Considering Supplements - Some Facts You Need to Know!

Supplements offer a true enhancement for many hard-core athletes.  Their purpose is to be an added boost for an already well-rounded training and nutritional program.  However, there is no uniformity among products in the marketplace and labels are not written clearly.  Supplements are often taken incorrectly because of these two factors and more importantly they are taken in lieu of real food.  The industry as a whole is estimated to generate around $2 and half billion in 2008. 


Bruce Lee Ripped.jpg
Anyone that trains hard whether it is mixed martial artist or volleyball player, should view their overall wellness from a peak performance perspective.  This means eating food that maximizes their body's functionality for the training they do.  This is a healthy approach whether you are a dentist that loves their workouts or a amateur fighter hoping to crossing over into the pro game.
Common supplements like whey protein and creatine, which are used to add bulk and help with increasing even the amount of weight lifted seem to have very high dose recommendations on the bottle.  For example, the problem with an excessive amount of creatine, is that it can cause stomach upset, muscle cramps, diarrhea, high blood pressure, liver damage and kidney disfunction.  You should know that creatine is actually a naturally occurring amino acid that is already found in our muscles.  50% comes from our foods and 50% is produced in our liver, kidney and pancreas.
There are so many supplements on the market.  Many also seem to include arginine, nitric oxide and caffeine.  We all know how much we over use caffeine.  If you have ever used it in excess you probably experienced poor clarity, jitters, stomach aches and even dizziness.  But arginine and nitric oxide are a little less understood by the average user.
Ariginine is also an amino acid, is conditionally a nonessential amino acid, which means most of the time it isn't obtained through food because the body can produce it on its own.  Only individuals who have a poor diet or some other condition may be asked to increase their intake (by the evaluation of a nutritionist) through a supplement or just increasing foods like ricotta, milk, seeds, granola, yogurt...  But if you are a performance athlete, you are probably avoiding these types of food sources which contain numerous amino acids since they also contain lots of fat.  The role ariginine serves in the body is important.  It aids in healing wounds, triggers the body to make protein, may enhance sperm production, helps in removing ammonia from the body and releasing hormones. It is also used to help make creatine. All reasons why the bodybuilding community uses it in their supplement product lines. Ariginine changes into nitric oxide, another popular ingredient in supplements.
Nitric oxide causes the blood vessels to relax and it is presumed that ariginine can therefore be used to treat medical conditions where vasodilation is a concern (i.e. clogged arteries, chest pain, erectile dysfunction..).  With this being said, in a supplement form it should increase muscle blood flow and promote hypertrophy which is why so many are drawn to using it.  But L-arginine could lead to lowering your blood pressure, cause indigestion, nausea, headaches, increase stomach acid, therefore worsening conditions like digestive ulcers and it may alter potassium levels.  Individuals with a history of digestive problems,  heart conditions and kidney disease should not be using L-ariginine.
Although there are many supplements that are appropriate, it is the direction of dosage that offers the consumer little insight into how to include it into a person's individual diet and workout regiment.  An individual's goals are completely relevant when adding supplements to their life.  I believe that consulting with a nutritionist or qualified fitness professional can give the proper direction for the white-collar martial artists or the performance driven MMA fighter.

Leave a comment