food preferences, so different people will require supplementation in different areas. Vegetarians, for example, will likely ben-efit very much from protein supplementa-tion, since vegetarian diets are relatively low in high quality proteins. Second, I want to emphasize that wholesome, natural foods form the basis of any healthy nutritional program. Parrillo Performance is perhaps the only supplement company that puts the emphasis on food before supplements. Contrary to popular misconception, no amount of supplements can correct a bad diet. The first step is to eat right, selecting wholesome, nutritious foods.

Then, supple-ments can add to the amount of nutrients at the cellular level beyond what you are able to derive from food alone. In other words, you will get the best benefit from whatever supplements you use if they are used in conjunction with a healthy diet from natural foods. This is why we strongly encourage anyone who wants to use our supplements to buy the Parrillo Nutrition Program™ first. The Parrillo Nutrition Manual™ provides detailed instructions on which foods to eat, how much to eat, how many meals to eat, and how to combine foods to construct a meal. It is an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to be healthy and fit.Essential Vitamin™ Formula and Min-eral-Electrolyte™ Formula. I will discuss these two supplements first because I believe virtually everyone should use a vitamin and mineral supple-ment . While it is generally accepted that you can avoid an overt vitamin or mineral deficiency disease state by eating a balanced diet, it is also widely known that athletes do not, in general, eat a balanced diet. Numerous studies have shown that many, if not most, athletes are deficient in one or more vitamins or minerals.

This is not only because athletes usually don’t eat a balanced diet, but also because intense training depletes the body of various vitamins and minerals. On top of this is the concern that while consuming the RDA for vitamins and minerals may be enough to prevent a deficiency disease, in no way is that an assurance that you are getting enough to allow peak athletic performance. Furthermore, non-athletic people as well often do not consume a balanced diet. And, virtually no one eats enough dairy products to satisfy the body’s calcium requirement.Many athletes, especially bodybuild-ers, eat very little fruit. That is because nearly all the calories provided by fruit come from sugar. Even worse, much of that sugar is in the form of fructose, a sugar with a very high tendency to be converted to fat. Bodybuilders have learned from experience to avoid fruit because it makes them fat. As you know, fruit is a good source of many vi-tamins and minerals, some of which are not very abundant in other types of food. Also, bodybuilders generally do not use many dairy products for much the same reason. A cup of milk contains eight grams of high quality protein, and 12 grams of carbohy-drate.

The form of carbohydrate in milk is also sugar (mainly glucose and galactose). So while milk and other dairy products are a good source of protein, and the best whole food source of calcium, bodybuild-ers generally avoid them because of the sugar content. So, by limiting fruit and dairy consumption, as most bodybuilders do, they are missing some of the best food sources of many vitamins and minerals. Even most non-athletic people don’t get enough vitamins and minerals. In reality most people do not eat enough fruits, vegetables, and dairy products to meet their body’s requirements for vitamins and minerals .Parrillo Performance Essential Vi-tamin Formula™ and Mineral-Electrolyte Formula™ provide a complete array of vitamins and minerals. The suggested use is one tablet of each with each meal, for a total of at least four tablets of each per day. Rather than overwhelming your body with a huge dose of vitamins once a day, we feel it makes more sense to distribute your intake of vitamins and minerals evenly throughout the day.

This will enhance absorption and assimilation as well as reduce GI upset (that can occur from taking too many vitamins at once). Furthermore, this method of delivery provides your muscles and other organs with a constant supply of the nutrients they need to grow and function optimally. Each Par-rillo Performance Mineral-Electrolyte For-mula™ tablet contains 250 mg of calcium. That means if you take four per day you will get 1000 mg of calcium, the RDA. (Note the recommended calcium intake for treating established osteoporosis is 1500 mg per day.) Most people are surprised how much calcium they need per day. It takes four extra strength antacid tablets to supply 1200 mg of calcium. If you can imagine combining this into one pill, you can see how big it would be. And that’s just the calcium it doesn’t even include any other vitamins or minerals. So most multi-vitamin-mineral supplements they sell at the grocery store are really short-changing people on calcium intake. Read the label next time you’re in the store.Many athletes, especially bodybuild-ers, eat very little fruit.

That is because nearly all the calories provided by fruit come from sugar. Even worse, much of that sugar is in the form of fructose, a sugar with a very high tendency to be converted to fat. Bodybuilders have learned from experience to avoid fruit because it makes them fat.Vitamins and minerals support many essential bodily functions. Most vitamins act as co-enzymes, meaning that they bind to enzymes and help them work better. Many enzymes are almost devoid of activity un-less supplied with the proper co-enzyme. Why should you care? Because enzymes are crucial for cellular energy production, including muscle contraction . Enzymes are also required for fat burning. Vitamins and minerals are required for a multitude of body functions, and athletic training increases many of these needs. Our vitamin formula contains high amounts of B vitamins, vital for energy production and required in extra amounts by athletes.

