Essential Nutritional Supplements in Sport
Sports success primarily depends with athlete’s morphological, physiological and psychological traits that are specific to performance characteristics. For genetically-endowed athletes to succeed in sport, they have to receive optimal training so as to enhance their mental strength, increase physical power and gain a mechanical advantage. However, most of the athletes go beyond normal training and use sport supplements which are also referred to as ergogenics aids with the aim of gaining competitive advantages.
Many fitness enthusiasts and competitive athletes usually wonder if using sport supplements can provide quick and efficient results without much hard work. But the most important question to ask is whether the sport supplements really work and whether they are safe.
Sport supplements are added to the diet with the aim of increasing athletic performance and may include amino acids, extracts, herbs, vitamins and minerals. Most of these products are usually available in the market and they do not require any prescription. Some of these sport supplements include;
The B-vitamins supplements (vitamin B-6, B-12, riboflavin, thiamine and folate) act as body metabolic regulators. This is important in altering the physiological processes important in sports performance. This is by increasing the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates thus providing sufficient energy needed during exercises. Several of the B vitamins also play part in the synthesis of hemoglobin in red blood cells. This increases oxygen delivery to muscle tissues during exercises.
Although creatinine is produced naturally by the body in liver and kidney, supplementation is important to athletes. Individuals usually take creatinine supplement to improve strength. According to research, creatinine is specifically essential to athletes performing high-intensity exercises which have short recovery intervals such as power lifting and sprinting.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C supplementation improves physical performance especially to individuals with vitamin C deficiency. It is a good antioxidant that prevents oxidative damages to body muscles. This prepares the body for physical exercises. The antioxidant property also prevents the incidences of exercise-induced muscle damages.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E supplement is important for oxygen utilization during training in high altitude. It has antioxidant properties that prevent oxidative damages to muscle tissues. This helps to maximize the training effect thus improving competitive sport performances.
5. Protein supplements
Supplements containing protein are important in increasing sport performance. This is because proteins are used in muscle development.
Multivitamins and mineral supplements are essential in providing the body with various vitamins and minerals. When used alongside proper diet, the supplements can increase aerobic endurance and keep the body strong and healthy thus improving sport performances. Minerals such as calcium are necessary for strenuous exercises as they increase the strength of the bones while iron is essential in facilitating the production of hemoglobin thus increasing oxygen delivery to tissues.
Considering the importance of the above 6 nutritional supplements in sport, it is important to use them alongside proper diet while following proper training program. Additionally, consult your health care provider before using any sport supplement. This is because some of these supplements contain fillers, impurities and additive chemicals that may alter your body general health thus decreasing your sport performance. Remember to eat healthy, avoid harmful substances such as drugs and train harder and smarter.
photo credit: Tim Hipps, FMWRC Public Affairs