Do supplements make you a better athlete? Do supplements make you a better athlete?

Products that promise to reduce fat, strengthen your muscles and increase your athletic performance are becoming increasingly popular among sports enthusiasts. However, products that promise quick and efficient results are being questioned.

Sports supplements are products that include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs or other ingredients that help to improve athletic performance. They are sold without a prescription and are not required to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before being sold on the market, making them popular products among consumers

However, according to the organization KidsHealth, critics of these products claim that their manufacturers do not follow regulations for products that offer these types of benefits and that some of their components expose users to side effects. But do they work or not?

Androstenedione and DHEA

Research on these pro-hormones or “natural steroids” in adult athletes found that neither increased muscle size, or improved strength or physical performance. Actually, both are prone to cause hormonal imbalances in those who use them as well as dangerous side effects such as testicular cancer, infertility, stroke and increased risk of heart disease. Adolescents who use these types of compounds may not reach their full height.

Creatine

This substance is produced by the body in the liver, kidneys and pancreas. It is also found naturally in foods such as meat and fish. Those who take this type of supplement do so to gain strength. Although its effect on children and adolescents has not been determined, in adults, it has proven to be more effective in athletes who do high intensity intermittent exercises with brief intervals to recover, such as sprinting and weightlifting. It has not been found to increase endurance or aerobic performance, however.

Fat burners

These types of products are generally created with a plant called ephedra, which acts as a stimulant to increase metabolism. It is taken to lose weight or to increase energy levels; however, scientific evidence indicates that ephedra can cause heart problems and stroke.

Healthcare and sports professionals recommend getting these extra nutrients from foods that contain them naturally, leading a balanced diet, staying constantly hydrated and consulting with a medical professional to get proper guidance before deciding to take any type of supplement.

Related article:  Are vitamin supplements really necessary?

 


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