Performance enhancers (AKA – ergogenics) are substances, tools, or methods that improve an individual’s energy use, production, or recovery.
The focus here will be on substances. Notably, natural substances are not banned by any professional sports committee.
The following five natural performance enhancers have been scientifically proven with studies done on humans and animals that resulted in either boosted energy, power, stamina, endurance, strength, or recovery time.
These natural performance enhancers are not well-known or have even been heard of by many people. This article is to show athletes or anyone interested in boosting their athletic performance that there are natural and legal substances that can help them in this department.
Five Natural Performance Enhancers Not Many Are Aware Of
The first of the natural performance enhancers is Maral Root (Rhaponticum carthamoides), also known as Russian Leuzea, is an adaptogenic herb that is said to help counter the catabolic state (catabolic could mean loss of muscle, joint pain, muscle pain, etc.) when a person is put under too much physical stress.
Substances extracted from Maral Root have also shown anabolic (anabolic means bone or muscle growth) characteristics in clinical studies.
The clinical studies were done on people who were given saponins (saponins are a soap-like substance created after a plant is shaken after being put in a liquid solution) extracted from Maral Root and were put under aerobic (stamina, endurance, etc.) and anaerobic (power, speed, etc.) physical training.
After three weeks, the individuals in the study group lost fat and gained muscle.
Studies were also conducted on rats. They were given a component found in Maral root called “phytiexdizone-exdisterone” for seven days. The result was that the rats gained weight, and their protein levels increased in numerous vital organs.
Maral Root has been used in the Far East for medicinal purposes for 1000’s years. It was referred to as “carrying a man and filling him with youth.”
In the early 20th century, the USSR got wind of the ergogenic potential (athletic enhancement capabilities) of this adaptogen and began researching it.
Maral Root (Leuzea) was so good that the top politicians of the old Soviet Union used it regularly, as well as their astronauts and Olympic athletes.
It has been proven to contain active anabolic-producing substances. Particularly, the substances are called “ecdysteroids,” mainly ecdysterone.
A more recent study published in May 2019 that was done on humans where they were given ecdysterone has proven that it does provide an anabolic effect as well as boost athletic performance.
Maral Root also helps you to recover faster from intensive workouts.
Recommended Dosage: 1 to two teaspoons per day. (See Video)
Octacosanol is the most important part of the policosanol family and is universalized as an active component found in wheat germ oil. You can also find it in sugarcane wax and spinach.
Studies have shown that octacosanol is an anti-fatigue substance that can build stamina and improve exercise abilities.
Another study that was conducted on rats while they ran until exhausted on a treadmill implied that octacosanol might be an ergogenic aid because it maintained high levels of muscle glycogen storage in the rats, as well as increased the oxygen capacity in their muscles.
Further studies have mentioned that, along with its numerous health benefits, it also enhances athletic performance.
Athletes swear by octacosanol, claiming that it helps them helps increase speed and strength and improve reaction time.
Recommended Dosage: For best results, use 50 milligrams per day.
Epicatechin is one of the better natural performance enhancers that has so much potential. It is a flavanol that can be found in abundance in dark chocolate.
Studies done on humans discovered that it increases the level of nitric oxide. What this means is that by using epicatechin, your body will get more oxygen in the blood, better blood flow, better muscle pump, more nutrients, and more.
Nitric oxide is a vital molecule produced by your body. Finding ways to increase it is a win-win.
Another benefit of epicatechin is that it inhibits myostatin, a protein known to stop muscle growth.
Simultaneously, it increases follistatin, a protein known to increase muscle growth. So, you get a double-bang performance enhancement benefit.
A British study published in 2016 said that if you eat dark chocolate (I mentioned epicatechin in a previous article on the benefits of dark chocolate) daily, it can increase your athletic performance.
Of course, this is due to the epicatechin content found in the chocolate, which the study proved it increases your nitric oxide production.
It is best to use a supplement if you intend to use it.
Betaine is a nutrient found in many foods such as shellfish, beetroots, wheat germ, and spinach. It was originally discovered in the 19th century in sugar beets.
One of its main benefits is that it protects cells, enzymes, and proteins found in your body from all kinds of stress. It is a fantastic nutrient that not many people know of.
Studies show that betaine can boost athletic performance for anaerobic and aerobic metabolism. This means it can enhance stamina, endurance, strength, and power.
Betaine also can create creatine in your body, which, according to the studies above, will make you feel less tired, recover faster, and much more.
In another experiment, 12 men were given betaine while doing high-intensity workouts, such as bench presses, squats, and jumping exercises. The results showed an increase in strength and power, particularly in the vertical jump and the squat exercise.
In yet another study done with college students, they supplemented with betaine for 15 days while undergoing exercise testing. The results showed that muscle endurance had increased.
In another study, it showed that betaine could even improve anaerobic power with cycling sprinting.
Recommended Dosage: 1,000 to 6,000 milligrams per day for people that work out or exercise. (See video above)
Shilajit has an interesting history. It is a tar-like substance that seeps out of cracks of rocks from the Himalayas and Caucasus mountains, especially during hot temperatures.
As legend has it, it was accidentally discovered by Himalayan villagers who saw large white monkeys coming during the hot summer months to chew on shilajit as it seeped from the rocks.
The monkeys appeared to have incredible strength and fantastic knowledge of the unusual substance. They started to use it themselves and were shocked by its numerous health benefits.
Shilajit is a booster of cognition, among its many other health benefits. Its antioxidant power is stronger than that found in blueberries.
However, not many people are aware of its performance enhancement benefits.
In an eight-week study, 63 men were put through isokinetic leg exercises while supplementing with 500 mg of shilajit. The results showed that even after exercising to fatigue, they retained their maximum muscle strength.
Another clinical study done on healthy men between the ages of 45 and 55, where they were given 250 mg two times a day for 90 days showed that it increased their testosterone levels.
Recommended Dosage: use 300 to 500 mg per day.
The five natural performance enhancers mentioned in this article are all safe to take, are legal, and have all been backed by studies done on humans.
Interestingly, not many people are aware of their athletic performance-enhancing benefits.
Want to become a better athlete naturally and legally? Look no further; these five natural performance enhancers will help you run faster, jump higher, speed up recovery, and more.
However, no matter what, you still need to put in the required training to be your best. These five substances will help you along the way.
As with anything you plan on using, you should consult your medical provider if you feel the need to do so.