Sports supplements--the winners edge? (Sport Nutrition).
What is the best protein supplement to build muscle?
What about Ripped Fuel to lose fat and boost energy?
Is it safe for my 16-year-old son to take creatine creatine /cre·a·tine/ (kre´ah-tin) an amino acid occurring in vertebrate tissues, particularly in muscle; phosphorylated creatine is an important storage form of high-energy phosphate. ?
All athletes, with or without disabilities, yearn for a winning edge. Consequently, athletes of all types and sports look towards sports supplements to supposedly enhance their health, performance, or recovery from injury. Yet questions arise--Is the supplement safe? Does it work?
This article looks at a few popular sports supplements, separates hype from truth, and reminds athletes that no supplement can replace hard training and good nutrition.
Supplements to Build Muscle
If dazzled by the photos of ripped body builders in muscle magazines, you undoubtedly believe the accompanying ads linking protein bars, powders, and shakes with magnificent muscle mass. Wrong. The key to bulking up is lifting weights, not eating excessive protein. Certainly, athletes who want to build muscles need adequate protein; however, the required amount is easily available through customary foods--milk, eggs, meats, fish, beans, soy, nuts.
The safe and adequate amount of protein recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine '''Founded in 1954, the AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SPORTS MEDICINE is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 20,000 international, national and regional members are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational , American Dietetic Association The American Dietetic Association (ADA) is the United States' largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, with nearly 65,000 members. Approximately 75 % of ADA's members are registered dietitians and about 4 % are dietetic technicians, registered. , and the Dietitians of Canada Dietitians of Canada is the professional organization of dietitians in Canada. It has over 5,000 members. The organization is also the accreditation body for undergraduate nutrition/dietetic programs in the country. is 0.5 to 0.6 grams protein/lb for endurance athletes and 0.7 to 0.8 grams protein/lb for strength athletes. Hence, the 200 lb body builder who needs 140 to 160 grams of protein per day can easily consume that amount via 1 quart of milk (40 grams protein), a 6-oz can of tuna (40 grams protein), and an 8 ounce chicken breast (65 grams protein). Plus, he will get even more protein from other food in his diet. Consuming additional protein from supplements is not only needless, but also costly and displaces carbohydrates needed to provide fuel for hard, muscle-building workouts.
Athletes who might benefit from protein supplements are vegetarians who fail to consume adequate beans, tofu tofu
Soft, bland, custardlike food product made from soybeans. Believed to date from China's Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220), tofu is today an important source of protein in the cuisines of East and Southeast Asia. , or other sources of plant proteins. In this situation, consuming a protein supplement is better than consuming no protein.
Popular among strength athletes and those who do repeated bursts of brief, explosive exercise (weight lifting weight lifting, international sport, also a training technique for athletes in other sports. From the earliest times men have lifted weights as a test of strength. , sprints, ice hockey), creatine is reputed to enhance recovery from one bout to the next. Creatine rapidly re-energizes the energy system allowing muscles to do repeated bouts of hard exercise. For example, some body builders report better results from their workouts when they use creatine. By being able to repeatedly lift heavy weights, they are able to stimulate muscular growth. This translates into more strength, power, and body mass. But not all athletes respond to creatine; some have little or no response.
Athletes who choose to take creatine should know that larger than recommended doses are needless; more is not better. They should also drink extra water to guard against cramps. If you are a parent questioning whether your high school athlete can safely take creatine, you will be relieved to know research suggests creatine is safe. To date, creatine taken in recommended doses has not been linked with medical problems. Yet, a wise motto with creatine (and any supplement) is take at your own risk due to poor quality control in the supplement industry.
The psychological effects of taking creatine should not be overlooked--Will the young athlete miss out on knowing how well his all natural body responds to old-fashioned hard training? This knowledge certainly builds self-esteem; lack of this knowledge may leave a feeling of self-doubt. Hence, this nutritionist nu·tri·tion·ist
One who is trained or is an expert in the field of nutrition.
nutritionist Dietitian, see there recommends young athletes reach their performance goals by training hard (and wisely) and optimizing their sports diet (i.e., eating a substantial breakfast and lunch to fully fuel themselves for a hard afternoon workout), and discourages use of creatine in growing bodies.
