At some point in your life, if you are active and adventurous, you will come down with an injury. It may be a minor strain, a sprain, or something to that degree. Hey, it’s part all part of the adventure, right? Well, last fall, I tore my calf muscle. Thankfully, it was not too bad. I could still walk and had no visible bruising or swelling yet. My range of motion was very limited and it hurt pretty dang bad. Ironically, about 20 minutes prior to the injury, I ran across a parking lot and thought, MAN I feel good! That feeling didn’t last very long.
This injury came just as I was preparing to start my hard training for my next triathlon season. I was feeling strong, fast and ready to rumble. Most people would be pretty upset if this happened to them. I will admit, I had about five minutes of “no way, I didn’t just do what I think I did.” While I was sitting down, hoping that the pop I felt wasn’t a torn muscle, my mind immediately shifted to creating a plan of action to heal whatever just happened as fast as possible. I stood up, attempted to go onto the toe of the injured leg and felt a “not so nice” pain.
Grade II torn calf confirmed.
Now was not the time to be aggravated and upset that all the training I had done would go to waste, or that I will lose my fitness. I had the perfect opportunity to learn firsthand how to quickly heal my body from a pretty severe injury. This is how my mind works. In a sense, I was excited. What I would learn over the next few weeks not only served as a protocol of healing for myself, but it may help my clients, my friends, and you heal from an injury faster than you thought possible.
Let’s get to it. Below are the supplements I used to heal and why I used each one along with my nutrition plan. Disclaimer: I am not affiliated nor do I receive any compensation from the sale of any of the supplements listed. I use them because I know they work. Plain and simple.
Chlorophyll, also called “the blood of plants,” helps to increase hemoglobin (a red protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood) and starts the process of oxygen production. The hemoglobin in chlorophyll is almost identical to that found in humans. Increasing oxygen is a key component to healing. For this I used a product called Chloroxygen. Chlorophyll is best absorbed when taken with a source of iron. I will take one full eyedropper of chloroxygen per day along with a serving of grass-fed beef. If you choose plant-based sources of iron, go with Unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses, spinach, or kale.
Next in my arsenal of supplements was zinc. We often think of the zinc that is in cough lozenges due to its immune boosting potential. However, if you are suffering from low testosterone, chances are very high that you are deficient in zinc. It is a key factor in testosterone production in the testes. Zinc is also well documented for its ability to enhance wound healing. I use the brand BodyBio 2 Zinc. I will take 10 drops three times per day for the next two weeks. To learn more about the healing benefits of zinc click here.
No healing protocol would be complete without a good source of hydrolyzed collagen. It’s no secret that I supplement with this daily in order to protect my joints, tendons, cartilage, and muscles from excessive damage due to my heavy training schedule. Now that I had a legit injury I needed it now more than ever. The amino acids in hydrolyzed collagen are highly absorbable and assist in repair and growth of new tissue. I will be adding 1Tbsp of hydrolyzed collagen in the morning to 12oz of hot bone broth. I will also take an additional 1Tbsp of hydrolyzed collagen in the evening with water before bed. Broth, if made properly, has been documented for many years for its healing and protective benefits. To read more about hydrolyzed collagen click here.
The last two “super foods” I added to my arsenal were cayenne pepper, which I added to the broth, along with a turmeric supplement. Cayenne pepper, surprisingly enough, is documented as being a potent anti-inflammatory and pain reducer. The capsaicin found in cayenne “can reduce body levels of substance P, a chemical messenger that carries the sensation of pain.” It is also high in Vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, magnesium, zinc and others. The active ingredient capsaicin also helps the absorption of other nutrients and supplements. In this case, I used Turmeric for it’s anti-inflammatory properties and enhancing the absorption with a little cayenne mixed into the bone broth. You want to be sure the cayenne pepper you are using is at least 90,000 H.U. (heat units). If you like heat, bring it on! The more the better. I will take one to two servings of cayenne per day along with 2g of the turmeric supplement. Turmeric, as you should know by now, is a well known natural anti-inflammatory. Read more about the healing benefits of cayenne pepper by clicking here.
Along with the super foods and the supplements listed above I was eating foods that are high in iron, along with plenty of local organic vegetables and healthy fats. I avoided all processed carbohydrates and hidden sugars as these “foods” are prone to promote inflammation and leech healing nutrients from your body.
There you have it. I am sure there are other supplements that could be used to heal. These are the ones I went with because they are simple, to the point, and I know they work. Instead of going to the pharmacy and getting a chemical prescription and taking NSAIDS that have been known to be damaging to my health, I chose to use natural substances that not only helped to heal my injury, but gave my body exactly what it needed to come out of this injury healthier, more energetic, and 100% ready to train again. As a closing note, when I went to my sports physiologist after the injury he told me my recovery time would be 6-8 weeks before I could start running. Following the protocol above I ran for the first time 3 weeks post injury and was back to full running at 4 ½ weeks.