I very well realize that this advice is against the current tide of sports organizations as far as nutritional supplements is concerned. But here is the thing….. I could not care less!
In my opinion an athlete has the right to support and maintain his/her body in the way he/she chooses, as long as they are not breaking any rules, like taking substances that are on the ever expanding banned list of the doping-testing industry.
But most sports federations advise against the use of supplements, which is utterly stupid for two simple reasons.
First of all in a highly competitive environment some athletes are taking ergogenic substances that are on the banned list, gaining an advantage over athletes who don’t. So when you line up at the 100 meter starting line the athletes who do so pout their starting block at the starting line, but you, who doesn’t take anything might put your staring block 2 meters behind them. In other words, no chance even if you have more talent and a better coach.
Now you decided to take legal supplements to narrow that 2 meter margin and based on your talent and coaching might give you a better chance at least to keep up. Let’s say a 1 meter gap only. Now, your sports federation will warn you not to take legal supplements? Then basically the message is: no chance, better go home and spend your time, effort and money in a better way
Second: the main reason for the advice not to take supplements is the risk of contamination. So strange enough, the athlete is not considered to be a normal citizen with the right to be protected against such contaminations of his/her food and supplements. While at the other end, the government spends millions of Euro’s or dollars for organizations to control the quality and purity of our food supply, but athletes seem to have lost their right for this valuable public protection.
If I go to a store, look at the label and find myself in the hospital because what is bought is contaminated, I am the victim and the producer is the perpetrator. If an athlete unintentionally buys a contaminated supplement and he or she ends up with a positive test, the athlete has become the perpetrator and gets punished. Athletes do not dare to speak out against this because of the risk of repercussions and seldom have the financial resource to hire lawyers to defend themselves in case like this.
Explain this to me, because I still don’t really get it, but maybe I am not smart enough to understand this.
Now here is a supplement that you might know or not, that we have been using for at least 35 years. I have been writing about it for the longest time. (1,2,3)
And it is an exotic one: mummyo (or shilajit)
This substance is a rather mysterious one, we are still not sure if the origin is of vegetable or animal origin. Mummyo from different places might have a different composition. It cannot be grown, only be harvested in mountainous areas, especially in Central-Asia. It might be one of the oldest healing substances known to man, described in various sources.
It is known under different names in different countries, north of the Himalaya, in countries like Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, or Kazakhstan, it is known as Mummyo, mumie or mumio while south of the Himalaya, India and Nepal and in Ayurveda, it is better known as Shilajit.
It’s a black, puttylike substance, with a distinct fragrance.
The pure and undiluted form of high quality is however hard to find. The limited supply, the difficult harvesting and the relatively high price makes it attractive to diluted it.
Mummyo has been used in folk medicine for thousands of years. Even Aristoteles and Alexander the Great knew and wrote about this mysterious substance.
It has been used from Persia to Kazakhstan, but for a tremendous wide range of indication and diseases.
No wonder people called it a panaceum or “cure-all” and in the Ayurveda it has been called a Rasayana, we would call it an anti-aging agent. It is use for prevention and general health maintenance as well as for specific indications.
Now why would athletes take mummyo?
For several reasons: first of all, mummyo is considered to be an adaptogen, assisting the body to adapt to mental and physical stressors, pulling the athletes body and mind back into the homeostatic range. This will reduce the risk overtraining and overload-problems and helps the athlete to better cope with the stresses of training.
Second: I have very good results in case of bone fractures and tendon problems, not as much with my athletes, but mainly with family, friends and clients of mine. Bone fractures will recover at a much faster rate, which allows a return to training and competitions at an earlier stage. Of course this can always be checked by e.g. making X-rays, (which I did).
Third: mummyo also acts as a mild nootropic, increasing neurotransmitter level in the brain and improved learning and memory processes.
Fourth: mummyo improves the immune-system, which might be useful in case of hard-training athletes who are always at risk for infections.
There is more, much more, but let’s leave it to these reasons above.
Mummyo can be use continuously or intermittent, of course with different dosages.
Average dosage somewhere between 200 mg and 500 mg per day. We always use the raw mummyo and dissolve it in hot water like a tea. It’s a bit of an acquired taste (I still remember the facial expression of Charlie Francis when he visited me in 1994, after a congress in Holland, tasting mummyo-tea for the first time)
Lots of research has been done on the safety and toxicity of taking mummyo. Mummyo is considered to be very safe and non-toxic (one of the conditions for being an adaptogen).
1. Kraaijenhof, H: Kracht uit Kruiden; Ortho, No,5, 1998, pg.232.(Dutch)
2. Kraaijenhof, H: Adaptogenen: exotisch, anabool en toegestaan; Runner’s World, Juni 195, pg. 40-41.(Dutch)
3. Kraaijenhof, H: Adaptogenen; Richting-Sportgericht, Vol.46, No.6, 1992, pg.307-310. (Dutch)
4. Ghosal, S: Shilajit: Its origin and vital significance; in: Mukherjee, B.(Ed.): Traditional medicine; Science Publ. Lebanon, NH, USA, 1993, pg. 308-319.
5. Silber, M: Mumie: the ancient remedy meets modern science; unpublished manuscript.
6. Tkachenko, S.S; Rutzky, V.V; Grachev, I.R : Reparative regeneration of bone tissue under effect of Mumie-asyl; Ortop.Travmat Protez No.11, Nov.1979, pg. 49-52.(Russ.-Eng. summary)
7. Ghosal, S: Shilajit in perspective; Alpha Science, Oxford, GBR, 2006.
8. Ghosal, S: Chemistry of Shilajit; an immunomodulatory Ayurvedic Rasayan; Pure. Appl.Chem.Vol.62, No.7, 1990, pg.1285-1288.
9. Windmann, W: Mumijo. Das schwarze Gold des Himalaya; Windpferd, BRD. 2005.(German)