To Run Faster, Supplement With These Minerals, Says Study
Want to upgrade your workout performance? A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition finds that women who took a mineral and nutrient supplement for a month improved their three-mile run time by nearly one minute. The supplement included iron, copper, zinc, carnitine (an amino acid derivative) and phosphatidylserine (a combination of fatty acids and amino acids).
Women ran three miles faster after consuming a special supplement
In the small study of 28 female athletes, half took a supplement while the other half took a placebo. Within a month, women on the supplement decreased their three-mile run time from 26.5 miles to 25.6 minutes. They also showed significant improvements in other fitness tests, including stationary biking and bench steps. The study noted that all of the changes were statistically significant and did not occur in the placebo group.
“We know that young women, in particular, often have micro-deficiencies in nutrients and that those nutrients play a role in how cells work during exercise,” said Robert DiSilvestro, the study’s lead author and professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University. “They (women) tend to eat less meat than men, and menstruation also plays an important role in mineral loss,” he added.
Based on this and previous research, DiSilvestro is working to develop and sell the performance-enhancing supplement, which he estimates will cost between $35 to $40 for a month’s supply. It should be noted that the research was funded by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. However, Gatorade is neither involved in the development of the supplement nor are the studied supplement ingredients found in Gatorade products.
The 411 on micro-deficiencies
Of course, you don’t have to wait for this particular supplement to hit the market to tackle your micro-deficiencies and boost your physical performance. And you don’t have to be an athlete or a weekend warrior to reap the benefits of more energy and stamina.
Many people have micro-deficiencies and don’t even realize it. Why? When you get a vitamin deficiency blood test, the results are depicted on a bell curve, which compares you to the general population. So a normal result means that you possess average levels of a nutrient, compared to others. It doesn’t take into consideration what the optimal levels are for best overall functioning. This implies that while you might be in the test’s mean, you might not actually have the healthiest levels. What you can do is work with a functional medicine doctor to interpret your test results and make sure your levels are up to snuff.
How to get your zinc, copper, iron and other nutrient levels up
When it comes to getting enough nutrients, you have several factors working against you. One of the challenges these days is that modern farming practices deplete the soil, a vital source of minerals and nutrients for humans. These changes to soil composition impact the nutrient levels of the foods you eat, which in turn makes it harder to get the minerals and nutrients you need to function at your best.
Here are some key takeaways for you to consider in your supplementation regimen:
Zinc supports healthy immune function, energy production, and mood. It’s vital to supplement with zinc because it’s tough to consume adequate amounts of it, and your body doesn’t store it. A solid dose is 15 mg zinc orotate per day in capsule form. Do not take with meals or with supplements containing iron, calcium, and phytates, because they decrease its absorption. Read Upgrade Your Energy, Optimize Your Supplements for more on zinc.
Copper works in tandem with zinc to keep your heart in sync. The average American consumes .8 mg of copper per day – which is disconcerting because less than 1 mg per day can lead to heart attacks. Due to poor soil, modern fruits, veggies, and conventional meats are low in copper – containing 75% less now – so best to supplement daily with 1-2 mg of copper orotate in capsule form. Learn more about how to supplement with copper here.
Iron is definitely something you want to get a handle on – especially if you’re female. However, you don’t want to take it randomly because blood ferritin levels over 75 will age you quickly. Your best solution is to get your iron levels tested and work with a functional medicine doctor to determine if you need an iron supplement. You can get more information on iron for women here.
Acetyl L-Carnitine encourages your body to use fat for energy, and mitigates the effects of aging and disease on mitochondria (the power plants of your cells) While your body can produce it, supplementing with ALC can help slow down mitochondrial decay and boost the manufacturing of ATP – our cells’ main source of energy. Research supports taking up to 2000mg a day.
Phosphatidylserine is a combination of fatty acids and amino acids that is effective at combating exercise-induced stress when taken in supplement form, because it promotes healthy hormone levels by blunting increases in cortisol levels. More information is needed to determine if it’s essential for healthy adults to supplement with phosphatidylserine, though it is shown to benefit athletes who exercise profusely.
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