Übertrainiert - so unterstützen Sie Ihren Körper auf natürliche Weise

Treiben Sie viel Sport und trainieren gerne hart und reizen Ihre Grenzen aus? Ob Profisportler oder Hobbyathlet, wir alle haben unserer unterschiedlichen Limits und benötigen Erholungsphasen um unseren Körper nicht zu überlasten. Die besten Athleten nehmen Erholungsphasen, Schlaf, Ernährung und andere regenerative Maßnahmen ebenso wichtig wie das eigentliche Training. 

Im folgenden beschreiben unserer Partner von BioCare welchen negativen Auswirkungen Übertraining (sog. OTS Overtraining Syndrome) auf den Körper und unsere Gesundheit haben kann. Weiterhin geben Sie Tips zu Ruhephasen sowie insbesondere auch wie Sie die Regeneration und volle Leistungsfähigkeit durch Ernährung unterstützen können. (Read the full article in english!)


Whether you are an athlete and have been training for years, or have just started exercising, we all have our limits. Exercise can be beneficial through many aspect, from decreasing body fat and increasing bone density,[i] through to improving immune function[ii] and mental health.[iii] Exercise itself is a stimulation in which the body must adapt to, for example by increasing heart rate. However, if the body is not adequately nourished and rested, it can fail to adapt.


Overtraining Syndrome (OTS) is a prolonged maladaptation to exercise, which occurs when the volume and intensity of exercise exceeds recovery capacity. Incidence rates are estimated to be 7-20% per training session and higher for endurance sports and elite athletes.[iv] Symptoms of overtraining syndrome can include decreased performance, immune suppression and increased rates of infection, fatigue, altered mood, sleep disturbances, slow recovery, and increased incidence of injuries, to name a few.


When we exercise, several processes take place which can all play a role in our stamina and training ability:

  • Energy metabolism - where the food we consume is converted into the usable form of energy, ATP. Undereating is a common occurrence in OTS, which makes it difficult for the body to meet energy and nutrient requirements for repair. If there is insufficient food intake or the length and intensity of exercise exceeds energy reserves, this can contribute to fatigue, affecting sport performance as well as recovery.
  • Oxidative stress is a process which can be induced by increased training loads. It is required for adaptation to exercise. Too much oxidative stress can lead to cellular damage for example via actively damaging mitochondria, our energy producing cells, potentially reducing energy production and contributing to fatigue.[v]
  • Tissue damage is necessary to stimulate adaptation in response to exercise. However, chronic damage and injury are detrimental to health and performance.
  • Gut permeability increases during exercise to allow direct transport of immunoglobulins and carbohydrate into the blood stream.[vi] However, long-term permeability can contribute to inflammation and reduced immunity.
  • Higher intensity exercise can also affect gut health via contributing to symptoms such as acid reflux, increased gastrointestinal motility and diarrhoea, inflammation and poor nutrient absorption and the production of toxins by bacteria (endotoxemia), all of which can further affect training ability.

Here are a few ways in which you can prevent and reduce the symptoms of overtraining:

