Sports supplements at times have a bad reputation as some people tend to misuse them. On the other hand, most of them are helpful in maximizing your overall performance if you take them correctly. This is regardless of whether you are playing sports or working out.
Just because you don’t see results from a sports supplement does not necessarily mean it’s ineffective or unsuccessful. Supplements affect user’s bodies in varying ways. Companies, nonetheless, will attempt to sell you their supplement by saying that it is the strongest when it is actually just a placebo effect.
Here are 5 supplements that often raise questions on their effectiveness.
ZMA supplements have zinc, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B6, which strengthen the immune system and muscles. Besides, they are useful in improving energy. However, there is debatable evidence that the supplement works in terms of increasing strength or muscle mass.
Increased levels of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 are thought to increase testosterone, enhance sleep quality, and help recovery from sports. But research on these claims has yielded mixed and inconclusive results. A company that produces ZMA supplements sponsored one study which stated that the supplement enhanced athletic and sports efficiency.
This supplement, commonly known as chromium picolinate, is said to increase insulin’s effects on the body. It’s also said to boost glucose uptake by the muscles, resulting in improved circulation and a more stable blood sugar level. In addition, it’s thought to aid weight loss by replacing fat cells with lean muscle. However, as you would expect, there isn’t much empirical support proof to back up all these.
Taking a chromium supplement may as well have negative consequences. Prolonged use of chromium supplements has been associated with liver damage, kidney failure, and anemia. Nonetheless, these side impacts may be due to harmful interactions with other drugs the users were taking, rather than the supplement itself. Other chromium side effects can include itchiness, stomach upsets, flushing, and irregular or increased heart rate.
These supplements interfere with the way insulin functions. Hence, it’s best to consult a doctor before taking it, whether you have diabetes or taking blood sugar-regulating medicine. Everyone needs a trace amount of chromium, which can be found in whole grains, meat, and certain fruits and vegetables. You’ll get all of the chromium you require from food if you consume a well-balanced diet.
Glutamine is not nearly as common these days as it was several years ago. It was marketed as a fantastic anti-catabolic agent that would help you develop more net muscle by preventing muscle breakdown.
The problem is that, although glutamine as an amino acid theoretically fulfils that function, supplementation with glutamine has constantly failed to show any benefit. This is in terms of muscle gain or output in numerous studies.
This is partially due to the fact that glutamine, like other amino acids, is accessible via the dietary protein we ingest in food or supplements. This provides us with nearly all of what we require, making any additional supplementation redundant.
When you supplement glutamine, it is almost completely absorbed and preserved by the gut, with very little, if any, reaching the muscles. As a result, glutamine is a very good supplement for gut health. However, it’s just not a good idea to do it for muscle growth and boost your sports activities. So you should just stop if you’re taking it for the latter. This is because you are squandering your money on less effective supplements.
Arginine is an amino acid that aids in protein synthesis. The body normally produces enough arginine to meet your needs. Many protein-rich foods, such as red meat, fish, soy, poultry, whole grains, beans, and dairy products, contain arginine. Arginine may be taken orally or topically as a supplement. It’s even possible to take it intravenously (IV).
Arginine is used in pre-workouts as a pump component and is also sold separately for vasodilation, offering intense pumps. There is, nonetheless, no evidence to back up these arguments. It’s a conditionally important amino acid, which means healthy people don’t need to take it. Besides, it helps keep blood flow and nitric oxide levels in check.
As a result, one would expect that arginine consumption will boost blood nitric oxide levels. Since the enzyme arginase digests arginine, oral supplementation appears to have little effect. Furthermore, the amount of arginine (30g) needed to increase blood nitrogen levels will likely cause diarrhea.
Creatine is the amino acid that the body produces. It is primarily obtained from fish and red meat but at amounts much lower than those found in synthetically manufactured creatine supplements. The liver, pancreas, and kidneys are capable of producing around 1 gram of creatine per day.
They are known to boost exercise’s effects on muscle growth and stamina. However, it can also cause water retention, diarrhoea, cramping, or nausea. Creatine supplements can be safe for short-term use among healthy adults. On the other hand, the American College of Sports Medicine warns against using them to improve sports performance in children under the age of 18.
Creatine gives energy during the first phases of vigorous exercise or brief bursts of ‘all-out’ activities. However, since the body’s stores of creatine phosphate are small, supplies quickly deplete, limiting the ability to generate energy with creatine.
This causes exhaustion and a reduction in exercise intensity; this may mean sprinting much slower in practice. When enough energy is available, creatine phosphate reserves can be replenished, but this could take some time.
All of the above information may or may not be relevant to you in particular. They are just some overall observations to help sports enthusiasts understand how to get the most out of their workouts. You may have varying outcomes from some of the supplements discussed here, but that is not unusual.
Keep in mind that our bodies respond to various supplements differently. Therefore, experimenting with them and finding the right one for you is the key to achieving your best results in sports.