More than 40 years ago, the term sports nutrition was solidified in the University of Florida, when a team of scientists realized their student athletes were in dire need of energy and hydration. They came up with a carbohydrate-loaded drink called Gatorade. Since then, countless of carbed-up bottled drinks and so-called energy-boosting and performance-enhancement products flooded our grocery stores. The idea is simple, to fill the body with carbohydrates so it can have the fuel for the muscles to go on and continue the physical activity.
The idea worked fine for already-fit athletes who were always in intense workouts and sweats copiously, regularly, as their bodies are in need of carbs and fluids. However, it can be inappropriate to impose this idea to non-athletes who exercise regularly, or just want to stay healthy, where they usually burn cabs and lose sweat during their workouts.
There is more to sports nutrition than stuffing your body with carbohydrates. Protein, leucine, glutamic acid, creatine, and other essential amino acids, all take part in energy and overall nutrition. Also, there’s a certain window of timing for the consumption of these nutrients to assure our body gets the best results for our efforts.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is one of the most widely used products in sports nutrition, but many are still confused of its nature and benefits. In layman’s term, creatine is an amino acid that provides energy to the muscles. To explain further, it is a nitrogenous organic acid manufactured in the liver, helping the body get supplied energy to the cells, specifically muscle cells. It is made up of amino acids L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine.
Benefits of Creatine
Athletes use creatine for its benefits in high-intensity training, while regular gym-goers take creatine supplements for more energy in their workouts, which results to more reps and being able to lift heavier weights. As a result, muscles become stronger as they adapt to the exercise.
A research from the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine shows that, creatine can increase power and performance in high-intensity anaerobic work by up to 15%. Also, increased creatine means better body mass and total water volume in the body. However, our body can only digest so much food and absorb nutrients. For our body to get the full benefits of the nutritional supplements we take, it is important to have a good level of digestive enzymes.
What are Digestive Enzymes?
When we eat food, our body absorbs their nutrients. Our digestive system breaks the food down to fatty acids, amino acids (protein broken down), cholesterol (fat), carbs (simple sugar), as well as vitamins and minerals. Digestive enzymes, which are produced in our pancreas (can also be found in our saliva glands and stomach), are the ones responsible for the breaking down of food to different forms of nutrients for our body to absorb.
Diseases, aging, low-grade inflammation (food allergies, parasitic infection, intestinal permeability, etc.), low stomach acid, chronic stress, etc. can all contribute to lower level of digestive enzyme. If this happens, our body won’t be able to break down food, which means we are not absorbing enough nutrition, even when we eat well. This is where the science of sports nutrition comes into the picture; to aide our body in balancing the food and nutrients we take and our body’s ability to absorb them.
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