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Gut Check

Overcome digestive troubles with these key changes

By Loren Mason-Gere

Hammer Peak Performance tip: Many cases of unexplained fatigue, autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, poor recovery, and "irritable bowel syndrome" can be corrected with dietary and digestive changes: 1) Identify and eliminate dietary triggers; 2) restore beneficial intestinal flora with Digest Caps, and 3) bridge nutrient gaps with the Daily Essentials - Premium Insurance Caps, Mito Caps, and Race Caps Supreme. Read on for details.

Five years ago, I was but a shell of my true self. As an avid cyclist and endurance athlete, I was accustomed to riding hundreds of miles a week, bagging alpine peaks, and racing multiple 50-100-mile mountain bike races per season. Suddenly, I was depressed, rapidly losing muscle mass, and struggling to maintain my energy through everyday life, let alone in training. I was victim of an ailment my doctor called "irritable bowel syndrome" - the catchall diagnosis for non-specific digestive problems given to thousands of otherwise healthy Americans every year, and just one of a wide range of health conditions brought about by food intolerances.

Even if you have not yet reached a state of crisis, suboptimal digestion and dietary stressors may still lead to a decline in your health and performance. Unexplained fatigue, poor recovery, mood disorders, "athlete's asthma" and any of a plethora of other autoimmune and inflammatory disorders can be addressed with diet and digestive interventions. In short, anyone seeking relief from un- diagnosed or indefinable health declines would be wise to examine their diet and gut health.

Though many see no choice but to live with these maladies, I know from experience that solutions do exist. With the help of Hammer Nutrition, independent research, and trial and error, I regained my health and improved my performance by making the following key changes.

Change your diet - The first critical step for all of us is to remove the offending culprits. Following an elimination diet, I found that removing gluten and dairy from my diet brought rapid relief. While every individual has their own triggers, the most common three inflammatory foods are gluten, dairy, and refined sugar. Elimination of these common foods is known to relieve a huge variety of maladies, ranging from skin conditions to chronic fatigue, and of course, a plethora of digestive problems. On the other hand, if you eat foods that your body cannot tolerate, your digestive system will take the brunt of the abuse, and other aspects of health will follow.

Restore beneficial intestinal flora - Eliminating intolerances will go a long way, but it is unlikely to provide full recovery. The digestive system is complex, and it falls out of balance during periods of distress. For true healing, you must restore the beneficial intestinal flora necessary for digestive function, nutrient absorption, intestinal health, and immunity. Following a friend's recommendation, I tried Hammer Nutrition's Digest Caps. Digest Caps provides a broad spectrum of healthy bacteria that support proper digestion and help eliminate unhealthy bacterial growth from the intestines. Improvement came quickly. True recovery had begun.

Fill nutrient gaps - Even with these important changes, I realized that a healthy diet and probiotics alone would not be enough to re-fill the nutritional hole I had dug over the previous three years. To return to optimal health it was imperative that I find a robust multi-vitamin my body could process. Hammer's Premium Insurance Caps was the best source for my needs, as it provides the specific nutrients that athletes need. Like many other Hammer supplements, it also offers essential digestive enzymes that aid in their assimilation. Noting the improvement, I also added Mito Caps and Race Caps Supreme (together, the three make up Hammer's Daily Essentials Kit) to my regime. Before long, I was back to my energetic self.

After making some key dietary changes and adding beneficial supplements, my health is now better than ever. I balance a heavy work schedule with 12-20 hours of training per week, and still have energy to carry out a balanced interpersonal life. With the appropriate approach and nutritional support, you too can get your health back on track.

Loren Mason-Gere is a Hammer Nutrition dealer service rep from Medford, Oregon. He’s been an avid cyclist for 15 years and has raced competitively since 2007.