The topic of nutritional supplements is controversial, to say the least. Strong supporters will say that supplements are necessary for a healthy life, more energy, and top-end performance; strong opponents will say that they are dangerous, offer little to no value, and only serve to drive profits for supplement companies. Both are valid opinions. Yes, there are nutritional supplements that can be of some benefit – and yes, there are some that serve no real value, I think. Furthermore, is it any surprise that someone might want to make a buck off of them? (If so, take a melatonin and chill)

In the end, if you’re considering using nutritional supplements, it is your job to get educated on the subject, either on your own or from someone who is, so that you do what is best for your body.

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So, If you’re thinking about taking nutritional supplements; ask yourself the following ??’s

 

1) Do I know, for sure, that I am deficient in the nutrients I think I should start to supplement?

 

There are two categories of nutritional supplements; essential and nonessential. Essential nutrients are nutrients, found in food, that we need for normal physiologic functioning. Since these nutrients are found in food, there is really no “need” to supplement them, but some people do fall short with their intake, either because they don’t eat enough of the foods that contain them, or because they have special circumstances that require them to consume more than they can get through food.

Have you ever heard someone say “I don’t like vegetables” or  “I don’t eat meat”?.  Or know someone who is trying to pack on A LOT of muscle?  Well, these people just might benefit from a supplement like Greens Powder or Protein Powder.

 

2) Do I know, for sure, that I will get some physiological benefit from taking this supplement?

 

Nonessential nutrients, such as creatine and caffeine, are food based nutrients that either the body can make itself or that aren’t needed for normal functioning. In short, many of the nonessential nutrient supplements out there, are, in one way or another, used to enhance performance during exercise or aid in recovery after it.

Remember when Mark McGwire swore by creatine? Or, have you ever seen a pro cyclist slam a Coca-Cola 20 kilometers from the finish of a big race? These guys were supplementing, or ingesting, nutrients that they knew would enhance a specific system that helped them perform a specific task, such as belting a 500ft home run or mashing a big gear on a bike.

Some of these supplements, when consumed at the right times and in the right amounts, can boost performance.  However, anytime we use them there can be a certain level of risk involved.  Which leads me to question #3.

 

3) Do I know, for sure, that this supplement does what the manufacturer claims it will do, without doing any harm?

 

The nutritional supplement industry is huge, and their marketing tactics are dialed in. Largely unregulated, supplement manufacturers create all sorts of powders and pills, sold to you in a variety of appealing packages that promise everything from a 10 foot high jump to a 10 inch “attachment”.

Again, it is your responsibility to research the purity, safety, and effectiveness of these products. Ever hear of a pro athlete testing positive for a banned substance he “didn’t know” was banned? Or, have you seen someone have a bad reaction to “fat loss” pills, or some kind of pre workout stimulant? These people didn’t do their homework. They took something without knowing, for sure, what it does.

Of course, different people will react in different ways. Some may feel horrible, while some may party all the way to a new PR. But, as a general rule; if you don’t know what’s in it, or exactly what is does, you should do some research before you take it.

***For easy to read reviews and research on the following supplements, visit EXAMINE.COM

 

Still interested?  Here’s a short list of solid, well researched, SUPPLEMENT SUPERSTARS

 

ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS

 

1) PROTEIN SUPPLEMENT – for when whole food choices are limited, or when needs are not met.

2) FISH OIL SUPPLEMENT – to limit the consumption of contaminants contained in the whole food fish supply, and when needed amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids are not met.

3) GREENS SUPPLEMENT – for when vegetable and fruit intake is low

4) MULTIVITAMIN – for vitamin and mineral deficiencies

5) PROTEIN + CARBOHYDRATE DRINK – to support high-intensity exercise when muscle strength, performance, and size increases are desired.

6) BRANCHED-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS(BCAAs) – to support fat loss and muscle preservation during high-intensity exercise

 

NON-ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS

 

1) r-ALPHA LIPOIC ACID – improves insulin sensitivity in those with poor carbohydrate tolerance and fat loss goals.

2) CAFFEINE – improves central nervous system output.

3) SODIUM BICARBONATE – buffers hydrogen ions and acidity during high lactate activity.

4) BETA ALANINE – buffers hydrogen ions and acidity during high lactate activity.

5) CREATINE – regenerates ATP(energy supply in muscle) during high-intensity strength and power work.

 

 

So, before dropping your hard earned cash on powder and pills, ask some ??’s – if you can’t answer them honestly, consult someone who can – or stick to the tried and true:

EAT REAL, WHOLE FOOD WHILE LIFTING WEIGHTS AND SIMULTANEOUSLY GETTING YOUR HEART RATE UP

 

Thanks For Reading,

Zach – TFW Central