There is so much marketing and research out there on supplements – what to take, how much, who needs what – that it can be confusing to shift through and narrow down.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the past couple months doing research on the web, through interviews and even by using myself as a test subject to try to figure it all out. The information I’ve compiled below should help you get a better understanding what you should be taking that you aren’t, what you are taking that you might not need to be spending money on, and of the quality of the current supplements that you are taking, how you can improve your regimen, and correct dosing and timing for your athletic goals.
Step one is to make sure that whatever supplements you are purchasing are of the highest quality since you are going to be putting them into your body. There are literally hundreds of supplements out there for consumption and you could give a sound argument for the inclusion of many of them into your regimen. I have narrowed down the list for you here; the top 5 Supplements for Athletes. Start with these and only these to see how you feel. If something’s still missing, then consider adding supplements particular to your situation or case (secondary supplements).
Fish Oil are probably one of the most commonly used supplements on the market today and for good reason. When high quality fish oil is taken in large enough amounts, it provides the biggest bang for the buck as far as supplements are concerned. Most people know about the improved cardiovascular health and function, improved lipid profiles (lower triglycerides), improved brain function and mental acuity, and its powerful anti-inflammatory properties without harmful side effects like over the counter products.
B Vitamins are neurotransmitter co-factors, they help us to improve our mood and they also help us detoxify that we need right after exercise. The process of building and repairing muscle depletes B-Vitamins so if you’re lifting heavy or damaging your muscle tissue in your workouts or job, you need to take extra B-Vitamins to help the rebuilding (strengthening) process because you are burning through them at an alarming rate. Look for Riboflavin-5’-Phosphate (B-2), methylcobalamin (B-12), Pyridoxal-5’-Phosphate (B-6), and Benfotiamine (B-1) on the label as they are the absorb able forms your body can use. Avoid any of the B Vitamins in the hydrochloride (HCL) form as it is cheap and unabsorbable by your body.
Magnesium is probably one of the top three recommended supplements for athletes as it is an essential element in biological systems and most athletes are likely deficient. Magnesium is important to athletes because it regulates heart rhythm, allows muscles to contract and relax properly, reduces blood pressure, and is necessary to produce ATP (the main source of energy in our cells) which must be bound to a magnesium ion in order to be biologically active. Check your bottle to avoid Sudden Poop Onset (SPO) here: Supplements based on amino acid chelates, such as Mg glycinate and Mg malate are much better tolerated by the digestive system and much more absorbable by the body the other (cheap) forms of magnesium such as Mg oxide or Mg carbonate.
Protein if taken within 10 minutes of training, will reduce the amount of stress hormones released! This has a huge implication on belly fat (no pun intended). But don’t over do it – 20-30 grams per hour is the maximum a body can digest and you only need .8-1.4 grams of protein per 1 kg of lean mass each day. Too much protein leads to body acidity which leads to many other problems. Whey protein is a highly marketed protein and is fairly inexpensive so it is frequently used by athletes.
CoQ10 is an important antioxidant also known as ubiquinone ! CoQ10 is the only anti-oxidant found within cells and it allows the mitochondria to produce ATP. It also gets rid of lactic acid (and other waste). CoQ10 should be in the news more because of its important implications to the heart – which is high in CoQ10 to keep us ticking. A recommended dosage of CoQ10 is 100-200 mg a day and higher dosages can actually be used to treat diseases such as essential hypertension and certain heart arrhythmias.
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