Fatigue is a “state of mental or physical weakness” but this definition is still argued upon. The causes of fatigue can be listed by Exercise Psychologist but what brings fatigue, in reality, is still a question to be discussed. Fatigue can be athletic, i.e. a muscular component or mental i.e. a brain component can be involved. Mostly, athletes and sportsperson talk about muscular fatigue, which can be minimized by taking supplements or nutrients if fatigue is only muscular.
The Muscular Component
Our body produces energy when muscles work or contract due to the stored glycogen in the muscle cells. As soon as the muscle glycogen is used up, the residue, free radicals accumulate giving rise to low energy, less work and a feeling of fatigue. A decrease in lower level of Branched Amino Acid is also noticed, which are mainly responsible for maintaining the oxygen supply to the muscle cells during the workout or muscular activity.
The depletion of vital amino acid namely, leucine, isoleucine and valine contribute to low muscular contraction and feeling of weakness. Leucine gives 20% energy when an individual does prolong exercise sessions. BCAA is a basic secondary source to muscles, and they are used when the glycogen falls to the critical level. Muscular fatigue may not occur if the work is not done rapidly and free radical’s pass out when the muscle relaxes and glycogen level rises for strenuous activity.
Large muscles of our body work for a long period of time then smaller ones. It is important to note that muscles working continuously will fatigue faster than the muscle group which relaxes in between the task. When the muscle is relaxed (no contraction) then the oxygen and other nutrients travel fast to the site reliving the waste, and free radicals formed from prolonged contraction of muscle.
Muscular fatigue plus free radical accumulation changes the body physiology leading to brain fatigue.
The Brain Component
Brain gets affected from muscle fatigue because of the decreasing glycogen level which corresponds to the blood- glucose level. Blood glucose affects brain activity as the nerve cells take up energy only from the blood circulating from the brain. As the glucose in the blood lowers our brain shows signs of tiredness, slow reaction time, decreased brain activity and also sends signal’s to the body and the brain to increase the feeling of tiredness.
The exercise neurologists believe that release of free radical and accumulation signals brain to release chemicals, which cause fatigue. Our brain gets most affected by the branch chained amino acids whose low levels are critical to the body, and these levels start a series of reactions that is checked by the brain, and it releases “Fatigue neurotransmitters”. These neurotransmitters via the blood spread the feeling of tiredness and exhaustion adding up to the physical tiredness.
The connection between the brain and the muscles is increasingly pointing towards how we can delay the onset of fatigue in our daily task or any strenuous activity and avoid mental and physical tiredness.
Nutrients Vital In Avoiding Fatigue
The first nutrient is Carbohydrates, which increase the glucose level immediately. They are high-glycemic sugars that maintain blood glucose, muscle glycogen and help brain function normally in stress or strenuous exercises. Carbohydrates include different types of sugars that provide energy instantaneously and also preserve muscular fuel glycogen in the body.
Other nutrients include antioxidants such as Vitamin E and C that naturally work towards removing free radicals and help muscle’s contract over a long period of time without fatigue. They work in delivering oxygen and vital nutrient to the muscles, which reduce the critical level of muscle glycogen and keep the muscle working for more time.
Protein is also an important ingredient in the anti-tiredness diet and therefore, is particularly needed to keep fatigue at bay. The BCAA and essential amino acids provide energy to the muscles and prevent the brain to release the signals of fatigue, the primary cause of tiredness. Supplements or nutrients might not prevent fatigue but will certainly avoid it for a long time. Fuelling with essential requirements impacts the body, there is a low level of fatigue that works great in competitions, daily exercises and routine life.