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Kira masterclass

Sports Nutrition Masterclass with Kira Sutherland

Kira masterclass

Sports Nutrtition Masterclass

Today we are joined by naturopath and sports nutritionist Kira Sutherland who is giving a sneak-peek into some of the clinical gems she will be sharing on our upcoming Sports Nutrition Masterclass webinar.

About Kira Sutherland:

Kira Sutherland is an Australian Naturopath and Sports Nutritionist with more than 25 years in clinical practice.

She is the 2019 winner of the Integrative Medicine Award for Excellence in practice (Nutrition/Dietetics). Kira divides her time between clients, lecturing at the undergraduate level, and mentoring practitioners of complementary medicine in the application of holistic sports nutrition.

Known for her vibrant, straightforward teaching style, Kira’s focus is to empower and educate at a level where information becomes intrinsic knowledge. She is a lifelong athlete herself, participating in endurance sports, providing her with a solid foundation of practical experience to add to her academic and clinical background.

Connect with Kira

website: www.kirasutherland.com.au

Email: kira@kirasutherland.com

Instagram: Uberhealth

Facebook: Uberhealth

Twitter: kira_sutherland

LinkedIn: Kira Sutherland

 

Transcript

Introduction

Andrew: Welcome to “Wellness By Designs.” I’m your host, Andrew Whitfield-Cook. Today we’re joined by Kira Sutherland, a great friend of mine. She’s a naturopath and sports nutritionist and she’ll be presenting a masterclass for “Designs for Health” in March, I think it’s the 22nd, 2022. I’d like to warmly welcome her to “Wellness by Designs.” How are you, Kira?

Kira: Oh, I’m good. Thank you for having me.

Andrew: Now it’s gonna be a little bit of a challenge because you and I get to natter a little bit but we kinda can try and keep it tight today so…

Kira: Focused.

Andrew: Yes. Let’s talk about focus. What’s gonna be the main focus of your webinar? What are you gonna be covering?

Kira: Sure. So, I’m really excited for this one. So, it’s not your regular, you know, show you a bunch of slides and just teach you about the science. We decided to really turn it into more of a…can you say interactive in a webinar? I don’t know. But it’s about case studies and it’s really looking at how I work with my clients and, you know, we’ll be going over a lot of the nutrients that I use but also the fueling and the macronutrient usage as well as micronutrients and, yeah, vitamins, minerals and everything I use whether it’s for performance, recovery, injury. There’s a case study on healing bone. One of my crazy, accidental things I do a lot of is…athletes call up with all kinds of broken bones and how to heal them fast to get people back out on a field. So yeah, it’s gonna be a really…yeah, it’s a different way to do it and I’m excited because it’s a lot more dynamic than me just lecturing.

Andrew: Gotcha, okay. So, before we get into specifics, can we just cover off some generalities of, let’s say, rough guidelines for eating for athletes? You know, like, you deal with all sorts of athletes, all sort of ranges. Can you go through what you recommend and where are the differences, like, between, say, you know, marathon runners and bodybuilders?

Kira: Yeah. So, with sports nutrition, yeah, a lot of it comes down to macronutrients and it comes down to…you know, it comes down to what sports they’re doing. Is it endurance sport? Is it strength sport? That’s really where the big divide is, you know, or strength sports, sprint sports kinda get categorized together and then endurance or longer distance sports. And truly, recovery eating isn’t too different between them. You will do slightly different ratios of macronutrients which I can go into.

But, you know, one of the things that people always misunderstand is with strength sports, everyone always gets really obsessed with, “Oh, my God. I have to have my protein after training. I’ve gotta have my 20 grams of protein.” And, you know, people are obsessed with it and buy all kinds of crazy-tasting stuff at gyms and things like that. And the truth is post-training, yes, you need protein, especially if you’ve been doing strength sport for your muscle recovery and muscle protein synthesis. But when you do strength sport or, you know, weights or HIIT training, you are also using a large amount of your glycogen stores, your stored carbohydrates, and people forget that. And so, they get this obsession with protein and then they forget to replace their carbohydrates which, you know, a great, you know, weight session can use well over 50% of your carbohydrates. And then people aren’t focusing on carb after training and if you eat just protein, your body’s gonna take the protein and turn some of it into stored glycogen. So, you might as well enjoy the carbs after training because there’s nobody that doesn’t like carbs. They’re just…everybody’s so phobic of eating carbs.

