According to a recent story in Yahoo Sports News, Championship tennis player, Novak Djokovic recently switched to a gluten free diet after seeing a nutritionist and being allergy tested positive for gluten. Since then,he had won the Davis Cup and the Australian Open. Additionally he has been in the U.S. Open finals and is currently on a 39 match winning streak.
Did the GF Diet Improve His Performance?
Many adapt the diet because they have developed a gluten sensitivity related illness, but what are the implications for someone who is not overtly sick. It is my own clinical experience that athletes are often able to improve their performance and endurance by going on a GF diet. Why?
- Less immune system overload
- Better nutrient absorption from food
- Better gut motility and function
- Reduced systemic inflammation
- Faster recovery time
- Better oxygen utilization…
The protein is known to cause abnormal immune function, inflammation, malnutrition, and more. The problem is that gluten can cause all of these issues silently (hence the term silent celiac). For example, an autoimmune reaction against the muscle tissue can occur for years before it becomes clinically recognized. If this happens to an athlete, recovery time and muscle strength will be affected. Another example is the autoimmune reaction that occurs in asthma (a well known condition induced by grain ingestion). If this happens to an athlete, lung function and oxygen capacity are affected, thus reducing the athletes aerobic capacity.
Other Athletic Success Stories –
Not only is it possible for a gluten free diet to improve athletic performance, it is common. In my clinic, I see it all the time. The spectrum of how people react is wide. The following two examples illustrate this.
- Gluten (and other food intolerance issues) Destroyed Ian’s ability to be an athlete. See his story here…
- Gluten free diet made this young athlete stronger and shortened his recovery times. See his story here…
Is Carb Loading Detrimental?
Many nutritionists claim that carb loading is an important component of planning for an athletic competition. In Novak’s case, avoiding starch based carbohydrates improved his overall performance.
The days of generic nutritional recommendations are coming to an end. We now know that everyone is unique and different. One man’s food is another man’s poison. Everyone is unique to the point where general health care recommendations actually become detrimental. Gluten sensitivity affects millions of Americans. The food guide pyramid recommends 8-11 servings of grains per day for all. How many people are sick over it?
Knowledge destroys the victim status.
All the best,
Dr. Osborne – AKA – The Gluten Free Warrior