Heaydon: Supplement use and dosing for elite athletes
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the number of supplements that can supposedly enhance your athletic performance? Among the many supplements available, vitamin D, omega-3’s, and creatine are some of the most promising for athletes seeking to improve their performance.
Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and bone health and plays a role in recovery time, muscle power and strength, injury prevention, and inflammation. Athletes who train indoors or have limited exposure to sunlight are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, making supplementation a useful option. Vitamin D supplementation is extremely individualized, meaning it is hard to have one dosing method that works for all athletes. A way to ensure an elite athlete has sufficient vitamin D levels is through getting blood work done because an individual’s vitamin D levels will differentiate the dosing.
Next, omega-3s contain anti-inflammatory properties, which aid in muscle recovery and inflammation reduction. Although there are several different omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the most prominent and most thoroughly researched in terms of human physiology and metabolism. Omega-3 fatty acids help by counteracting inflammation and reducing joint pain and tenderness associated with arthritis. They keep the lining of your arteries smooth and clear, which allows for the maximum amount of oxygen-rich blood to reach athletes’ working muscles.
Finally, creatine is a well-researched supplement that increases muscle mass, strength and power in elite athletes. It is particularly beneficial for high-intensity, short-duration activities like sprinting and weightlifting, which are both examples of anaerobic exercise. Creatine is extremely beneficial for the training period of an elite athlete instead of the actual moment of competition in a specific sport. The athlete’s training is where gains and progress are made by using creatine supplements to enhance performance.
Vitamin D, omega-3, and creatine supplementation are essential for elite athletes seeking to enhance their performance. Proper dosing, along with appropriate nutrition can help maximize performance while minimizing the risk of adverse effects.
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Phoebe Heaydon is a senior at Vail Mountain School.