Supplements are compounds based on nutrients or substances that improve sports performance and certain functions of the human body. Many have been shown to bring no medium- and long-term benefits. However, there are others that can increase the physical efficiency of athletes.
However, in order for them to work, it is necessary to include them in a balanced and adequate diet for the athlete. In fact, if the diet is deficient in essential nutrients, the supplements will not be able to achieve their goal. In this article, we explain how supplements work on the body.
On the market there are supplements whose direct function is not to improve the athlete’s performance, but to prevent nutrient deficiencies that can reduce sports efficiency. One example is zinc supplements. This substance is not able to increase performance, but it is a mineral that actively participates in the metabolism of testosterone.
According to a publication in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences , having low levels of this nutrient affects hormone production, which in turn limits muscle tissue gain and strength development.
It is not normal for zinc, present in red meat and dried fruit, to be below established levels. However, it is possible that those who follow a restrictive diet may not be able to meet the minimum requirements.
Supplements that improve performance
On the other hand, there are supplements that, at higher doses than those of the diet, help to increase the athlete’s performance. An example is creatine, which is widely used in both amateur and professional sports.
An overload of this nutrient can improve the efficiency of aerobic and anaerobic metabolism, as well as muscle strength, according to research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition . It is a supplement that has no medium to long-term side effects and can also positively affect the athlete’s body composition.
Likewise, nitrates are substances that improve the performance of athletes, especially when administered before training or competition. They are often combined with caffeine to delay the onset of fatigue and to improve performance during repeated exertion.
These are expert-approved supplements whose effects have been proven with placebos. In 2018, the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published one such survey.
How do they act on the body?
When choosing a supplement, a number of important factors need to be considered. The first is the necessity and suitability of this substance for the sport being practiced.
Secondly, it is important to make sure that the brand offers the right guarantees of purity. On many occasions, products are offered whose actual concentration is lower than expected.
Finally, it is essential for professional athletes to request certification stating that the supplement does not contain doping substances. Otherwise, the athlete could find himself ejected during the relevant checks, which would be a major blow to his sporting career.
It is advisable to consult a nutritionist at the slightest hint of doubt. They will be able to tell us which supplement to take based on our physical condition, goals and needs of each. It can also provide us with a safe supplement with the necessary certifications.
Supplements can benefit the athlete
Many different supplements can be found on the market. As explained above, some serve to cover nutrient deficiencies. Others, on the other hand, are able to improve the athlete’s performance.
Obviously, it is necessary to know the functions of a supplement before starting to consume it. It is also important to make sure that the product is of good quality, that it has been shown to be effective in scientific studies and that it does not contain any doping substances.
Finally, once the substance to be used has been chosen based on the objectives and the situation, in collaboration with the nutritionist, it is necessary to plan a diet that allows the athlete to fully develop his potential, both during training and during competition. .