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Supplements for Endurance Athletes

Supplements for Endurance Athletes
Every specialized athlete has different needs when it comes to not only their workout regimen, but their nutrition needs as well, and not just regarding their diet. To compete at the top of their game, many competitors must look to specialized or enriched foods, as well as vitamins, supplements, pre-workouts, and special protein powder. 

Using pre-workout supplements can provide an athlete with vigor, enhanced energy, a better mindset for the workout ahead, as well as energy and focus. Not only that, but some workouts even come with a build in fat burning supplement. Caffeine is also great before endurance sports as it promotes muscle contraction and aerobic endurance, improves focus, boosts muscle strength, intensity and fat loss during workouts, working especially well with green tea extract which boosts metabolism and promotes fat loss. Whilst most pre-workouts are based on stimulants a number utilize research-proven ergogenics to increase performance

Beta alanine is an amino acid which increases carnosine in the muscles which is needed to regulate Ph as too much acid results in muscle fatigue. Research shows that it reduces fatigue thereby improving performance, endurance and strength as well as improving aerobic activity and lean body mass. Studies have shown that beta-alanine supplements increase muscle carnosine concentrations by 58% in four weeks and 80% in 10 weeks.

L-Glutamine accounts for more than 60% of the free amino acid pool however, there is evidence that our body cannot produce enough glutamine during times of stress, as occurs during intense exercise. Endurance athletes can often suffer low glutamine levels results in muscle breakdown, diminished immune function and reduced performance. Supplementing glutamine can decrease protein degradation, exercise induced muscle damage and improve performance in endurance sports. It is recommended that endurance athletes supplement 6-8grams of glutamine pre-training, 0.5grams an hour during training and another dose post-workout to aid recovery. 

 Long distance runners and other endurance athletes have been known to experience mild iron deficiency or even iron deficiency anemia, which impacts performance. Working out for six hours or more a week can lead to an iron deficiency in the blood, so taking supplements or eating iron enriched food is a must for endurance athletes. 

Cordyceps are a type of fungus, and are considered to be a medicinally beneficial species of mushroom. Fascinatingly, this class of fungus only grows in certain mountainous regions, and generally grows on certain types of bugs, including caterpillars. What is actually a parasite for these mountain-dwelling critters can be quite beneficial to humans, in a variety of ways. And while cordyceps have been used for generations in certain traditional medicines, they are just starting to gain popularity in the general public and in Western medicine, largely in thanks to their beneficial anti-aging and performance-boosting characteristics.

Energy gels are popular fitness products that allow for a quick burst of nutrition mid-workout. They are packaged in small packs that are easy to squeeze into your mouth, making it possible to use them during exercise  whatever exercise that may be. Typically, they contain a blend of carbohydrates, amino acids and other helpful nutrients that help you keep pushing toward your goals. Some gels also contain caffeine. Energy gels are effective stamina boost supplements to use during your workouts.

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

5 min read