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Athletes looking to optimize their ability to cope with the warmer temperatures during strenuous physical activity can benefit from supplementation. Electrolyte loss, free radical formation and the need for biochemical participants like vitamins and minerals is heavily increased. At minimum, athletes should consume a complete multi-vitamin/mineral supplement containing generous amounts of basic antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E. This should also contain adequate amounts of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and chloride. Active athletes finding it difficult to maintain their body weight during the summertime will find a weight gainer indispensable. Those in need of an energy boost should give energy bars and carbohydrate powders/drinks a whirl. When it comes to protein, there is no question that demands are increased under the extra stress of exercising in the heat. A recent study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found branched-chain amino acid supplementation could prolong moderate exercise performance in the heat. Branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are anti-catabolic essential aminos which are in high demand anytime the body undergoes physical stress. Alternatively, a high quality protein powder with added branched-chain amino acids can be taken.
Many experienced athletes have also utilized heat acclimatization in order to minimize heat-related illnesses. Similar to your body adjusting to a change in altitude, heat acclimatization depends on the adaptive powers of the body. Over a period of 10-14 days, the athlete gradually increases the intensity and duration of the workout while in the new environment. This allows the body to respond and successfully adjust to the increased demands placed on the body by the heat.