Micronutrients and amino acids are fundamental pieces of boosting athletic performance, recovery, and preventing injury. Athletes should not just focus on carbohydrates and calories for recovery for recovery and performance but also bioavailable amino acids and compounds found throughout an array of animal foods. Let’s break down just 6 different unique natural compounds that have been proven to increase athletic performance.
1. Creatine – Creatine is an organic compound found stored in your muscles that plays a key role in producing energy, power, and strength. Creatine can be supplemented in the form of creatine monohydrate and or consumed naturally through the consumption of quality animal protein (steak, chicken, fish, dairy, & eggs). A 2018 Study found that, “…creatine supplementation demonstrate increases in performance and strength in short-duration, maximal-intensity exercises, as measured by 1-repetition maximum, muscular power, number of repetitions, muscular endurance, speed, and total force.”
2. Caffeine – Caffeine is a compound found naturally throughout many different plants & herbs including coffee, tea leaves, chocolate, and more. Caffeine has been studied immensely across the athletic research and has many good benefits including decreased perceived effort, increased endurance ability, and power output.
3. Leucine – This amino acid is arguably the most essential amino acids for athletes in general. Leucine has been studied and proven to be a fundamental building block and precurosr to muscle development, recovery, and injury prevention. Leucine is found most rich in animal proteins such as whey protein, fish, meat, pork, and chicken.
4. Vitamin D3 – This fat soluble vitamin is a key contributor to bone development, retention, and injury prevention. Vitamin D3 rich foods include eggs, milk, butter, salmon, and sardines.
5. Salt – This electrolyte plays a role in increasing blood volume and blood flow which in turn increases endurance, stamina, strength, and recovery. Many studies over the past decade have shown this nutrient to be have a positive influence on athletic performance.
6. Vitamin K2 – This vitamin plays an important role in energy metabolism and recovery. It also synergies with Vitamin D3 to develop and retain bone. Vitamin K2 rich foods include beef liver, cheese, chicken, and fermented foods.