Keeping healthy as you exercise is paramount for the success of any training athlete. We don’t always have time to eat a balanced diet, what with work-life/social-life being so hectic, and that’s where supplements come in. Supplements are not for everybody however, and you should consult your doctor before starting on anything new.
So far, these are some supplements that work for me, from time to time, when I feel my energy levels dip.
Here are 5 effective Supplements for the Urban Athlete..
Iron is essential especially for the exercising female. I don’t need to tell you about the time of month which we hate. Severe iron depletion resulting in overt iron-deficiency anemia clearly depresses endurance fitness. Iron (Fe) is the fourth most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust, yet iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world; 2 billion people, more than 30 percent of the world’s population, suffer from anemia, many as a result of iron deficiency. Iron is well known for its role in the body’s use of energy; it is required for oxygen transport and is an essential component of hundreds of enzymes, many of which are involved in energy metabolism. In addition, iron plays a role in brain development and in the immune system.Iron’s ability to carry oxygen is crucial. As a component of two heme proteins – hemoglobin and myoglobin, iron transports oxygen in the body.
The question is an important one for athletes, particularly females, who are particularly prone to iron deficiency. The RDA for iron is 18 milligrams per day for women of childbearing age.
2. Coenzyme Q-10
CoQ10 is a cofactor, used in the production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. ATP is basically the chemical form of energy stored in your cells. The more efficiently you use this ATP, the better an athlete you will be. CoQ-10 is thought to improve endurance by reducing fatigue and improving exercise tolerance. Basically you can go harder, for longer without tiring, but the dosage and your body’s response varies from individual to individual. Standard dosage is 30 – 90mg per day.
Mg is key for muscles and muscle recovery. It is involved with more than 300 enzyme systems in the body. Mg is essential for muscle oxygen uptake, energy production and electrolyte balance. There is evidence that it can assist in increasing muscle strength. Adequate magnesium levels will also decrease muscle cramping. Strenuous exercise may increase magnesium requirements by up to 20 percent, so consider these supplements if you are working out intensely. The RDA for magnesium in adults aged 19 to 30 years is 400mg per day for men and 310mg per day for women.
If you’re exercising hard, but frequently falling sick or always catching a cold, consider adding Zn to your diet. Zn is an essential trace mineral and is the second most abundant trace element in the body. It is a cofactor in many biological processes including DNA and protein synthesis. Increased protein synthesis leads to increased muscle strength. Zinc is a great antioxidant and plays a role in immune function and wound healing. Even a mild zinc deficiency will lead to decreased immunity. The RDA for adult males is 11 milligrams per day, and for females it is 8 milligrams per day.
Selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E and Pycnogenol
All these aid in recovery and improving the immune system in hardcore athletes.
Pycnogenol contains several active flavonoids and phenol compounds with antioxidant activity. Some clinical research shows that taking pycnogenol significantly improves exercise capacity.