Unlocking Superhuman Performance
Your cognitive and physical abilities can be maximized and optimized. Comparative relationships (ratios) in essential mineral levels determine how well your cells function. Cognitive and physical performance impacts cell function.
The greatest wasted resource is human potential. A light bulb can shine but cannot display its power without energy, so does the human mind always have the potential – but it cannot display the potential with the energy to do so. To different groups human performance enhancement has different meanings. For example, in popular media its is most often talked about in relation to competitive athletic performance. However, the desire to accomplish optimum human performance goes back thousands of years. From warriors throughout the ages, to athletes in their quest for Olympic gold to Chinese emperors wishing to have long lives. Today performance enhancement is being equated to physical longevity, athletic goals, and cognitive abilities.
The cellular level is where it all begins. Physical and cognitive performance is where elemental nutrient mineral levels and ratios are determined. Optimize cell function, optimize performance.
Many people resort to performance-enhancing, or cognitive-enhancing drugs to adjust their biochemistry, commonly due to exhaustion and the dysfunction caused by undernutrition. There are chronic brain impairment effects of psychotropic drugs which, is being ignored. We have all heard about the mental, emotional, and physical harm caused by so called “performance-enhancing” drugs. Because of this understanding, many athletes, professionals and all who are concerned about their long-term health and mental well-being, have turned to nutrition and away from pharmaceuticals.
The use of nutrition for improving performances has, until recently, been more of an art than a science. Typically, its clinical application has been directed at attempting to correct or prevent deficiencies of vial nutrients. Today, the leading nutritional science focuses on biochemical of essential nutrients; the most important of which are the trace elements (minerals). Trace elements cannot be synthesized by living matter and are more important than vitamins. Thus, they are the basic spark plugs in the chemistry of life, on which the exchanges of energy in the combustion of food and the building of living tissues depend.
Nutrient interrelationships are complex, every vitamin and mineral affect several other vitamins and minerals in an interconnected, intricate, ever-changing web of association (synergy and antagonism). Nutrient elements have important functional effects on the endocrine glands. Through the release of chemical messengers (hormones), the endocrine glands control the stress response. Hormones influence how nutrients influence basic cellular functions, excretions, absorption, transport, and storage. Nutrients influence hormones also. Trace nutrient minerals are involved in hormone secretion, activity of hormones, and target tissue binding sights. Mineral concentration within the body affect the hypothalamus-pituitary and thyroid-adrenal axis. If the levels and ratios of these minerals are suboptimal, cellular function (detoxification, renewal, performance, and every production) is compromised. As with mineral and vitamin synergisms and antagonisms, endocrine synergisms and antagonisms exist also.
Some imbalances of hormonal stress response is noticed in inflammatory illnesses, fatigue conditions and mood disorders. At every moment, trillions of biochemicals and cells interact and change simultaneously. It is impossible to conceive how one might fully understand the immeasurable reverberating loops of cells and chemical interactions. And cells are made up of atoms. There are 100 trillion atoms in an ordinary human cell. By a remarkable numerical coincidence, the number of cells in the human body is about the same as the number of atoms in a cell. To give an idea of how many this is, they say that there are fewer stars in the Milky Way than there are atoms in a cell. It is hard to grasp just how small the atoms that make up your body are until you look at the sheer number of them. An adult is made up of around 7 octillion atoms.
By applying an understanding of the balanced endocrine system, we can chart performance status and improvements. The endocrine index is a graphic representation of cellular energy production and immune response. A presentation of the pituitary-adrenal-thyroid axis (P.A.T). These three interdependent endocrine glands influence energy production on a cellular level which affects health and performance. Ideally, there should be a balance within the P.A.T., in order to have optimal functioning. A major deviation between the P.A.T. axis can be indicatives of tendency towards an adverse health condition (predictive medicine). An imbalanced P.A.T. axis indicates less than ideal energy and performance.
Pituitary, Adrenal, Thyroid (P.A.T)
For a performance athlete, a major imbalance of the P.A.T. axis is indicative of an adverse affect upon speed and/or stamina.
The calcium/phosphorus ratio (Ca/P) represents dominance of the anterior or posterior pituitary.
- A high Ca/P ratio (greater than 2.63:1) indicates posterior pituitary dominance. This also corresponds to parasympathetic nervous system dominance.
- A low Ca/P ratio (less than 2.63:1) indicates anterior pituitary dominance. This also corresponds to sympathetic nervous system dominance.
The adrenal cortex produces mineralocorticoid hormones. A primary function of the hormones is to regulate the electrolytes sodium and potassium. The sodium/magnesium ratio (Na/Mg) is the indicator for adrenal function. A high Na/Mg ration indicates increased adrenal expression (hyper) and a low Na/Mg ratio indicates low adrenal function (hypo).
The calcium/potassium ration (Ca/K) is an indicator for thyroid function. Potassium is necessary for sensitizing the tissues to the effects of thyroxine (T4). Studies have shown in hypothyroid states, the intestinal absorption of calcium increases with lower than normal calcium excretion via the kidneys. A low Ca/K ratio indicates thyroid dominance (hyperthyroid) and high Ca/K ratio indicates low thyroid expression (hypothyroid).
The performance index represents the relationship of energy producing adrenal and thyroid glands on your speed and endurance. A balance between your endurance and speed is an indicator of balanced endocrine function, and thus, robust health and optimal performance. This means that you will have the endurance to complete the task before you, and the energy for the bursts of speed when you need to respond quickly. Depending on your needs, you may benefit from a slight dominance of one over the other. For example, a professional musician or entertainer may desire a slight dominance for spend to enable a high-energy performance, whereas a songwriter may prefer to have endurance dominance for extended creative output.
Performance indicators include the relationship between potassium (K) and sodium (Na) as well. The two electrolytes are affected by various hormones secreted from different layers of the adrenal cortex. The Na/K ratio is an indicator of how you are handling the stress response.
- A high Na/K reflects high stress and inability to recover.
- A low Na/K reflects exhaustion and inability to respond to stress.
- A balanced Na/K reflects the ability to be stress resilient (IDEAL).
If the sodium is too elevated relative to potassium there would be a fast burn of energy over short durations. So, a high Na/K ration would give you a little more speed, but for a shorter length of time. A low Na/K ratio would slow the burn, meaning a little less speed, but for a longer length of time.
Over time these imbalanced mineral patterns lead to burnout. For purposes of health optimization, it is best to be as close to balanced as possible. Balance provides the most sustained energy and least wear and tear on the body’s systems. A balanced endocrine system can address stress response needs, moment-by-moment. This allows you to respond to any stressor, and then return to homeostasis relatively quickly.
The ability to function optimally at the cellular levels has a direct impact on overall emotional, physical, and cognitive performance. Imbalances cause the inability to produce cellular energy or respond to stress effectively. In multi-cellular organisms (such as human beings), adaptive capabilities are at their best when cells are functioning at optimum levels. Mineral levels and ratios must be perfectly balanced for a cell to function optimally.
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) provides a large scope of information about nutritional status, toxic burden, energy availability and performance capability. An experienced practitioner can use your HTMA results to develop a corrective nutritional protocol to balance essential minerals and optimize cellular function. With precision nutrition you can realize your full physical potential.
Lisa Pitel-Killah is a Hair Mineral Analysis Expert and Educator, with a background in Functional Medicine. She is a multi-time Kettlebell Sport World Champion, the Founder of Vykon Supplements, Vykon Custom Powders and Vykon Canine; and is a health, wellness and fitness advocate. Lisa is on a mission to use mineral balance to help the world live and perform better.