Trending supplements can help you get the most benefit from your workouts, diet, and recovery. Smart athletes aren’t looking for shortcuts, but are looking for an edge. Many are sharpening that edge with new supplements supported by research and science.
These are the latest nutrition trends and popular supplements making waves as athletes and fitness minded people seek improved sleep quality, muscle recovery, bone health, and more.
Sleep for Recovery
Sound sleep is the gold standard for recovery from physical exertion and overall health. The CDC recommends 7 hours for overall health, though training athletes may need more to feel their best. Too many nights without ample sleep can sap the immune system and lower testosterone levels (in men), resulting in sub-optimal conditioning.
For better sleep, look for supplements that contain melatonin. Those natural ingredients help the body shift to sleep mode earlier and sleep more soundly.
In short, the body produces melatonin when it’s dark outside and shuts it off when it’s light out. Seasonal changes and screen time can disrupt that cycle, in which case a small dose of melatonin in the evening can shift your sleep(and wake) cycle to an earlier time.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Prebiotics and probiotics are both big topics in nutrition these days. Prebiotics are nondigestible types of fiber that foster the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which you likely know as probiotics. While your intestines don’t digest the fiber, the probiotics do, which helps them flourish.
A small University of California Los Angeles study found that small daily doses of a prebiotic (xylooligosaccharide) could modify gut microbiota in healthy and pre-diabetic subjects.
Foods like bananas, oats, and garlic contain prebiotics, and there are fiber formula supplements. Prebiotic drinks are also available on the market.
Researchers are in the early days of exploring a symbiotic relationship between a probiotic microorganism believed to have some beneficial effect when consumed and a prebiotic that specifically favors that probiotic’s growth.
There is already evidence consumers are shifting from probiotics to prebiotics, with sales doubling every year since 2016, according to Natural Products Insider.
Bones and Muscles
Magnesium is involved in hundreds of the body’s processes, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, and energy production. This crucial mineral also plays a large role in glucose metabolism, and studies have found that increased magnesium consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Food sources include nuts and leafy green vegetables. Look for packets of magnesium citrate to hit the market, which combines on-the-go convenience with a powder form that provides better absorption. They don’t require water; you can just pour one in your mouth on the go.
CBD: Take the Edge Off, Mentally and Physically
Some studies show that one of the non-psychoactive compounds found in hemp plants supports a sense of calm from everyday anxiety. More recently, pro and amateur athletes have turned to CBD for help to reduce inflammation after exercise and improve their sleep habits, which are both supported by preclinical studies.
The diversity of plant compounds in hemp oil is hard to find in foods — at least in similar concentrations. CBD companies are making it simple for athletes to harness the benefits of CBD, offering it as an oil, capsule, or gummy. Some companies even combine hemp extract with other popular herbal supplements like ginger root and turmeric.
Like supplements, not all hemp extracts are alike, and it’s important that you’re consuming quality CBD. Before buying, look for a Certificate of Analysis (COA), which includes testing for heavy metals and pesticides, and the U.S. Hemp Authority Certified Seal, the hemp industry’s initiative to provide high standards, best practices, and self-regulation for hemp and CBD products.
Reduce Muscle Damage With Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Bodybuilders may be familiar with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), but they are now starting to become more common in other performance-oriented arenas. Today, more and more athletes are turning to amino acids to help delay fatigue and kickstart muscle building and recovery after tough workouts.
BCAA supplementation has shown to reduce muscle damage from endurance exercise, even when added to diets already getting the recommended amounts. Another study found benefits to the immune system among competitive cyclists over a season. Consider adding BCAAs into the mix.
Add Collagen While Protecting Your Joints
Collagen has recently broken away from its singular association with cosmetics and gained ground as a performance nutrition ingredient. It’s also used as an additional protein source with benefits to joint and bone health.
Your skin may start to look firmer too, and that’s not a bad thing. More athletes have begun to include it as an important ingredient in their daily diet.
A Final Note
Finally, remember supplements are meant to work with a healthy diet and exercise. And, not all supplements are created equal. Before you buy any supplement, check that the manufacturer has been certified by an outside party.
The preceding list of trending supplements doesn’t include any miracle cures. If you’re looking to improve your general well-being or athletic performance, these supplements have shown they can support the body’s natural abilities.
Some of this content was published here.