So, a lot of what I spend my time doing is convincing people to eat enough carbohydrate, especially after training. So, with strength sports, look, a lot of the research is gonna say overall for everybody post-training, you know, you’re looking at a four to one ratio of carbohydrates to protein or a three to one ratio of carbs to protein. But those ratios really get left more for endurance and, you know, longer volume training, two to three hours, and how to recover. Whereas in strength sports, a lot of people will move to more of a two to one ratio post-training so that there is a higher amount of protein. But it also depends on that individuality. And some people seriously muscle building will even move themselves to a one-to-one ratio. But the research isn’t as deep to say to do that as it is more of a two to one, three to one ratio. Always mentioning carbs first in my ratios there. Did that make sense?

Andrew: Gotcha. And you were talking about recovery there. So obviously, you know, with…this is obviously going to be more indicative, I guess, in the elite athlete group but overtraining syndrome. How prevalent is it? Do you see it only in that upper echelon or do you actually see it, you know, in the weekend warrior, that sort of thing?

Kira: Yeah, you see it in both. I mean, there’s definitely a place for it with elite athletes because you have people kind of pushing the mark or pushing their boundaries of how much training can they get in to build their strength or build their skill before their body starts breaking down or, you know, getting too crippled by the volume of training they’re doing. So, there’s a fine line where athletes, elite athletes are always sitting quite up there unless it’s early season. So, you’ve gotta work with that but really, the weekend warrior…I’m not talking weekend warrior where you’re out doing two to three hours a week but there are…especially endurance sports. I work with a lot of…because I have a background in Ironman and marathon running and stuff like that…not fast but competing.

And, you know, endurance sport, you’ll get these, you know, what we call age group athletes or masters athletes and they are doing anywhere from 12 to 28 hours of training a week, right? So, they can easily be falling into overtraining. And it also depends on what their coaches are prescribing because a lot of coaches are ex elite athletes and even though they go through lots of training, they will still create these training programs that sometimes are very high volume for a weekend athlete masters person. So, it’s also about finding that training volume for yourself and your physiology whether you’re male, female, you know, depending on your age and your sport because body type has a lot to do with how much training you can handle as well.

And so, I really love to look at all of that and what’s working for someone. You know, some people can train day in and day out. My husband is a master’s athlete who’s very fast and he could literally train twice a day, seven days a week. I think he probably has for the last 20 years that I’ve known him and he never breaks down and he never gets into overtraining whereas if I did that volume of training, I would…yeah, I would be in all kinds of trouble. So, you really have to play with that with athletes and buffer them. You know, in overtraining there’s a lot of things we can do with micronutrients but in reality, buffering from overtraining is all about the macronutrients and are they actually getting in enough food for the volume of training they’re doing. That was a long monologue, sorry.

Andrew: Gotcha. A little bit one from the side, though. No, that’s all right. But a little bit one from the side. Like, I get that everybody’s got their own capacity, their own constitution that they’ve gotta work with it. But certainly, every now and again something blindsides us. Hey, COVID. There’s stress. I mean, even if you haven’t been infected from COVID and suffered that extreme fatigue, what about the stressors, the other emotional stressors that are placed on you with, you know, kids being at home while you’re schooling them and uncertainties with jobs and all sorts of things have happened to many, many different people. So, it’s not just this physical assault from physical training but you’ve got the mental stress that’s wearing you down. So how do you wend your way there with nutrients versus other things that you might have to treat as a side thing?

Kira: Agreed. And it’s 2022. Is that right? Are we in the right year? 2022, and people are carrying this…I couldn’t remember what year are we in. People are carrying this huge volume of stress. And I think we don’t even realize the pressure we’ve been under. I think we’ve been in overtraining stress  for two years because of that unknown. And we don’t do well when we don’t know an outcome, do we? And so, there’s this underlying stress we’ve all been riding and I’m definitely seeing that showing up with clients. There’s a lot more fatigue than you expect for the volume of training they’ve been doing. Immune systems are struggling. Emotions are struggling.

So, you know, the things I do, I go back to a lot of naturopathic principles. We’re looking at macros, we’re making sure they’re eating enough. Sleep is the huge one and then working on stress levels naturopathically, whether you’re using herbs or nutrients and really buffering them. It almost feels like everybody’s been in overtraining a little bit at the moment. So, are you wanting specific nutrients or…what was the question?