  • Rest one day every week and use alternating hard and easier days of training,[vii] such as doing lighter exercise like yoga, stretching and swimming between higher intensity training days. Try to avoid more than three hard training sessions in a row.
  • Adjust training volume and intensity based on performance and mood, and abstain from training following infection, heat stroke or periods of high stress.[viii]
  • Consume 20-30g of protein, with carbohydrates, as soon as possible after exercising to support muscle glycogen synthesis.[ix] Branch chain amino acids decrease during exercise.[x] Whey protein contains a high concentration of these amino acids, especially L-leucine,[xi] which stimulates protein synthesis and muscle repair.[xii]
  • Magnesium can reduce muscle cramps[xiii] and insomnia,[xiv] promote protein synthesis,[xv] and protect against oxidative stress.[xvi]Zinc supports muscle repair, immunity and muscle strength.[xvii] Vitamin D and vitamin C can also support reducing inflammation and may aid recovery from injury via supporting muscle repair. [xviii],[xix]. Read more about the "miracle mineral" here.
  • B vitamins are involved in energy production and can improve fatigue[xx] and psychological stress.[xxi] Vitamin B5 is required for cortisol, adrenaline and testosterone synthesis.[xxii] Folate contributes to normal blood formation, normal homocysteine metabolism, normal psychological function and helps reduce tiredness and fatigue.
  • Rehydrate – fluid and electrolyte loss occurs during exercise through sweating. If not replenished, this can result in dehydration, which can lead to an increase in body temperature, increased heart rate and potentially reduced cognitive function.[xxv] Following intense activity, consider also replenishing the electrolytes sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.[xxvi][xxvii]
  • Omega 3 fatty acids can decrease inflammatory aspects of overtraining and help prevent muscle-wasting.[xxviii] Flavonoids, such as those found in grapeseed or cherry extracts, can also modulate inflammation,[xxix],[xxx] reduce oxidative stress, and aid muscle recovery after exercise.[xxxi] Read more about Omega3 here.
  • Probiotics could also be beneficial for recovery and have been proven advantageous for improving digestive functioning in endurance athletes and reducing the risk of infection.[xxxii], [xxxiii],[xxxiv] Supplementation of probiotics has also been shown to reduce endotexemia by 36.8% athletes.[xxxv] Read more about the benefits of probiotics for endurance athletes here.
  • Plant chemicals such as curcumin from turmeric or proanthocyanadins from pine bark also have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin can provide substantial relief from the joint inflammation and muscle pain associated w. overtraining.
  • Track your Heart Rate Variability (HRV) to monitor stress levels and recovery from training. You can use a phone app, wearable strap or ring to do so. HRV measures the variability between heart beats. A low HRV indicates the presence of stress, inflammation and the need for recovery. A high HRV signifies the body’s ability to manage, adapt and recover from stressful stimulation and exercise.

Supporting your body’s recovery after exercising by providing sufficient nutrients and allowing time for rest and repair is crucial for preventing OTS. It is important to remember this does take time and requires lots of resources, so ensure that your body is fully nourished and hydrated. For regular high intensity exercise, your nutrient requirements can increase, so nourishment through diet alone may not be enough. Making sure you’re supplementing with the correct nutrients, via individual supplements or a good quality multinutrient, could help to prevent deficiency and future problems.

[i]  Rantalainen T, et al. Differential effects of exercise on tibial shaft marrow density in young female athletes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013;98(5):2037-44.

[ii] Walsh NP et al. Position statement. Part one: Immune function and exercise. Exerc Immunol Rev.2011;17:6-63.

[iii] Gerber M, et al. Aerobic exercise training and burnout: a pilot study with male participants suffering from burnout. BMC Res Notes. 2013 Mar 4;6:78.

[iv] Raglin, Morgan. Development of a scale for use in monitoring training-induced distress in athletes. Int J Sports Med. 1994; 15(2): 84-8.

[v] Knez WL, et al. The Effect of an Increased Training Volume on Oxidative Stress.Int J Sports Med. 2013 Jul 9.

[vi] Yeh YJ, Law LY, Lim CL. Gastrointestinal response and endotoxemia during intense exercise in hot and cool environments. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Jun;113(6):1575-83.

[vii] Lehmann MJ, et al. Training and overtraining: an overview and experimental results in endurancesports..J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 1997, 37(1): 7-17.

[viii] Kreher JB, Schwartz JB. Overtraining syndrome: a practical guide. Sports Health. 2012, 4(2): 128-38.

[ix]Ivy J, et al. Muscle glycogen synthesis after exercise: effect of time of carbohydrate ingestion. Journal of Applied Physiology April 1, 1988 vol. 64 no. 4 1480-1485.

[x] Budgett et al. Redefining the overtraining syndrome as the unexplained underperformance syndrome. Br J Sports Med. 2000; 34: 67-68.

