No one understands “you are what you eat” better than the athlete. An athlete, who treats their body like the fine machine it is, knows what it looks like to fuel the body with Really Healthy Foods and essential nutrients that will keep it running longer, stronger, and faster than its opponents.
Because of this need for powerful fuel, nutritional supplements are a hotly debated topic in the sports community. Journal of Sports Science researchers estimate that many athletes use nutritional supplements during training and competition, with numbers rising as high as 85 per cent among track and field athletes.1 Researchers consider some vitamin and mineral supplements helpful to enhance performance, especially during high-intensity exercise. But with a quick Google search, you’ll quickly see where the problem lies. There are far too many sports supplements to choose from.
As an athlete, the only way to separate the good from the bad, and the effective from the ineffective, is to do your homework. The best sports nutrition supplements contain critical “fuelling” nutrients backed by extensive research.
9 ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS TO IMPROVE SPORTS PERFORMANCE
For more than a decade, the five-carbon sugar D-Ribose has remained one of the most popular sports and exercise recovery nutrients. Considered the cornerstone of cellular regeneration, D-Ribose encourages post-workout recovery by supporting ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production in the heart and muscles, vital for cellular energy and survival. Taylor & Francis researchers consider the naturally occurring sugar a helpful performance supplement for both humans and racehorses because of its critical role in cellular biogenetics.2 Because of this, D-Ribose can be used to improve heart health through cardiac rejuvenation and to replenish tired muscles after a workout, increasing the ATP “energy bank” by up to four times.3
2. Krill Oil
Krill is considered by many athletes to be a near-miraculous oil because of its ability to calm inflammation and aid in exercise recovery, with a generous balance of omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. Rich in healthy fats, krill oil is the anti-inflammatory immune-booster every competitor needs after rigorous exercise. Krill oil can help to maintain joint health and ease post-exercise pain and inflammation. Scottish researchers also discovered that taking krill oil for six weeks noticeably helped to boost immune activity after a tough workout.4
L-Arginine is the semi-essential protein amino acid that most competitive athletes are missing. To improve both endurance and performance, L-Arginine is the “missing link” that works as a precursor to nitric oxide, creatine, polyamines, L-glutamine, L-proline, agmatine, and the arginine-containing tetrapeptide tuftsin. After performing an exercise test on healthy men, UK researchers saw L-Arginine in action – the men who took an L-Arginine supplement exercised more efficiently with less oxygen required to expend the same amount of energy.5
Magnesium is one essential pro-exercise trace mineral that can be applied directly topical magnesium with the protective sulphur compound MSM makes the delivery even more powerful and more beneficial to the body. Magnesium is a critical mineral that is easily depleted from the body, and active women may be at the highest risk for magnesium deficiency, making the body work harder than it has to. Low magnesium levels can cause muscles to tire more quickly during exercise.6
5. Oxygen-Enhancing Enzymes
Powerful sublingual oxygen-enhancing liquid enzymes, extracted from deep water seaweed, can help to improve the body’s ability to absorb oxygen. Taken before heavy exertion, these natural oxygen-enhancing compounds can support respiratory function and lung health by escorting more oxygen into the bloodstream with each breath. As University of Cambridge researchers have demonstrated with ever-popular nitrate sports supplements, improving oxygen efficiency in the body can increase athletic endurance.7
6. Protease Enzyme
Protease is considered one of the most important enzymes available to the body because of how it helps to break down food. Protease is primarily responsible for digesting protein in food, one of the hardest substances for the body to metabolise. Protease also supports general healing and recovery for the athlete by dissolving fibrin and giving the immune system a much-needed boost. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise researchers confirm that a protease supplement can help to buffer muscle strength losses after eccentric exercise by regulating inflammation.8
A renowned enzyme derived from the intestine of the silkworm and used to alleviate pain, chronic inflammation, and clogged arteries, Serrapeptase is an “All- Star” supplement for the hard-working athlete. Serrapeptase is unique because it cleans and clears the body of unwanted, non-living tissue. Taken at high doses, Serrapeptase can stimulate the natural healing process, flush waste and toxins, and minimise harmful levels of inflammation after exercise.9,10
8. Soil-Based Probiotic
