Nutrition & Hunting
September 24, 2010
The Hunt Doctors dive into how nutritional science can be applied to actually enhance your hunting ability
You don't need a PhD or an obsession with a healthy lifestyle to recognize that nutrition plays an important role in our well being. You truly are what you eat. Beyond well being, nutrition can play a role in actually enhancing certain physical traits. More to the point, nutritional science can be applied to actually enhance your hunting ability.
We know that the key word in the "Health Food Industry" is "Industry". Yet, there are kernels of objective truth out there that really make a difference. The trick is to separate the snake oil from the science and we've done that for you in this article. We've spent literally hundreds of hours reading published medical journals to pan for factual information. We totally disregarded testimonial and advertisement that characterizes so much of this "industry". We are equally certain about this nutritional information as we are about any of the medicines we prescribe.
Treating yourself with specific nutrients to enhance function makes sense doesn't it? Look at our game and animal hunting companions. The make up of food plots and mineral supplements provided to whitetail deer are increasingly utilized in a seasonal manner to enhance specific traits. Premium dog food has less to do with taste than with the impact on the dog's eyes, coat, stamina and other desired characteristics. Just as we can list what we want to improve in our game herds and dogs, we can list traits we want to improve in ourselves. This is especially true if you have crested 20 and the inevitable slide downhill has begun.
We hunters are gadget freaks. We buy clothing, optics, hearing devices and all sorts of stuff to enhance specific traits. Being in the real world environment we want better vision and hearing, more cold and heat tolerance, resistance to altitude sickness, more stamina, strength and energy, increased cognitive concentration, odor control, and enhanced immune function to name a few likely targets. What we have found is that you can absolutely enhance all of these traits through the application of nutritional science.
Nutritional science is not a major topic in medical training. In fact, it was only a few years ago that the American Medical Association actually recommended that all adults take a nutritional supplement on a daily basis. This was a seismic shift and is the result of science overtaking marketing in the arena of nutrition. To be fair, the AMA recommends a minimal intake for the prevention of disease and not the enhancement of function. They have published information on toxicity and the maximum safe intake of certain substances. The prevention of degeneration or the restoration/enhancement of function is still not a common approach in medical practice when it comes to supplement use.
Getting back to that "Industry" comment we made earlier, there is a whole lot of fakery and pseudoscience involved in nutritional approaches to health. We are advised by counsel not to be specific here, but an hour of cable TV generally results in at least one completely fake product being marketed. "Health Food" stores have shelves of supplements that actually have no purpose in the human body, yet are purchased by the uninformed public. What follows below is a listing of desired traits and the supplements needed to restore or enhance function. Let's start with vision.
Age Related Eye Disease (ARED) is a very real condition that as the name suggests results from normal aging. Sometimes this aging process is grossly accelerated and the illness can be very severe, but most commonly it's incremental and just accepted as part of life. Remember how as a kid, an adult would always ask, "How can you read in that light"? As we get older we are more likely to report that we just don't drive so well at night anymore. These are the typical ARED symptoms that we all over 30 can expect to experience.
The basic problem of ARED relates to eye pigments concentrations diminishing with aging. The solution is replenishing the lost pigments (thereby restoring normal eye function) via nutritional supplementation. We're not talking carrots here but a mixture of pigments such as Lutein, vitamins (A, E, C) and minerals selenium, zinc and copper are required to restore or enhance low light vision. There is no question that low light vision can be substantially enhanced with nutrition. Scores of medical studies have come to this same conclusion.
Major corporations have realized the potential here with our aging population. As a result there are dozens of commercial products available. The problem is that many are incomplete, others contain non-sense additives, and still others contain toxic quantities of certain minerals. The complete products are also quite expensive, running near $1.50 per day. None of the products currently available also contain any nutrition designed to enhance any other traits we desire. They are a strictly solo purpose supplement, which means you must purchase many different products to achieve your goals. However, taking multiple supplements may present a risk of toxicity from taking too much of the same compound present in many different supplements.
