Do supplements really work? I get that question all the time. I just tell anyone who doesn't believe supplements have an amazing impact on the body to take some niacin. They'll see very quickly that supplements do make an impact. But for some people, that's just not enough. Perhaps this study will convince them.
This new study found that women could take almost a minute off of their three-mile run times in just one month simply by taking certain minerals and nutrients. While that's incredibly impressive, it's not all these women experienced.
The women who took the supplement also saw major improvements in the distance they could cover on a stationary bike. And, in a third test in which they stepped on and off a bench, they saw substantial increases in how many times they could do the exercise.
The study followed 28 women. They gave the nutrients to half of them and a placebo to the other half. Here are the exact numbers:
- 3-mile run times drop from 26.5 minutes on average to 25.6 minutes.
- Stationary bike distance covered in 25 minutes increased to an average of 6.5 miles, compared to 6.0 miles at the start of the study.
- Steps in the step test increased to almost 44 from about 40.
All of the changes were statistically significant. But just as importantly, the women in the placebo group did not see any improvements. In other words, the nutrients these women took is what caused their performance to improve substantially. There was no other reason for the improvements.
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The researchers wanted to see if the results could be replicated. So they did the study again. This time, they tested 36 women and saw a 41-second average decrease in the run times.
Why would the nutrients play such a dramatic role in their performance? One of the researchers said, "We know that young women, in particular, often have micro-deficiencies in nutrients and that those nutrients play a role in how cells work during exercise. They tend to eat less meat than men, and menstruation also plays an important role in mineral loss."
Age plays a role as well. Those of us who aren't spring chickens anymore are seeing deficiencies that probably aren't so "micro." So taking nutrients can have a dramatic impact on our performance as well. This doesn't just mean our exercise times. It also means our ability to go up and down stairs, stand and sit down, walk to the mailbox and back, and so many other activities of daily life. Taking nutrients can improve our performance in all of these areas.
The nutrients used in this study included iron, copper, zinc, carnitine (derived from an amino acid) and phosphatidylserine (made up of fatty acids and amino acids).
The minerals are common deficiencies for young and old alike. Iron would be the only exception, as young women tend to lose more iron through their monthly cycle than men and older women do. I would add magnesium and potassium to these minerals as “must haves” for most people. And the amino acids are vital for improved muscle strength and endurance. They help your cells function at peak performance, making your entire body work better. These would be especially important for vegetarians, who tend to be deficient in protein.
You can get all of the minerals (except iron) you need in Healthy Resolve. And the amino acids I recommend are in Perfect Amino. These are different aminos than those used in the study, but they’re highly effective at increasing performance of your muscles. You can buy all of these individually online and in most drugstores.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND.