Athletes and Supplements
Athletes and Supplements By David Challoner Health 03—Morgan November 24, 2009 Do Supplements Help Athletes? Table of Contents Do Supplements Help Athletes 1 What are supplements? 2 What does it do to the Body? 2 Positives 3 Negatives 3 What can you do? 3 Bibliography and Sources 4 One of the biggest questions still asked today is: Do supplements help athletes? And really is no great answer because it depends on what kind of athlete you are. Athletes try to find supplements, techniques, or special equipment that will help them perform at their maximum level. But supplements aren’t specifically made for all types of people. Every supplement has a different purpose. An important thing to know is that you can spend countless dollars on supplements that have no proven benefit. Also, when you go to GNC or local supplement store one should know that most of those products aren’t FDA approved. The FDA is the Food and Drug Administration. They test certain supplements for their safety, potency, effectiveness, and their side effects. According to FDA.com most supplements don’t pass and aren’t FDA approved. The FDA claims from tests that most supplements are weak at best, meaning they won’t provide the nutrients that you need to build lean muscle or burn off that annoying beer belly. The FDA stated that “Many factors go into making a good athlete; supplements shouldn’t be first on the list.” The job of supplements is to help us utilize energy from food and workouts, but also to help our muscles grow and perform better. Supplements do work in a sense that some professional athletes need extra energy and or protein. Supplements do this for athletes so that they can perform at their peak level. So yes, supplements do work if you are that athlete that exercises almost every day and keeps a balance in their workout. But, if you are that person who works out two days a week, most supplements won’t help you because you’re not in that zone of need for more nutrients and proteins. Overall, most supplements won’t help you build lean muscle unless you’re that bodybuilder in the gym 24-7. But if you want to keep your engine running like an wild beast, eat balanced meals, have healthy diet, with the balance of the five good food groups; Fruits, vegetables, milk products, whole grains, and lean meat or proteins. Supplements may help you reach a higher level of performance. Picture Above : One type of the three supplements: A Capsule Page 2 Athletes and Supplements What Are Supplements? Sports supplements are anything from performance vitamins to cleansing herbs. According to dictionary.com, sport supplements are substances taken by athletes or individuals involved in weight training or other physical activity to aid in the building of lean muscle mass or to cause fat loss. Bodybuilding supplements may also be used to improve sports performance, (Although illegal in most professional sports), and improve recovery from events and training. However, their potential effects remain controversial. Supplements are used to enhance athletic performance and to “build up” the body. Technically sport supplements are considered dietary, but they can be used for a variety of things including; to build protein and muscles, to sustain muscle, and to enhance a certain part of their body. These products are generally available over the counter without a prescription. Some popular supplements that contain creatines are Dymatize, Met-Rx, EAS, and many more. In general there are three ways to take sport supplements; through capsules, powders, and liquids. The powder is the safest and cheapest, but the liquids are most effective because of your body’s ability to absorb the supplement. Because these supplements can be so effective most associations like the NFL and the NCAA have banned supplements. They believe it would cause an unfair playing field. Also, athletes may not be sure what do these supplements do to our bodies? What does it do to the body? Photo Above : One of the three types of supplements : Powder. Photo Right: That’s what happens when athletes go over board with supplements and steroids.` Other than help your body build muscle and lose fat, supplements do have side effects. There have been many of studies according to the FDA that have reported stomach aches and hydration. No real long term side effects have presented themselves in tests. The FDA also tested creatine, a type of protein that is naturally produced by the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Side effects from creatine included weight gain, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and muscle cramps. Other types of supplements were tested, but most side effects were similar to generic decide if you think the supplements. positives outweigh the There were also negatives. positives in what supplements did to the body. For example some tests showed gain in energy, but the tests were inconclusive and not consistent. Also, there was a gain in nutrients that helps build muscle. Overall, most of these tests were not consistent, but there were exceptions