According to Japanese researchers, taking a supplement that contains antioxidants, healthy fats and amino acids could help improve athletic performance and reduce fatigue.
In a study published in the Japanese Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers described how a combination of these nutrients led to significant improvements in female athletes. Besides reducing fatigue in the legs, they also observed that the supplement provided additional benefits for the women’s skin, eyes, back and hips.
A nutritional supplement designed for athletes
To investigate the effects of a supplement they denoted as V7, the researchers recruited 19 members of the women’s softball club at a physical education university. They asked the participants to take either V7 or a placebo for 30 days. V7 contained a mixture of antioxidants like astaxanthin and reduced coenzyme Q10, the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), krill oil and the amino acids leucine, arginine and citrulline.
After a month, the researchers found that V7 significantly improved the athletes’ scores for a total of six items, namely, leg fatigue, the state of their hips and back, skin blotches, eye strain and their performance in a 50-meter sprint. According to studies, athletes are prone to skin conditions caused by bacterial, viral and fungal infections, and these could leave dark spots or scars on their skin. Athletes are also likely to suffer from dry eyes due to the added strain caused by outdoor exercises, such as running on windy, dusty trails or biking in polluted cities.
The researchers attributed the positive effects of the supplement to its various components. For instance, krill oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid. These polyunsaturated fats are known for their ability to reduce inflammation, a process that’s involved in various health conditions, including skin infections. Inflammation also occurs after intense workouts and is actually necessary for the repair of damaged muscles during recovery. This low-grade inflammation is the cause of muscle soreness.
The researchers explained that krill oil in phospholipid form is taken up by the cell membrane along with the DHA. Together, they enhance cell function by prompting cells to take up nutrients and quickly eliminate waste products. Reduced coenzyme Q10, on the other hand, helps with energy production and, together with astaxanthin, acts as an antioxidant that inhibits physical deterioration, fights inflammation, enhances immunity and reduces fatigue by increasing endurance.
Meanwhile, leucine, arginine and citrulline stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which could help alleviate muscle fatigue in the legs, knees, hips and back, as well as improve physical performance.
Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that the combination of omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids and antioxidants can help reduce fatigue and enhance athletic performance.
Tips for reducing muscle fatigue
Muscle fatigue is a normal side effect of exercise or intense training. It is an indication that your body has reached its metabolic limit. Fortunately, there are certain things you can do before, during and after working out to reduce muscle fatigue. Here are some useful tips:
- Ensure good nutrition – Besides eating a well-balanced diet, experts advise increasing the number of carbs you eat seven days prior to exercising to maintain your muscles’ glycogen levels. Glycogen is your main energy source during exercise; fatigue develops when glycogen stores are depleted.
- Eat before and after you work out – Don’t work out on an empty stomach or a full stomach. Experts suggest eating a light meal or snack a couple of hours before you work out and within an hour after your workout to support muscle recovery. (Related: Magnesium is essential for muscle health and recovery.)
- Keep yourself well-hydrated – To prevent dehydration and muscle fatigue, drink 10 to 12 glasses of water throughout the day and a beverage that can replenish lost electrolytes while exercising.
- Improve your aerobic capacity – Improving your aerobic capacity can help increase your endurance, which will allow you to work out for longer periods. To boost your endurance, try interval training or use a respiratory muscle-training device that can help you increase your lung capacity.
Muscle fatigue is an inevitable result of physical exertion. But you can maximize your workout or training and improve your physical performance by eating a well-balanced diet and taking nutritional supplements. Some nutrients that can help reduce fatigue include antioxidants and healthy fats that help reduce inflammation, and amino acids that support protein synthesis. You can learn more about these supplements at SupplementsReport.com.