It is well known that the demands of football impact the immune system and place stress on the body. At any level, time lost through injury or illness can have a negative impact on football performance. Missing training days, not being able to meet the physical demands of training sessions and ill health come game-day all reduce a player’s chances of being at their best. This article will review some key supplements that can help promote a footballers’ health.
Two main fatty acids are important when supplementing with fish oil: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Both EPA and DHA are building blocks of immune cells and act as inflammatory mediators (1, 2). It is well known that there is an inflammatory response to exercise and prolonged, heavy training can cause immunosuppression (1, 2, 3, 4). Including a daily dose of omega 3 can support in normal immune function as well as post-exercise (1). In football, supplementing with omega 3 may also increase reaction time which is key to success (5) Additionally, omega 3 supplementation may reduce muscle soreness following exercise (4) and support cardiovascular health (6. 7. 8).
Science in Sport Super Strength Omega 3 contains 2g fish oil per serving, providing 1000mg EPA and 500mg DHA. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in oily fish, some seeds and nuts. Science in Sport also provides a high strength Omega 3 + Astaxanthin (a carotenoid with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties).
Including a multivitamin, alongside a varied diet, could be a useful strategy when addressing the nutritional needs of footballers’. Football training and games place stress on the body, resulting in damage and inflammation. One of the primary goals of sport nutrition is to facilitate training adaptations, through adequate nutritional intake and the provision of nutrients to the body at these times of increased need. Players undertaking exercise are often looking to drive changes in body composition, through increased exercise and reduced calorie intake, particularly during off-season and pre-season periods. This puts the individual at an increased risk of not meeting the recommended daily allowance for vitamins and minerals, as food intake is simply lower than normal. Including a daily multivitamin could be an effective method to guard against deficiencies, support athlete health and enable optimal performance outputs.
The Science in Sport Performance Multivitamin is formulated to meet 100% of the recommended daily allowance for 19 vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin D3 deficiency is common in both the general public and athletic populations (9). This may be due, in part, to: living at far northern or southern latitudes, training indoors, protective clothing, sun-screen or consciously avoiding sun exposure (10). All of these factors reduce the specific sun exposure required for the body to synthesize vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is one of the most popular daily supplements and it is associated with a number of health and performance benefits: increased cognition, immune health, bone health, muscle repair, recovery and muscle function. Studies reporting positive effects of vitamin D3 supplementation often measure performance and health benefits from correcting deficiencies (11). Vitamin D3 may have a particular benefit in immune function support (12). Research on football players has shown that players can be deficient in vitamin d (10, 13), and supplementation may be required during winter months (10, 14).
The Science in Sport Vitamin D3 is formulated with 5000iu vitamin D3 per serving.
Glucosamine is found in high concentrations within joints and connective tissues in the body, whereas chondroitin is a building block of cartilage. Supplementing with glucosamine has been shown to reduce the rate of collagen, joint tissue and bone tissue breakdown in footballers (15). Glucosamine has also shown benefit on injury rehabilitation (16), with many professional players choosing to supplement with glucosamine and chondroitin when injured.
The innovative inclusion of curcumin and black pepper extract is of particular interest with the formulation. Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric and displays anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties (17). However, curcumin has poor bioavailability, pairing this with black pepper extract can enhance the absorption and consequently increase bioavailability (18). Supplementation with curcumin has also been shown to inhibit collagenase (enzymes that break-down collagen peptides), maintaining joint health (19).
The Science in Sport Glucosamine + Chondroitin complex has been formulated with 500mg glucosamine, 200mg chondroitin, 85mg curcumin and 20mg black pepper extract.