Andrew: Yes. Take us through some of your faves. What do you use to help people? Like, stress, sleep, general nutrition, stuff like that, things to just…the vanguard stuff.

Kira: So, I’ll be honest and maybe this will stop people from ever needing me but I literally would give 95% of my athletes and clients magnesium. Like, you just can’t go buy magnesium first, right. Whether it’s a daytime magnesium that also has lots of other cofactors with B vitamins and things like that or…I’m a huge time of nighttime magnesiums at the moment just to really…I don’t, you know…and I know it’s not placebo but I think it’s that whole ritual of, “Oh, I’m mixing up my nighttime magnesium. I’m turning off my screens. I’m going to bed at this set time.” And getting people to really track how much better they feel when they’re doing that. So, I’m doing a lot of split-dose magnesium at the moment whereas, like, until two years ago, I never used night magnesium. So now I’m doing slightly smaller doses in the morning so that I can squeeze some more magnesium…some in at night. So that’s probably my first port of call for literally every athlete that shows up. You know, so what do they estimate? 70%, 80% of the Western population may be magnesium deficient? Yep. Did you wanna add something there?

Andrew: Oh, it is huge. That and zinc are just these huge things. I’m glad you said about that split dosing because this is something that I first learned from Dr. and, you know, there’s this tout amongst commercial entities about particularly magnesium bisglycinate or diglycinate. Oh, you don’t get diarrhea from it. Yes, you can. And yet, conversely, I’ve taken a massive amount on one occasion and no diarrhea whatsoever. But I used to have this triathlete that couldn’t even handle half a teaspoon of bisglycinate formula. And we tried all sorts of things and eventually, we get him onto a K-Mag Aspartate Tablet and that was okay. He was all right on that. But, you know, it’s really interesting how you get this argument between the bisglycinate and the citrate, the that, the…you know.

Kira: A chelate.

Andrew: Magnesium. But the thing is don’t overload that person’s capacity to absorb magnesium.

Kira: No. And, you know, I supervise students and student clinic at one of the universities and it’s funny because they, you know…they’re so gung-ho on magnesium and, you know, as a student, we were probably all like this and then, like, I had someone today being like, “I wanna give them 600.” And I was like, “Is that in a single dose or, like, you know, what’s the 600 calling for?” And, you know, it isn’t always a more is better. You know, yes, there’s definitely a call for 600 milligrams at some point but I was just like, “That client’s not gonna like you very much.” At least we’re all still working from home and they’re not trying to get on a train to go to the city after having 600 milligrams because they will definitely call and yell at you, right.

Andrew: In traffic jams, yeah.

Kira: Well, you’ve gotta think about the things that you do to clients. Like, that client that forgets to take their zinc with food and then they pull over almost vomiting in the middle of rush hour. And we could all make those mistakes even years into clinical practice. So yeah. So, magnesium’s my port of call. I’m a huge fan of that split dose. But again, with athletes, with anybody, I find just random people react. You know, and I do have clients that will get diarrhea with bisglycinate but they do better on a chelate or a citrate so you’ve just gotta…I just play around with it and see what’s working best for them. You know, and then they’ll of course complain about flavor and, “Oh, I don’t like…I just don’t like that powder.” And you just…but yeah. I’m a mean practitioner.

Andrew: But it’s really funny how…

Kira: I’m not giving you a tablet.

Andrew: No, but it’s really funny how, like…

Kira: I won’t let them have tablets.

Andrew: The powders will definitely allow you to get in a much higher dose and allow you to adjust that dose. It’s really funny though how you can sometimes…it can take a while to get used to a flavor. Like, I’ve gotten used to this lavender one now but it took a while and yet, now it’s, like…it’s actually this…it’s a funny mind flip. It’s now this, “Oh, yeah.”

Kira: Lavender is…I know what you’re talking about. The lavender is an acquired taste and then…yeah. Yeah. It’s definitely a process. I’m known for mixing magnesiums with powdered vitamin Cs so that it changes the…so I alternate flavors so that it’s not always that same flavor. But yeah.

Andrew: So, is that maybe a segue into our next section and that might be injuries? Because vitamin C helps with injuries. What else do you use?

