Sports Performance & Food Sensitivities

Sports Performance & Food Sensitivities

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Dr. Patti and I are tennis fans! We play as much as we can, there are courts all around Calgary, but we also love watching the Grand Slam tournaments on television (we have even been to a couple of them and hope to go to more!)

Star tennis player Novak Djokovic has been on an incredible run since 2012, starting off by winning around forty straight matches before finally taking the number one ranking he still holds.

What is interesting to us is that Novak’s spectacular run coincided with his decision to begin eating gluten-free in 2010, after which he reported feeling quicker, stronger, and more fit. Since then, and perhaps even before, numerous other athletes have pursued similar dietary strategies to eek out even the tiniest competitive advantage.

Wheat and Gluten Sensitivity

Identifying food sensitivities can be pretty close to life changing, even those of us who are not elite athletes. Novak Djokovic’s experience though high-profile, really is typical.

Just off the top of my head in recent memory I recall patients who have noticed:
– weight loss
– improvements in fatigue and mood
– decreased cognitive difficulties
– less joint pain
– decreased water retention
– no more digestive aches and pains
– improved eczema and asthma

How does wheat lead to such an improvement in a diversity of symptoms? Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have found that those with wheat sensitivities have a weakened intestinal barrier (sometimes referred to as a leaky gut), which leads to a body-wide inflammatory response. (1)

“Our study shows that the symptoms reported by individuals with this condition are not imagined, as some people have suggested,” commented Peter H. Green, MD – a Professor of Medicine at Columbia.

So whether you are a superstar tennis player or just a recreational player on the courts of Calgary, looking out for food sensitivities can help you feel and perform much better.

If you just don’t feel yourself, there is certainly no harm in checking out whether food sensitivities may be the cause!

– Dr. Colin

1. Columbia University Medical Center Intestinal cell damage and systemic immune activation in indiciduals reporting sensitivity to wheat in the absence of celiac disease. Uhde, M. et al. Gut 2016;0:1-8.

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