Vitamins and minerals are always best absorbed into the body when taken in with food, these are naturally occurring vitamins. However, in sports and active people supplements can be used to compensate for an inadequate diet that leads to fatigue or lack of energy. They can also help meet competitive demands for recovery due to extreme training and enhance performance by increasing energy, maintaining health and preventing deficiency.
To look at our energy supplies we need to have a look at how we convert the nutrition we take into energy. I apologies for a moment but I am going to take you back to GCSE biology, I promise this will be quick. Oxygenated blood is the key to our survival and our energy levels. It has many roles, a chemical role to build cell components, a transport role to ensure substances get to cells and a mechanical role to allow muscles to contract. The process of turning food into usable energy occurs in mitochondria (organelles that sit inside each of our cells) where they produce a compound called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). We can produce energy in a few ways, firstly anaerobic glycolysis turns glucose into ATP (usable energy) in the absence of oxygen. However this does not last longer than a few minutes and produces that pesky lactic acid (muscle burn). Aerobic respiration also turns glucose into energy but requires oxygen to do so and 95% of the bodies energy is produced in this way. This can supply energy for hours and by enhancing this process of energy production (by having more oxygen) you can increase your stamina and endurance in exercise with less muscle burn. Biology class over!
So what factors ensure your aerobic respiration is on tip top condition:
Your digestive system is basically one long tube that goes from your mouth right through to the other end. Digestion occurs mechanically in your mouth and stomach breaking food down into smaller pieces. It also occurs chemically in all parts of your digestive tract and the bowel lining, your liver, gall bladder and your gut bacteria all need to be in tip top condition to produce the right enzymes and substances for digestion. So maintaining digestive health is a big factor in energy production especially when trying to push a little further in your performance.
To ensure a good supply of oxygen we need to think about our breathing and ensure we take deep breathes. By scheduling at least 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise into your daily routine for a minimum of five days a week, you can increase blood flow. Research shows cardiovascular exercise gets your heart to pump faster, which increases your blood flow and prompts your lungs to take in more air and oxygen. Other factors such as doing yoga, breathing through your nose and good posture can increase your lungs efficiency.
Aerobic endurance refers to the ability of the body to continuously transport oxygen throughout its various systems for extended periods of time. By maintaining the flow of oxygen, an individual is able to exercise continuously for longer periods of time without wearing down.1
Getting more vitamins, minerals and proteins in your diet could really support your
exercise regime and has actually been shown to increase stamina and endurance. Studies involving untrained or moderately trained healthy subjects showed benefit with nitric oxcide donors improving tolerance to aerobic and anaerobic exercise and so improving performance.2 So it looks like for people like you and me who head to the gym or put some training towards a 10k, a good supply these molecules can really help achieve our fitness goals. You can find it in turkey, shrimps, onions, kale, salmon and black tea to name a few and could be great snacks to incorporate before a workout.
The final requirement then is having strong mitochondria that can efficiently turn nutrients into energy when that energy is required. Muscle cells have a lot of mitochondria as they need a lot of energy. Coenzyme Q10 is an oil-soluble, vitamin like substance that is a component in generating energy within the mitochondria. Organs with the highest energy requirements, such as the heart, liver and kidneys also have the highest co-enzyme Q10 concentrations. It can be found in foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, fish and beef and as we age we produce less so it is important to make sure you are getting enough for maximal energy production.
http://supplementsinreview.com/pre-workout/arginine/ - lots of good sources
1 - https://www.reference.com/health/definition-aerobic-endurance-68461b87b5760a2#https://www.reference.com/health/definition-aerobic-endurance-68461b87b5760a2#