Diminished hearing can be combated with selenium, folate, B complex and anti-oxidants. There are products that contain these substances on the market and they work. We are not referring to the deaf hearing again, but to a restoration of hearing to a more youthful acuity. Again the issues of cost and overall utility must be considered. However, ringing in the ears and decreased hearing have been successfully treated with dietary supplements.
For us flatlanders, a trip to altitude to hunt caribou, sheep, goats etc is often accompanied by altitude sickness. Ginkgo has been shown in several studies to be quite effective in preventing altitude sickness. Also the use of Ginkgo products in the area of cognitive function and concentration is practically mainstream these days. We can admit to a missed trophy (more than one actually) due to poor concentration, how about you?
Human odor can be effectively diminished with a number of products readily available. Soaps and detergents have come a long way in the past decade as have charcoal containing clothing. The most problematic area remains breath odor. Clothing solutions to breath odor are less than ideal and not well suited to warm weather hunting. Minty freshness isn't a natural deep woods smell and doe in heat gum isn't an appealing option (trust me it has been considered).
Most of the mouth odor originates in decaying food particles stuck in our aging and receding gum lines. Nutritional approaches to this problem have been studied and (while this sounds gross) actual stink measurements have shown that mouth odor can be reduced substantially with the right combination of anti-oxidants and certain minerals. If you think about it for a minute, children seldom have bad breath and ar
en't focused on oral hygiene! Their gums are snug up against their teeth and there is no room for food particles to lodge and decay. Receding gum lines and the odor associated with them can be substantially reversed with nutrition.
Immune function and cold tolerance are greatly affected by nutrition. The water-soluble B vitamins are most useful here as well as the ever-present anti-oxidants. Being water soluble, there is little risk in taking the high enough doses required to get the desired result though anti-oxidants are not without some risk themselves.
At this point if you don't feel overwhelmed with information, we'd be surprised. We have not listed the quantities of the supplements because it is very confusing. The correct amount for one problem area may not be helpful with other target areas and safety is paramount! Also many of you are probably asking just how many pills per day and at what cost? The answer to both questions is: a lot. When we were "experimenting" on ourselves we felt like putting all these things in a bowl and cutting up some strawberries and pouring milk over it all and calling that breakfast.
After we realized the futility in trying to get the correct multiple products together at a reasonable cost, we formulated the ideal supplement using the exact same ingredients and quantities tested in the above-mentioned medical research studies. Next we forwarded the formula to a well known outdoor company who then had it manufactured as a test run. Before making the product available to the general public, this company sent samples to well-known professional hunters and athletes. The overwhelming positive comments began to pour in (as we expected since real research studies were used for the formulation).
This product is Sportsmen's Edge. This is a daily supplement that contains the RIGHT stuff in the RIGHT amounts to actually get the results published in medical journals regarding the enhancement of the traits we listed above. The proof isn't from some marketing internet site or sales brochure but from real honest to goodness scientifically accepted research studies. The best part is that it is very reasonably priced and is formulated into two pills per day.
The regular 'ol once daily vitamin is no longer needed as this product covers routine health needs completely by providing a truly comprehensive multi-vitamin/mineral supplement all in one product. This supplement can be purchased at all the big box stores and most economically at www.sportsmensedgeathletics.com.
If you take a vitamin or a supplement now, why not switch to one that will enhance your hunting abilities? If you don't supplement your diet, there is now a powerful reason to start. Taking care of your health and enhancing your hunting capacities is simply part of getting ready for hunting season to start. There is no time like the present to begin.
Lastly, we offer this disclaimer. While we formulated, take and endorse Sportsmen's Edge, we do not manufacture or market this product. We do not own any part of a company that does manufacture or market Sportsmen's Edge. We don't own rights to manufacture or sell it.
As usual, if you have any questions that we could answer, please feel free to contact us via our website. Till next time be safe and enjoy the outdoors.
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