Last week I explored some of the factors that should be considered before taking any dietary supplement. This week I'll outline a few more ideas to provide you with the necessary information so you are not blindly searching through the bodybuilding.com cyberstore for your favorite supplements.
Do Your Homework
It is important to consider what your athletic goals are, where you are in terms of achieving those goals, and assessing your current performance. Keep in mind that no dietary supplement can ever make you be a better athlete, that is up to you and the time and effort you put into practicing and playing your particular sport.
However, some dietary supplements have been shown through numerous clinical trials to increase strength and help with recovery, both which may allow you to practice more intensely and, in turn, perform better in your particular sport. It is important though to never rely on a dietary supplement to give you any of those benefits because, without a nutritionally sound diet, dietary supplements may at best act as a "band-aid therapy."
The source of information promoting the benefits of 'product x' to you is important as well. Did you hear a commercial on T.V.? Did the owner of a supplement store tell you it was necessary? Did the side of the bottle sound promising? Our mothers were right when they told us, "if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is."
| Supplement Savvy - Research Main Page!
Chris Mohr's weekly review of the latest supplement studies! Find out what works and what doesn't so you can get the best possible results.
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Typically, if the individual promising good health sells the particular product they are endorsing, they may have ulterior motives other than the health of the consumer (of course this is not always true, but instead a buyer beware). It is important to fully investigate it and understand why taking product(s) x, y, and z may benefit you.
Finally, do not just know the name of the product you are taking but understand the research behind it. Know why you are going to be taking it, what is the recommended dose, when you should take it, and if it has any other drug or food interactions that you should be cognizant of.
All too often I have individuals tell me they are taking various products without knowing how much of each or why they are even taking it (aside from, "John Doe said it could help".)
There are several ways to do some investigating of your own, without being a scientist and researching the information yourself, that may help you better understand the various products on the market. The Internet is one of those ways, as there are many websites with accurate dietary supplement information.
Remember, there are probably double the amount of sites with inaccurate information circulating over the web, so be cautious of what you read unless you know it is a trusted source. Below are some credible sites to get you started with you search:
http://dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov - The National Institute of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) was specifically formed for the regulation and oversight of dietary supplements. The ODS is currently updating the database, which contains over 419,000 research journal entries on dietary supplements.
http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/ - The Food and Nutrition Information Council (FNIC) is an information center at the National Agricultural Library. To use this site, click on "dietary supplements" and you will find links to several credible sources on dietary supplements.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ - The National Library of Medicine (NLM) developed this site to provide useful information on vitamins and minerals, and results of a search will provide information on different brands of supplements, dietary sources, precautions when supplementing, proper dosages, drug-nutrient interactions, and potential complications and side effects.
http://www.supplementwatch.com - A self-funded company of scientists dedicated to educating people about the pros and cons of dietary supplements and ergogenic aids. The site is designed for the general consumer and allows one to search for various supplements and/or ergogenic aids.
In summation, it is essential to keep in mind that weight loss does not (or can not) come in a bottle. Muscle mass is not attained through a little white pill. Good health and youthfulness cannot be purchased from a television infomercial. Most of all, aside from aesthetics, it is of utmost importance that you are aware of what you are consuming so that any negative side effects can be avoided.
| Nutritional Supplements Vs. Whole Foods: There's A Place For Both!
If you are a competitive athlete, you know that whole foods arn't enough. Find out why and what supplements you should be taking...
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A wide variety of healthful foods, including an assortment of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthful fats will give you the greatest variety of nutrients; the benefits from these whole foods cannot and will never be reproduced in pill form.
Stay tuned for future columns, where I will review the scientific literature and research studies going on, to bring you the most recent, cutting-edge, nutrition information which will help optimize your performance.