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Fueling the Machine: The Importance of Digestion for Athletes

Published: July 23rd, 2014
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Digestion…while it isn’t a topic for table-talk, it is one of the most crucial processes of health and fitness. In fact, digestion may be the last hurtle that you need to understand and conquer to lose those extra pounds, or to make that final push for gains. In this two-part series, you will learn the best way to approach digestion from both a sport and wellness perspective.

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Digestion Simplified

Upon material consumption, the stomach has three mechanical tasks. First, it stores the swallowed food and liquid. To do this, the muscle of the upper part of the stomach relaxes to accept large volumes of swallowed material. The second job is to mix up the food, liquid, and digestive juice produced by the stomach. The lower part of the stomach mixes these materials by its muscle action. The third task of the stomach is to empty its contents slowly into the small intestine. From here, the nutrients are extracted while the material passes through the intestinal tract.

Why You Should Care

For the first portion of this series, we will cover the importance of digestion from the perspective of sport. The highlight of the sports series is the importance of understanding protein breakdown. This is because it is the simplest of material breakdown to explain. With this in mind, we will compare whey and casein, two of our most popular proteins. These are similar proteins, but they are the most popular in the athletic sect of consumption.

While both of these proteins stem from dairy, their composition is different. Casein is packed with slow release protein and nutrients that stay in your system longer due to its breakdown period. Whey is processed more quickly by the digestive system.

The breakdown of these proteins and all other nutrients is done by digestive enzymes that are produced by the body and often times, additional enzymes are included in a protein supplement. Check out these protein supplements that include digestive enzymes to support protein breakdown: GNC also provides enzyme support which aid the enzymes in your system, therefore furthering the digestion process. These will be featured in our wellness portion!

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