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Are sports supplements necessary for your fitness regime?

Are sports supplements necessary for your fitness regime?

Supplements used to be used exclusively by bodybuilders and athletes. However, more people of varied backgrounds have begun using sports supplements as a regular part of their health and fitness programs. Fitness enthusiasts and various individuals use sports supplements to fuel their athletic activity and use them as their source of energy and protein. However, these convenient, attractive packs of vitamins, minerals, and proteins can be overwhelming. So, do we absolutely need sports supplements? Are they really necessary? Do they help our performance in any way? In this article, we examine the pros and cons of consuming these popular products.

Read more: 5 hidden benefits of exercise you wish you knew earlier.

What are sports supplement?

A supplement is something that is added to a diet to make up for nutritional deficiencies. These sports supplements include nutrients such as proteins, creatine, amino acids, and mega-dose vitamins/minerals. They are available in the form of powders, gels, bars, gummies, and drinks to help enhance the effects of workouts. 

Common sports supplements used by bodybuilders and athletes:

1. Protein:

Protein is one of the most important nutrients athletes need to improve performance. Egg, whey, and soy are major sources of protein. Protein shakes after workout help in muscle-building and supports fat loss.  

Man sitting on the floor and drinking after workout
Protein shakes after workout help in muscle building and supporting fat loss

2. Creatine:

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound. It is a combination of amino acids produced by the liver, kidney, and pancreas. Synthetic creatine is a common sports supplement. It is used to improve strength and increase lean muscle mass and helps the muscles recover quickly after exercise.

Open jar of white creatine powder on wooden table.
Synthetic creatine is a common supplement used to build muscle mass

3. Branched-chain Amino acids: 

BCAA sports supplements are a group of three essential amino acids: Leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Athletes usually take BCAA supplements in order to increase muscle size and to improve strength.

Black and yellow bottle of BCAA sports supplement
BCAA supplements are used by athletes to improve performance

4. Vitamin supplements:

Vitamins are essential for maintaining the proper functioning of the body. They play a major role in eyesight, heart function, and regulating the nervous system. Additionally, taking vitamin sports supplements can improve the performance of athletes. 

Sports supplement tablet being taken out of bottle from one hand to another
Vitamin supplements can improve athlete performance

Pros of taking sports supplements:

  • Increased strength.
  • Enhanced strength.
  • Increased protein synthesis.
  • Fat loss. 
  • Increased muscle recovery.
  • Stamina boost.
  • Increased muscle mass

Cons of taking sports supplements

Consuming high doses of sports supplements for a prolonged period of time can do some serious damage to your body, such as:

  • Kidney damage.
  • Insomnia.
  • Headaches.
  • Liver damage.
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite.

Are supplements necessary for your fitness regimes?

Athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness lovers across the world use supplements. There are, however, a few issues that you cannot ignore. The topmost issue is that there is no actual evidence that you get superior results with sports supplements than with food. There is, however, some evidence that claims dietary supplements enhance athletic performance. But why choose a huge bag of protein powder when a wholesome healthy diet will do the trick?

Cost is another factor. The sports supplements industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry so there is no surprise that they cost that much. Whole foods are in fact much more economical and healthier options. Also, there is no proper regulation of supplements, and so they are a health risk. This is because they can be susceptible to contamination with substances like lead and steroids. Additionally, consumption of too much protein powder has been linked with health issues such as nausea, cramps, fatigue, bloating, and headache. 

So, considering these facts: Do you need protein powders and products to run faster, build muscle, and have six-pack abs? Are supplements necessary for your fitness regimes? The answer to these questions is ‘no’. We can choose a wholesome nutritious diet instead of supplements. Natural foods are better in every way. However, you can still fit supplements in moderate quantities into a healthy diet and exercise plan to support your fitness goals.

Read more: 5 super healthy foods to eat everyday

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