HIGH PERFORMANCE ATHLETE

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BEHIND THE SCIENCE 

High level athletes become very depleted in micro and macronutrients due to intense physical exercise. The micronutrients, in particular, are important to replace and it isn’t always easy to do so. You see, these micronutrients are critical cofactors in energy production. When you work out, energy is produced in your muscles in the form of ATP. To create the level of energy you need for intense physical exercise, your body eats up vast stores of these micronutrients. When you run out, you feel sore, fatigued, and if you’ve been training extremely hard, it can be difficult to recover.

To understand how this process works, let’s dig a little deeper into energy metabolism and how ATP is formed during exercise.

In anaerobic exercise (no oxygen used for ATP production) glucose is converted to pyruvate and generates 2 ATP and lactate. This process is fast, but it can’t last for very long—approximately 60-180 seconds max. 25-35% of muscle glycogen (glucose storage) is used up in a single 30 second sprint. Lactic acid (lactate) is produced during this time, which causes muscles to fatigue and “burn”.

In aerobic metabolism (oxygen is present and used for ATP production) the body can make a lot more energy via the Krebs cycle and oxidation in the mitochondria. The major fuel sources include muscle and liver glycogen; fatty acids in your muscle, blood, and fat tissue; and negligible amounts of amino acids from muscle, blood, liver, and the gut. This fuels the body for athletic events lasting longer than 2-3 minutes such as 1500 meter runs, half marathon, cycling, etc.

Between the aerobic and anaerobic pathways described above, the body prefers to use the oxidative pathway (aerobic metabolism) instead of the more inefficient anaerobic pathway (no oxygen). However, it can only do this when oxygen becomes more available to your cells. Developing the capacity to deliver oxygen efficiently to your cells is what stamina is, and this is a critical part of physical conditioning.

The oxidative pathway requires the Krebs cycle to produce energy. The Krebs cycle (also called the TCA cycle) uses a lot of co-factors—micronutrients which are essential for it’s function such as B vitamins, magnesium and glutathione. L-carnitine is also very important as it shuttles fatty acids into your mitochondria for energy, and burning fat for energy is the most energy effective process for conditioned athletes.

Approximately 50-60% of energy during 1-4 hours of continuous exercise at 70% of maximal oxygen capacity is derived from carbohydrates. The rest is from free fatty acid oxidation. However, a greater proportion of energy comes from oxidation of free fatty acids—primarily those from muscle triglycerides—as the intensity of the exercise decreases. Long-chain fatty acids derived from stored muscle triglycerides are the preferred fuel for aerobic exercise for individuals involved in mild- to moderate- intensity exercise.

Your level of training does not alter the total amount of energy you expend during a workout, but it does impact the proportion of energy derived from carbohydrates and fat. As a result of aerobic training, the energy derived from fat increases and from carbohydrates decreases. A trained individual uses a greater percentage of fat than an untrained person does at the same workload. 

How does it apply to Athletic Performance & Recovery IV?
 

Well, since aerobic metabolism requires the Kreb’s cycle to produce energy, and the Kreb’s cycle is built on the use of micronutrient co-factors, you can imagine what happens when you exercise intensively for long periods of time. Your micronutrient stores are depleted and the Kreb’s cycle grinds to a halt. When this occurs one of two results are possible: Your performance diminishes and/or you are drained and in pain after your workout.

Don’t let this happen to you. Give your body the support it needs to maintain peak performance at all times with this IV.

References

1. Rodriguez N, DiMarco N, Langley S. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Medscape. Accessed July 21, 2015.