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Benefits and harms of sports nutrition: do dietary supplements improve physical fitness

Increased physical activity requires a lot of energy from the body. If you train regularly, then you can make up for the loss of energy and achieve the desired result by supplementing your diet with sports nutrition.

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Sports nutrition is a dietary supplement that allows the body to maintain a high level of performance during training and recover faster after them. However, they should be used with caution due to side effects.

Don’t self-medicate! In our articles, we collect the latest scientific data and opinions from reputable health experts.

What types of sports nutrition exist

Protein

Protein or protein is the most popular type of sports nutrition. It is responsible for the growth and repair of muscle tissue, as well as for the synthesis of hormones, including growth hormone, which contributes to gaining muscle mass. The optimal protein dose for an adult is 1-1.3 g per 1 kg of body weight per day. During intensive training, the values increase to 1.3 — 1.6: the lower limit is recommended for endurance sports, and the upper limit is recommended for strength sports.

You can get protein from both food and sports nutrition. However, excessive consumption of protein mixes significantly increases the load on the kidneys and liver. This is fraught with gout and problems related to calcium loss, such as muscle pain, cramps, or even osteoporosis. Other negative consequences include gastrointestinal disorders and dehydration. The higher the load on the kidneys, the more fluid the body needs.

To find out exactly how much water you need, you need to divide the weight by a special coefficient. It is equal to 32 for low – intensity training, 25 – for medium, 21-for high loads. Thus, if a person weighs 80 kg and works out at an average intensity, then he needs to drink 3.2 liters of liquid per day.

Amino acid

Amino acids (BCAAs) are the substances that make up protein. They are not produced in the body, but make up a third of muscle protein. These amino acids play an important role in preventing muscle catabolism – the breakdown of protein in response to intense exercise. In addition, according to some reports, they are involved in regulating the level of the hormone leptin, which is responsible for hunger and satiety.

A healthy person does not need to drink supplements with amino acids, since they are found in food. If you still want to take such dietary supplements, it is better to pass the necessary tests and consult with a specialist. Exceeding the daily dose of BCAAs can lead to impaired absorption of other amino acids.

Drugs that improve the body’s performance

They help speed up recovery after training and reduce catabolic processes in the muscles. Creatine is mainly used today, because it is the most effective and safe. Preparations with this substance are indicated for sports that are characterized by repetitive movements, such as tennis or boxing. Side effects include diarrhea and delayed water supply to muscle tissue.

Nitric oxide donors

Nitric oxide is a molecule that is produced and released by the cells lining the inner surface of blood vessels, causing them to expand. As a result, the blood supply to the muscles improves, and the athlete achieves better results. Excessive use of nitric oxide donors will not lead to excessive vasodilation, but it can disrupt the balance of nutrients and worsen oxidative stress.

Testosterone boosters

Testosterone, the main anabolic hormone, stimulates the growth of muscle mass. Moreover, its normal or slightly elevated level has a positive effect on heart and vascular health, mood, mental activity and immune system activity; protects against osteoporosis.

These medications should be used strictly as prescribed by your doctor. Before taking it, it is important to pass tests and choose an individual dose and mode of use. Testosterone boosters are contraindicated for young men under 23 years of age, because they can suppress the synthesis of their own hormone, as well as for women. Uncontrolled use of testosterone preparations is dangerous for your health.

Fat burners

These are incredibly popular drugs these days, especially among those who want to lose weight without changing their lifestyle and eating habits. They are also often used by those who started playing sports only in order to quickly lose weight.

The active ingredients in fat burners are caffeine, ephedrine and green tea extract. Drugs may also contain heavy metal salts, bacteria, and toxic substances.

Scientific studies confirm the short-term effectiveness of such drugs. They stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and the production of adrenaline, thereby causing the body to spend more energy.

Side effects of fat burners: increased heart rate, cardiac arrhythmias, mental disorders, insomnia, agitation, headache, gastrointestinal problems.

Image by Ewa Urban from Pixabay

Fish oil and omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids

These substances give the body energy, but do not increase fat mass. They are involved in the production of hormones, including testosterone, have a positive effect on the condition of ligaments and structural elements of joints, and reduce pain after training.

In recent years, there has been a debate in scientific circles about how appropriate it is to take omega-3 supplements. The body synthesizes polyunsaturated fatty acids “on demand”, that is, each organ produces as much of them as it needs. In addition, they are not stored in reserve, because they are oxidized already at a temperature of only 4 degrees Celsius. Thus, it is more rational to get these substances from food products: mackerel, salmon, cod, herring, tuna, trout, walnuts, linseed oil.


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