The right herbal supplements for athletes, bodybuilders and anyone else who works out regularly can do wonders for performance, energy levels and recovery.
Although everyone can benefit from supplementation, athletes have an increased need for nutrients that allow them to compete at the highest levels.
Here are four great herbs for athletes on any level. If you are a professional bodybuilder or just someone who runs a mile or two a few days a week, these herbs can give your performance a boost.
1. Astragalus is an herb that is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to stimulate the immune system. It is also beneficial for improving mental functioning, reducing fatigue and increasing the anaerobic threshold during exercise that includes a rapid use of energy, such as sprinting or weight lifting.
2. Ashwagandha is frequently used in Ayurvedic healing to strengthen the immune system after an illness. Athletes can benefit from the medicinal properties of Ashwagandha, which include steroidal lactones (withanolides), choline, alkaloids, fatty acids and amino acids. Ashwagandha also helps reduce brain-cell degeneration, combats the effects of stress, stabilizes blood sugar, reduces fatigue, improves concentration and increases energy.
3. Siberian ginseng is not a true ginseng; however, it contains similar properties of ginseng and produces similar effects. Siberian ginseng is considered to be an adaptogen herb that has anti-fatigue, anti-stress and anti-viral properties. It helps promote healthy adrenal glands and it stimulates the immune system, which increases your body's ability to resist illness that may be caused by stress. During strenuous workouts the stress affects your alertness, blood sugar and memory; Siberian ginseng improves alertness, levels blood sugar and improves memory.
4. Beta Ecdysterone is a naturally occurring steroid found in a variety of herbs. It is typically used by body builders as a natural alternative to steroids. It helps to promote protein synthesis, which is necessary for the enhancement of lean body mass during resistance training. Beta Ecdysterone may also help to lower blood sugar levels and improve nerve function.
To obtain the optimum benefit of herbal supplements for athletes, it is equally important to incorporate the appropriate amount of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other important nutrients in your health regimen.
For example, as an athlete you tend to burn through your B vitamins at a higher rate than an average person, so a supplement with a full range of B vitamins is key to helping your body make energy.
Ideally you can get a full range of nutrients from a high quality multivitamin supplement, which will contain an array of medicinal herbs as well. That can serve as your foundation, and to that you can add one or more of the herbs you read about above.
Adequate nutrition, stress management exercises, hydration and sleep are all also extremely important in providing the foundation for a strong body and encouraging overall good physical and mental health. So make sure you have all of those bases covered as well.
We will delve into other supplements for bodybuilders as well so check back with us often.
More on our herbs for general health page or
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