Whenever you broach the question of sports supplements, you will find that, as a general rule, people tend to fall into two, clearly separated categories. While one camp will claim that sports supplements are essentially placebo substances that exist only to make money for their manufacturers and have little to none practical effects, others will swear by them and tell you that you can get results much faster than you would if you were to go the “natural” way.
Both sides often make those claims without enough knowledge on the subject. This article aims to clear some of the clutter and give you straight answers about the effects and benefits of sports supplements, as well as potential risks to your health.
The most common fear of sports supplements is that the side effects present a great risk to your health. The legal status of supplements varies from country to country, but let’s take USA as an example. According to US laws, supplements are neither food nor medicine, but are generally treated in a similar way as is food. That means that companies that manufacture supplements need to abide standards far less strict than those placed upon the pharmaceutical industry. A large percentage of the fears surrounding supplements stems from this fact. However, that does not mean that the production of supplements is not monitored. Manufacturers still need to follow all the safety and health procedures and standards, but the difference is that supplements aren’t as closely scrutinized, tested and analyzed as medications (in other words, while medications go through thorough testing prior to hitting the market, supplements are tested only after complaints about their potential hazards).
Since supplements are sold legally, over the counter, that means that they’ve gone through all the necessary procedures and have met the required production standards. The problems may occur if you’re ordering supplements online from a distributor located outside of your country, because they need to follow different laws and they might be selling products that are illegal in your country. Before you order anything online, make sure you’re buying from a trusted and reputable distributor of sports supplements.
In general, people suffering from certain conditions are not best suited to take certain supplements, and therefore it is very important to consult your doctor before you start using any new product.
Another question that is still up for much debate is the question of the effectiveness of sports supplements. It is wrong to assume that supplements are magical substances that will help you gain muscle mass or lose weight overnight. Keep in mind that supplements are meant to assist you in achieving your goals, not to do all the work for you.
A disciplined workout routine and a diet designed for your specific needs are essential to fulfilling your dreams of health and fitness, and supplements are simply there to supplement your diet and make up for any substances you’ve failed to introduce into your body. You can achieve similar results by adhering to a strict diet, but arguably the biggest benefit of sports supplements is their practical value – the fact they give you much of the needed nutrients in a convenient, on-the-go package. Whether you’re using fat burners, muscle gainers, energy bars or any other product, you should mainly use them to make up for a skipped meal and not go over the recommended daily amounts of their ingredients.
Experts don’t recommend using supplements as an alternative to healthy eating. For instance, if you’re looking to increase your protein intake, there are plenty of “natural” protein-rich options such as meat, fish, eggs, beans, tofu, etc. The difference between these foods and most supplements is that, besides protein, they also supply you with vitamins and other important nutrients. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use supplements, only that you shouldn’t use them exclusively. When you’re choosing a certain product we suggest you go for the ones that have spent some time on the market and have a verified track record of safety, so make sure you ask around and gather all the necessary information.