If you’re gearing up for some serious sport, first learn about the do’s and don’ts of sports supplements!
During times of moderate to intense physical exertion, nutrients are lost. Read on to learn how to recover, replenish and reap the rewards.
When taking part in high impact exercise, there are a few areas to consider including bone and joint health, recovery, performance and fuelling the body with the right stuff.
Ensuring healthy vitamin D status is essential to sound bone and muscle health. So it is recommended that an individual ensure they are not deficient. Glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM are well known for the role they play in supporting the health of joint tissue, reducing local inflammation and swelling, and maintaining healthy movement. Prevention is always better than a cure, and high-impact sports can certainly increase your risk of joint injury. Sports supplements containing these ingredients can therefore be useful to prevent declines in joint health.
Furthermore, inflammation can interfere with training and lead to great amounts of discomfort. Ask your healthcare practitioner about natural anti-inflammatory supplements such as curcumin and high dose fish oil.
Every individual is different and may experience different symptoms after they exercise. The most common post-exercise concern is muscle soreness. This can be mitigated through the sufficient consumption of branched chain amino acid (BCAA)-rich whey protein and glutamine. These help to improve muscle recovery, reducing soreness. Ideally around 25g of protein every few hours following intense exercise is useful.
Natural anti-inflammatories such as fish oil and curcumin can also be beneficial to reduce the inflammatory pain felt in the body post exercise, while sour/tart cherry at high doses is also shown to assist in reducing the inflammation experienced by athletes which can interfere with performance in subsequent training sessions.
Magnesium is also a nutrient commonly depleted in athletes as they have increased demands, plus they tend to have much greater magnesium losses through sweat and urine (when compared to non-active individuals). Magnesium depletion can lead to symptoms such as muscle cramps and spasms, fatigue, mood changes and difficulty sleeping. Sports supplements providing 250-300mg of easily absorbed magnesium (e.g. an amino acid chelate form) are very useful. This can be taken daily to maintain optimal magnesium levels.
Enhancing sports performance
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a useful supplement for improving the production of energy in the body and can assist in improving athletic performance at the right doses. Ubiquinol – the active form of CoQ10 – is well absorbed and acts not only to support energy production but also is beneficial for heart health and for providing potent antioxidant protection.
Caffeine is also a great supplement for improving performance both in short-duration and high intensity exercise and in endurance events.
Protein: when, how much and what kind
Protein is essential for athletes, and is shown to be beneficial in supporting muscle recovery. Regular intakes of around 25g of protein every three hours appear to be beneficial for achieving good results. The process of muscle recovery continues for around 12 hours following training/sport, and that is why providing a regular supply of amino acids from protein to the muscles for this period seems to be useful.
Be sure to select only high-quality protein sources. If you are looking for a supplement, good quality whey is supported by research, whilst organic brown rice proteins can be useful for the vegan/dairy intolerant individuals. When looking at high protein foods, consider the quality and the additional nutritional value that it provides. Avoid too much over-cooked, over-processed meat products, and look more toward quality, micro-nutrient dense options like quality grass-fed meats (that aren’t charcoaled), oily fish, free-range eggs, poultry, legumes, raw nuts and whole grains.
Achieving good health with sports supplements
Ask your healthcare practitioner to recommend supplements which are free from any ingredients that may not be the best for promoting your health (e.g. artificial sweeteners, flavours, colours and added fructose). The best ingredients for our body tend to be those that are less processed or refined.
Consider specifically what your goals are, remembering that everybody is different. Good health starts with a great diet, whilst supplements can play a role in making up for gaps where intense training contributes to increased demands.
Remember that natural plants foods contain thousands of beneficial chemicals that can’t all be achieved through a supplement, and it is therefore important to be consuming these regularly through the diet. The fibre in these plants help to keep your intestines healthy, which in turn is good for your nutritional status (as you are then able to get the most out of your food), plus they can help to also improve immune function and reduce inflammation in the body. Eating lots of great oily fish, nuts and seeds, avocado and olive oil all also help to support your joints and heart. The body also cannot function efficiently without adequate water, so keeping hydrated is essential.
For athletes who place a significantly greater amount of pressure in their bodies, and as such have greater nutritional demands, supplements can represent a simple way of making up the difference to ensure these additional needs are met.
‘Ask a Naturopath’ or one of our Sports Specialists at Mr Vitamins about IsoWhey
Mr Vitamins Recommends:
IsoWhey Sports-Pre Work Out Fuel, High Protein High Carb, Lean WPI+, Electrolyte Formula
Speak to your healthcare practitioner for more information about supplementation. Make sure to always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare practitioner.