Sports supplements are found in the form of pills, powders, or drinks and are used to gain muscle, lose weight, or improve endurance.
Many athletes resort to sports supplements to accelerate their progress and growth, but what is the appeal, and are they beneficial? Let this blog guide you through the pros and cons of sports supplements.
Protein exists in every cell in our body! It is essential that we have enough protein to help repair muscle cells and build new ones. Protein allows oxygenation of our body via red blood cells to allow the nutrients we need to travel around our body. Without it, our body would not work properly, which is why gaining protein from body supplements is a massive benefit.
Sports supplements usually contain large amounts of protein in one dosage and are most effective once we have finished a workout due to the damage and loss of protein cells in our body. Supplements allow for a rapid rebuild and strengthening to the cells in our body.
Creatine is found naturally in our muscle cells. Whilst undergoing exercise of high intensity, it works with our muscles to produce energy. Many athletes use creatine as a supplement as it provides them with energy levels high enough to achieve the high intensity training.
As a natural compound inside our body, creatine is a good supplement to take when in need of a big energy boost for physical activities. It is usually taken in dissolved form in water.
Vitamins have endless roles in the human body. Name a vital process in the body and it will involve vitamins. Essentially, they help support bones, heal wounds and boost our immune system massively. Vitamins are essential for people working out as they convert food into energy.
The main benefits of taking vitamins are as follows:
1. Healthy aging: Vitamins help reset nutrient levels, something which becomes harder as you grow older.
2. Reducing anxiety and stress: Vitamin B is used to convert food into energy as well as keep the nervous system functioning optimally.
3. Supports your immune system: Vitamins C, D and E are strong antioxidants which boosts our immune system.
4. Keeps bones strong: Vitamin D works alongside calcium to maintain the strength or our bones.
5. Promotes healthier skin and hair: Vitamins A, C, and E can help conditions such as eczema, dry skin, and other skin problems such as acne.
Illegal Supplements –Potential Ban
Some sports supplements are banned in sport including steroids. The purchase and sale of such products is illegal and if caught with these products, a ban will be distributed to the sports person.
Justin Gatlin, USA sprinter, was caught by multiple tests for using performance enhancing steroids and as a result was banned for 4 years.
Side effects of protein and creatine:
If taken incorrectly, creatine can create side effects such as:
- Weight gain
- Joint stiffness
- Muscle cramping
Protein supplements can also cause the following:
- Poor appetite
Risk of overdose:
There is always a risk of overdose when taking supplements. If you are to take any sports supplements, you must ensure you recognise the suitable amount to take as well as how much your body will be able to manage.
Without this information, there is a risk of serious health issues and in some cases, death.
Alongside the risk of overdose, there is a general risk to health for anyone deciding to take sports supplements.
After an MHRA investigation, there were 84 illegal products being sold which contained dangerous ingredients such as steroids and hormones. One of these products was a steroid names ‘Celtic Dragon’ and left two men hospitalised with severe jaundice and liver damage.
Of course, there are health risks with any supplement taken. However, using protein and creatine supplements are legal and therefore less likely to cause serious problems to the body as they are short term performance enhancing products. With more serious supplements such as steroids, anybody can react badly to them and can cause damaging effects. Therefore, it is always essential you know the exact ingredients to whatever supplement you decide to take, as well as ensuring it is legal.