Along with an intense training and proper fueling, a diet rich in organic nutrients can help athletes avoid illness and injury and perform up to their peak come race day.
Here are a few natural supplements that athletes have used to help with training and race day performance.
Multi-vitamin/mineral supplements are typically recommended as “insurance” against dietary gaps in the provision of essential nutrients. Believe it or not, your diet may not provide you with all the vitamins and minerals you need to help with the bodily processes including helping covert food into energy. Minerals are dissolved in liquid and quickly excreted from the body during intense exercise.
Vitamins and minerals (such as vitamins D3, E, and B6) are critical for bodily functions, and without replacement, an athlete's body can break down. For example, vitamin B-12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. B-12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak.
Liquid forms of both multi-vitamins and minerals will absorb into the stomach and bloodstream faster and more effectively. Also, certain enzymes help your body absorb vitamins and minerals.
Omega-3 essential fat deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies. Only a handful of foods—some types of fish, flaxseeds, walnuts—contain omega-3’s in significant amounts. Consequently, even many healthy eaters don’t get enough of them. Adequate omega-3 intake is needed for healthy cell walls, nervous system function, immune function, and more.
If you regularly eat the few foods that contain large amounts of omega-3’s, you don’t need to take a fish oil supplement. Otherwise, you should. In any case, it can do no harm.
According to a 2000 article by Robert W. Wolfe published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," active individuals, including triathletes, may consume protein and amino acid supplements to promote muscle strength and function.
Wolfe states that the stimulatory effect of amino acids on muscle protein synthesis is greater immediately after exercise than amino acids consumed while at rest, which suggests that the timing of protein supplementation is equally important as the quality of the protein consumed. Amino supplements such as L-glutamine (the largest amino found in the human body) and Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) have been found to help promote protein synthesis.
Our body and brain depends on proper hydration to function optimally. Brain cells require a delicate balance between water and various minerals to operate, and when you lose too much water, that balance is disrupted and your brain cells lose efficiency. Your body can't perform at it's optimal level if the brain isn't functioning properly.
A Specialist in Performance Nutrition, Nina Anderson, recommends using an electrolyte replacement product that replenishes sodium, potassium and trace minerals like Boron, Selenium, and Manganese; that are vital for your brain to function properly.
To get the most from your training be sure you replace the nutrients and minerals that are lost during training. Proper recovery is crucial to improving performance.