Nutrition supplements are blowing away the market these days. More and more studies and researches are going on to find new and different products that can be used by athletes and/ or sports enthusiasts to support and increase their performance.
Nutritional supplements can be placed into 3 categories:
- Dietary supplements
- Sports supplements
- Ergogenic aids
In this article we’re going to focus only on ergogenic aids. So, what are Ergogenic aids? Ergogenic aids are nutritional, mechanical, physical, psychological and pharmacological interventions that may have effect on performance. They’re used for stimulating the central and peripheral nervous system, increasing the limited amount of stored substrates, increasing aerobic and anaerobic power output, delaying fatigue, etc.
We’re going to discuss 3 substances that are considered to be Ergogenic aids and have effect on performance. These three substances are: caffeine, glycerol and colustrum (bovine).
This is a substance that is considered as a stimulant of the central nervous system. His effect is in the brain, not locally in the muscles. We can find caffeine in coffee, energy drinks, energy gels, tea, caffeinated soft drinks, dark chocolate, etc. For more detailed information about caffeine content in food and drinks click here. Studies have shown that caffeine can enhance endurance performance, reaction time, mental alertness, and cognitive function. Performance is enhanced by increasing the recruitment of motor units, increasing the number of cross-bridge formation, thus an athlete can increase his/hers power output by increasing the force production. Caffeine also can have effect on performance by increasing the number of beta-endorphins, thus increasing the high-quality performance for a longer period of time. Lastly, caffeine can have an impact on performance by increasing the fat and carbohydrates oxidation.
Glycerol is a substance that is considered as a backbone of triglycerides, because it bounds with three free fatty acids and forms triglycerides. Glycerol can be used for hyperhydration purposes during activities that last longer period of time (more than 1.5-2 hours). The connection between glycerol and improve performance is the ability of glycerol to draw more water. It’s a very good option for activities that are performed in hot and humid environments, acting as a “heat sink”, increasing the total amount of water in the body. The best way to use glycerol is in combination with creatine. You can use glycerol 5-6 nights before competition by dividing two liters of water with glycerol, 11g of creatine and mixture of carbohydrates and electrolytes. Here is one example how you can use glycerol before competition:
- Start with the procedure 2.5 hours before your competition
- Use 20 percent glycerol solution, drink 5ml/kg of body weight
- After 30 minutes drink water at 5ml/kg of body weight
- After 30 minutes drink glycerol solution at 1 ml/kg of body weight
- 30 minutes after consume water at 5 ml/kg of body weight
- 1 hour before competition you should be done with the procedure
Colustrum is the first milk secreted by animals after giving birth. It’s very rich source of growth factors, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, immunoglobulins. As a result, colostrum is thought to have a positive effect on the immune system, enhances recovery between training bouts, and promotes muscle growth. Supplementation with 50 to 60 grams of colostrum per day has led to significant improvements in anaerobic performance, ability to perform a second bout of training, and markers of immune function.