What supplements should I take and are they safe to use?
What Are Supplements?
Dietary supplements are used for a variety of reasons. Athletes use them to improve performance. Athletes have eaten supplements from ancient times. Remember that even though supplements are usually natural substances with little danger, this is not always the case. Care should be taken when ingesting anything.
Dietary supplements are products made with one or more of the essential nutrients including herbs and botanicals. Essential nutrients include vitamins, minerals and protein. Today, supplements include a wide range of products including herbs, botanicals, amino acids, extracts from animal glands, fibers like Psyllium or Guar Gum, enzymes or even hormone-like compounds.
Care is needed when considering a supplement. The regulations on these substances and products are considerable less than with other foods. This means that it is up to the consumer to carefully read the labels and the information provided. You should also do some research before deciding on a supplement to try out. The current laws state that the FDA has to prove a product is unsafe before it is removed from the shelves. This has changed from the past when it was the responsibility of the manufacturer to prove that it was safe.
There are probably hundreds of protein supplements on the market, if not more. They are used to increase strength, energy, muscle mass, and weight loss. This supplements have been studied a lot with conflicting results. So far the supplements that show promise include creatine, amino acids and Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methylbutyrate.
Only a limited amount of protein should be consumed either right before the work out or one to two hours afterwards. More is not better in this case. If too much protein is consumed, it will be turned into fat.
Creatine is used to increase muscle creatine-phosphate within the body. This enhances performance especially with repeated, high-intensity exercise as opposed to longer, low-intensity exercise. There are a number of side effects or potential side effects that are feared from prolonged used of creatine, but none have been proven as of yet. The potential side effects include muscle cramps, headaches, diarrhea, Gastrointestinal pain and even kidney failure.
There are a number of other supplements that are used. Androstenedione, DHEA and Tryptophan have potentially dangerous side effects. The first supplement is a steroid and DHEA increases the amount of steroids produced. Tryptophan increases endurance and it also decreases pain perception.
Supplements with mild side effects include caffeine, carbohydrates, creatine, vitamin B6, vitamin C, Vitamin E and Zinc. The vitamins and zinc only cause mild side effects if taken in excessive doses. Supplements of HMB, protein, Pycnogenol and Vitamin B12 have no reported side effects.
The answer to the question “What supplements should I take?” depends on what you are trying to accomplish and why.