Monday, May 14, 2012

Safe and Effective Supplements for Athletes

Make the most of your workout by fueling up on the nutrients and minerals that are optimal for active bodies.

young woman running outside
Supplements can keep athletes going strong.

Due to the extra stress placed on your body as an athlete, you need to make sure you are adequately supplementing with a few key nutrients. To optimize your performance, focus on the following supplements for an active body:

Protein and Amino Acids

Athletes know that amino acids are the building blocks of protein and therefore, muscle. Exercise is a constant source of muscle breakdown and regeneration, so it makes sense that protein needs to be in adequate supply to get stronger. The best sources of protein are easily absorbed and consumed post-workout. Consider snacking on leftover salmon, chicken breast or low-fat Greek yogurt. Protein powders are also a quick way to get in a healthy serving of protein, as long as they aren’t your only source of nutrition. Consider trying alternates to whey protein, such as hemp, pea, rice or soy proteins 

Electrolytes

Electrolytes are minerals that are essential for muscle contraction, heart rate, fluid regulation and general nerve function. Calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium and sodium are the chief electrolyte minerals that are lost through sweating. In addition, calcium builds, strengthens and repairs bones. One way to get supplemental electrolytes is by adding an Emergen-C packet or other powdered electrolyte solution to your water bottle. Coconut water is another healthy, low-sugar option that supplies extra sodium and potassium while helping to rehydrate.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants help to rid the body of free radicals that are produced when we exercise. Vitamins C and E and the two most well-known antioxidants and are easily supplemented through the diet with adequate fruit and vegetable intake. 

Iron

Iron carries oxygen in the blood to every cell in our body. Low iron levels in athletes can lead to early muscle fatigue and prolonged recovery. Iron-rich foods are the best way to supplement, although some athletes — especially women — rely on highly absorbable iron supplements to maintain adequate iron levels. Heme iron (from animal products) is the easiest form of iron for our bodies to assimilate. Consider cooking in a cast-iron skillet for another source of accessible iron.     

B Vitamins

Thiamin, riboflavin and niacin (B vitamins) are all important cofactors for our bodies to make energy. Athletes tend to burn through their B vitamins at a higher rate than the average person, so keeping a B complex supplement around the house is a good idea. 
 
Of course, supplements aren’t going to do any good without taking care of the whole person. Adequate nutrition, sleep, stress management and exercise all help to support the body’s foundation while working to build a stronger, faster and more athletic self.   
 
— Jocelyn Cooper, ND, naturopathic physician and resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, the teaching clinic of Bastyr University.

Subscribe to Newsletters

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

More Health Tips

It's important to be mindful about how we use technology. Here are some tips for a healthful relationship with digital technology.

Here are some ways to eat an inexpensive and well-balanced diet consisting of many nutritious whole foods.

Here's how to create a healthy posture to improve your health.

The main benefit of the Paleo diet is that it promotes eating whole, nutritious foods while avoiding refined, processed foods.

While tax season can be daunting and stressful, these are simple, easy ways to help lighten the load.

Behind the calm exterior of a doula is a person who is constantly thinking, strategizing and endeavoring to create an environment to support a pregnant, birthing or postpartum family.

Events

Apr 26 Continuing Ed

Fine tune your skills diagnosing and treating trauma with Chinese medicine. We will discuss the heart/kidney axis as the physiological foundation of stability and how to restore integrity to this most important relationship.
April 26-27, Sat-Sun, 9a.m.-5p.m.
Instructor: Lonny Jarrett, MAc, MS, FNAAOM.
(13 CEUs, PDAs, CPEUs)

Apr 26

The gluten-free diet (GFD) is now a multi-billion dollar industry gaining in popularity with the general public. Gluten sensitivity is a controversial subject, where patients who have neither celiac disease (CD) nor wheat allergy have varying degrees of symptomatic improvement on the GFD. Dive deeper into the world of gluten for your own health or the health of your patients.
April 26, Sat, 9a.m.-5p.m.
Instructor: Tom O’Bryan, DC, CCN, DACB.
(6.5 CEUs, CMEs, CPEUs)

Apr 28 Continuing Ed

Zero Balancing (ZB) is an innovative, holistic and powerful manual therapy for integrating the body’s energy and structure. ZB mobilizes held energy at the bone layer thus releasing held tensions in the more superficial tissues and layers of the body/mind and throughout the entire system. Zero Balancing helps one feel stable, grounded, clear, connected, happy, relaxed, energized, youthful, and oneself at a deeper level.
April 28, Mon, 6:30-8:30p.m.
Instructor: Michael Oruch, MFA.
(FREE – Pre-registration required)

Recent News

Naturopathic doctors can become licensed health care providers as Maryland becomes the latest state recognizing naturopathic medicine.

David Tolmie, BS ('06), MLIS, combines psychology and technology skills to help students navigate the fast-changing world of evidence-informed medicine.

Coquina Deger, MBA, and David Siebert fill key roles as part of President’s Cabinet

Herbal sciences students cook up foods with love -- and health-giving herbs -- in a popular lab class.

The actor and author joins us for a Q-and-A before her May 22 talk at Bastyr's Spring for Health Luncheon.

Press

Bastyr University Nutrition Faculty Member Receives Prestigious State Honor

The public is invited to a free community event to explore Bastyr University’s teaching clinic

Teaching clinic earns second consecutive year of stellar results in regional patient satisfaction survey

In the Media

FOX Q13: Bastyr University's Ellie Freeman Discusses the FDA’s New Food Labels
Bothell-Kenmore Reporter: Bastyr Center for Natural Health Expands Integrative Oncology Services
Puget Sound Business Journal: Bastyr University's President Daniel Church to Retire