A new supplement under development may help women run faster. In a pilot study, women taking the dietary supplement, which contains three minerals, carnitine and phosphatidylserine, cut nearly a minute off the time it took them to run three miles.
How Was the Study Conducted?
The investigators timed 28 young runners covering three miles at the beginning of the study (DiSilvestro et al, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, Nov 13, 2017). They also tested these volunteers on how far they could ride on a stationary bike in 25 minutes. In addition, they measured how many times they could step on and off a bench in 90 seconds. Each woman was randomly assigned to take either the supplement or a placebo. After a month of taking the pills every day, they were tested again.
How Fast Did the Women Run?
The women on the supplement did 44 steps compared to 40 at the beginning of the month. They ran their three miles in 25.6 minutes compared to 26.5 before. Their stationary bike rides also increased, from 6 miles to 6.5 miles in 25 minutes. Those on the placebo had no noticeable change in their performance.
What Is in the Supplement That Helped Women Run Faster?
The supplement is not yet commercially available. It contains low doses of copper, iron and zinc–2 mg of copper, 36 mg iron and 15 mg zinc, all as glycinate salts. It also contains 2 gm of carnitine and 400 mg of phosphatidylserine. The scientists hypothesize that many women, even fit young women like the study subjects, don’t get optimal amounts of these minerals in their diets. Vegetarians may be at particular risk of low mineral intake. The researchers may conduct more studies to finalize the “perfect” formula before they bring the supplement to market.