Find out how the British Sailing Team used supplements to support the sailors’ recovery and immunity strategy at Rio 2016.
During the British Sailing Team's preparations for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, the team received various reports about the water quality at the Brazilian venue. For this reason, Paul Mullan, the team's Head of Sport Science and Sport Medicine, chose to look to supplements to support the sailors' recovery and immunity strategy.
The Rio 2016 organisers expressed their concerns about water pollution in the sailing venue, but they assured competitors that the Games would be delivered on time.
The main cause of the problem was that about 48% of sewage pumped into the Guanabara Bay is untreated. Mario Andrada, the Rio 2016 Director of Communications, said that 'it [the state of the sailing venue] is a concern because the water is not fully clean, but it will be safe for the Olympics.'
However, this did not reassure the sailors who noted seeing floating debris and dead animals in the water when they competed in the Rio test event the previous August. Reports in December also highlighted another issue of drug-resistant 'super-bacteria' being found in the water. Additionally, Brazilian government officials announced in January that they would miss their target of an 80% reduction in water pollution by the start of the Olympics.
Paul's nutrition and supplement strategy for the sailors supported their diet to combat any illness they were in danger of coming across during the Games, which could potentially end their hopes of a medal. Alongside multivitamins and probiotics, omega 3 was considered by Paul to be a daily essential.
'Omega 3 fish oils have been shown to have so many different effects from promoting adaptation, preventing muscle breakdown, supporting cognitive function and supporting immune function, so it's a great all round supplement to take on a daily basis', he said.
The health benefits of omega 3 reach beyond elite level athletes, playing a supporting role in the normal function of the brain and heart, as well as contributing to the normal maintenance of vision.
Paul explained that 'ideally we'd consume enough omega 3 through our diet in the form of oily fish, however only a third of the population manage to meet the recommended amount, with many eating none at all. We believe that nutrients best come from a balanced diet, but in the situation where a deficiency exists, supplements provide an effective way of bridging this gap.'
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