When you put aside time to work out, you want to know that you got the most out of the effort you put in. That doesn’t mean going extra hard and fast – it means reaping the most mental and physical health benefits from your normal exercise, recovering effectively from the microtears naturally sustained, refuelling cellular energy levels and refreshing your neuromuscular system. And while many look to warming up, cooling down and staying hydrated, there’s one thing that’s often overlooked: missing essential vitamins.
Here are four easily-depleted vitamins that, because of their essential role in the way the body functions during and after exercise, can leave you feeling exhausted and not seeing the full extent of the physical results you work hard for. If you are concerned about your vitamin levels, we’ve also shared how you can stock up on the essentials you need or get tests to check your levels done through your GP while only paying a fraction of the upfront cost.
Magnesium is one of the most easily depleted minerals in the body, and sweating it out during exercise is a primary way that it’s lost. It is involved in almost all of the body’s major cellular processes, of which there are over 600 enzymatic reactions identified as requiring Magnesium to occur. This means that having depleted Magnesium levels can significantly impair how you function throughout the rest of the day. Magnesium is involved in:
- Regulating blood pressure and blood sugar
- Producing energy from glucose and fats
- Aiding nerve conduction, muscle contractions and protein synthesis
- Controlling heart rate
- Helping the immune system
When you’re low in Magnesium, you may feel fatigue, muscle weakness, cramps, insomnia, poor memory and a reduced ability to learn. Magnesium is also used extensively to help relieve and prevent cramps – which can also hinder your exercise progress.
Replenishing lost Magnesium through food and supplements can help improve the way you will perform for the rest of the day by helping with your cell function, energy production, muscle recovery, and reducing soreness and cramping.
- Acetyl L-Carnitine
Carnitine is essential to the process that converts your stored fat into energy for your body to use to power you through your workout. It does this by transporting your fatty acids into the powerhouse of your cells, called the mitochondria, where it is turned into energy. Its other functions include helping metabolise carbohydrates and clearing lactic acid.
During exercise, your body may require more Carnitine than it can produce. Depletions in Carnitine can leave you feeling drained both physically and mentally, as well as impair your post-workout recovery. Restoring your Carnitine levels with supplements has shown in many exercise-focused studies to:
- Help improve performance
- Help optimise energy metabolism and production
- Help reduce physical and mental fatigue
- Help reduce muscle damage and enhance recovery
This means that Carnitine optimises the biological processes occurring within your cells, as well as how you feel and the ease with which you recover after exercise. Carnitine is also used extensively to help promote brain and nerve cell function.
Curcumin has been well studied and shown to have excellent anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties that can help you feel better after a workout. Unfortunately, it has very poor bioavailability, meaning that the body does not absorb it well from the foods you eat. It is known for its benefits in:
- Decreasing joint pain, stiffness, swelling and inflammation
- Reducing both acute and chronic pain
- Helping aid circulation to reduce swelling
- Helping improve recovery from injury
As damage to muscle fibres and tissues is a natural part of every workout, effectively replenishing Curcumin helps to optimise the repair and recovery process and minimise discomfort. Otherwise, you may be left with more unexpected aches, pains and stiff joints that affect your future workouts and put a dent in your day-to-day life until the symptoms subside.
While it’s good to source your nutrients from your diet and then supplement based on your health and activity levels, specific Curcumin supplements have been shown to be 27 times more bioavailable (easily absorbed) than food-based curcumin. This makes it a worthwhile investment for anyone wanting to get the most out of their daily health and fitness.
Ginseng is cited as being one of the most studied physical-performance herbs in the world and has been used for centuries to improve energy – as well as libido. Ginseng helps the body to produce creatine, which aids the production of energy to be used by the muscles, enhancing muscle growth and recovery. As muscles become fatigued without sufficient energy, optimising this process means you keep going for longer without exhaustion. Other benefits of Ginseng may include:
- Improving cardiac function by enhancing the coronary blood flow and promoting the growth of new blood vessels
- Reducing muscle damage, inflammation and lactic acid build-up
- Reducing fatigue
- Improving hormone regulation
There are many different types of Ginseng including Asian, American, Siberian and Indian varieties. Some varieties are more potent in helping to enhance energy and stimulate the central nervous system, while others will be more effective in helping support recovery, lowering blood sugars and reducing stress.
As adding Ginseng to your diet is a conscious and daily effort, many people may struggle to replenish it – and its benefits – from their diet alone when it becomes depleted. Ginseng supplements are available and may be worthwhile considering adding to your diet, or discussing with your nutritionist or dietitian.
Boost Your Workout Now, Pay Later
When it comes to supplementing your workout with vitamins, or even getting a better idea about your nutrition needs during exercise, it’s one thing to know what to do to get that boost, but it’s another to have the funds ready and waiting to purchase those supplements from the pharmacy or make the appointment with a nutritionist, dietitian or doctor. This is where HealthNow, the world’s first Buy Now Pay Later payment platform dedicated entirely to the health and medical field, lets you access the health products and services you need now at just a fraction of the upfront cost.
HealthNow works as an intuitive app on your smartphone that lets you decide how you’d like to pay when purchasing your supplements from the pharmacy, or at your appointment with your nutritionist, dietitian or doctor. You choose how you’d like to split the cost – over up to six weeks – leaving you with just a fraction of the upfront cost on the day you purchase your supplements or attend your appointment while your provider gets paid in full by HealthNow. Unlike other payment platforms that charge health consumers fees or interest to use their service, HealthNow remains completely free to the user, ensuring not to penalise those looking after their health by charging them extra.
As purchasing supplements can be a repeated cost, HealthNow also has a specifically-designed health wallet where you and others can put away money safely to use for your health costs. This can be a great option for keeping money set aside specifically for health expenses, or family members who want to support your health and well-being. Employers can also contribute as part of an employee wellness program. Just choose the amount you’d like to contribute, and whether you want it to be a one-off or ongoing contribution.
Get Started With HealthNow Today
Getting started with HealthNow so you can maximise your workout – and your health – is free and easy. Download the app and follow the instructions to set up your account. You can also check out HealthNow’s full benefits and features, and see how it can help you access the healthcare you need in a range of aspects of your life without delay.