Diet, Supplementation and Trumpet Playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Mamba21500, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. Mamba21500

    Mamba21500 Piano User

    Feb 26, 2009
    For competitive sportspeople, a huge factor in their success is their diet and the supplements they use to maintain their health, shorten recovery times and improve performance. As trumpet playing is a very physical activity, surely the same principles of recovery and performance enhancement apply to it (certainly increasing focus and decreasing recovery times).

    Have any studies been done on this, or can anybody in the medical profession give their views on this?

    (I'm certain that some people will see this as an attempt to find a shortcut, but all it can achieve is better concentration and allow more hard work)
  2. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    Theoretically, yes. But, don't call me Shirley.

    If you're healthier, you will probably play better, for a longer time, and recover more quickly. IMO, nutritional supplements are a good idea for anyone. Trumpeting is a highly physical activity, so why not?

    kingtrumpet likes this.
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I spoke about this with a Doctor in Germany. Her argument was that our bodies can synthesize much of what we need, and used the Eskimo diet of whale blubber as an example. Me? I don't have a trumpet oriented diet except for eating a banana just before a gig. The sugar gets used just about the time the carbohydrates kick in.
  4. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    I do not agree that nutritional supplements are useful, or even wise, unless you have been told by a medical doctor that you need them to correct a deficiency, or in response to a specific health issue. In fact, there seem to be reports from time to time that indicate that long term use of some kinds of supplements may actually be harmful. An example is a recent study on the possible negative consequences from long term use of omega 3 fish oil in men in terms of possible connection to increased risk of prostate cancer.

    I do not see the correlation between trumpet playing and highly competitive sports. Highly competitive sports are MUCH more demanding physically, and might tend to deplete the body of essential nutrients in a way that would not happen with normal trumpet playing.

    Proper nutrition has been reported to be the best way to be sure a person's nutritional needs are met. Then, lessons and practice leads to the best possibility for optimum trumpet playing.
  5. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Pretty well agree with this, but I'd make one particular exception...vitamin C

    Quite often I find it difficult to get hold of food I find palatable and might go a month or so on a fairly restricted diet (beer and curry). Plus there's the usual tropical inconveniences of parasites, cholera etc chipping away at the defences.

    I generally get away with it, but the one thing I do have to look out for diet-wise is that I'm getting enough fresh fruit. It's important all round, but particularly for us, it's role in keeping the chops healthy is not to be underestimated. Scurvy is not good for the embouchure!

    Fortunately, I can always get hold of locally grown pineapples, oranges and limes (of course!). Just have to remember to eat them.
  6. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    A potential problem with eating a lot of fruit is that you're eating a lot of sugar. You can get all of the same vitamins from your various less-sweet vegetables. In Nigeria, though, I expect you get whatever you can find!

    As for supplementation, Vitamin D3 is useful up here in the frozen north because it's dark in the winter.

  7. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    I agree. Several recent studies suggest that this is true. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests vitamin/nutritional supplementation is of little benefit unless there is a specific deficiency.

    I agree about overall health. From a metabolic standpoint, playing the trumpet is roughly equivalent to moderate activity. This is equivalent to walking around 3 miles/hour or bicycling around 10 miles/hour. And from a physical standpoint, playing the trumpet is equivalent to moderate resistance training, such as using free weights in the 10-to-20 pound range. (YMMV, of course.)

    I agree. Overall general health, cleanliness, and fitness make sense. But I don't see any significant correlation beyond this.

  8. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    A very good point, but since I take my tea black and unsweetened, and don't eat fast food, cake and sweets, it's pretty well the only sugar I do get.
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    A colleague from a neighboring village when I lived in Germany got a position in the Bamburg Symphonie , and he reported they take good 'ol Bayer aspirin and drink beer after a bunch of hard blowing. If the concert or rehearsal is lighter they just drink beer. So, alongside bananas, aspirin and beer.

    I've found the social aspects to drinking beer with a section (after the rehearsal or concert) incredibly fruitful. We'd catch up on each others news, and talk music--not just trumpet playing (although there were plenty of gear discussions) and build each other up by describing what we found great with someone else's playing. Besides, the place we went had a happy hour on Japanese food starting at 10pm!
  10. graysono

    graysono Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 22, 2007
    Hyde Park, Utah
    A contrary view, certainly one based on "whistling on the street corner to keep the elephants at bay", is as follows. I used to get cold sores and stressful conditions, such as an important solo or some such, seemed to correlate with their appearance. I started taking a daily lysine supplement (500 mg) and haven't had a cold sore since. Since, I'm an old dude I also find pre-medicating with Aleve prior to rigorous playing--right now I'm in the middle of a once-a-year, 3-4 hr show-and-dance thing for a week--keeps the swelling down and keeps my arthritis at bay while sitting on the stand for the duration.
    kingtrumpet likes this.

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