Whether you train regularly, play in local sports leagues or consider yourself a weekend athlete, you may have wondered if supplements could help improve your performance and your overall health. Dietary supplements are used by athletes of all levels and ages worldwide. In the United States, supplements typically contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and metabolites (extracts).
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How do dietary supplements work?
Vitamins act as metabolism regulators and influence several physical processes that are important for athletic performance. B vitamins, for example, are involved in the processing of fats and carbohydrates for energy, so that the optimal amount of these vitamins for the athlete is beneficial. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that help prevent oxidation damage to individual cells and even to sub-cellular components.
Vitamin deficiency can affect athletic performance. Low intake of B and C vitamins may affect performance over time. Fortunately, such serious defects are rare. However, many athletes take vitamin and mineral supplements along with a balanced diet to make sure they get all the nutrients they need.
Whey protein is an extremely efficient way to supplement an athlete’s protein intake. Compared to the general population, athletes (or those who work physically) cause more muscle breakdown and require more protein intake. For these groups, 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight is needed, for 155 kilos athletes this corresponds to 155 grams of protein. Without adequate supplementation of this nutrient, loss of muscle mass will occur and recovery as well as growth will be significantly delayed. Protein can be consumed from animal sources such as beef and chicken, but the body uses more energy to digest animal protein. The advantage of whey is its higher biological value (amount of protein used) and fast absorption rate.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Good fats or omega-3 fatty acids are of particular importance to all athletes, not just mixed martial artists. Constant punching, kicking and joint manipulation put a considerable burden on the body. Omega-3 fatty acids are ideal for athletes as they have strong anti-inflammatory properties that are ideal for relieving sore muscles and joint pain. Apart from its role as an anti-inflammatory, it is great for improving cognitive and brain function and is therefore a must for all athletes. Omega 3 can be consumed in capsule form or by liquids such as fish oil or flaxseed oil.
This naturally occurring compound is an effective supplement for the MMA athlete. Creatine is great for energy production throughout the muscle. When muscles are used for any explosive movement, a form of energy known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is consumed. This is reflected in the shape of the money and is quickly exhausted in explosive movements, such as for a take-down or a power punch. The more exhausted this ATP becomes; the more lactic acid builds up and causes a burning sensation in the muscle. Creatine is great as a buffer to slow down the build-up of lactic acid and increase energy production for the muscle.
This non-essential amino is widely known for its role in accelerating regeneration and muscle repair. It is comparatively the most abundant amino acid and accounts for 66% of the body’s total amino acid pool. The body has the ability to produce this amino acid to maintain normal body function, but it is greatly decimated in medium to high intensity exercise. Under this condition, the glutamine levels in the body are exhausted and thus lead to sore muscles. Proper supplementation of this amino acid will greatly accelerate muscle repair and regeneration while providing secondary benefits – regulation of immune function, building stronger bones, and supporting digestion.
For athletes to achieve peak performance and performance, it is important to provide the body with the right vitamins. There is a wide range of vitamins, such as calcium and magnesium, that creates bone formation. With proper supplementation, vitamins play an important role in other nutrients as they help the body maximize the formation of cellular energy.
Athletes benefit most from a healthy diet, but many take standard multivitamins to make sure they get the micronutrients they need. At these levels, supplements are safe and athletes should avoid taking megadoses of nutrients, as some surpluses can be harmful.
When taking high quality dietary supplements for athletes, whether gardeners or athletes, our bodies are much better, we need our extra food, apart from our daily meals.