micronutrient recommendations for athletes

Micronutrient Recommendations for Athletes – Aside from the Classics


No topic in the sports sector is more discussed than that of nutritional supplements. Since (supposedly) everyone has a say, normal conversations quickly turn into shop talk and typical sports colleagues quickly become ardent advocates of a certain supplement or micronutrient. Over decades, a multitude of nutritional supplement myths have emerged - with immediate consequences: many people interested in sports and nutrition quickly lose themselves in the everlasting widths of professional literature, internet forums or social media and find it difficult to separate evidence from falsehood. This is particularly true for the huge variety of ‘untypical’ and not widely known micronutrients which are available on the supplement market, aside from the athlete’s classics. What are their health-supporting effects? And which one is worth to consider for the dedicated athlete?

The basis for performance and recreation in sport - maintenance of mitochondrial energy with Coenzyme Q10**

The increased oxygen turnover in athletes results in an excessive formation of free radicals. The resulting oxidative stress situation can also affect mitochondrial health, namely the activity of the respiratory chain. Theresulting decrease in ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production causes performance dropsand promotes fatigue processes. Furthermore, the increase in reactiveoxygen and nitrogen species can also affect the health of muscle cells as well as the immune system and impair the speed of recovery and regeneration after intense workouts.

An adequate Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) status is a prerequisite for a good physiological ATP supply of the muscle cells and the heart and therefore mitochondrial health. The logical consequence of this would be that a good CoQ10 supply supports performance and regenerative capacity of athletes; and studies confirm this physiological connection. On the one hand, a CoQ10 supplementation can support physical performance, on the other hand, fatigue symptoms can be eased, and the body’s regeneration process can be supported.**

When choosing a CoQ10 supplement, athletes should pay attention if the supplements contains ubiquinone or ubiquinol since CoQ10 exists in two forms: Coenzyme Q10 in the form of ubiquinone must be converted into the active form ubiquinol in the body. Ubiquinol, a powerful antioxidant, is completely and immediately available to the body – independently of the cellular conversion steps. Furthermore, ubiquinol is more absorbable than the oxidized form ubiquinone.**

RhodiolaRosea supports physical and mental regeneration in competitive sports**

Rhodiolarosea (roseroot) is known for its adaptogenic properties for centuries in naturopathy in Scandinavian countries. In competitive sports, the roseroot is considered as an insider tip: itslows down fatigue processes understress and can therefore increase mental and physical performance. Studies confirm that the regular use of Rhodiolaroseasupports lactate levels and alsofacilitates regeneration processes. The active substances in Rhodiolarosea are so-called rosavins and salidrosides. If you are choosing a nutritional supplement containing Rhodiolarosea, keep in mind that those substances should be specified on the label to guarantee a high-quality product.**

Glucosamine supports cartilage structures in athletes**

Intensive stress on the joints during certain sports can decrease cartilage health significantly. The joints of high intense endurance sportsmen are subjected to strong impact and stretching movements and often show increased type II collagen degradation rates compared to non-athletes. Different studies showed that a targeted supplementation with glucosamine can support values of biomarkers for cartilage health significantly.However, this effect disappeared again after discontinuation of glucosamine substitution. Glucosamine supplementation appears to have a chondroprotective effect on cartilage integrity during intensive cartilage stress and supports cartilage health in general.Glucosamine is also able to support rehabilitation phases as well as mobility and functionality of joints.**

General considerations for the choice of supplements: price or quality?

In order to optimize the daily diet and to cover the increased micronutrient requirements, the sports scene has long been resorting to a wide range of antioxidants, protein preparations and classic vitamins and minerals. For many people, the price is ultimately the deciding factor between buying a product or refraining from it - even though large differences in the quality of micronutrient preparations are a widely known matter of fact. Buyers should therefore not only pay attention to the price, but also obtain comprehensive information about the quality of a nutritional supplement.

**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


Michael Wäger BSc. MSc.