Kira: Yes. So, I do a lot of injury whether it’s prevention or treatment. You know, I get a lot of connective tissue, you know, ligament, tendon issues as well as just muscle damage and recovery. And then one of my favorite ones is bone treatment. Like, I was talking to an ER doctor and they said something like 80% of adults that present in the ER on the weekends are from soccer injuries. Master soccer. Like, if you ever want to hurt your ankle, that’s the sport to take up. And you get especially. Yeah, no, that’s…yeah, I think you have more people playing soccer these days. But yeah, with it’s knees, though. And that’s more…yeah, connective tissue. That’s more soft tissue issues rather than it is bone but it’s amazing how many women in their 40s who are…whether they’re perimenopausal or not, their bone density’s not as good and they end up with these smashed up ankles that then won’t fuse and they all show up at the naturopath going, “My doctor’s given me five weeks to get this to fuse or they’re gonna fuse it for me.” So, you’re in that emergency mode of trying to heal a bone as fast as possible, or with an athlete, you’re just trying to heal something fast because they’ve gotta go back to training. So yeah.

Andrew: Right.

Kira: So, things I love…

Andrew: So, what do you use there?

Kira: What do I use? I use all kinds of stuff. And again, with your clients, you’re kinda gonna go, “How much money you wanna throw at it? Can I give you everything or do I only get to give you three things?” Because I think I have about six things in bone healing that I go for. But so, I will always bring in a collagen. I’m loving my collagen powders. Yes, I use other protein powders as well. More when I’m looking at macronutrients but I am a huge fan of all the collagen powders coming out. At the moment, we’ve got some great research on different collagen powders and what they’re better for. And there are ones that actually have some information around, yeah, helping with that healing.

So, collagen powders. Getting them to actually even eat. I would say Jell-O, gelatin, jelly, whatever I’m supposed to say. You know, there is…you know, when you’ve got a bone injury, you almost always have connective tissue injury as well. And you’ve gotta think about what the inside of bones are made of as well. So, collagen, vitamin C. I’m always using vitamin C in quite big dosages. I throw in zinc although that’s not really…I mean, zinc’s just good for everything. What else am I using? I’m making sure their calcium status…you know, they’re looking at DEXA scans to make…see what’s happening with their bone density. A lot of athletes are happy to do those anywhere because you’re gonna find out body fat as well as bone density. But my understanding is DEXAs were originally created for bone density scanning rather than body fat.

Andrew: Yeah. Yes.

Kira: Have you heard that? Yes.

Andrew: Yes. Yeah.

Kira: No one ever believes me when I said that. So, I am looking at their calcium status. I’m not a huge calcium supplementer but I am gonna look at that especially through foods. We’re gonna look at D. We’re gonna look at…oh, my gosh. I have this huge list. D. I’m doing magnesium.

Andrew: What about herbs, anti-inflammatory tissue healing?

Kira: Yeah. So, I’ll be using things like turmeric. I love turmeric there. And I will actually use bone healing herbs like…well, I use horsetail, equisetum arvense which is high in silica. Everyone forgets about horsetail, whether you’re using it as a liquid or as a tea. What else am I using? I would love to use comfrey but obviously I’m not gonna use that. I wouldn’t, you know. Yes. But I will use it homeopathically. If it’s an acute injury, I will go for comfrey homeopathically because that’s still legal. What other herb do I use? I use turmeric, horsetail, boneset.

Andrew: Boneset, gotu kola.

Kira: Boneset, gotu kola. I love gotu kola. Thank you. I forgot about that. It is always in my mix, gotu kola. That’s actually got some great bone healing. So, I use that. And I love using…I’m missing two other things. I use cell salts. So, tissue salts or cell salts, kind of a homeopathic 6X. As long as somebody doesn’t have pins or screws or other metal in the body, I will always be using silica and calcium fluoride because they just work so well together and the silica really helps mobilize the calcium where we need it. And, you know, I think that’s my…herbs, turmeric, all that stuff, collagen, vitamin C, magnesium, D. It’s a lot. But it works every time.

Andrew: Can I go back to soft tissue damage for a little while?

Kira: Yep.

Andrew: When you’re dealing with, you know, the athlete that…you know, they’re raring to go, they wanna get back out on the field, they’re stuck at the moment with this injury, the temptation is to say, “Just give me a steroid injection or let’s go to PRP, these platelet rich plasma injections or sometimes there’s hyaluronic acid depending on the doctor. There’s a guy down in Canberra doing work with elite athletes with a combination of PRP and hyaluronic acid injections. But is there any sort of issue about augmenting that healing process with natural means? You know, certainly, you’d wanna try and undo the issues with steroids and that may not be locally. You might have to be saying, “Well, let’s heal the gut. Let’s stop the gut from having those issues while you’re having the steroid injections.”