of supplements that truly could help build muscle and burn fat. Before you buy a supplement, do research first and find out if the product is FDA approved. The FDA makes sure it is effective, that it is safe, and so you’re not wasting your money. But you have to Page 3 Health 03—Morgan Positives There are positives in supplements, but it’s for those athletes that work almost out every day. They need extra energy and nutrients so that they can build and sustain muscles. Supplements also enhance protein synthesis, which helps your body stay in an anabolic state. An anabolic state is the zone where you body easily builds muscle. So supplements make it easier for your body to build muscle. Supplements increase muscle volume as well. Supplements simply allow more water into the muscle. Most athletes will gain 1 or 2 pounds in the first week from your muscles absorbing more water and appearing bigger. That is called the water weight stage. Supplements may also help prevent lactic acid from absorbing into the muscles. Lactic acid is what makes your muscles sore. The supplement basically delays the lactic acid build up in the muscles. This will help athletes with feeling comfortable and loose. Lastly, and the most important positive of supplements is that they increase the amount of ATP in the muscles. According to muscleandstrength.com ATP stands for Adenosine TriPhosphate, which is the explosive energy in the muscles. Humans naturally exert about 15 seconds of ATP when doing repetitions. But that’s when supplements come in. Supplements take the chemical that is left over from ATP and convert it back into ATP, so that the athletes can take longer reps. therefore increasing his/her strength and performance. tive enough to build and sustain muscle. Supplements require lots of activity; they don’t just build muscle for your body on its own. Also, studies have shown that most supplements aren’t effective, and they do nothing for you except present side effects. Side effects are much more hurtful, like dehydration, diarrhea, stomach aches, and gain of weight. The most important point is that supplements don’t work unless you have two hours a day, every day, to work out. Most people don’t, so really the supplement doesn’t work for most people, and that reason, should outweigh all the positives. that process. If you choose to stay away from supplements there are multiple things to do in order to build and sustain muscle. The number one aspect is eating right. Use the five major food groups to your advantage. Eat food high in protein. You don’t have to deprive yourself of fat and carbohydrates because they provide lots of energy. Certain foods like fish and lean meats provide lots of energy because of the balance of protein and fats. Also make sure you are exercising daily. Choose a day out of the week to take it easy so your body can recover from constant exercise. Both ways to go are good if it’s with or without supplements. The important things is being fit, America is the fattest country in the world. For me most supplements aren’t effective because of my rate of activity. But, for some it maybe the right choice. Negatives It would seem, in general, that there are more negatives in supplements than positives. I believe supplements are meant for very active athletes. Most Americans that are athletic have work and can’t be at the gym every day. Therefore, most supplements that are used by regular athletes aren’t effec- What can you do? Supplements can be a good way to go as long as you are consistent and work out daily. Supplements provide nutrients to build muscle, sustain muscle, and encourage fitness. The problem for most people is that it is hard to stay committed and keep a balance of fitness and food. If you do commit you will see results, maybe not right away but with any constant exercise comes the buildup of muscle; and the supplements help quicken Picture Above: Are there too many? Positive or Negative? Picture Below: What can you do? “Do supplements help Athletes?” FOOD and FITNESS. May 5, 2009. 11/16/09. http:// missourifamilies.org/features/ nutritionarticles/nut155.htm “Many Athletes Using Un regulated Supplements.” Join Together. August 17, 2001. 11/16/09. http://www.jointogether.org/news/ research/summaries/2001/manyathletes-using.html “Sport Supplements.” Teen Health. May, 2008. 11/16/09. http://kidshealth.org/teen/ food_fitness/sports/ sports_supplements.html “Steroid Statism.” Free LanceStar, The (Fredericksburg, VA). 12, November, 2009: Section 10.3. Challoner, Deborah. Personal Interview. 16 November 2009. Bibliography The first three are Online Sources. The Fourth is from an MICDS Database. The Last is a personal Interview with my mother who has a background in sports training and health care education. Resources National—Contact Info—David R. Challoner / 2715 NW 22nd Dr. Gainesville, FL / 352-373-5361/ Member of National Institute of Health. Local—Contact info—Fred Binggeli / 1 N. Keene Street Columbia, MO / (573) 875-4880 / Missouri State High School Activities Association School—Info—Drug and Sports by Fred C. Pampel.