Supplements for Endurance
Caffeine is popular among endurance athletes and those who want a pre-exercise energy boost. It is touted to enhance endurance and the ability to work harder with less perceived effort. But like most ergogenic aids, caffeine's effect varies from person to person. If you are not a coffee drinker, but decide to consume some pre-event for a supposed energy boost, you may simply end up with the jitters jitters 'Butterflies' Psychology An episode of nervousness or anxiety that often precedes a public event; jitters is a type of performance anxiety which may affect actors in a stage production–stage fright or soloist musicians; it may respond to anxiolytics and a bad case of coffee stomach. As with any dietary experiment, practice taking caffeine during training so there are no surprises on competition day.
Caffeine has the reputation of being a diuretic diuretic (dī'yərĕt`ĭk), drug used to increase urine formation and output. Diuretics are prescribed for the treatment of edema (the accumulation of excess fluids in the tissues of the body), which is often the result of underlying and contributing to needless dehydration. According to Dr. Larry Armstrong of the University of Connecticut The University of Connecticut is the State of Connecticut's land-grant university. It was founded in 1881 and serves more than 27,000 students on its six campuses, including more than 9,000 graduate students in multiple programs.
UConn's main campus is in Storrs, Connecticut. , caffeine's diuretic effect is insignificant, particularly among regular coffee drinkers. Caffeine may speed the rate of urination--that is, you may urinate urinate /uri·nate/ (u´ri-nat) to discharge urine.
To excrete urine.
to void urine. more in 2 hours--but not in 24 hours.
If preference is to abstain from pre-exercise caffeine, a tried-and-true route to enhance endurance and performance is to eat appropriately before a workout. Research suggests athletes who ate 400 calories for breakfast three hours prior to endurance exercise exercised for 27 minutes longer than those failing to consume breakfast (136 vs 109 minutes). If exercising more than 90 minutes, further enhance endurance by consuming carbohydrates (i.e., sports drink sports drink Performance drink Sports medicine A thirst-quenching beverage used in sports-related activities, which may boost energy and/or help build muscle mass; water, sugar, salt, potassium are common to all SDs. See Hydrotherapy, Water. , gel, banana) during exercise. Food gives lasting fuel.
Ephedra ephedra: see ephedrine. (also called ma huang ma huang (mah hwahng´) [Chinese] any of various species of Ephedra used as herbs in Chinese medicine.
ma huang (mä hwäng),
) is a stimulant banned by the NCAA NCAA
National Collegiate Athletic Association . Ephedra commonly appears in nasal decongestants, cold medications, and diet pills. It is also found in Ripped Fuel, a popular supplement to lose fat and enhance energy.
Ephedra in combination with caffeine and aspirin--a bad combination. Just go to the Center for Disease Control's website www.cdc.gov and check out the number of medical problems and, yes, deaths associated with ephedra. In general, athletes and non-athletes alike should be wary of products with ephedra and not take more than 24 mg ephedrine ephedrine (ĭfĕd`rĭn, ĕf`ĭdrēn'), drug derived from plants of the genus Ephedra (see Pinophyta), most commonly used to prevent mild or moderate attacks of bronchial asthma. per day.
A smart sports diet can safely provide benefits sought from supplements. Plus, if you win with good nutrition, you will know it was you who won. Hence, the best bet for a winning edge is to consult with a local sports nutritionist. Visit www.eatright.org for a list of sports nutritionists; simply enter your zip code into the referral network. Or, for further education about sports supplements, surf the web, being sure to go to reliable sites such as www.sportsci org or www.gssiweb.com. For a compilation of in-depth research from professional journals, www.oznet.ksu.edu/nutrition/supplements.htm will overwhelm you with a gold mine of sports supplement information!
Sport Nutrition is a regular department of PALAESTRA which addresses issues and answers questions sport-active people of all ages and abilities ask about high energy, healthful health·ful
1. Conducive to good health; salutary.
healthful·ness n. eating, and offers a scientific approach to eating for top performance, as well as the practical how-to approach which includes specific food suggestions.
Nancy Clark, Director of Nutrition Services for SportsMedicine Brookline, Brookline, MA, and author of Nancy Clark's Sport Nutrition Guidebook and The NYC NYC
New York City
NYC New York City Marathon Cookbook, is the Department Editor. Visit her web site at www.nancyclarkrd.com.