Regular exercise increases vitamin and mineral requirements. Exercise can induce vitamin and mineral deficiency by:
- decreased absorption through the digestive tract
- increased excretion in sweat, urine and feces
- increased degradation (use) of the nutrients
- increased requirement for more nutrient from training adaptation (i.e. increased muscle cell requirement from endurance training and muscle repair requirement from strength training) Scientific evidence has shown impaired exercise performance with inadequate vitamin status.
Exercise impairment was more profound when multiple vitamin deficiencies were present. Prolonged exercise/training may create mineral (iron, zinc, copper) deficiency from redistribution of nutrients for performance functions. Inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals is common due to consumption of micro-nutrient poor, refined food.
An imbalance in the ratio of omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory) to omega-6 fatty acids (pro-inflammatory) in the diet promotes inflammation. Aches, pains, inflammation symptoms can be a result of producing inflammation from a diet with too little omega-3 fatty acids and too much omega-6 fatty acids. To reverse low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil is an extremely efficient and scientifically justifed way to increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake.
Vitamin D is a naturally occurring, multiple function hormone and also inhibits inflammation. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to muscle pain and weakness. Vitamin D increases the size and number of Type II (fast twitch) muscle fibers. Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption and preventing bone fractures. Vitamin D is especially important during winter and for indoor athletes. Vitamin D is used to produce the body’s naturally occurring antibiotics making it crucial to optimal immune system function.
Exercise, training and competition increases the body’s requirement for nutritional magnesium not only because of higher metabolism and muscle contraction where magnesium plays crucial roles, but also because of increased magnesium loss in sweat and urine. It has been estimated that athlete’s general requirement for nutritional magnesium is easily 10%-20% higher than the average person. At the same time, nutritional magnesium can be low in the modern diet. Research shows supplemental magnesium given to deficient and marginally deficient athletes allows measurably increased performance during athletic events.
Your joints have a specific structure that allows for shock absorption without sacrificing flexibility. Weight-bearing exercise creates stress on these joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates are fundamental components of the specialized types of tissues (glycosaminoglycans) that enable these functions. Glucosamine sulfate is a naturally occuring, protein-bound, sugar that acts as the backbone for the formation of flexible joint tissues. Chondroitin sulfate is a structural constituent of joint cartilages that provides for the resistance to compression. These two molecules create and maintain healthy joints and well-lubricated cartilage. MSM (methylsulphonylmethane) is a component of joint tissues that acts as linkage between adjacent molecules like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates. It plays an essential role in creating and maintaining tensile (elastic) strength and flexibility.
Intense and prolonged exercise, training and competition can create adverse effects including protein catabolism (muscle breakdown), pro-inflammation and immune suppression. A large number of studies have reported the harmful side effects (overtraining syndrome) and increased upper respiratory tract infection promoted by exhaustive physical exercise.* Research also cites nutritional supplements such as protein/amino acids, Vitamin-C and Vitamin-D as useful adjuncts to healthy diet to reduce immune consequences.
*Amino Acid Supplementation and Impact on Immune Function In The Context of Exercise, Cruza, Krause & Newsholme, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2014
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