Kira: Yeah. I actually haven’t had a lot of experience working with people while they’re doing the injections at the same time. I tend to get people that show up after they’ve done the injections and after they’ve done the steroids so I’m not usually doing anything simultaneously. I also got a little bit…I probably play it safer than most practitioners as I don’t want to be…if something goes wrong, I don’t wanna be in the mix of having handed over a bunch of stuff and then they’re like, “Oh, it didn’t work because of what Kira was doing.” So, I’m probably more cautious than a lot of people. And especially the longer I’m in clinical practice, the more cautious I am. Every decade I’m…

Andrew: Yeah, you’re so old.

Kira: Every decade I’m more cautious.

Andrew: That’s twice.

Kira: I graduated when I was 12. I’ve been through this the other day with somebody. I’ve been practicing for 29 years but I graduated at 12. You can do the math. I wish. So, I’m actually good with my age. But, you know, I was gonna say one of my favorite things, whether it’s the 45-year-old female who’s about to have her ankle fused or something and one of the case studies I’m gonna use is this…it’s actually a friend of mine who’s an elite athlete who had this massive stack on his bicycle. A dog ran in front of his bike as he was going, like, 40 Ks an hour. Broken ribs, cracked hip, like, all kinds of trouble.

Get him onto all of that, making sure, you know, I haven’t…I talked about giving collagen but you really wanna make sure people’s protein levels are up high enough during that recovery process as well with any type of injury, especially muscle, connective tissue. You really need to be looking at are their protein levels at their optimum, full recovery because if that’s low, you’re not gonna get the recovery you’re looking…you know, the healing speed you’re looking for. And my favorite thing is when they call me up and they say, “I saw my doctor or I saw the surgeon that was supposed to work on me,” and they’re like, “It’s completely healed. We can’t even tell that you broke your hip. We can’t tell that you broke your ribs. Had I not seen the original X-ray, I wouldn’t believe that that was actually what happened.”

Or, you know, the ankle surgeons are always like, “Oh, I’m sure it was gonna fuse anyway.” Even though it hadn’t fused for a month and a half and all of a sudden it has fused in three weeks. And those are my favorite phone calls is when you stop someone from having a surgery because surgery does…yeah. You know it’s you and your client knows it’s you. I don’t care if the surgeon knows or not but yeah. Every now and then, the surgeon is like, “Okay, what were you on? I need to know.” Which is also why you don’t do anything that you shouldn’t be doing.

Andrew: I forgot to mention something about the steroid injections, is that they also inhibit tissue healing. So, you’re then…as you say, you are picking up double pieces. Yeah.

Kira: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, as you said before, we’re having to work with the gut, having to work with, you know…steroids suppress a lot of stuff in the body and there is controversy in sports nutrition. I mean, we have big controversy which isn’t really to do with this topic but you don’t wanna be giving high-dose antioxidants while people are in a really building phase of, you know, muscle adaptation and trying to…yeah. Muscle and cardiovascular adaption. Because if you give…you know, there’s research on giving too much C and E and it actually suppressing recovery and adaptation. So, you know, you save your antioxidants or your higher dose antioxidants if someone’s sick or right before a competition so hopefully to help them not get sick. But you aren’t handing over these grand doses of…especially C and E is what we have research on because you’re suppressing the body’s…I don’t know if suppressing is the right word but you’re inhibiting…

Andrew: Like remodeling?

Kira: Well, you’re inhibiting the body’s own antioxidant and mop-up processes after, you know, the redocks and, you know…there’s a point where things are supposed to be occurring and if we go in too hard with stuff, we’re actually gonna inhibit, yeah, remodeling or we’re gonna inhibit, yeah, muscle growth, cardiovascular engine growth. I’m not using very technical words today. I’m sorry.

Andrew: Christine Horton’s quite salient in her messaging about this, about being cautious about, you know, too much of one antioxidant. That’s one of the reasons she’s very much a fan of broccoli sprout extract and how it works. But can I ask about things that you’ll very commonly come across that may seem remedial but people certainly want relief from? And that’s things like DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness. You know, the weekend warrior, they exercise, they go…far overload and they get the sore things where they can’t walk up the stairs or down the stairs is the horrible bit. What do you tend to use for these? Is it just things like branched-chain amino acids, pain relief, what?

