Whether you are a serious athlete or more of a recreational weekend warrior, nutrition is a very important aspect of athletic performance. You can expect your engine to run well when you supply it with good fuel. This of course starts with a healthy diet. Without going into great detail about diet, I instruct my patients to follow five (5) easy rules that will guide them to a healthy diet.
- Eat mostly plants: Vegetables and some fruits should be the bulk of your diet
- Limit grains and sugars: If you are to eat grains, stick to whole grains and avoid simple carbohydrates, such as baked goods made with refined flour.
- Eat healthy fats: You need fat in your diet! Anything solid at room temperature, like butter or margarine, should be avoided. Healthy fats include olive oil, avocado oil, and fish oil. By the way, any fat found in a potato chip bag or deep fryer at a drive through, is not good.
- Eat Real Food: Stay away from anything packaged with chemicals you cannot pronounce. Eat Organic Foods.
- Eat healthy protein: Some protein, such as most red meat, comes along with unhealthy
saturated fats. Fish, poultry, lamb, and legumes are better sources of protein.
Ok, so you are eating a healthy diet. Is there anything else you can do to enhance your body’s performance? The answer is yes! There are several supplements that have been shown to enhance much needed energy production, support muscle function, and increase aerobic endurance.
If you have low testosterone levels, it becomes difficult to perform at your best. Testosterone has a strong influence on muscle development. Low testosterone levels have been associated with loss of muscle strength and endurance. By optimizing your testosterone levels, you can improve your strength, endurance, and ability to recover from physical activity. This will enhance your athletic performance. Of course, if you are a professional or seriously competitive athlete, testosterone replacement is not an option for you. However, if you are a recreational athlete who is trying to enjoy the best quality of life possible, then you should have your testosterone levels optimized. You never want to use testosterone to exceed normal human levels. It should be prescribed to address low testosterone levels so you could optimize your health.
This supplement is involved in the “rate limiting step” of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) production. Let me translate that to English. Our bodies convert sugar and fat into a chemical called ATP, which stores energy in its chemical bounds. When we need energy, our body breaks apart ATP to release the energy. ATP in every cell in our body through a series of reactions called the Kreb’s Cycle. One of these reactions is called the rate limiting step, because it is the slowest of all the reactions and can slow down the entire process of energy production. It’s like having a 4 lane highway with one little area of road construction that blocks 3 lanes. That would be the rate limiting process. If you finish construction, things would flow freely. If your body does not have enough D-ribose, the rate limiting step in the Kreb’s Cycle proceeds very slowly and inhibits your ability to produce ATP (energy). I have my patients take 5 grams of D-ribose before a workout so they have enough to keep energy production as they use up their ATP, and I have them take 5 grams after a workout to help restore depleted ATP reserves so they can recover.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid that also helps with the production of ATP. Each cell has structures within its membrane called mitochondria. This is where most of ATP production takes place. L-Carnitine facilitates the transport of free fatty acids into the cells, where it can be burned for energy. I recommend 1000mg per day
Cordyceps and Astragalus
Cordyceps and Astragulus are fungi that have been used in Chinese Medicine for Centuries. Both of these natural supplements have many health benefits, but the property of interest for athletes is that they have been shown (Animal Studies) to improve oxygenation of the heart and increase stamina.
Magnesium is a very important mineral and most of us probably have a magnesium deficiency. It is one of the most common mineral deficiencies that I see in my practice. Magnesium is involved in numerous bodily functions, but it is necessary for many of the chemical reactions that lead to ATP production. It is also plays an important role in muscle relaxation and contraction.
CoQ10 is a coenzyme, which means it works with other enzymes to make certain chemical reactions take place. CoQ10 is found in every cell in your body but it has very high levels in heart tissue. It functions primarily in each cell’s mitochondria, which are the cellular structures that produce energy (ATP). CoQ10 is needed by enzymes that are involved in several key chemical reactions to produce energy.