Sports Nutrition Supplements: An Overview

These days everybody wants to look fit and active, which resulted in sports nutrition supplements becoming a multi-million dollar industry in today’s market. Effective marketing has successfully enticed people towards sports supplements, and it seems like people cannot get enough of this stuff. The topic of sports supplements is ever-evolving as more and more research is being carried out on the matter.  

What are Sports Nutrition Supplements?

Sports nutrition supplements are not just a particular drink or usual product. Instead, it includes a huge variety of powders, drinks, or even pills engineered to enhance an individual’s performance in terms of athletics. Further, these supplements are also used to fill the gaps in the diet of athletes or other people who work out regularly. Nutrition for athletes is essential, but it is still necessary to regulate the quality of these supplements so that its users are affected in any negative way. Once we can ensure the quality of sports nutrition supplements and educate people about them effectively, we can ensure our athletes’ total safety. 

The Basics of Sports Nutrition

We all consume food and drinks to get the energy to live and carry out basic physical activities. But as we have so many choices today, it is difficult to determine which food or fluid will be the best for our bodies. Therefore, a few food groups can provide us with the right amount of energy to enable the body to function at optimal capacity.

  • Proteins: Proteins are very important for every single cell in our bodies. Proteins are made up of a chain of amino acids and can either be incomplete or complete. Complete protein comprises all the essential amino acids required by the body, whereas incomplete protein mostly lacks one or more essential amino acids. 
  • Carbohydrates: Available in two types, either complex or simple, carbohydrates are the most important energy source for our bodies. Our bodies usually break down carbs into blood sugar or glucose, which then feeds the energy to our tissues, organs, and cells.
  • Fats: Fats play a crucial role in our bodies and are usually found in saturated or unsaturated variants. Unsaturated fats are considered healthy as they come from plant-based sources, and saturated fats are primarily found in animal products. Saturated fats are considered unhealthy because it enhances the risk of diseases.  

Things to Consider Before Taking Sports Nutrition Supplements

Sports nutrition supplements are more or less harmful, but there are still some pointers one must consider before taking the supplements to avoid any unforeseen consequences. The things to consider includes:

  • Well-researched: Most sports nutrition supplements have to undergo extensive research before being launched in the market. However, there are also many that lack the evidence and research to ensure its quality and effectiveness. Therefore, the best thing to do is consult a dietitian or physician to understand if the supplements are actually helpful.
  • Regulatory Approval: Regulatory bodies such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fall short of powers to ensure the effectiveness and safety of the supplements before they are made available to customers. Therefore, it is better to opt for products that are certified by any other third-party entity. Most of these entities adhere to strict and stringent guidelines to ensure the safety of the customers.
  • A Good Diet is a Must: Most people assume that supplements can make up for bad diets. However, in reality, supplements can never replace a healthy diet but can be very helpful if a person has a medical condition, or undergoing special training, or even medical illness. No diets are perfect, which is why one must always maintain a balance between a good diet and sports nutrition supplements.
  • Supplements Do Not Cure Diseases: This may come as a surprise for many, but we got to understand that supplements and medications are two different things. Both of these things are designed to serve different purposes, so never expect sports nutrition supplements to prevent, treat, cure, or even diagnose diseases.

Variants of Sports Nutrition Supplements

Sports nutrition supplements come in different varieties, such as protein powders, pre-workout supplements, sports drinks, creatine, mineral or vitamin supplements, and performance enhancers. However, do not forget to consider the pointers mentioned above before using sports nutrition supplements. Here are few variants of sports nutrition supplements:

  • Protein Supplements: We are all more or less familiar with protein powders, one of the most commonly used protein supplements. Protein powders are densely concentrated proteins that people can simply consume with water making it a very convenient source of protein. These powders can be easily ingested and absorbed by our bodies. Most importantly, never forget to verify if the protein powder contains all the nine essential amino acids. Most protein powders come with a hefty price tag because they offer enhanced nutritional value and high-quality formula, even in a single scoop of protein powder.
  • Sports Drinks: Also known as electrolytes replacement drinks, sports drinks are consumed to keep the body hydrated and replenish the lost potassium and sodium that went out of the body through sweat. Furthermore, sports drinks are great for maintaining the level of sugar in our bodies enabling people to make the most of their energy during a heavy workout. These drinks are also available in different flavors to make the drinks both tasty and nutritional. In addition, the consumption of sports drinks enhances the chances to prevent muscle cramps. 
  • Creatine: This is a supplement that our livers and kidneys can make it naturally. Consuming fish, meat, and poultry can suffice most part of the creatine required by our bodies. However, people still consume creatine supplements because it comes in big doses compared to food and can be very helpful in enhancing the strength and speed of muscles. Creatine supplements are mostly suited for individuals or athletes who require a short burst of energy, such as running sprints or biking. Creatine monohydrate is the choice of the masses as it is easily absorbed by our muscles when mixed with sugar or carbs.     

Bottom Line

When consumed in the right quantities after consultation with a physician or nutritionist, sports nutrition supplements can do wonders for individuals who want to achieve any particular goals with their bodies. However, it is imperative to maintain a good diet with sports nutrition supplements; otherwise, the entire effort will not yield the expected results.  

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