We have all seen the advertisements, whether it be in Muscle and Fitness or at GNC, claiming they will increase performance, decrease recovery time, and promote muscle growth. But how much of this is true? Many of the supplements out there today rely highly on celebrity endorsements and mass marketing rather than solid scientific evidence. I recently read an article (Nitric Oxide Supplements for Sports) in the Strength and Conditioning Journal that proposed the question, how much science is behind these products? It was shocking to find out that with the exception of only one study, there is no published scientific studies to show that the dietary supplements currently marketed as “nitric oxide stimulators” have proven efficacy. So why are they so popular? It is in our nature to always be looking for that faster, better or easier way to achieve our goals. Next time you look through a fitness magazine keep a tally of how many advertisements are crammed in between those pages. This isn’t to say that all supplements out there are sugar pills, but be sure to ask yourself a couple questions before forking out your hard earned cash.
- Have any studies been conducted to test the products efficacy? And were they preformed by an unbiased group?
- Have the results been published? If so, where?
- If the studies were conducted, were they preformed on a population that represents the potential user?
- How much does the effective dosage cost? Is the cost justified for the potential gain?
Now there are supplements out there that ARE backed by the scientific community as well as the drug companies. One such product is Creatine Monohydrate. More scientific reports are available pertaining to the benefits of creatine than ANY other single supplement! Another added bonus of this product is that it rings up far cheaper than almost any other weight lifting supplement at $15-$20 (online price). Remember to research your supplements and how they are to be used. Creatine for example should be taken with some kind of carbohydrate (ie juice or Gatorade) as creatine needs carbs to deliver it to the working muscle in order to be utilized in energy production. What you many not know is that by taking it with an acidic juice like orange or grapefruit actually destroys the creatine and it can not be utilized by the body.
We all have our own thoughts and opinions about supplements, but for my money I will stick to products that have the proof to back up the claims! For more information on supplementation please contact the Seattle Athletic Club’s nutritionist Suzzanne Myer.