What does the gut have to do with exercise performance? In a word: everything. A healthy gut can influence the health of all other systems in the body, making them run more smoothly. Since hard training puts a significant strain on the immune system and the body’s repair processes, a daily probiotic is needed to restore immune function and make the body less vulnerable to illness. For optimal performance, probiotics can be used to repopulate the gut with good bacteria and regulate immune function after high-intensity exercise.11
9. Vitamin D3
The sunshine vitamin, or vitamin D3, is another primary immunity enhancer every athlete needs on their medicine shelf. Vitamin D3, commonly taken along with other super-nutrients like EpiCor, eXselen Selenium, Vitamin C, and OptiZinc, helps the body perform at its peak by strengthening its natural defence weakened by intense exercise. Edinburg researchers confirmed vitamin D3’s ability to enhance, in findings presented at the annual conference of the Society for Endocrinology: Taking a daily vitamin D supplement can improve exercise performance and reduce the risk of heart disease.12
TARGETED REPAIR AND RECOVERY
There’s one more tool that will make your performance package complete. While not technically a supplement, at-home electroacupressure puts convenient and effective recovery in your own hands. An at-home acupressure device, derived from the ancient acupuncture technique, can be used daily to stimulate the body’s self-healing system for the purpose of relaxation, repair, and rejuvenation. Acupuncture has long
been used as a surgery alternative to treat sports injury, and the American College of Sports Medicine suggests that the treatment could help to enhance performance in professional athletes.13
For the athlete, highly targeted nutrition is not just an option – it is a way of life. Without fuel in the tank, the engine doesn’t run. And with the wrong kind of fuel in the tank, the machine and all of its smoothly running components can be damaged. It is only with the right combination of nutrients, coupled with an anti-inflammatory diet, that an athlete can perform at their best.
5000mg D-Ribose per serving (x60) plus Magnesium & Malic Acid.
Concentrated Omega 3, 6 and 9, many times more powerful than fish oil. Now in vegetable licaps.
5000mg L-Arginine per serving (x30) plus L-Lysine and L-Citrulline. The best all-round amino acid supplement.
Ultra pure magnesium chloride is blended with MSM in this unique formula.
Contains Norwegian Seaweed Extract in liquid form.
Delivers 380,000HUT Protease enzyme per serving (x60).
The world’s strongest Serrapeptase delivering 250,000IU Serrapeptase per cap. For serious health support, available in x90 or x30 Trial Size and in Delayed Release cap, for optimum performance.
3rd generation combination of more than x29 friendly soil-based organisms with a humic/fulvic acid prebiotic. Does not require refrigeration, and safeguarded against light, heat and pressure.
Unique formula blending x10 important nutrients together in once capsule. Contains D3, Zinc, Vit C, Selenium & more.
Home acupressure kit that lets you become an expert at acupuncture but without the needles! Developed with a leading pain specialist and helps with over 160 conditions, all covered in the manual & instructional DVD.
1. J Sports Sci. 2007;25 Suppl 1:S103-13.
2. Stephen T. Sinatra, Corby Caiazzo. d-Ribose Supplementation in the Equine: Lack of Effect on Glycated Plasma Proteins Suggesting Safety in Humans. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2015; 34 (2): 108 DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2015.1022459.
3. Tullson PC, Terjung RL. Adenine nucleotide synthesis in exercising and endurance-trained skeletal muscle. Am.J Physiol. 1991 Aug;261(2 Pt 1):C342-7.
4. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 25;10(9):e0139174. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139174. eCollection 2015. 5. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2010 Nov;109(5):1394- 403. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00503.2010. Epub 2010 Aug 19.
6. USDA / Agricultural Research Service. “Lack Energy? Maybe It’s Your Magnesium Level.” ScienceDaily.
7. T. Ashmore, B. O. Fernandez, C. E. Evans, Y. Huang, C. Branco-Price, J. L. Griffin, R. S. Johnson, M. Feelisch, A. J. Murray. Suppression of erythropoiesis by dietary nitrate. The FASEB Journal, 2014; 29 (3): 1102 DOI: 10.1096/fj.14-263004.
8. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Oct;41(10):1908-14. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181a518f0.
9. Development of serratiopeptidase and metronidazole based alginate microspheres for wound healing. Artif Cells Blood Substit Immobil Biotechnol. 2011 Feb;39(1):44-50. doi: 10.3109/10731199.2010.494580. Epub 2010 Jun 17.
10. Effect of some clinically used proteolytic enzymes on inflammation in rats. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2008 Jan;70(1):114- 7. doi: 10.4103/0250- 474X.4034.
11. Exerc Immunol Rev. 2009;15:107-26.
12. “Vitamin D pill a day may improve exercise performance and lower risk of heart disease.” Society for Endocrinology.
13. Reaves, Whitfield. “Acupuncture and the Athlete.” ACSM.