Research shows that our food, in general, lacks certain essential nutrients. And it is no surprise that we turn towards supplements for more. We usually take supplements not just to compensate for what’s missing in our diet, but also to gain that extra health boost to prevent any possible ailment.
Supplementing for nutrients does not guarantee better health; in fact, sometimes it even proves lethal when taken in larger-than-recommended quantity. So it is important to understand the fact that ‘Supplements are NOT medicines’. In this article, we’ll discuss everything that you need to know about supplements!
Importance Of Supplements
The first thing to keep in mind is that supplements are important as they provide you with those extra nutrients that you might not be getting from your existing diet. These extra nutrients protect healthy cells, repair damaged cells and facilitate the regeneration process, which is necessary for a healthier life.
Supplements enhance your nutrient density as these are micronutrients which when taken in prescribed dosage along with your diet give you and your fitness journey that extra edge!
Types & Benefits Of Supplements
Supplements are available in a variety of forms including tablets, capsules, powders, drinks and bars. Here are some common types of supplements that will boost your performance:
Whey protein is simply an extract of Milk. Whey helps in muscle repair and is highly anabolic. It immediately penetrates the bloodstream and reaches muscles faster than other protein sources, encouraging faster muscle tissue growth. It also helps in increasing immunity.
Whey protein is commonly used as supplementation to enhance muscle protein synthesis and facilitate the growth of muscle mass.
Casein is also extracted from milk like whey protein. It is a slow absorbing protein supplement. It is generally consumed before bedtime as it prevents muscle catabolism. Casein is also used to replace a meal.
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are an essential addition to your plate as they improve the quality of life. They are essential to support the growth and functioning of our body. There are 13 essential Vitamins and minerals that our body needs like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc and Magnesium can support health in several ways.
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant and is vital for immune health and helps fight off infections.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps repair damaged cells.
Zinc and Magnesium (ZMA supplements) support muscle health and performance, mostly preferred by athletes.
Benefits of supplements are seen when individuals follow a correct diet plan.
Omega 3 Fish Oil
Omega 3 Fish Oil supports the circulatory function and proper joint function. Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, plus oleic acid is a balanced supplement. Fatty acids are a vital set of nutrients required by the body.
Omega 3 supplement:
- Lowers the blood pressure
- Reduces triglycerides
- Slows down the development of plaque in the arteries
- Improves hormone function.
It also helps maintain good skin, eyes and hair. Omega 3 also creates a thermogenic effect in the body.
Curcumin (Turmeric Extract)
Most people in their middle age are osteoarthritic that is a type of joint ailment, and they also suffer from chronically inflamed gastrointestinal tracts. Curcumin reduces inflammation in the body. With a reduction in inflammation and chronic pain, the quality of life improves considerably.
Fat Loss Supplements
L-Carnitine helps to convert the body-fat into energy. Carnitine’s primary role in the human body is to be a transport of long-chain fatty acids from cytosol to mitochondria of muscle cells, where they can be metabolised for energy.
It is also essential for functioning of heart, brain and muscle movements.
More dietary fat consumption will need more carriers and thus increase the need for L-Carnitine supplementation.
Caffeine is the most common brain and central nervous system stimulant known to man. It helps you stay alert and active and is most commonly found in coffee and tea. It is also known to have lipolytic properties with a thermogenic property as well.
The stimulatory effects on catecholamine release cause the Beta-2 Adrenergic Receptors to be agonized and thus cause breakdown of triglycerides (fat) in the adipocyte (fat cell).
Consumption of caffeine gives quick energy boost, improved focus and productivity and enhanced performance.
Phosphatidylserine acts a messenger between brain cells. It enhances the memory and makes it sharp. Known for its significant effect on lowering cortisol, it is found in its highest concentration in organs known to have high metabolic activity.
Chronically high cortisol levels have been proven as big culprits that contribute to visceral fat. Phosphatidylserine is proven to be a good addition to any supplement stack as a weapon against visceral fat.
Other than supplements, it is really important to have that proper MINDSET to lose weight!
Performance Based Supplements
Most commonly, Athletes rely on Creatine as it provides bursts of energy. It is known to improve strength and recovery during workouts.
Oral supplementation increases muscle cell creatine phosphate stores and thus significantly improves the ATP-CP energy pathway. Creatine is an ergogenic supplement; it helps in the function of explosiveness.
The three essential amino acids; leucine, isoleucine and valine are together called as branched-chain-amino-acids. These amino acids are not inherent and have to be supplemented through diet.
BCAAs help in muscle growth, decrease muscle soreness and reduce fatigue. Other than this, BCAAs can also benefit people with liver diseases.
L-Glutamine helps boost immunity, relieve stress and anxiety, and gain muscle mass and faster recovery on gym days. L-Glutamine is extremely important for a healthy digestive tract. It also heals tissues, and is also effective in reducing sugar and alcohol cravings.
Should I Supplement?
Supplements make up for the essential nutrients that you are missing in your daily diet. So, if you can afford supplements, by all means, SUPPLEMENT!
Supplements like vitamins and minerals promote optimum health, whereas supplements like whey protein and casein can act as meal replacers and can add to the convenience.
Performance and fat loss based supplements can be beneficial for high-intensity training and also for boosting fitness levels.
If you are on a budget, speak to your nutritionist about what might be best for you to take for your overall health requirements.
A nutritionist can help you decide which supplements can be eliminated and which supplements must be added for enhancing your daily life performance.
Supplements attach additional benefits to your fitness regime. Though they are not medicines, they are vital for the optimal functioning of the body.
Your regular diet cannot fulfil your daily micronutrient requirements.
Often, essential vitamins and minerals aren’t available in the required amounts in our food. So we must meet these requirements through supplementation.
What more? There are no side effects of consuming supplements, so don’t be frightened of investing in them!