The Gladiator’s Secret for Health and Recovery

Updated: October 17, 2017

Gladiators - Roman Collisseum

Thumbs up… Thumbs down…

For the gladiators in ancient Rome, the crowd decided their fate.

But, to prepare for battle, gladiators gave their own thumbs up to a special, secret potion.

What they needed was the Gladiator version of Gatorade! (Replenishes what the body needs after a tough workout and helps the recovery process!)

So, after a tough day in combat training, what did gladiators take to help their bones?

Well, it seems a big part of their drink was plant ashes – calcium – to promote bone healing!

The Recovery and Bone Building Drink of 150 AD

How did today’s scientists discover this centuries old health solution? They dug up some old bones near Rome – bones they knew were gladiators’ – and performed a few tests.  

The researchers used carbon and nitrogen isotopes. These told them what plant and animal based foods gladiators ate. (They also looked at the diets of some non-gladiators buried nearby.)

The basic diets of the two groups were similar, with some eating more veggies than meats.

But the gladiators had a little extra secret. It seems they consumed more calcium and strontium

So the scientists turned to a 2,000-year-old reference book for clues.

Pliny the Elder wrote in his 100 AD book “Naturalis Historia” that, “Your hearth should be your medicine chest. Drink lye made from its ashes, and you will be cured. One can see how gladiators after a combat are helped by drinking this.

It seems plant-ash is a great source of calcium, magnesium, copper and iron.

So, What’s The Bottom Line For You and Your Bones?

Well, you don’t have the same challenges the gladiators faced. But they never had to deal with the stress of today’s computer-driven, multi-tasking rat race.

And while no one suggests you burn up plants, mix them with water, and drink down the gladiator’s Gatorade, the lesson is clear: Your bones need more than just calcium.

They need vitamin K2 to deliver the calcium to your bones (not go and clog your heart or arteries.)

Your bones need vitamin D2 to get all that great calcium into your bones.

You need magnesium, boron, silica and 70 other trace minerals to build strong bones.

And your bones need strontium, one of the basic builders of bone density..

Good thing you can choose the Bone Builder Packs from AlgaeCal! You can read all about this great Bone Builder Pack when you click here

And I bet that, if they could, those gladiators would take AlgaeCal Plus and Strontium Boost! (I’m sure they go down better than plant ash!)

  1. Lösch S, Moghaddam N, Grossschmidt K, Risser DU, Kanz F (2014) Stable Isotope and Trace Element Studies on Gladiators and Contemporary Romans from Ephesus (Turkey, 2nd and 3rd Ct. AD) – Implications for Differences in Diet. PLoS ONE 9(10): e110489. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110489

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This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,