Are Supplements Worth Your Money?
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According to the National Institutes of Health, dietary supplements are a $37bn industry in North America alone. It seems like every Youtube fitness expert has their own supplement line, all claiming to have found the secret to astonishing gains that will make you wonder why anyone would ever consider using steroids. So, are supplements worth your money? Yes and no, depending on what you’re taking and what you are expecting it to do. The important thing to remember is that no amount of supplementation is going to make up for a bad diet or lack of a decent workout routine, but the right products could help to give you an extra advantage, helping you to reach your goals quicker. Below are some of the most popular supplements along with a brief explanation of how they work and whether they might fit in with your goals.
By far the most popular supplement is protein. If you are looking to build muscle and sculpt your body, chances are you’ve thought about buying this, or maybe you’ve got some tucked away in a cupboard somewhere. Protein powders are actually very simple; they are a by-product of the dairy industry. When cheese is made, milk is separated into curds and whey. The curds are used to make the cheese, and the whey was usually thrown away. New technology allowed some clever fitness types to take that whey, and filtrate it down into whey protein isolate or concentrate. They then sold this on to people who wanted an easy way of getting some extra protein in their diets. That’s all it is. Many brands may dress it up using clever terminology or adding extra ingredients like BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids), L-Glutamine, or anything else they can think of. But when you break it down, whey protein powder is just concentrated milk protein. It’s a great way to get some extra protein in your diet, but it’s not the secret to your success. Protein intake is only part of the game, but if you feel like a quick boost of 25-30g protein after a workout will help you reach your protein intake for the day and aid recovery, feel free to invest in some.
Also known as creatine monohydrate, creatine occurs naturally in the body, as such it isn’t technically classed as a vitamin. Creatine is used by the body to make energy at the cellular level so that your muscles can work. Some creatine can be gained from your diet from things like meat, fish, and eggs due to the fact that it is stored in the muscles. The basic premise behind supplementing creatine is to saturate your body with it, thereby allowing you to have more chemical energy (ATP) for your muscles to contract. Intense activity such as weightlifting with a low to mid rep range can deplete your body’s stores of ATP very quickly. Supplementing your diet with around 5g of creatine per day can boost your reserves, allowing your muscles to work harder for longer while at the gym. Along with whey protein, creatine is one of the few fitness supplements that has evidence to prove that it works in the real world. Websites such as Examine.com can provide all the scientific data about any supplement you might be considering taking, to let you know if the science backs up the manufacturer claims.
Research has shown that many of the fruits and vegetables we eat today are less nutritious than they were thirty years ago, as such, many people see fit to supplement their diets with a good quality multivitamin. There are many different types depending on your needs, but if you’re not too sure, it’s probably best to start with a general A-Z multivitamin. However, websites such as https://prenatals.com/best-prenatal-vitamins/, and many others, can offer specialised vitamins, whether your goal is overall health, or you’re simply trying to support another aspiration or goal. Some vitamins, like D3, can be quite difficult to get enough of naturally. Vitamin D is gathered from sunlight and helps to regulate mood, which is why it’s usual for people to get the ‘winter blues’ when they aren’t getting enough. Supplementing this into your diet is a good idea, not just to take care of your body, but to take care of your emotional and mental health too.
There you have it, the most popular supplements available and how they can help you to achieve your goals. There are hundreds of other supplements out there, but be sure to properly research how effective they are and any possible side effects from using them. If in doubt, consult your doctor or dietician, and they will be able to advise you on your personal needs further.