How Sports Supplements Can Boost Athletic Performance

Sports supplements are an ultimately profitable business. The vast majority of performing athletes search for effective nutrition promoting their strength and stamina. However, not all the options available within the modern market are useful and safe for athlete’s use. Below you can find inevitable information about the most popular and effective over-the-counter supplements.

Supplements as They Are

Before taking any supplement, you need to figure out the general meaning of the phrase. Generally, a supplement is the thing you add to your diet in order to compensate nutritional deficiency. Supplements are typically added to a well-balanced nutrition. They can include:

• Herbs;
• Amino acids;
• Vitamins;
• Minerals;
• Other botanicals.

Supplements which Won’t Help

Dietary supplements do not require meeting the Food and Drug Administration standards. Thus, there are no rules that guarantee purity or safety of products sold as supplements. Therefore, an overwhelming majority of supplements are NOT:

• Kept to definite manufacturing standards;
• Required to undergo certain efficacy or safety tests before going to the market;
• Required to meet specific requirements that over-the-counter or prescription medications are;
• Required to prove the safety and effectiveness of the health claim they provide;
• Guaranteed to meet purity ratings and product potency.

Since the FDA is not allowed to remove the supplement from the market unless its potential medical harm is proven, an overwhelming majority of health risks from supplements intake are realized only after its consumption. Supplements, which are pulled from the market frequently cause severe health disorders or fatal symptoms tied to the product use.

Ergogenic Aids and Substances to Boost Performance

Drugs, substances, procedures and devices, which are likely to enhance athletic performance, are called ergogenic aids. Some of the mentioned substances are naturally produced, widely available and fully legal, while others are illegal and banned by different sporting organizations.

Top Sports Supplements Taken by Athletes

• Creatine. The supplement is reported to boost repeated bouts of intensive exercises, including weight lifting, power sports and sprinting.
• B-Vitamins. They are inevitable for proper body functioning, but they can also serve as a link between B-Vitamins and performance in professional athletes.
• Ephedrine. According to the results of numerous researches, the supplement is not likely to advance strength, anaerobic capacity, endurance, reaction time or recovery time.
• Glutamine. The product belongs to a group of nutritional supplements and is not banned to be regulated by the majority of sport organizations.
• Caffeine. The supplement has been actively used by endurance athletes for many years to advance endurance and stay alert.
• Glucosamine. It helps to stimulate cartilage and is commonly taken to treat the signs of osteoarthritis. But can it help athletic performance?

Sports Drinks and Hydration

Proper fluid consumption is indispensable for performance, comfort and safety of an athlete. The more intensely and longer you exercise, the more vital it is to drink the correct type of fluids. Under certain circumstances, some sports drinks can be more effective and helpful. However, some of them are not better than usual sugar water.

• Ribose. The supplement is reported to promote an advantageous impact on athlete’s performance.
• Protein supplements. They are inevitable nutrients necessary for proper body functioning of an athlete. Sedentary individuals as well as sportsmen need adequate daily protein.

How to Estimate Health Claims of the Supplement

While it is a challenging task to wade through research, considering performance and health benefits of certain nutritional supplements, these recommendations may help you make the right decision. Mind the health impact of any sports supplement before its intake and choose a proper product to experience the maximal performance and health benefit.

Are Antioxidant Supplements Effective?

Walking along the aisles in the grocery store or pharmacy, you will definitely notice vitamin and antioxidant supplements claiming an ultimate health benefit. Such advertisements reinforce the common idea that vitamin and antioxidant supplements can produce an advantageous impact on the health state. In fact, the proposition makes sense. Generally, a diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease and certain cancer types.

Nevertheless, the study suggests that antioxidant and vitamin supplements used by people without nutrient deficiency have no health benefits. It means that if you are healthy and have a sufficient level of minerals and vitamins within the organism, vitamin and antioxidant supplements will do little.

Mechanism of Antioxidant Effect

Antioxidants are classified as vitamins, such as beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E that protect the body cells against free radicals related damage or oxidative stress. It is known that free radicals are highly reactive molecules that mess around with different cellular structures, such as nucleic acids, plasma lipoproteins and cell membranes. Free radicals are naturally produced by the body during the metabolism. Free radicals can interact with antioxidants, turning into stable radicals and bearing no potential damage.

Do Antioxidant Supplements Work?

In recent years there has been a research, concerning relation between mineral and vitamin supplements to cardiovascular disease and cancer in patients with nutritional deficiency. The researchers reviewed over 26 studies and found no proof of the supplements improving the symptoms of cardiovascular disorders, cancer or other severe health conditions. Additionally, they have noticed that beta-carotene supplements can advance the risk of lung cancer development.

While the results of certain investigations show no effects from vitamin E supplements, several other studies claimed that vitamin E advances the death rate.

Finally, vitamin E and beta-carotene supplements became not advised for use in order to prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer or other conditions. Nevertheless, due to several high-quality researches that examined preventive reactions of other multivitamins and vitamin supplements, their status of “against recommended” was discontinued.

In other words, the investigation suggesting no beneficial influence from exogenous supplements of minerals and vitamins in healthy patients is one of multiple studies. For instance, a meta-analysis, which was conducted by a group of researchers claimed that antioxidants and similar nutrients failed to warn cardiovascular abnormalities. The results of other studies have shown that nutrient supplements have nothing to do with cancer prevention.


Therefore, irrespective of the good sense in mechanistic terms, in medical terms, antioxidant and vitamin supplements can do little to warn any diseases in patients without nutrient deficiency.

Researchers suppose that the cause of little effect is a complex physiologic system that cannot be affected by a single vitamin or combination of a few. The hypothesis was supported by specific evidence from multiple trials, involving physiologic multivitamin doses, which contain several agents that demonstrate decreased cancer incidence in men.

With the exception being the studies on beta-carotene and vitamin E supplements in healthy patients, a considerable part of the research dose examining preventive features of vitamins is deficient. However, viewed together, it becomes obvious that supplements do not lead to a considerable positive influence on cancer or heart disorders. Therefore, if you have no nutrient deficiency and are completely healthy, save your time and money and avoid buying vitamin and antioxidant supplements.