Performance Supplements – Do They Enhance Fitness and Performance?December 9, 2011 0 Comments
Studies have implicated
the importance of performance supplements and
minerals to athletes, noting that these contribute to the acid-base
balance, bone health, antioxidant activity, immune functions, and
muscle contraction of the body. Athletes often engage in vigorous
types of exercise, prompting the need for accelerated physiological
processes. This involves a concomitant increase in the necessary
amount of nutrients to meet optimal functioning. Nutrients in the
form of dietary supplements help improve lean muscle mass and
performance. Training hard and eating healthy will yield positive
results, but supplements can greatly magnify these effects. There
currently exist a number of performance supplements that enhance
fitness on the market. Performance-enhancing supplements are
classified under ergogenic aid. The aid is simply any additional
substance consumed to improve impact. These substances have been
frequently implicated in bringing speed, strength, and performance
to an unchartered level. Surveys indicate that 100% of body
builders and 75% of college athletes use at least one of these
Types of Performance Supplements
Ergogenic aid is the widely accepted term for ingested substances that shorten recovery time, increase energy production, or improve efficient use of energy. These may involve botanicals, herbs, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins, and are usually available over the counter. Types currently marketed include androstenedione, DHEA, Vitamin C, Suma, Pyruvate, branched-chain amino acids, medium-chain triglycerides, and creatinine. There have been several criticisms on the use of performance-boosting supplements in athletes. Apart from the edge it gives to consumers, over-the-counter substances are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. These can be sold to anyone without pre-approval. Nonetheless even the International Olympic Committee, which has previously warned regarding the consumption of supplements, currently recognizes the boosting capacities of nutritional supplements. The organization concedes that these ergogenic aids to indeed enhance the performance of athletes. However, only a few have been indicated to work effectively. There remains little evidence that performance enhancers lead to the advertised results, but consumption of these does deliver even for just a small percentage. Amidst the criticism, a few have been indicated to perform as claimed; the most popular of which are discussed below.
Performance Supplement Vitamins
The effects of vitamins are a no-brainer. Recent data suggest that these are the most commonly consumed dietary supplements among varied athletic groups. Among the many types of vitamins, only few have been proven to bring beneficial fitness effects. Vitamin E improves exercise at high altitudes, while CoQ10 may be beneficial to anaerobic exercises.
Creatine - Performance Dietary Supplement
Proteins and amino acids are perhaps the most popular forms of body-building supplements, but most of these do not enhance performance. Among the individual types, creatine is one amino acid that has been indicated to have athletic benefits. Creatine is one of the most commonly used dietary performance supplements. It is generally preferred because creatinine is one of several naturally occurring substances in the body. Creatine has been researched to be the most effective supplement for repeated and highly intense short bouts that derive energy byproducts because of its methionine, Arginine, and glycine contents. Moreover, the substance is easily obtained by consuming meat products. Once consumed, the body converts it to phosphocreatine and becomes stored energy in the muscles. Research suggests that creatine is beneficial for short bouts of repetitive high-intensity activities, including football and basketball. It has also been proven to increase both bone and muscle mass in weight training. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research states that the substance can improve muscle strength by at least 8%. An ideal dosage is round 2 to 5 grams per day, but absorption will benefit men more than women. The combination of natural production and diet satisfies the minimum requirement per day.
Caffeine as a Performance Supplement
Perhaps the most familiar substance and frequently overlooked supplement is caffeine. The substance enables athletes to have a longer and more intense exercise. Its effect is closely related to its role as a CNS Stimulant. Studies suggest that caffeine supplements can make exercise 5.6% easier, increase endurance by 30%, and bolster strength by 2.1%.Taking at least 3 mg per kg of body weight is a certified performance booster two hours before training sessions.
Beta-Hydroxy Beta Methylbutyric Acid (HMB)
Muscle fibers are torn and damaged during prolonged exercise and weight training. This causes the breakdown of leucine and an increase in HMB. The acid is released to slow down the disintegration of the muscle tissue. In this principle, HMB in weight training is used to reduce the incident of breakdown and at the same time increase muscle mass. The recommended dosage is around 3 grams per day.
The Best Performance Supplements
Little introspect has been done on performance supplements. There are evidences that relate amino acids to anabolic effects, but there are weak relationships when it comes to enhancing overall athletic performance. A majority of studies point to creatine supplementation as the safest and most effective way to improve training adaptations. Of all the nutrients reviewed, the nutrient with the greatest ergogenic potential for intense training is creatine. Further studies need to be done to see the holistic effects of other nutrients.
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