The future of supplements

They might be able to improve your mile time.

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Researchers are starting to develop supplements to help athletes increase strength, build endurance, and even sprint faster. In a recent study, women who added a blend of minerals and nutrients (iron, zinc, copper, carnitine, and phosphatidylserine) to their diets for one month were able to complete a three-mile run one minute faster than before. They also cycled longer distances on stationary bikes in a set time period.

Two of the ingredients, carnitine and phosphatidylserine, are created by the body but not in optimal amounts, which is why you also need to consume them in your diet, says lead study author Robert DiSilvestro, Ph.D., professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University, who is working on developing a supplement called Vionica. Women may get some zinc and copper through multivitamins, but not enough. And multivitamins typically don’t include iron.

Workout-enhancing supplements may become commonplace in your medicine cabinet in the near future. Until then, try increasing your intake of iron, copper, zinc, carnitine (found in chicken, dairy, and seafood), and phosphatidylserine (found in organ meats, mackerel, tuna, as well as white beans and soybeans) via food sources.