Supplements for Swimmers

view of male swimmers at the start of a race
Male swimmers about to race. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Success in swimming requires hard work, dedication, significant practice time in the pool and eating a nutritious diet. Like all athletes, swimmers need to consume a balanced diet to help promote muscle function, exercise recovery and stamina. In addition to a healthy diet, taking certain supplements for swimmers may boost performance. Like all supplements, talk to your doctor before beginning a supplement regimen.

Creatine

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound in your muscle that helps them work during short but intense activities like competitive swimming. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, supplemental creatine aids athletic performance in sports with short bursts of intensity. However, UMMC notes that creatine has potential side effects such as kidney stone formation and poor production of natural creatine. They advise athletes to consume 2 to 5 g of creatine monohydrate daily to notice a benefit.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is a popular supplement in the bodybuilding community. However, consuming protein after workouts is essential for swimmers as well, the Australian Institute of Sport reports. Consuming dietary protein after training or competition can boost muscle recovery -- making you stronger next time you're in the pool. Whey protein mixed with water is a good choice for post-exercise recovery because it's convenient and helps in rehydration.

Vitamin C

Some swimmers find training on back-to-back days challenging because they suffer from sore muscles. Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro published research in a 2006 issue of the "International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism" which reported that supplementing with 3 g of daily vitamin C reduced the incidence of muscle soreness in a group of athletes.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that shields your muscles from the damage caused by oxidation. Oxidation is a natural byproduct of metabolism that destroys your body's healthy cells. Exercising increases levels of oxidation in your body. Getting adequate vitamin E may enhance athletic performance by reducing the recovery time between bouts of exercise, Rice University reports. RU advises athletes to consume 15 International Units of vitamin E per day from food or supplements.

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