A good diet is the foundation for building bodies that allow athletes to train and give their all in matches, races, and competitions. Without building a strong body and creating energy through a balanced daily diet, not only will your performance not improve, but you won’t be able to train to your fullest potential.
When it comes to peak performance and energy production for an athlete, is diet the only thing to think about? When an athlete conducts strenuous training every day, muscle damage hinders performance gains. While an athlete’s body produces large amount of energy, it is also produces excess reactive oxygen byproducts, which cause muscle damage. In other words, the more you train, the more excess reactive oxygen is produced in the body.
To improve your performance, consider taking a supplement that suppresses damage from exercise, taken together with dietary nutrients that produce energy. Nature’s most salient example of the prevention of muscle damage is salmon, which are able to tirelessly and powerfully swim back up rivers to where they were born. Salmon accumulate a special nutrient from their diet called astaxanthin. Astaxanthin accumulates in salmon muscles and gives them a distinctive reddish color. That is why salmon are able to swim tirelessly against powerful rapid stream. Humans, don’t usually get substantial amounts of astaxanthin in their diet, but studies have shown that astaxanthin can support muscle performance, endurance and recovery.
For all aspects of your life, your body needs energy to function. This energy comes from the oxygen you breathe and the nutrients you eat. The oxygen and nutrients are absorbed and transformed into energy inside cells to be used for a variety of activities.
But the conversion is not perfect and some of the oxygen ends up in the form of highly reactive oxygen byproducts with the ability to oxidize and damage nearby cell components and tissues. These byproducts are called Reactive Oxygen Species or ROS. The reactive oxygen produced in this way plays an important role in eradicating pathogenic bacteria. However, when produced in excess due to lifestyle habits and stress, ROS can begin to damage even healthy cells. The human body essentially has the antioxidant activity to keep the balance of ROS, but the disruption of antioxidant balance leads to oxidative stress.
Athletes consume more oxygen than normal in a variety of situations, such as when breathing hard and when under pressure to compete or perform. AstaReal conducted an investigation in Japan to determine how much damage athletes actually suffer due to oxidative stress, and results show significant damage.
Oxidative stress is a hallmark of antioxidant imbalance that can affect athletic performance. Restoring the body’s antioxidant balance using a natural antioxidant supplement when under conditions of exercise-induced stress can support recovery and improve performance.
During the investigation, we surveyed ’8-OHdG’ levels (which indicate oxidation levels in the body) in 295 men, and compared the results between average males and athletic males. The group of athletic males was comprised of players of top-class corporate teams and runners who run more than 500 km (310 miles) per month.
What happens to damaged cells?
The nutrients we eat are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, which carries them to cells throughout our bodies. Our cells produce energy and form the basic structural components of the body. Research has been done on the damage that reactive oxygen causes to cells, and show that cells damaged by reactive oxygen have extremely low survival rates and that damaged cells produce no energy, even when supplied with nutrients (protein broken down into peptides). However, with astaxanthin – a component that suppresses damage – you can expect absorbed nutrients to be effectively utilized.
Our cell membranes are composed primarily of lipids (fats) that are an important structural component of the cell; defining the boundaries of cells and protecting them. However, reactive oxygen byproducts oxidize the lipid and make them go rancid in a process called “lipid peroxidation.” This can result in cell damage.
Astaxanthin’s ability to suppress lipid peroxidation is approximately 100 times stronger than that of vitamin E, a famous anti-oxidative component.
Salmon put the tremendous antioxidant power of astaxanthin to the test. Salmon spend their lives migrating and then returning upstream and are subjected to environments and stresses which are far harsher than that experienced by other types of fish. Salmon feed on tiny shrimp, which in turn feed on astaxanthin rich algae, and are only able to tirelessly and powerfully swim back up their native rivers after first filling their bodies full of astaxanthin.
The same effect can be observed in athletes. For a period of 2 months during the sports season, 22 athletes participating in ball sports for a top Japanese corporate sports team volunteered to participate in a 24 mg/day, natural astaxanthin survey. Oxidation levels in their bodies showed a significant drop in comparison with the levels prior to taking the supplements. Furthermore, certain items important to athletes, such as eye and body fatigue, also showed significant improvement after taking astaxanthin.
1 mg of astaxanthin is the equivalent of one whole filet of astaxanthin.
So, for an athlete to achieve their desired daily intake of astaxanthin, an astaxanthin supplement is their only practical option.
We recommend taking an astaxanthin supplement as part of a regular, well balanced diet.