November 13, 2011

ASEA'S salt and water supercharger
R. Cunningham
What if there was a substance that you could take as needed that was undetectable, UCI legal, would boost your performance on the bike-and was good for your body? Would you be interested? Yeah, I was pretty skeptical when I heard that line, too. The product is called Asea, and it was originally formulated as an immune booster to ward off the effects of aging. During testing, however, athletes discovered that the stuff, which smells and tastes a bit like YMCA pool water, significantly boosted their recovery rates and allowed them to stay closer to their anaerobic threshold for extended periods.

So, the Asea folks spent the bucks for some independent tests on endurance athletes and discovered that athletes, on average, could push 10 percent longer at their maximum thresholds with high results in the 30-percent range and lows around 7 percent. After testing the stuff for three months, I'd have to agree with them. We could pedal harder longer and recover from repeated, 100-percent efforts in ridiculously short intervals. The word "recovery" is the operative in the Asea equation.

Recovery is the key to athletic performance. When we think about gaining strength, most often we obsess on the initials phase of training. We talk about tearing down our bodies, entering the pain cave or going  anaerobic. Basically, we stress our body beyond rational limits in the vain hope that somewhere down the line, its internal recovery mechanism will respond by rebuilding the cells that we nearly destroyed into a stronger, more efficient configuration.

Glamorous as the no-pain-no-gain image is, however, athletic performance is far more dependent upon the body's ability to recover, and getting enough sleep is only part of the process. Complete recovery depends upon proper cell function. During or after a ride, millions of cells are communicating with each other and begging for much needed supplies, sending out crews to patch up damage and recycling the dead and wounded. When the body's recovery mechanism keeps pace, we ride strong and aren't dogged by soreness and pain. When we exceed its limitations, we suffer along with our cells.

Asea's ingredients are listed as sodium and chloride, which suggest that a bottle of Asea and chloride, which suggests that a bottle of Asea is basically salt and water. Combined, sodium-chloride is simple salt, but when the two molecules are isolated, they are highly reactive (read "poisonous"). Inside the body, however, the mitochondrion in each cell produce special sodium and chloride molecules, which function as messengers that signal the various healing, defense and regenerative mechanisms, and they also facilitate communication between cells.

The process is called "redox signaling," which refers to matched pairs of reactive molecules (molecules with an unbalanced electronic charge). One molecules is a redundant; the other is an oxidant-thus the term redox. What these guys do fro athletes is sound the alarm when our efforts throw our muscle cells into oxidative stress, and then they direct blood flow and regenerative microbes directly to where they are most needed.
When the redox messengers are out of balance or exist in large numbers than necessary, they are converted into PH-balanced saltwater by antioxidant microbes. The beauty of redox signaling is that, instead of using an  invasive drug to force the body to respond in a certain way, we introduce safe levels of nanoparticles to the cells that signal the body to safely heal itself.

The scientist who invented Asea figured out how to break down sodium and chloride molecules into the same structures that our cells produce. By nature, reactive molecules attach themselves to anything with an attractive electronic charge. The trick, which is not explained, is that Asea's inventors figured out how to suspend the sodium and chloride bits so they can make it into the body without being neutralized by the digestive system on their way to cells elsewhere in the body.

When asked to run independent tests and evaluated Asea, Dr. Gary Samuelson took one whiff of the stuff, and smelling chlorine, said "no way." Samuelson has a PH.D. in atomic/medical physics and works in the health/science industry. Scientists are tragically curious, though, so Dr. Samuelson researched redox signaling and sodium-chloride at the country's top universities, and in a telephone conversation he told us that, indeed, redox signaling has become the highest priority in preventative medicine research-and that the ingredients that make salt are in the center of it all.

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