Friday, 13 January 2017 11:19

To Supplement, Or Not To Supplement

So, if you eat lots of produce and lean protein, you’re probably all set with vitamins and minerals, right? If you’re hitting the gym on a regular basis, that may not be the case. Certain nutrients are vital for your muscles to work efficiently, and, “moderate to vigorous exercise increases the loss of some minerals, mostly through sweat,” says Kelly L. Prichett R.D. spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Translation: Being active could mean your stores are totally tapped out. How about supplements and or vitamins? Are they good, are they safe, and how much should be taken? Dietary supplements are not required by federal law to be tested for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed, so the amount of scientific evidence available for various supplement ingredients varies widely. Some ingredients in dietary supplements have been carefully evaluated. For example, scientists know that calcium and vitamin D are important for keeping bones strong and reducing bone loss. Other supplements, such as many herbal products, need more study to determine their value. The B complex formulas are safe, I will not endorse any particular brand, but using the well known supplement companies is recommended. As a coach, I have recommended to many of my athletes to consider taking certain vitamins, like C and B complex. It’s important to know that when taking vitamins they should pretty much be ingested with food; that way they become part of the digestive process of the body and therefore, they will be properly absorbed and become more beneficial. Got to take note here, the vitamins mentioned in this paragraph are water soluble and are considered safe to take because your body just eliminates the waste naturally. Carbohydrates have six major functions within the body: Providing energy and regulation of blood glucose, sparing the use of proteins for energy breakdown of fatty acids and preventing ketosis an abnormal increase of ketone bodies in the blood as in diabetes mellitus, which is a deficiency of insulin. Almost all foods have carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are essential for two distinct functions in your body -- energy and digestion. Most types of carbohydrates, such as starch and sugar, break down into glucose, which is the simplest form of carbohydrate and your body’s primary source of energy. Simple carbohydrates are sugars, and complex carbs are healthy starches as found in vegetables. An athlete’s carbohydrate intake can be judged by whether total daily intake and the timing of consumption in relation to exercise maintain adequate carbohydrate substrate for the muscle and central nervous system or whether carbohydrate fuel sources are limiting for the daily exercise program. Carbohydrate availability is increased by consuming carbohydrate in the hours or days prior to the session, intake during exercise, and refueling during recovery between sessions. This is important for the competition setting or for high-intensity training where optimal performance is desired. Carbohydrate intake during exercise should be scaled according to the characteristics of the event. Products containing special blends of different carbohydrates may maximize absorption of carbohydrate at such high rates. In real life, athletes undertake training sessions with varying carbohydrate availability. Whether implementing additional “train-low” strategies to increase the training adaptation leads to enhanced performance in well-trained individuals is unclear. I found most of this valuable information on a blog by Elizabeth Quinn, called “Very Well,” which is related to sports medicine. There’s a lot of news out there that relates to nutrition, not only for athletes, but for everyone. The combination of vitamins, like B complex, C and D and some forms of antioxidants like fish oils and the blend of complex carbs are all important for athletes to consider to restore the nutrients that they use during activity. I’m a believer in the use of supplements; they have become the new good fuels for all athletes and a must consideration to all active people. Please note, sugars from candy and power drinks, plus sodas, are short lived and can cause your body to fall into a rapid crash of fatigue. Avoid over-using these forms of simple carbs. They have little to no benefit for anyone, especially athletes. In the long term simple carbs turn into unwanted fat and are detrimental to your health. These simple carbs can be addictive, they can be dangerous! Eat right and be active and you’ll enjoy good health.
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