We aim to shed some light on what dietary supplements are, the benefits they could provide, and some things to consider when thinking to add a supplement into your routine. What we are not aiming to do is to tell you that you should go out and buy all of these and start taking them all the time. What you put into your body depends on what your goals are and what you need. For the most part, you will see the most dramatic improvements to your health and physical performance by eating nutritious foods. And if you want to add in supplements to your routine, add them in one at a time so you can see the affects of each. In that way, you will be able to better judge whether it is the right thing for you.
The word “supplements” can often provoke a negative connotation and, for some people, their mind goes straight to steroids. However, supplements are different than steroids because steroids (specifically anabolic steroids) are drugs that directly affect the nucleus of cells to alter testosterone content in the body. The results of taking steroids typically include increased muscle mass, increased strength, hepatotoxicity, immune dysfunction, glucose interolerance, in addition to a myriad of other psychiatric, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal effects. Supplements, on the other hand, are vitamins and powders of ingredients that can normally be found in the food that we consume or naturally in our bodies. Examples include, but are not limited to, Vitamin C, protein powders, Fish Oils, multivitamin pills, etc.
Whether or not you do choose to add in a supplement, I would recommend researching it as much as you can to evaluate for yourself the benefits. Supplements will definitely not cure any diseases, but they could help you with getting the right nutrients you need. If you do choose to take a supplement, it is important to drink plenty of water. In fact, drinking plenty of water is SUPER important regardless of whether you are taking supplements or not (maybe we should write another blog about water intake….). Water allows your liver, kidneys, brain, stomach, etc. to function properly and helps these organs efficiently process any supplement you are taking. In addition, water helps flush out the body and remove waste products generated when performing high intensity exercises. And just like the bottle might say “consult your physician if you have questions on if this is the right thing for you”.