Disclosure: I am an energy bits affiliate and receive free product associated with sales generated from my discount code.
In honor of the Energy Bits Twitter Chat I will be hosting tonight at 8 PM (follow #poweredbybits) titled “Real Fuel for Athletes”, I thought it was important to let everyone know why I support the company and the product. The first question I often get from people is “what are energy bits?” and then I often hear “I thought you weren’t a big fan of supplements?”. I hope to clear all of this up in this post so you understand what Energy Bits are, what nutrients and compounds they contain and how they aid your body, and why I personally like them!
Energy bits are 100% pure, high quality, vegan, non-GMO project verified spirulina algae. I will let the bits website tell you the rest:
“Spirulina is a fresh water blue green algae that was the first plant life on earth almost three billion years ago. Spirulina is so concentrated with nutrition that forty years ago the United Nations declared it to be the healthiest food in the world. Algae’s nutritional profile is so impressive that the scientific, nutrition, sports and medical communities have conducted over 100,000 scientific studies about its health benefits. Spirulina is nature’s equivalent to an energy drink – but since it comes straight from nature (not a lab or production plant), it’s much better!”
The above is why energy bits are not a supplement! Supplements are relatively new in our world and are typically processed heavily in a lab to give high concentration of a particular nutrient or compound. Spirulina on the other hand has been on this earth billions of years, naturally occurs, and contains a great amount of many nutrients naturally. In terms of the benefits of this naturally occurring algae, we will start with its nutrient content:
There is a long list of nutrients found in spirulina/energy bits and I will let you read that on their website. I will point out those that I think are most beneficial though! Iron is the most common nutrient deficiency that occurs in the US, and especially impacts women of childbearing age, kids, and most of all: ATHLETES! To get a boost of iron in just 30 calories that also provide you with an energetic feeling is great for an active person. Many athletes go through their days of training without ever realizing their fatigue-like symptoms are due to low iron stores in the body. Without enough iron, oxygen is not transported properly, therefore impacting oxygen use by muscles, and metabolism. Athletes who are familiar with how VO2 max, or maximal oxygen consumption, impacts performance, should definitely care about iron stores in the body! Another great benefit of spirulina is that its a vegan source of B12, which if you are vegan, you know is very hard to come by. B12 is essential for blood health, brain function and energy metabolism too. The next nutrient many Americans lack that you hear a lot about is omega 3’s. Spirulina contains a fatty compound, GLA, that is converted into omega-3 compounds in the body so you can better manage inflammation, immune health, joint health, and heart health. Finally, I want to point out the natural source of nitrates! Nitric oxide is huge in sports nutrition research right now, and while some research has shown negative health effects from supplements, natural nitrate sources show promise for increase oxygen delivery to muscles and therefore better endurance and recovery. Beet root juice, a food high in nitrates, is getting the most press and use for recovery after exercise right now, and spinach is another great source. I really believe a big part of the increased energy and endurance I feel from energy bits is due to the natural nitrates spirulina provides. While bits provide 5 grams of protein in those 30 calories, it isn’t a ton. However, at the SCAN Symposium Conference I attended in June, even speakers were mentioning that spirulina is something to watch out for as a newly promoted plant based protein source in supplements due to its amino acid content.
I tried bits for a natural energy boost and they delivered there. If taken a half hour before exercise, you never feel a jolt of energy as you would with coffee (and as I would expect with an energy drink though I have never tried and will never try one) and you never feel a crash. What you will notice is that you don’t lose steam as quickly in an endurance workout and you may have some fuel for a little higher of an intensity too.
I signed on as an Energy Bits ambassador back in April after trying the product and being very satisfied with its impact on my training as well as my allergies and asthma. I’ll admit at first, with the couple of samples I got, I wondered if the better endurance during my workouts was just a placebo effect. After talking to a couple of other RD’s who support bits, I decided to listen to my gut and invest in using bits regularly! I quickly found a huge impact on my allergies and asthma, which have impacted my life and exercise every since I was 3 years old. I have found things that trigger my allergies and asthma more than my typically allergens, such as sugar and dairy but have eliminated them from my diet other than a rare occasion in terms of the sugar. Without even realizing it one day, I went out for a long bike ride without taking my inhaler. Normally, I would make it out 5 minutes and be wheezing, need to turn back, and then have symptoms the rest of the day. I was half way through an hour long ride when I noticed I hadn’t taken it and was feeling great. The only difference was that I had energy bits a half hour before. I thought it might be an anomaly. I checked the energy bits facebook page where other ambassadors can communicate and bounce ideas off of one another. Others had already mentioned its benefits for allergies and when I posted about my asthma benefits a few others said they had the same reaction. Have I used my inhaler since? Yes, especially when I run races just in case, but I have noticed a great improvement in my asthma symptoms! To me this is definitely worth the money I spend on energy bits, especially since so many essential nutrients come along with the spirulina.
I hope you’ll join me over on Twitter tonight at 8 PM (Tues Oct, 28, 2014) for the Real Fuel for Athletes chat! I am going to be sharing my favorite real food fuel and recovery foods and would love to hear what yours are too! If you’d like to purchase energy bits, recovery bits, or vitality bits, you can receive 20% off with my discount code: EATREALFUEL .