Get the Edge
Specific to the sport of tennis, a long competition season combined with global travel and frequent exposure to varied climates can increase the risk of illness. In addition, a well-balanced meal plan may be a challenge for tennis players to achieve while traveling globally and being introduced to unfamiliar cuisines. For these reasons, supplements may prove beneficial for enhancing the immune system, aiding recovery, and providing adequate amounts of essential nutrients. Taking supplements can be risky under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program. Read below for important advice and resources. Supplements are additional to your regular diet and may not be required if you have a balanced nutrition plan. Most supplements can be grouped into the following three categories:
1. Dietary Supplements are used to help meet increased nutritional demands, especially when the diet is inadequate and during times of heavy training, illness, injury and constant travel. (Examples: multi-vitamins, calcium, iron, vitamin D).
- Used to compensate for a less-than adequate diet.
- Can be used to help meet nutritional demands of some athletes especially during times of heavy training, illness, or injury.
2. Sport Supplements are products that meet physiological and nutritional needs to assist in sports performance. (Examples: sports bars, drinks, and gels).
- Intended to supplement the diet rather than a sole source of nutrition.
- Usually a convenient way to get nutrients in an athletic setting.
3. Ergogenic Aids means “performance enhancing,” this refers to any substance that provides a mental or physical edge while completing work. (Examples: creatine, caffeine, sodium bicarbonate).
- Caution towards ergogenic aids is based upon poor regulatory laws (ie. Not monitored by the FDA) and limited research of the long term health effects.
“Friendship is like vitamins, we supplement each other’s minimum daily requirements”. (author unknown)
Are supplements that contain a combination of vitamins and/or minerals in amounts that are recommended intake levels. The three most common nutrients that are most deficient in athletic women are the following.
Iron is a mineral that is essential to human physiology. A deficiency of iron limits oxygen delivery to cells, resulting in fatigue, poor work performance, and decreased immunity. Women of childbearing age are at greatest risk of developing iron deficiency because of their need for iron. These women may include: Pregnant women, women with heavy menstrual cycles, teenage girls and athletic women. Iron supplements support women at times of risk. A physician or dietitian must determine if iron is needed, prior to taking iron supplements. Iron levels should be closely monitored throughout treatment by your physician or sports dietitian.
Ninety nine percent of the body's calcium supply is stored in the bones and teeth where it supports their structure and function. Inadequate intakes of dietary calcium from “food sources” don’t cause obvious symptoms in the short term. Over the long term, inadequate calcium intake causes osteopenia (‘thinning’ bones) which if untreated can lead to osteoporosis (‘brittle’ bones). A calcium supplement supports the daily needs of individuals who have insufficient daily calcium intake.
Vitamin D is a vitamin that facilitates calcium absorption to maintain bone health and prevent fractures. The body makes vitamin D when skin is directly exposed to the sun, and most people meet at least some of their vitamin D needs this way. Cloudy days, shade, sun screen and having dark-colored skin, reduce the amount of vitamin D the skin makes. Tennis players who cover their bodies with sunscreen or clothing should include good sources of vitamin D in their diets or take a supplement.
In 2006 the WTA entered into an agreement with USANA Health Sciences to provide vitamins, minerals and other nutritional supplements to Full and Associate members, free of charge. The WTA program is comprehensive providing consultation with a Sports Dietitian to individualized players health and performance dietary recommendations. USANA guarantees that products supplied to WTA players under their Athlete Guarantee Program are free of substances on the WADA prohibited list.
USANA products available to players are:
Core Mineral: USANA’s Core Mineral supplement is a premium blend of a broad range of essential minerals designed to not only optimally nourish your cells but also support long term health and performance.
Vita-Antioxidant: USANA’s Vita-Antioxidant delivers a wide range of essential vitamins and co-factors needed for optimal health and performance. It contains a large range of antioxidants to assist in defending against oxidative stress (imbalance between free radical production and the body’s ability to combat free radicals). It is most effective when taken together with the Core Mineral.
Booster C: This blend of Vitamin C, Zinc, black elderberry, and Echinacea is shown to support healthy immune defenses.
Active Calcium: USANA’s active Calcium supplement contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D to optimize bone strength and structure.
Procosa: USANA’s Procosa is a blend of glucosamine, manganese and Vitamin C which are the building blocks for healthy cartilage. Procosa helps maintain healthy cartilage, joints and full range of motion by building fluids to lubricate and cushion joints.
Probiotic: Probiotic dietary supplements replenish beneficial micro flora (good gut bacteria), which can help restore a proper gut bacteria balance and to promote healthy digestion.
Biomega: USANA’s BiOmega supplement is produced from cold-water, deep-sea fish oils and contains a balanced concentrated daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for memory and leaning. They also support function of the following systems: cardiovascular, immune, musculoskeletal, and nervous system.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for calcium and phosphorus absorption into the body to maintain bone health and prevent fracture. Vitamin D can be absorbed by sun exposure, 20 minutes per day. The appropriate Vitamin D supplementation regime for tennis players is dependent upon blood test results. Players should undergo blood tests to determine if vitamin D supplementation is necessary. (USANA and the WTA recommend taking Vitamin D only under the supervision of a physician or sports dietitian).
Pure Rest: Pure Rest is USANA’s fast-acting, ultra-pure melatonin supplement that is both safe and effective. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles. The strongest scientific evidence for use of melatonin is for treatment of jet lag and certain sleep disorders related to disturbances in sleep and wake cycles. Pure Rest is NOT a sleeping pill and is not habit forming. (USANA and the WTA recommend taking Pure Rest only under the supervision of a physician).
IRON 28 & 65: Iron is an essential mineral that is part of a blood protein called hemoglobin. The three key functions are:
1. Transport and storage of oxygen.
2. Energy production and cell diffusion.
3. Immune and central nervous system function.
Iron deficiency has adverse consequences on aerobic work performance, immune function and psychomotor development. Players should get blood tests done to determine if iron supplementation is necessary. (USANA and the WTA recommend taking IRON 28 or 65 only under the supervision of a physician or sports dietitian).
- The use of supplements can be risky and players are held strictly responsible under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program for all supplements that they take, including vitamins or minerals.
- It is the player’s responsibility to check the WADA prohibited list to determine if supplements are clean. If they contain a banned substance, players must apply for and receive a TUE before taking it.
- USANA guarantees that products supplied to WTA players under their Athlete Guarantee Program are free of substances on the WADA prohibited list. A list of other supplements certified to be free of Prohibited Substances can be found here: http://info.nsf.org/Certified/BannedSub/listings.asp.
- Be careful! Not all the ingredients may be listed on the bottle and no resource can protect you completely.
- Visit the USADA site for important advisories and a list of high risk supplements (https://www.usada.org/substances/supplement-411/)
- See a physician or a Sports Dietitian prior to taking a supplement
NOTE: There are certain risks that go along with many supplements, so do your research and consult a physician or a Sports Dietitian to determine what is right for you.
Remember, why take the risk when you can work hard, eat right, and earn your success!
For more information read Physically Speaking topics “Vitamin D”, “Revitalize” and “Sleep Easy”.
The contents of the Health site are for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, psychiatric, psychological, health care or health management advice. The materials herein are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.