[xi] Walzem et al. Whey components. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2002; 42: 353-75.

[xii] Layman, Walker. Potential importance of leucine in treatment of obesity and the metabolic syndrome. J Nutr.2006; 136: 319S-323S.

[xiii] Roffe et al. Randomised, cross-over, placebo controlled trial of magnesium citrate in the treatment of chronic persistent leg cramps. Med Sci Monit. 2002; 8 (5): CR326-30.

[xiv] Hornyak et al. Magnesium therapy for periodic leg movements-related insomnia and restless legs syndrome. Sleep. 1998; 21 (5): 501-5.

[xv] Volpe. Magnesium in disease prevention and overall health. Adv Nutr. 2013; 4 (3): 378S-83S.

[xvi] Barbagallo & Dominquez. Magnesium and aging. Curr Pharm Des. 2010; 16(7): 832-9.

[xvii] Polat. Effects of zinc supplementation on hematological parameters of high performance athletes. AJPP. 2011; 5(12): 1436-40.

[xviii] Larson-Meyer. Vitamin D supplementation in athletes. Nestle Nutr Inst Worshop Ser. 2013; 75: 109-21.

[xix] Latchman. Heat shock proteins: protective effect and potential therapeutic use. Int J Mol Med. 1998; 2 (4): 375-81.

[xx] Selishchev et al. An open non-comparative study on the efficacy of an oral multivitamin combination containing calcium and magnesium on persons permanently exposed to occupational stress-predisposing factors. J Clin Res. 1998; 1: 303-15.

[xxi] Schlebusch et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, double-centre study of the effects of an oral multivitamin-mineral combination on stress. S Afr Med J. 2000; 90: 1216-23.

[xxii] 31 Yamamoto et al. Effects of pantothenic acid on testicular function in male rats. J Vet Med Sci. 2009; 71 (11): 1427-32.

[xxv] Armstrong, L.E. (2007). Assessing hydration status: the elusive gold standard. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 26(5), 575S-584S.

[xxvi] Merson SJ, Maughan RJ, Shirreffs SM. Rehydration with drinks differing in sodium concentration and recovery from moderate exercise-induced hypohydration in man. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2008 Jul;103(5):585-94. Epub 2008 May 8.

[xxvii] Sejersted OM, Sjøgaard G. Dynamics and consequences of potassium shifts in skeletal muscle and heart during exercise. Physiol Rev. 2000 Oct;80(4):1411-81

[xxviii] Fearon et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study of eicosapentaenoic acid diester in patients with cancer cachexia. J Clin Oncol. 2006; 24 (21): 3401-7.

[xxix] Welton et al. Effect of flavonoids on arachidonic acid metabolism. Prog Clin Biol Res. 1986; 213: 231-42.

[xxx] Chacon. Grape-seed procyanidins modulate inflammation on human differentiated adipocytes in vitro. Cytokine. 2009; 47 (2): 137-42.

[xxxi] Kuehl. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomised controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010; 7: 17.

[xxxii] Lamprecht M et al. Probiotic supplementation affects markers of intestinal barrier, oxidation, and inflammation in trained men; a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. J IntSoc Sports Nutr. 2012 Sep 20;9(1):45.

[xxxiii]Gleeson M, et al. Daily probiotic’s (Lactobacillus caseiShirota) reduction of infection incidence in athletes. Int J Sport NutrExercMetab. 2011 Feb;21(1):55-64.

[xxxiv] West, NP, et al. Lactobacillus fermentum (PCC®) supplementation and gastrointestinal and respiratory tract illness symptoms: a randomised control trial in athletes Int J Nutr Exerc Metab 2007;7;352-363.

[xxxv] Roberts, J.D, et al. An Exploratory Investigation of Endotoxin Levels in Novice Long Distance Triathletes, and the Effects of a Multi-Strain Probiotic/Prebiotic, Antioxidant Intervention. Nutrients, 2016:8 (733).

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