Even the most healthiest of eaters can miss out on key nutrients despite eating a well balanced meal. If your meal plan doesn’t contain a perfect mix of every performance-enhancing nutrient, it will definitely take a toll on the fitness goals you are set out to achieve. You know that food supplies nutrients in combinations that supplements can’t really replicate, but sometimes they fall short due to the way your body absorbs these nutrients or the general quality of the food. This is where certain supplements can ensure that athletes and runners don’t miss out on any goodness that could improve their performance.
Supplements can provide you with extra nutrients when your diet is lacking or certain health conditions trigger a deficiency but first preference should be given to Natural foods, only when body needs are not met by natural foods you should depend on supplements says Shaily Chauhan, Nutritionist & Dietitian.
What are dietary supplements?
Dietary supplements are substances you might use to add nutrients to your diet that may not be consumed in sufficient quantities. They come in the form of pills, capsules, powders, gel tabs, extracts, or liquids. A doctor’s prescription is not needed to buy dietary supplements.. Food supplements can be vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and other substances delivered in the form of pills, tablets, capsules, liquid, etc.
Who needs dietary supplements?
Almost everyone. Even the most conscious consumers find it difficult to get all the nutrients they need from food alone. While diet improvement is a desirable goal, changing the pattern of the diet is extremely difficult. So, it is better for people to obtain the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals from these supplements. They are inexpensive and are an effective way to fill a number of known nutrient gaps.
Dietary supplements serve a wide range of purposes. Some of these are medically appropriate, while others may do nothing or harm the individual. Reasons for taking dietary supplements include:
• Replacing a necessary substance not found in large enough quantities in the diet
• Preventing or decreasing the risk of developing a disease or condition
• Boosting the immune system and improving general health
• Boosting energy levels
• Body Building and muscle making
• Improving mental or physical performance
• Stimulating weight loss
Types of supplements
• Mineral (Folic acid, Iron, Calcium)
• Vitamins ( B12, D3, A,C, Multivitamin, Fat soluble)
• Protein ( BCAA, Casein, Glutamine, whey)
• Essential Fatty acids (Fish oil pill)
The target group for each of these supplement is different; for e.g. People who are into high intensity speed workouts or endurance workouts but are vegetarians would need protein supplements along with protein rich foods. People who have crossed middle aged adulthood will have to incorporate multi vitamin supplements. Women crossing menopause age will have to depend on Calcium, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3 and iron supplements; added Shaily Chauhan Nutritionist & Dietitian.
Supplements majorly used for runners include Beta-aniline for speed run workouts to reduce the muscle fatigue whereas Creatinine is taken for endurance run workouts. Also, Electrolytes are taken during the run to replenish the lost minerals and salt during the workout. Magnesium is taken the day you had very high intensity run for relaxing the muscle especially when you have 2-4 days running or cycling event.
Advantages of Dietary supplements
Supplements can contribute to improved muscular strength, endurance and overall physical performance. For this reason, they are commonly taken by athletes to improve their performance. Food supplements can also prevent a variety of diseases and health conditions. For example, pregnant women are advised to take folic acid to prevent birth defects.
Disadvantages of dietary supplements
Because dietary supplements are not as strictly regulated as drugs, their effectiveness may not be as dependable. Furthermore, when taken in dosages that exceed the recommended dietary intake, some supplements may be toxic and cause serious side effects. Vitamin A toxicity, for example, can cause liver damage, blurred vision, headaches, bone pain and swelling, drowsiness and nausea.
The bottom line is that a healthy lifestyle must include a focus on dietary improvement. Generous intakes of the essential nutrients will support the normal functioning of the body and enhance health in a myriad of ways. The rational use of nutritional supplements, combined with a healthy diet, will contribute substantially to health promotion and disease prevention.
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