Dietary supplements are any vitamin, mineral, herb, amino acid, enzyme, protein, or combination thereof which are intended to augment your diet.
Some supplements are extremely effective. Weight gain powder will indeed help you gain weight (although if taken carelessly, that added weight can easily take the form of fat). Some supplements are harmless at best, but potentially helpful. For example, chamomile may reduce the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, but is not known to produce adverse side-effects. Other supplements aren’t safe at all – such as DHZC-2, a product which was recalled because it contains a potentially fatal amount of lead.
Americans spend more than $30 billion on supplements every year. Many of them will not experience the results they want, but quite a few will indeed reach their goals faster by augmenting their diets. Whether you stand to gain by taking one or more supplements depends on multiple factors: the supplements themselves, obviously, but also your eating habits, level of physical activity, and state of health.
The Supplements You Should Take Depends on Your Goals
Before you begin taking a supplement, it is vital to decide what your goal is. We will not expound on all the supplements which promise benefits such as heightened immunity to disease and improved cognition. Instead we will focus on three of the most popular reasons people take supplements: increased muscle mass, faster weight loss, and enhanced athletic performance.
It is important to have realistic expectations for supplements which promise to increase muscle mass. No legally available supplement will make you look like a 21-year-old Arnold, and we categorically advise against taking anabolic steroids.
You do need to consume a healthy supply of protein in order to build muscle. As a general rule, people who want greater muscle mass are advised to consume one gram of protein daily for each pound they weigh. If you cannot conveniently eat that much chicken breast or another natural source of protein, then you can still expect better results by drinking a whey protein powder shake after the gym. For those underweight, then a high-protein carbohydrate shake can also accelerate weight gain.
If you would like to add a pre-workout supplement to your training regimen, then you should judge available products based on whether they contain any of these five ingredients: caffeine, creatine, nitrates, beta-alanine and branched-chain amino acids. These ingredients promote higher energy, greater strength, increased blood flow, and other performance benefits which can facilitate your workout.
CICO: calories in, calories out. It is the theory that weight loss can only result if you burn more calories than you consume, and it is more potent than any weight loss supplement that could possibly be developed. To reiterate: the healthiest and most natural way to lose weight is to expend more calories than you consume.
Diet and exercise are accordingly your two most powerful tools for weight loss. If you are reducing your calorie intake, then you may find it beneficial to supplement your diet with a multivitamin – doing so can ensure that you don’t become deficient in the organic compounds your body requires to function healthily.
Adding more protein to your diet, either by eating more meat or by drinking protein shakes instead of regular meals, can help you develop more lean muscle. Lean muscle helps to burn in more calories, which in turn promotes greater weight loss. A diet rich in protein can also help you avoid the urge to overeat!
Increased Athletic Performance
An athlete’s ideal supplement regimen depends entirely on which sport they wish to excel at. An Olympic sprinter’s dietary needs are quite different from those of a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins for reasons which don’t beg explanation.
That said, athletes generally benefit by taking a pre-workout supplement and multivitamin, as well as drinking a protein shake after each workout. Creatine is also demonstrably effective at enhancing performance in sports which require short bursts of power, such as weightlifting and sprinting. You may also enjoy a more rewarding workout by wearing a heart rate monitor, which gives immediate, measurable feedback on the amount of effort you’re expending.
Choose the Right Supplements for Your Needs
Supplements are frequently disparaged by those who don’t understand what they are. No reasonable person would argue against taking a single vitamin D tablet daily, and yet that still does count as a supplement.
Choosing the best supplements for your unique health goals is somewhat trickier. For that, you would do best to defer to expert advice. That’s why we welcome you to contact Calhoun Spine & Wellness Center in Calhoun, GA today. Our registered dietitian is qualified to explain exactly which supplements will help you reach your goals faster, and our extensive selection of supplements by NutriDyn and Metagenics makes it easy to purchase the highest-quality health products.