Our mineral formula also contains chromium, which is required for the proper functioning of insulin. Many Americans, including athletes, are chro-mium deficient. In addition to their function as co-enzymes, some vitamins function as anti-oxidants. Vitamins C and E are potent anti-oxidants, but considerably more than the RDA is required to attain any signifi-cant anti-oxidant activity. The RDA was established as the amount needed to prevent deficiency diseases, not the amount required to derive anti-oxidant benefits. Parrillo Es-sential VitaminT Formula contains high levels of the anti-oxidants, well above the RDA.Hi-Protein Powder™ and Optimized Whey Protein™These supplements will be discussed second because nearly every athlete will derive benefit from a high quality protein supplement . As recently as ten years ago it was still debated whether or not athletes really do need more protein than sedentary people. This argument is settled now that more sensitive analytical methods of pro-tein metabolism have become available. Also, several studies have looked directly at the effect of increased protein intake on muscle growth and strength development during strength training. These studies show conclusively that increasing protein intake to 2-3 times the RDA will facilitate increases in muscle mass and strength resulting from weight training. Something else that has come out of these studies is the realization that endurance athletes also need extra protein .

Why has this issue been so controver-sial? Because nutritionists (of old) argued that the RDA supplied plenty of protein to facilitate muscle growth. What they failed to consider was that athletic training increases protein catabolism (protein breakdown). Intense weight training and endurance train-ing cause a lot of damage to muscle that sedentary (inactive) people don’t experience. So while it may not take many extra grams of protein intake per day to build muscle at a reasonable rate, you also have to consider that exercise training is quite catabolic. Most of the “extra” protein athletes require is needed to compensate for the wear and tear that happens to muscles during exercise. Furthermore, a certain amount of protein is used as fuel during endurance exercise. Around 10% of the energy requirements of a 10k run are met by amino acid oxidation. So while muscle growth is not the primary goal of endurance athletes, they also need extra protein just to prevent muscle wasting caused by the catabolic effects of intense endurance exercise.Parrillo Performance Hi-Protein Pow-der™ and Optimized Whey Protein™ are two of the very best protein supplements available. Both are derived from milk pro-teins, but don’t contain the sugar or fat found in milk. Hi-Protein Powder™ is a mixture of casein and whey proteins, while Optimized Whey Protein™ is a pure whey isolate. Each has its own unique advantages for both the endurance athlete and the bodybuilder.

The casein in Hi-Protein Powder™ slows the digestion of the protein and causes a slower, more gradual release of amino acids.Theoretically that may facilitate as-similation into muscle, although that has never been studied scientifically. Pure whey protein is digested more rapidly, which some people may consider an advantage. Also, the Optimized Whey Protein™ is somewhat higher in branched chain amino acids, which are preferentially oxidized as fuel during en-durance exercise. This may make Optimized Whey Protein™ a better choice for endur-ance athletes. For bodybuilders, either one is a perfect choice, and selection depends mainly on personal preference regarding taste and gastric emptying characteristics .In addition to improving gains in muscle and strength during weight training, many people are finding that a diet higher in protein helps them stay lean. That’s be-cause of all the major nutrients (protein, carbohydrate, and fat), protein is the least likely to be stored as body fat. Many people, and especially athletes, find it practically impossible to get as much protein as they want from food alone. As a closing note, if you’re one of the millions of people who use nutritional supplements in place of a regular food meal once or twice a day, make sure you’re using a supplement that’s high in protein. Many of the supposed weight loss supplements or meal replacements are nothing more than chocolate milk with some vitamins and sugar added.


1. Shafrir E. Fructose/sucrose me-tabolism, its physiological and pathologi-cal implications. Sugars and Sweeteners, Kretchmer N and Hollenbeck CB, Eds. p. 63-98. CRC Press, 1991.

2. Lemon PWR. Protein and Amino Acid Needs of the Strength Athlete. Intl. J. Sport Nutr. 1: 127-145, 1991.

3. Piatti PM, Monti LD, Magni F, Fermo I, Baruffaldi L, Nasser R, Santam-brogio G, Librenti MC, Galli-Kienle M, Pontiroli, and Pozza G. Hypocaloric high-protein diet improves glucose oxidation and spares lean body mass: comparison to hypocaloric high-carbohydrate diet. Metab. 43: 1481-1487, 1994 .

2018-03-13T11:10:30-04:00 July 2nd, 2009|Technical Supplement Bulletins|

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