Kira: I don’t tend to use branched chains there which is interesting. I will use…I use more whole protein sources first rather than just the branched chains because you have so much more use for more amino acids than just those three. I’m not saying people don’t like them but some of the research with DOMS…you know, again, this is where people turn to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories and we know that taking nonsteroidals will inhibit…you know, DOMS is there because the muscle is trying to heal itself. Delayed onset muscle soreness usually caused by unfamiliar eccentric exercise. You know, and the more you do an exercise, the more it…so DOMS really comes on in preseason or beginning of season or you run a marathon and you’ve never done that before. Just so people are clear on it.

And so, there’s research again. As I said, nonsteroidals actually inhibit the healing and you don’t wanna totally inhibit that COX-2 pathway that’s going on because that inflammation is happening so that you can have healing. It’s just like…there’s all that controversy now whether you actually ice injuries or not because too much ice on an injury…anyway, that’s another topic in itself.

Andrew: Stops blood flow.

Kira: So, I tend to…I love using things like…there’s great research for…I mean, not deep but there’s research for turmeric or curcumins. There’s research on bromelain. There is research on tart cherry but that’s kind of now another just been scheduled. So, I’m really confused about that. And is it scheduled as a food? So, I don’t wanna suggest something that we’re not allowed to use.

Andrew: It’s because it contains that much melatonin.

Kira: Yeah. No, there’s another element. I was reading about it today. There’s another chemical in tart cherry that they’re worried about. I’ll have to go look that up.

Andrew: Cyanogenic compound? Nah.

Kira: No. I’ll have to look it up. I can’t remember what it is. I’ll literally…I’ll write myself a note, tart cherry. Because tart cherry was one of my…there are recovery drinks made in the U.S. that are whole tart cherry drinks specific for helping with DOMS. But really even if we can’t…let’s move from tart cherry although you can buy tart cherries as a food. So, are they gonna schedule a food as well? So, you can always get your clients to eat the food.

Andrew: No, that’s right. That’s exactly right, Kira.

Kira: Just head on over to your health food store. But the truth is tart cherry’s super high in antioxidants and anthocyanins and things like that. So really blueberries are another big one. Any of the dark blue, purply berries are gonna really help. So those are the big things, bromelain, turmeric. We’ll just say berries and cherries to be safe. Although this isn’t regular cherries. Don’t go just eating your Bing cherries or whatever they’re called.

Andrew: No. Last question before we wrap up and that is energy which is everybody’s, you know, devil in the drawer. How do you support athletes’ energy? Particularly, you know, that endurance-style energy.

Kira: Yep. So, number one thing is always are they fueling properly. I’m gonna go back to macros because as much as naturopaths, nutritionists, all of us practitioners, doctors, we love using our nutrients, the truth is if someone’s running out of energy, the first thing you need to look at is how they’re fueling their sport. Are they fueling properly before training or are they trying to do all this fasted training which sometimes isn’t the best? Fueling afterwards as well. And are they hitting their actual calorie needs per day for the volume of training they’re doing? Once you know that’s satisfied…so I will always do that first. And then we’re looking at energy production. You’re always gonna look at checking their iron levels, their B12 levels, just making…because you don’t want to be pouring in money with supplements into a bucket that has holes in the bottom, right. If they don’t have, you know, good oxygen-carrying capacity, you’re in trouble.

But when we’re looking at ATP production, when we’re looking at…you know, it’s all about mitochondrial health is where…you know, yes, we need to look at adrenal health. Yes, we need to look at, you know, your cortisol levels and things like that. But when we look at mitochondria, you know…again, I’m always gonna be using magnesium no matter what. But then you’re looking at…and everyone always remembers carnitine because carnitine helps the body actually…a lot of people don’t understand. Carnitine actually helps get long-chain fatty acids inside the mitochondria. So, the way I teach it to uni students…have I told you my little story before?

Andrew: Keep going.

