Sports supplements and vitamins: Should I take them or not?
In the pursuit of quick weight loss and building relief, trainers and their students supplement their diets with sports supplements. We decided to find out from experts whether they are necessary.
Protein is one of the essential supplements. It is necessary for the growth and repair of all body cells, the primary building material for the body, necessary to maintain and grow muscle mass. Protein deficiency in the diet is quite a common problem.
Many people think that protein is an artificial supplement, but it is not. Protein is entirely natural. It can be dairy, egg, meat, soy, or wheat.
Protein intake is calculated based on body weight and exercise level. It is important to note that it is best to take protein from different sources: milk, meat, and eggs. This will ensure that you get the most diverse amino acid composition. Preference should be given to proteins of animal origin because their biological value is much higher than that of plant proteins. An intake of protein can replace one meal during the day. An adult in normal living conditions requires, on average, 1.3-1.4 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight per day, and in physical activity, 1.5 g or more (about 2-2.5 g for athletes). It is about 96-132 g per day for men and 82-92 g for women. However, remember that at one meal, it is difficult to absorb more than 30 g of protein for the human body.
Do not worry about taking protein supplements. It will not make you gain weight. Overweight most often appears due to excess calories - usually at the expense of excess consumption of carbohydrates.
Who needs it?
Protein supplementation is necessary for those who don't get enough protein from food. These may be people on diets and athletes who need more protein for adequate exercise and muscle recovery. Proteins are taken between meals throughout the day. Dilute the powder with milk or water. The mixture may sometimes replace a meal, such as an afternoon snack or a late dinner.
Now you can buy it in sports stores, online, or in health food stores in the form of dry powder.
Since protein is protein, the worst side effect of an overdose can lead to kidney damage. Symptoms of a protein overdose can be digestive problems: bloating or diarrhea. Also, those who are allergic to lactose should be careful.
Amino Acids and BCAAs
Amino acids are found in protein. Note that breaking protein down to amino acids is a slow and energy-consuming process that takes up to 20-25% of protein. Because of this, we absorb fewer nutrients than we eat. The advantage of amino acid supplements is that they do not need to be derived from protein - they are ready to be absorbed.
BCAAs are amino acids with branched side chains. These include the three essential amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are vital for muscle repair and building. It's a complex of amino acids that help boost the immune system. Training is stressful for the body, and that's why BCAAs are so crucial in training-they to give your muscles energy and speed up their recovery.
Who needs it?
Taking amino acids is essential for those who actively train because BCCAs gives strength and energy. It is one of the most popular supplements among bodybuilders and athletes in other fields. You probably do not need this supplement if you do not have intense physical activity. Adjusting your diet and including more protein, 50 animal (eggs, dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, seafood), and 50% plant-based (nuts, soybeans, legumes) or a protein supplement is better than using amino acids. BCAA is necessary for those who care about muscle growth and preservation, quality, and strength. We can recommend adding amino acids to the diet for Athletes, but more often, this is the exception than the rule.
Gainer is a protein with a large number of carbohydrates added. It is the most caloric product of all sports nutrition supplements. It is relevant for those suffering from weight deficits and who want to build it up quickly.
Gainers are actively used in many sports for recovery before and after workouts. Before - to prepare for exercise, after - to recover and build muscle mass. On non-workout days, gainers can replace one meal. This supplement allows you to replenish protein and carbohydrate deficiencies quickly.
From a nutritional standpoint, it's healthier to get these components from foods or to combine protein in supplement form and carbohydrates from regular foods. When formulating a diet for muscle growth, we need to balance the amount of protein and the right fats (vegetable oils, fatty fish, nuts, and avocados). Carbohydrates in gainers can often be a source of gaining fat, not muscle. Be careful with gainers and control the dynamics of your body composition.
Who needs it?
Those who want to build up body mass quickly. Most often, these are professional athletes. It is worth bearing in mind that the intake of gainer should be combined with physical exertion, and a trainer and a doctor should calculate the dosage.
Creatine is a substance that provides your muscles with energy during intensive exercise.
Creatine is most often used by people engaged in strenuous physical labor because it increases muscle work productivity and delays fatigue.
Who needs it?
Those who are engaged in power and high-speed sports, including professional athletes.
Vitamins and minerals
Sports vitamins are different from their pharmacy counterparts. The main difference: all substances in sports supplements are contained in higher concentrations. Small concentrations of vitamins and minerals for actively exercising people are ineffective.
Any vitamins and micronutrients can be taken from a properly formulated diet. A cup of espresso or a candy bar with nuts and dried fruit will help you regain strength before a workout. Drinking while working out is essential to maintain water balance and avoid dehydration. You should not worry and switch to isotonic (water with increased salts and minerals). Ordinary water is enough. Only during preparations for marathons or serious competitions do we allow the use of isotonic, salt tablets, or energy liquid gels. But only after determining the state of health, the nature of loads and training, and the individual characteristics of the body's reaction to such supplements.
The primary role of vitamins in the body is the regulation of metabolism. Thanks to vitamins, all processes in our body occur promptly and without failure.
Those on a diet have an active lifestyle and experience severe physical exertion.
If you want to receive the most from vitamins, take a blood test. However, the limits of the norm are highly averaged - the deficiency of any vitamin in the analysis is not necessarily a sign of pathology in a particular person. In any case, in different periods of life, it makes sense to compensate for the lack of a specific vitamin in the body. In the fall and winter, people, for example, lack sun and vitamin D, folic acid is essential for women of childbearing age, vitamin B12 is prescribed for vegetarians, and magnesium - people who experience increased physical activity.
Must-have supplements include:
- Fish oil is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, which provide many benefits to the body. Fish oil is noted for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is the trendiest supplement today, and companies are investing a lot of money in research, so the research base is large. Omega-3 fatty acids normalize metabolism, protect the heart, help fats oxidize more vigorously, and help control inflammation. It's easier to list what fish oil doesn't do.
- Vitamin and mineral complex. People who exercise regularly need plenty of vitamins and minerals in their diet. And since it is impossible to get enough vitamins and minerals from regular food, vitamin and mineral will be a great solution to the problem.
- Glutamine plays a vital role in the recovery of the body. Glutamine removes excess ammonia, which can accumulate during intense exercise, and also helps regulate your body's acid-alkaline balance.
- Carnitine (L-carnitine) - burns fat cells, pushing your body to use them as an energy source during intense exercise.
- Taurine is an amino acid that helps cells retain water molecules, increasing their volume. Increased hydration leads to accelerated protein synthesis. One significant consequence is the gain of muscle mass.
- Glucosamine is a natural supplement derived from shellfish. Studies show that regular glucosamine sulfate intake can reduce the collagen (joint tissue) degradation rate, alleviating osteoarthritis symptoms. Although glucosamine is comparable to acetaminophen (the reference drug for treating osteoarthritis), its benefits are not always unequivocal.
- Caffeine - improves strength and endurance during exercise. Daily use develops an addictive habit, so any stimulants should not be carried away. However, it works and is a base of many pre-training complexes together with creatine.