Athletes need to maintain an excellent base diet that delivers adequate macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats and of course water). There are many opinions on the optimal proportions of each macronutrient and these recommendations change depending on an athlete’s particular sport. For instance, the macronutrient demands of a triathlete are very different from that of a strength athlete.
One thing every athlete has in common is the need for adequate micronutrient intake in the form of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Most of these needs are met by a diet rich in lean meats, vegetables and fruits. (Vegetarians can meet these needs without meats, with a carefully planned diet). Conventional sports nutrition advice dictates that a person can get all the nutrients they need from a ‘balanced’ diet, and no additional gains in performance will occur with any type of nutritional supplementation.
However, cutting edge research in functional medicine shows that athletes can indeed boost performance using additional, supplemental amounts of specific performance enhancing nutrients. There are no miracle supplements, however supplementing with key nutrients can provide a slight boost to performance and recovery, and may provide enough of an edge to gain a podium spot.