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Importance of Protein and Vitamin D for Athletes

Studies have shown that professional athletes need much protein to sustain their performance. This is especially true for sports that require athletes to have more muscle mass, such as bodybuilding and boxing. However, it can be tricky to know how much protein that you need as a professional athlete. Protein is the building block of…

Studies have shown that professional athletes need much protein to sustain their performance. This is especially true for sports that require athletes to have more muscle mass, such as bodybuilding and boxing. However, it can be tricky to know how much protein that you need as a professional athlete. Protein is the building block of our body and it’s consisted of different amino acids. Protein is essential to make tendons, muscles, bone and various tissues inside our body. Studies have shown that professional athletes require more protein compared to those who have sedentary lifestyle. Protein is essential for repairing and rebuilding our damaged muscles. It also optimizes the storage of carbohydrate. On average, athletes need to consume 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight.

So, an athlete who weighs 100kg will need 170 grams of protein each day. For better absorption, it should be separated into six meals that are roughly spaced 2 hours apart. It means that each of your meal should contain nearly 30 grams of protein. Endurance athletes should consume more protein than strength athletes as a way to prevent protein catabolism. The demand of high endurance on our body can be quite extreme, so you need to prevent the catabolic state. Your body enters catabolic state when it starts to break down muscles. When it happens, risks of injuries will be higher and your immune system will degrade. So, regardless of your type of sports, it will be safe to keep protein consumption at 1.7 grams per kilogram of bodyweight each day.

You may get protein from difference sources and it’s often recommended to get your protein from fish, eggs and red meat. Protein supplements are also available, if you want to get enough protein, but want to limit calories intake. Other sources of protein include cheese, skinless chicken breast and lean ground turkey. Protein-rich fish include cod, pollock, flounder, salmon, swordfish, sea bass and tuna.

Other than protein, athletes should also get enough vitamin D. During summer months, it is a good opportunity to absorb more sunlight and let our body produces vitamin D. One factor that athletes need to focus on is that they should have good immune system. Significant physical activity may reduce immune system, as out body is stressed. T-cells are needed by our body to seek and destroy potential harmful foreign invaders that enter our body.

Vitamin D is needed to activate T-cells in our body and to enable them to start looking for external pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria. So, if you don’t have enough vitamin D, T-cells in your body will remain dormant and unaware of the possibility of foreign threats. When T-cells are exposed to foreign pathogens, they will extend a receptor that looks for vitamin D. Once vitamin D is found, T-cells will be activated and start attacking pathogens. If you don’t have enough vitamin D in your blood, T-cells won’t be able to mobilize and your immune system will suffer. If you get ill, your sports performance will decline.

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