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4 Herbal Supplements to enhance Athletic Performance

by Sneha Shukla

4 Herbal Supplements to enhance Athletic Performance

 

The performance of athletes largely depends on balanced diets and workouts. Athletes have been using natural herbs for performance enhancement for centuries. The compounds like terpenes, flavonoids, saponins, phenols, and alkaloids found in plant products are bioactive compounds that provide physiological health benefits. 

Tons of lab-synthesized chemicals are available on the market for athletes for enhanced performance and quick recovery. However, most athletes, coaches, and professionals prefer natural supplements. Athletes need to consider so many things before choosing the right herbal supplement for them, like allergies, goals, and the effect of the supplement on the sport they play. 

Athletes need nutritional supplements because a balanced diet is not enough to meet all of their needs. Several important factors need to be met to keep them going. Three major functions of herbal supplements in athletes’ lives are: maintaining healthy blood and connective tissue; increasing physical endurance and stamina; and increasing anti-inflammatory responses.

We will now discuss the 4 most commonly used natural herbs and their supplements for athletes.

  • Kratom

It is derived from the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa. After medicine and cosmetics, natural red borneo kratom is now being widely preferred in sports and workouts. Kratom is a legal herbal supplement used for various recreational and therapeutic effects. Kratom comes in different strains and each strain is known for different effects. Kratom shows its effects due to 35 different alkaloids found in it which are bioactive. The most dominant alkaloids are Mitragynine and 7 hydroxy mitragynine. Each strain of Kratom is available in a variety of colors, i.e., red, white, green, and yellow. The color of the veins of the leaves and the stem of the plant at the time of harvesting determines the color of the strain. Benefits of Kratom for athletes include:

  • It increases stamina and encourages athletes to be more consistent in their workouts
  • Increased focus and concentration, so that they do not get distracted in the middle of the competition.
  • It eliminates pain and muscle soreness after a competition or a strenuous workout.
  • boosts energy as it is a stimulant that helps them complete the competition without feeling lethargic in between.
  • Kratom reduces anxiety and stress while making athletes feel happy and motivated.
  • It is beneficial to have a restful night’s sleep to feel refreshed the following morning.
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • It works best as a pre and post-workout supplement.

Green vein Kratom and White vein Kratom strains are the best Kratoms for athletes for stimulation and pain-relieving effects. Red vein Kratom strains are sedating. Athletes use Maeng da kratom for focus and stimulation and White Bali Kratom for endurance and power. Kratom can be consumed as powder, pills, or tinctures and extracts. For relaxing effects, people make Kratom herbal tea and consume it in their morning or evening routine.

  • Ginseng

It is a group of herbs from the Araliaceae family and these herbs are adaptogens. Siberian ginseng, Panax ginseng, American ginseng, and Indian ginseng are the most commonly used ginseng. Athletes who use ginseng claim that it boosts energy, improves immune system function and mental health, reduces stress, and regulates blood sugar levels. It is known to reduce fatigue. The ginsenosides, or the active compounds of ginseng, are a family of triterpenoid saponins. Ginseng is known to enhance athletes’ performance and overall well-being.

  • CBD

CBD or Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid extracted from plants of the cannabis family. CBD extracted from hemp plants, on the other hand, is only legal for human consumption if it contains no more than 0.3% THC. Both CBD & THC are cannabinoids of the cannabis family, but CBD is a legal medicinal compound and THC is an addictive and psychoactive compound. It is known to help alleviate pain and stress without making you high. It is a very potent anxiolytic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory agent. CBD comes in a wide range of products, like slaves, balms, gummies, tinctures, oils, etc. The choice of CBD and the specific product depends on the choice of mode of consumption and the needs of the athlete. If you’re facing issues due to extreme pain and want to get relief , you can try CBD oil sleep tincture for pain and similarly there are many more products which deliver you the benefits according to your needs.

     Benefits of CBD for athletes:

  • By acting on the Endocannabinoid system, it aids in the maintenance of homeostasis. ECS is a part of our brain responsible for relaxing the body and mind and maintaining a balance between the different organs.
  • It aids in the relief of pain and exertion caused by injuries or strenuous workouts.
  • It prevents and reduces DOMS, i.e. Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness.
  • It protects the body from the effects of inflammation.
  • It aids in the recovery process after a competition or workout.
  • It helps athletes stay more focused and motivated by reducing stress and anxiety because of competition.
  • CBD helps with sleep induction and improves the quality of sleep.
  • WADA has approved the use of CBD products by athletes before a competition, with the only stipulation that the product is made entirely of CBD extracted from hemp plants and contains no more than 0.3% THC.
  • Increases endurance and physical strength
  • increases muscle gain. 

CBD is now legal in US and athletes can fly with CBD, which makes it easier to carry their supplements along with them to different locations. The topical application of balms, oils, and salves to painful or inflamed areas is the most effective method of consumption for athletes.

  • Turmeric

Turmeric or Haldi is the most common anti-inflammatory agent. People have been consuming turmeric milk for pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory actions for centuries. Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric. It is a potent antioxidant that helps athletes fight off the oxidative damage caused by physical exertion from prolonged workout sessions and competitions. You can use turmeric for increasing testosterone levels also as it is well known for its effective results. It has been quite popular for men using it to increase their testosterone level. A low testosterone level can bring significant issues for men, and that’s why many athletes try to improve their body composition by taking a natural testosterone booster like turmeric.

Its anti-inflammatory actions help alleviate pain and fatigue caused by inflamed muscles. It is consumed by direct swallowing, in the form of pills, color, or by mixing up different food and drink recipes.

The Final Thoughts:

Herbal supplements are a basic necessity in every athlete’s daily routine. A healthy body for athletes requires a balanced and complete diet, proper nutrition, regular workout sessions, and proper sleep. Some athletes use herbal supplements to help them sleep better, while others use them to boost their energy levels, focus, and concentration. 

The most common reason for the use of supplements is for quick muscle recovery and stimulation. Athletes need to consult their physicians and coaches for supplements and their doses if required. The dose of the supplement plays a major role in its effect.

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