Sports Supplements And Their Proper Usage
Understanding your sport and “Whether a particular type of supplement would really benefit you, instead of make things worse, is of utmost importance”
Growing research in sports supplements continues to explain positive mechanisms towards performance enhancement with certain side effects, if taken in excess or for prolonged durations. But this billion dollar industry across the globe has been growing immensely, throughout all age groups and is used by amateurs and the elite squad as well?
The prescription of a supplement depends on a lot of factors. It is a thought process involving detailed understanding of the sport, training related information, degree of improvement the supplement is expected to provide and if it is substantial enough, an athlete’s current performance level etc. to name a few, but above all, understanding your sport and whether a particular type of supplement would really benefit you instead of make things worse, is of utmost importance. And although there are a wide number of sports supplements available, discussed here are a few well researched and more common ones.
Comprising 20 per cent of milk protein, whey is the fastest absorbed protein crucial for immediate post workout consumption in the ‘anabolic window of opportunity.’ Whey causes protein synthesis post an intensive training session that usually results in loss of muscle. It also has immune boosting properties, antioxidant effects as well as weight loss characteristics. About 20-25 grams of whey post workout, is recommended.
The largest component of milk protein, casein is slowly absorbed and considered anti-catabolic as it reduces the breakdown of muscle in the recovery phase, which occurs as a part of the repair process. It is also an excellent source of calcium. Casein contains lactose and should be avoided by those who are lactose intolerant. An average of 20-30 grams of casein can be consumed, preferably at bedtime.
This acts as a fuel source of energy for high intense short bursts of activities/events. Since the demand of energy is high, glucose In the muscle Is broken clown in the absence of oxygen and lactate is observed in the blood resulting in early fatigue. Creatine supplementation helps delay lactate build up and hence fatigue. It also helps Increasing muscle size (hypertrophy) and enhances recovery. Around five to twenty grams of creatine can be consumed depending on the loading? maintenance phase that your health professional suggests.
After an intense session of training, glutamine, the most abundant skeletal muscle amino acid is greatly depleted and this can hamper protein synthesis and recovery. Hence, adequate glutamine is required to prevent muscle loss. It is also essential for improving the immune system and gut function. 15-20 grams of glutamine is usually consumed in three-four doses, post training and at bedtime.
BCAA: Leucine, Isoleucine And Valine
These are three branched chain amino acids (BCAA) which are an essential source of energy during endurance activities. They spare the muscle protein and provide protection against muscle damage with their anti-catabolic effect. They also prevent fatigue via specialized mechanisms and keep the brain alert and focused. About 10-12 grams of BCAA is an average dose, split into pre and post training.
Multi-Vitamin And Multi- Mineral
Oxidative stress produced due to high intensity or long duration activities can result in prolonged inflammation and poor recovery. Supplementing with antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals that play a role to fuel metabolism, reduces this stress and thereby aids in faster recovery. A tablet/capsule per day for elite athletes may be recommended.
SOME OTHER SUPPLEMENTS
- L-arginine is intended to boost nitric oxide which is a potent vasodilator to improve supply of nutrients.
- Caftelne is a thermogenic supplement aided for fat loss and improved endurance performance
- L-carnitine again is a fat burner
- Phosphate supplements are for instant energy
- Salt tablets are consumed during long duration endurance activities etc. and are also used by certain athletes, depending on individual requirements.
Since supplements are so readily available, It is extremely important to check for the presence of banned substances in these products. The demand for these supplements Is high because, In the pursuit of immediate results, barely enough information is gathered about these supplements. The information mentioned here are just guidelines, so take your time and discuss it with a qualified and experienced health professional to figure out if the supplement is even necessary in the first place and it it is, then understand its customized dosage, to suit your needs.