Peak Performance: 8 Natural Nutritional Supplements

3. 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. This is best taken post-workout on an empty stomach. Sedentary individuals need 600 mg a day and larger athletes in heavy training mode could do up to 2,000 mg a day.

4. Vitamin D works with calcium to improve bone density, helps reduce inflammation, risk of colon and breast cancer, improves mood and upper respiratory health by aiding the fight against infections from viruses and other pathogens, and allows the brain to release melatonin so we can fall asleep easier. Vitamin D is most effective when taken at night, about an hour before bedtime.

5. Protein, if taken within 10 minutes of training, will reduce the amount of stress hormones (mainly cortisol) released. 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. The right amount of protein provides energy, repairs tissues and reduces muscle soreness. Protein should be eaten – from primarily animal sources – throughout the day and most certainly within 10 minutes of training. Whey protein is a highly marketed protein and is fairly inexpensive so it is frequently used by athletes.

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