Kira: No? So, the way I describe it to clients and my university students is the mitochondria is like…well, it’s like your engine, you know, inside the cell where you’re burning fuel because it’s a mitochondria where we burn carbs, proteins, and fats, just to remember that where…and that’s an aerobic energy whereas if you go anaerobic, that’s not being…ATP is not being made in the mitochondria. It’s being made in the cytoplasm and it’s really inefficient. And that is only using carbohydrate as a fuel. It’s not using proteins or fats, right, because no one remembers that because that was the first year of uni. So, the way I describe it is mitochondria are like your nightclubs, right. It’s where you burn all your energy. Nightclub’s happening. It’s like doof, doof. All the music’s going, you’re burning all your fuel. You didn’t know you’re getting my club analogy. So, carnitine is the bouncer that sits…have you never heard me say this? You will never forget this.

Andrew: No.

Kira: This is a total Kira story. Carnitine is the bouncer that sits outside of the nightclub. And the long-chain fatty acids have to line up. You know, the little velvet rope and the long line. People used to have to, right…you know, if you ever went to nightclubs. And so, carnitine’s the bouncer, pulls the fatty acids in, and then it actually recycles itself and comes back out. So, the idea is having more carnitine means you have more bouncers, can get more fats in to be burnt as a fuel. Yeah?

Andrew: Yeah.

Kira: So that’s how carnitine works. I mean, sort of. It’s not really a nightclub but…and then…

Andrew: See, I think I’m carnitine. I think I’m carnitine because I used to try and get to know the bouncer.

Kira: Yeah. Well, no. The trick is to be a medium-chain fatty acid. You know, you want to be an MCT because MCTs…and what a lot of people don’t understand is it’s the long chains that need carnitine to get into the nightclub, into the mitochondria whereas medium-chain triglycerides, whether they’re in food form or you’re buying it as a supplement, they have a VIP pass and they don’t need carnitine to get inside the mitochondria. They get in by themselves which is why they’re used for energy production. So, I do sometimes use MCTs for that extra hit but you also have to make sure the person’s body can handle the extra calories and again, don’t overload someone on MCTs because they will also be in the toilet, not happy with you, with a lot of diarrhea.

Andrew: Yeah.

Kira: Alpha-lipoic acid. What are my other mitochondria? Alpha-lipoic acid, carnitine. What am I missing?

Andrew: CoQ10 or ubiquinol? Which one do you use? Ubiquinone or ubiquinol?

Kira: Well, now you’re gonna…I can’t remember. I think I…it depends on what I have in stock at the moment really. I will…I kind of go…it’s tricky with the research. I kinda go between really. I don’t know. What do you use?

Andrew: Yeah, so…well, so the research…the lion share of research is on ubiquinone, right, the oxidized form of CoQ10. The new kid on the block is ubiquinol. But when it started, it was, you know, quite high price. Now the price has come down. It’s like, “Eh, use whatever you like.” I prefer ubiquinol personally because of liquid protection but not necessarily for being an elite athlete.

Kira: Yeah. So, I use a lot of CoQ10. Like, my starting dose is 150. You know, I will easily go up to 300 with clients. Lots of CoQ10. What else? There’s one other thing I use a lot of. Not specifically mitochondrial health as far as I’m aware but antioxidant and good energy hit…it probably is…I have to go research that before we…the talk…is I’m a huge fan these days of glutathione. I love it.

Andrew: Of course.

Kira: Liposomal, glutathione and, you know, people wandering around looking for that extra energy hit. I actually find people can actually take it in an acute situation where they’re craving a coffee, they’re craving sugar and getting quite a good energy hit off of…I’m a huge fan of glutathione actually.

Andrew: Okay.

Kira: I’m not…it’s not cheap feeding the mitochondria. CoQ10, glutathione, magnesium. But gosh.

Andrew: Kira, you and I… the danger is that you and I can just natter and we can natter for hours like we did at NatEx but I thank you so much for taking us through just a few of the tidbits. I think listening to this prior to the thing would be great but whether this is gonna be published prior to your seminar remains to be seen. But they’ll certainly learn heaps from your seminar which is gonna be in March, the 22nd of March, 2022. So, I hope they’ve learned from that and then they go and listen to this podcast, whichever. And I look forward to chatting with you once more soon.

Kira: Yep. I’m excited. Good to see you as always.

Andrew: Thanks, Kira. And of course, thank you for joining us today. You can catch up on other podcasts and indeed, the show notes for this podcast on the “Designs for Health” website. I’m Andrew Whitfield-Cook. This is “Wellness by Designs”.