The world of dietary supplement can be overwhelming at the very least and downright misleading at some times. Here are a few supplements that have been put to the test through numerous studies to prove their safety and efficacy. After reading this you’ll have a better idea of the sports supplements that work, how to take the right dosage for your needs, and the populations that would benefit the most.
Whey protein concentrate is possibly the world’s most popular sports supplement today. Whey protein concentrate is micro-filtered and not heat treated to produce ultra pure protein. This process ensures that the protein stays intact and as pure as it can be. It also means the powder to mix easily and achieve a smooth texture, giving you the perfect protein shake. Whey protein concentrate is rich in both BCAA‘s and Glutamine. This makes it the ideal protein to help build muscle size, definition and aid recovery.
Whey Protein Isolate
While whey protein concentrate has a protein content of around 80%, the protein content of whey protein isolate is more like 90%. This is because whey protein isolate undergoes a process called Cross-Flow Micro-Filtration. This separates the protein from fat, cholesterol and lactose meaning a purer protein as the end product.Whey protein isolate is believed to have less fat, cholesterol, lactose, carbohydrates and calories than most other proteins on the market. It is therefore a common choice for those looking to maintain low levels of body fat but who still require the protein to help their muscles repair and recover.
Whey Concentrate Vs Whey Isolate
There is this debate on which one is better, whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate. The truth is there is no outright winner and it largely depends on your personal fitness goals. Whey protein isolate has a higher protein content and is lower in carbohydrates, lactose and fat.
Dosage: A commonly recommended intake is 1–2 scoops (around 25–50 grams) per day, usually after workouts.
Overview: Creatine is perhaps the most commonly consumed supplement in the sports performance world and for good reason. It is has been proven to increase muscle mass, improve exercise performance, and even offers cognitive benefits.
Dosage: The benefits of creatine monohydrate can be obtained by orally consuming 3-5 grams per day. This amount has proven to be safe for long term consumption with no adverse effects.
Who can benefit: The wide ranging benefits of creatine make it an attractive supplement for a wide variety of individuals including athletes, vegans, and elderly populations. This could be a good choice for you if you’re interested in improving strength, gaining muscle, increasing energy, or improving brain functions.
Overview: Beta alanine is a non essential amino acid that is popular for improving athletic performance. It has been shown to improve time to exhaustion (TTE) and improved sports performance in tested cyclists and rowers. Beta Alanine acts by increasing Carnosine levels in the muscle. Carnosine helps buffer the acid that builds up in muscle during exercise allowing the muscle to perform at a higher capacity for longer.
Dosage: Subjects have shown benefits when consuming between 2-5 grams daily.
Who can benefit: Individuals who participate in high intensity exercise could experience performance benefits by supplementing with beta alanine.
Beta Vulgaris aka Beet Extract
Overview: Beet supplements have gained popularity recently as studies have shown them to be at the root of some major athletic achievements. Beets are a highly concentrated source of nitrates (NO3) that the body converts to nitric dioxide (NO2) a vasodilator. Vasodilators can improve athletic performance by increasing blood flow and allowing more oxygen and nutrients to the muscle. Athletes who supplemented with Beet Juice showed significant improve when compared to athletes who consumed a placebo. These athletes showed an increase in time to exhaustion (TTE) tests.
Dosage: 400mg-500mg consumed 2-3 hours before the time of competition is recommended to ensure optimal effects of the beet juice. Some studies have shown that daily supplementation of beet juice starting 6 days before the competition could provide greater benefit than same day consumption only.
Who can benefit: Athletes who are looking to improve their performance in an event that tests their aerobic capacity may want to give this safe food supplement a try!
*Note: The effects of beet juice seem to have a negative correlation with caffeine so don’t mix your beets with coffee.
Overview: Most of us are no stranger to fish oil and may have taken it for one reason or another. Fish oil has been studied extensively and the benefits range from improved cognitive health, to reduced inflammation, heart health, upregulating anabolic pathways, and even boosting mood. The key desired ingredients are the Omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. Top of the line supplements will have high levels of these fats and represent the quality of the product.
Dosage: Consumption levels of 1-5 grams daily are popular, speak with your doctor and discuss if a fish oil supplement is a good fit for your needs.
Who can benefit: Athletes, the elderly population, expecting mothers and children all can benefit from a fish oil supplement.