The intake of supplements for athletes has been a subject of great interest for athletes. Some of them associate supplements as magic pills that help you improve your performance, but this is not entirely true.
When you are an athlete, your body requires a physical condition in good condition, so deficiencies of vitamins and minerals will significantly influence your performance. Hence the importance of taking some supplements that allow you to stay healthy and strong while following a training plan.
What benefits does the use of supplements bring to athletes?
Athletes need more vitamins and minerals than a person who does not practice sports, due to the amount of energy they expend in their workouts.
Among the benefits of consuming vitamins and minerals we have:
- A better post-exercise recovery.
- A better rest at night.
- Reinforcement of the immune system.
5 essential health supplements for athletes
Almost every cell in our body has a vitamin D receptor. The vitamin D is responsible for absorbing the calcium in our body. Calcium is essential for effective communication between brain cells and also for the development and strengthening of our bones and teeth.
The low levels of vitamin D in our body can generate:
- An increased risk of suffering from cancer.
- Lower immunity levels.
- Increase the cases of some type of inflammation.
- High blood pressure.
- Loss of muscle mass and strength.
Vitamin D also plays an important role in the production of testosterone . It is estimated that 30 to 80% of the population of the United States suffers from vitamin D deficiency .
Athletes are vulnerable to suffering from vitamin D deficiency . Therefore, it is recommended to ingest this supplement.
1.1 How much Vitamin D should I take?
You can take a dose of 1,000 IU per day. Up to 2,000 IU per day is considered safe. Some people prescribe up to 10,000 IU a day, but be careful because high levels of vitamin D can be toxic. However, it is important that you consult a doctor to indicate the ideal dose for you.
Taking antioxidants helps our body rid itself of free radicals. Free radicals are formed through natural physiological processes, but can be influenced by:
- The diets
- The tobacco
- The alcohol.
- The exercise.
- The inflammation.
- The drugs.
- Exposure to sunlight.
- The air pollutants.
Free radicals also occur every time we breathe. While many types of free radicals can be formed, the most common are aerobic (oxygen breathing) known as oxygen free radicals (ROS).
2.1 Consequences of the increase of oxidants
When you exercise, the oxygen consumption increases. This leads to an increase in the production of oxidants and which contributes to:
- Muscle fatigue during and after exercise.
- Muscle inflammation after exercise, especially in the 24 hours after the exercise session.
2.2 Benefits of antioxidants
Antioxidants can help your body cope with oxidative stress and reduce the number of free radicals. In addition to helping your health in general and also improve your recovery after exercise.
2.3 Types of antioxidants
There are different substances that are classified as antioxidants such as:
- Vitamin C.
- Vitamin E.
- Q10 coenzyme.
Another important source of antioxidants are foods such as:
- Organic fresh vegetables (carrot, spinach, pumpkin).
- Fruits (such as guava, kiwi, mango, pineapple, melon, strawberries among others).
- Organic green tea.
In order for your stomach to function properly you need to have healthy bacteria. The probiotics help move food through your body, besides having the following features:
- Avoid irritable bowel syndrome.
- Decrease intestinal inflammation.
- Decrease infectious diarrhea, and those with antibiotics.
- Prevent allergies and colds
- Improve the health of your skin
- Improve your vaginal and urinary health.
- Synthesize the B vitamins.
- Improve the absorption of calcium.
- Maintain the balance of the intestinal microflora.
- Probiotics help improve your digestive system
What probiotics should I take?
To ingest probiotics, make sure they contain effective bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus (DDS-1). It also pays attention to the availability and the time of conservation. Probiotics die and the supplement will be less effective.
There are probiotics that occur naturally in certain foods such as kefir , kimchi , yogurt, sauerkraut , soft cheese, and sour gherkins.
Our body requires essential fats to survive. Each cell, tissue, gland, and organs, depend on the presence of essential fatty acids. Therefore, we must consume them.
There are different types of fats, but there are only two types of essential fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6, both of which are unsaturated fats.
The other fats, such as omega-9 (monounsaturated), omega-7 fatty acids, and saturated fat, are not essential because the body and can produce them from sugars and starch.
4.1 Benefits of omega-3
- Improves brain health
- Reduces triglycerides in the blood.
- Improve your immune system.
- Reduces the risk of chronic diseases.
- Accelerates recovery, and the influence of all types of hormonal activity.
- It helps in the reduction of body fat and the reconstitution of muscles.
4.2 Types of Omega-3
There are three types of omega-3 known as:
- Alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which can be found in nuts, oils from some plants and seeds such as walnuts.
- Hexaenoic acid docosa (DHA) and
- The eicosa pentaenoic acid (EPA), which is found in high concentrations in fish, crustaceans and less in the yolk of eggs.
Magnesium produces more than 300 reactions within our body. It is necessary to synthesize proteins, DNA and RNA, so it plays an important role in our metabolism. The cells use magnesium for the transport of calcium and potassium ions through the cell walls.
The maintenance of magnesium levels in our body is important for processes such as:
- Nervous function
- Muscle contraction
- The healthy bones.
- The coping of stress.
5.1 Sources of magnesium
Vegetables, nuts, seeds, bananas, fish, dark chocolate, and avocados are excellent food sources of magnesium.
Many athletes are magnesium deficient, so it is recommended that they choose supplements of magnesium or chelated magnesium citrate , as they are more bio-available. In contrast, you should avoid consuming magnesium oxide , as it is not well absorbed.
The mentioned supplements are important sources to strengthen your immune system and strengthen your health. The consumption of them will not improve or increase your level of performance in your training, but they will play a key role in your sporting ability, since they will allow you to:
- Decrease fatigue
- Promote recovery between training sessions.
- You maximize the energy reserves.
- Improve your health in general.