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What Supplements Best Boost Sports Performance?

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Q: What Supplements Best Boost Sports Performance?

A: Take your game to the next level by with these top supplements:

Creatine monohydrate: Creatine is used in muscle tissue for the production of phosphocreatine, a factor in the formation of ATP, the source of energy for muscle contraction and many other functions in the body. Many double-blind studies have found creatine supplementation—typically 136 mg per pound of body weight per day or 15 to 25 grams per day for five or six days—improves performance of either single or repetitive bouts of short-duration, high-intensity exercise lasting under 30 seconds each. This might include weightlifting; sprinting by runners, cyclists, or swimmers; and other athletic training regimens for speed and power.

Multivitamin-mineral supplements: Many athletes do not eat an optimal diet, especially when they are trying to control their weight while training strenuously. These athletes may experience micronutrient deficiencies that, even if marginal, could affect performance or cause health problems. Athletes who receive recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals from their diet do not appear to benefit from additional multivitamin-mineral supplements with increased performance.

Antioxidants: Most research has demonstrated that strenuous exercise increases production of harmful free radicals, which can damage muscle tissue and result in inflammation and muscle soreness. Exercising in cities or smoggy areas also increases free-radical exposure. Antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin E, neutralize free radicals before they can damage the body, so antioxidants may aid in exercise recovery. Regular exercise increases the efficiency of the antioxidant defense system, potentially reducing the amount of supplemental antioxidants that might otherwise be needed for protection.

400 mg of vitamin C taken daily for several days before and after intense exercise may reduce pain and speed muscle recovery; 100 to 200 mg daily may be taken to correct deficiency. 400 IU of vitamin E per day may improve recovery after intense exercise at high altitudes.

Theoretically, supplements of antioxidant vitamins may be beneficial for older or untrained people or athletes who are undertaking an especially vigorous training protocol or athletic event.

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