Muscle Nutrition Supplements

While maintaining a healthy diet is the best way to develop muscle and overall muscular health, it is not always enough.  It is often difficult to get all of the nutrients that we need from food, especially while leading a very active lifestyle.  Muscles need the proper fuel, vitamins and nutrients to help develop, repair and grow larger.  There are a variety of vitamins and other supplements that can help protect muscles from injury by decreasing inflammation and improving the overall health of the muscle.

Types of Vitamin Supplements that aid in Muscle Health
There are multiple vitamins that help build, gain and maintain overall muscle health.  Below are a few of the key supplements you can take, and what the benefits are.

Vitamin A promotes a healthy immune system and can also prevent muscle damage by aiding in muscle development, increased muscle mass.  It can also help reduce muscle fatigue during prolonged exercise as well as repair damaged or inflamed muscle tissue.

Vitamin C  is an antioxidant that protects muscles from free radical damage and enhances recovery and growth.  It is involved with the formation of Collogen – which helps hold your bones and muscles together.  The stronger this tissue is, the lower the risk of muscle damage and injury.

Vitamin E, like Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that protects the cell’s membrane.  muscle recovery and growth are dependent on healthy cell membranes.

Other Types of Supplements that promote healthy muscles:

Glutamine is a vitamin supplement that is vital in the recovery of muscles.  It is one of the amino acids in the body that nourishes and keeps the muscles healthy and can also speed healing time.

Creatine is also an amino acid made naturally in the liver, kidneys and pancreas.  It is transported to muscles and used for energy.  Some people have more creatine stores than others and do not need additional supplements, so this supplement should be taken with caution.

Fish Oil contains omega 3 fatty acids that help build and maintain healthy muscles.  Fish oil can also help support blood circulation allowing carbohydrates and proteins to reach the muscle.

Calcium is most often known for the benefits of healthy bones and teeth, but it is also a mineral (electrolyte) that helps muscles and nerves work properly.  When taken with Vitamin D, the body can absorb the mineral more efficiently.

All of the above mention supplements have vitamins and minerals that can be found in natural food sources.  Before starting a regiment, it is always advised to consult with your physician first.

Health and Nutrition Supplements

A health and nutrition supplement is anything that is intended to provide additional nutrients that may be missing from a diet.  Sometimes these essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, herbs and fatty acids are just not observed at levels needed for the body to function at an optimal state.  These supplements may be found in a range of substances from pills, to drinks to every day foods.

Types of supplements:

There are many types of supplements available, but below is a list of the most commonly used and their value.

Multivitamins:

Most healthy diets contain the essential vitamins needed in a diet, but taking an additional multivitamin can act as a buffer to help build your immune system.  It will help fill in the gaps when your diet falls short of your daily needs.  Please note most multivitamins are specific to age and sex as the needs are different.

Sports Nutrition Supplements:

These are found in a variety of formulas such as pills, drinks, bars and powders.  They typically contain protein and amino acids that are used to help build muscle and sustain energy for athletes.

B Vitamins:

Most B vitamins can be found in dark green vegetables, but for some people, particularly elderly ones, they are not absorbed as well so taking a supplement could be very helpful. These vitamins can help increase metabolism rate and maintain healthy skin and hair.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin:

These supplements are most known for their support of joint health and pain.  Many elder people will take these supplements to help with osteoarthritis pain, while athletes will take them to slow down joint destruction and pain associated with constant pounding on their bodies during exercises like running.

Fish Oils and Omega Fatty 3 acids:

Some research shows that these supplements can be  used as an anti-inflammatory and used to help reduce pain in arthritis patients.  Like Glucosamine and Chondroitin, athletes will use them for the same benefits.  There has also been some evidence regarding the benefits of supplementing omega-3 fatty acids and preventing cardiovascular diseases.

Choosing what supplement brands/dose

It is always important to first check with your physician before taking any supplements.  You can ask what ones would be most beneficial based on your personal and physical needs and deficiencies.  When choosing which brand or type to purchase, there is no tried and true way to select, however, there is plenty of research available online, or you can ask your local health food supplier.  Read all labels to know what is in the product you are selecting and it may also be helpful to choose reliable and reputable brands that have been in the industry long term.

How Does The Sodium & Potassium Pump Work?

And why is it important to maintain Electrolyte Balance?

There is no dummy-way to describe the function or definition of the Sodium Potassium Pump, so this description will start out a bit more scientific then I would like, but will hopefully make sense in the end.  By definition, the Sodium Potassium Pump is “A mechanism of active transport that moves potassium ions into and sodium ions out of a cell.”

What the heck is that? It is the process where sodium flows out and potassium flows in.  If we didn’t have this process, we would build up sodium ions which attract water.  The more sodium in, the more water in and eventually the cells would burst.  The pump allows for a proper balance of the two.

Salt (Sodium Choloride) as a very important electrolyte

sodium potassium pumpLet’s start out talking about salt.  Salt is an essential electrolyte that our bodies need.  These electrolytes can carry messages along our nerves and control essential body functions like heart beat.  Have you ever noticed your heart rate rise and you are unable to get it down when doing longer or harder efforts of training in the heat?  You can’t drink enough water to quench your thirst and even walking doesn’t bring your heart rate back down to a normal range?

The transmission of sodium in and out of our cells helps regulate hydration, a key factor in brain function and muscle fatigue. When we have too much or too little sodium, it can cause somewhat of a malfunction and things typically effortless functions like speaking, breathing, walking and thinking logically become a challenge.

What does potassium do to help electrolyte balance, and why is it important?

Just like sodium, potassium is also essential for normal cell function and helps regulate heart beat and the contraction and relaxing of muscles.  If we didn’t have a good balance and normal level of potassium in our bodies it would dramatically affect or heartbeats and at times could be fatal.

What does all this mean to me as an athlete?

As muscles contract an electrical charge causes potassium inside your muscle cells to exchange place with sodium outside of your cells.  If the pump is having a hard time regulating these two important electrolytes then nerves will send signals to your brain that reacts by giving you warning signs like, higher heart rate, longing thirst as well as muscle cramps.  To help keep the sodium potassium pump working properly, magnesium may be supplemented along with other essential vitamins and minerals to keep this electrolyte balance working and functioning.