Do Supplements Help Performance, Lose Weight?
Do Supplements help performance?
I have personally used supplements a good portion of my life in the form of a multivitamin. With over 4,000 supplements marketed by over 600 companies it can be extremely confusing what to get. You also have to make sure that the company is upfront, honest, and clean. There have been companies in the past that have knowingly laced their products with banned substances to enhance their effect.
I want to narrow in on the most popular fitness and performance products. It is always wise to check with your doctor before taking any supplements. My doctor has me write down all the supplements I take. My goal is to help educate people on this subject in a quick way. However, please feel free to do your own research.
Essential Amino Acids
There is some evidence supporting the use of Amino Acids consumed before or after a resistance workout. This has shown to increase the effects of muscle mass and strength in men. While short-term data is similar in women more research is needed to authenticate the findings on the long-term effects on body composition and strength.
Hydroxy-Methylbutyrate (derivative of Leucine). There has only been a small amount of research on these. But on the limited studies, there have been greater improvements in strength and muscle mass (for non athletes). In addition they have not found it to cause any adverse effects on renal function, enzyme function or the immune system. It has been shown to help in muscle recovery. There was another study on trained athletes and the evidence was cloudy, there did not appear to be a change between those taking HMB and those not taking it. At this time the studies do not show enough information for you to spend money on this. Much more research needed.
An Amino acid the supports protein synthesis. Used to prevent muscle loss and build up muscles. Helps with weight loss and body composition. It has been prescribed after surgery to prevent muscle loss. It is also used to lower blood sugar and bad cholesterol. This is found in many amino acid blend. Large amounts can cause hypoglycemia where stroke like symptoms can occur.
This is a nonessential amino acid found in many active multi vitamin packs. Used by people who work out with high intensity anaerobic exercises. There have been many studies on Alanine supplementation and all have found to improve exercise performance by delaying fatigue. This may allow men and women to train with increased intensity without the rapid fatigue. Promising results that from the studies. On many vitamin bottles they claim alanine supports fat loss.
Sodium Bicarbonate (Antacid)
Supplementing with SB has been shown to improve total work, peak power and strength in both men and women. Studies have shown that the dosage of 27-45 grams for a 200 lb athlete improves short duration exercise. Yet, with this amount subjects have shown an increase of negative side effects such as, diarrhea, cramping, nausea, and vomiting. Unfortunately, from what I have read in order to get significant improvements you would need to take the amount that will most likely give you the side effects.
Improved performance between 2-15 minutes has been shown with a dose of 220mg/ body weight in pounds. Much more research need for this.
Is an amino acid synthesized from lysine and methionine. Carninine is known for to enhance exercise performance the using fat and sparing muscle glycogen. Studies have shown to play a role in muscle recovery, with decreased pain and muscle damage. Carnitine appears to be well tolerated in the studies with no adverse effects. I have seen carnitine in many products. Some active vitamins, GNC pro-sculpt amino acid etc. I personally take this. It is in my active multi vitamin.
Is a nitrogenous organic compound that synthesizes naturally in the body through the liver. Reports show this to be commonly used by athletes and fitness people.
Creatine is found in both meat and fish. It is known to show benefits in strength (although limited) and may enhance the quality of the workouts because the individual experiences less fatigue and better recovery. More is not better when it comes to creatine. There is a saturation limit that exists in the muscles. Studies have shown subjects to make significant improvements in longer time periods in jumping and power performances. It also showed that it is more beneficial as training supplement that and performance supplement. Prolonged creatine supplement is generally associated with weight gain. This is in the form of fat free mass. The adverse effects are muscle cramps, “gas” in some individuals. Large and long-term usage of creatine can put strain on the liver. However, no renal dysfunction. It can cause some dyhydration. Trace amounts are found in many supplements today with no negative side effects.
Caffeine is found in many products, as you know. Caffeine has been used as a performance enhancer in both aerobic and anaerobic training for 30 years. For aerobic athletes it is seen as a method to prolong endurance exercise and with aerobic athletes increased power production. There have been many studies to show some benefits of caffeine. There was another study that showed taking a pure caffeine pill had a better effect on training than coffee with the same amount of caffeine. It was suggested that the coffee antagonized the effects of the caffeine. Overall caffeine appears to benefit aerobic training more. Negative side effects include; restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, heart arrhythmias, tremors and gastrointestinal problems. Caffeine also acts like a diuretic and may increase your chances of heat illness. It is also addicting. Side effects increase if you take 9 mg or more.
Use as a stacking agent with caffeine. This is pretty popular with body builders.
This has been taken off of the market. The negative effects are; nausea, vomiting, psychiatric symptoms, mood swings, hyperactivity, palpations and in a few cases death. This is a banned drug by the Olympics and NCAA
Is from a fruit in Asia and is often used as an herbal medicine to treat digestive problems. It is also used as appetite suppressant and fat metabolizer. Citrus Aurantium contains Synephrine. In research when citrus aurantium is combined with caffeine and other herbal products, there has been a huge stride in improvement in time to fatigue. The NCAA has banned Synephrine. Bothe the World anti-Doping Association and the US Anti-doping is not banned but it is being monitored for potential placement on the banned list.
I purposely left out Anabolic steroids. We have heard a lot over the years through professional and Olympic athletes.
Please be aware that vitamins and supplements are not regulated and that you should always be careful to buy your supplement through a trusted source. Please be sure to do more research and remember more is not better.
I get all of my supplements from Beachbody. This is a company I trust.
Essentials of Strength training and Conditioning