Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know

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image courtesy of Lynn Gardner (flickr.com)

The world has become accustomed to food feasts. We love what is served on our table, as long as they are visually appealing and taste great – never mind what it does to our body. Many times, we know those burgers don’t come close to giving us health benefits as much as they satisfy, but we take a bite anyway. Needless to say, we try to embrace a balanced diet but, try as they might, still end up gobbling up the same less nutritious, more delectable food that keep satisfying our appetite.

 We are fixated on the idea that we can replenish our body with the nutrients found in pills and supplements. We have this belief that if we do not have a balanced diet, nutritional supplements can fill this gap. These nutritional products are known to give us our health an extra boost and can strengthen our immunity against diseases. While this may be true, it is important to pay attention to getting those nutrients the right way.

 When you select and use your supplements, be sure to do your research. There are countless dietary products out there, and it pays to be able to get the specific type of nutrient you need. Know more about the calcium tablet, vitamin pill, iron soft gel or protein powder that is deemed fit for your nutritional deficiency.

 Check the product label. Read through each of the information provided in the supplement’s package. Find out the ingredients and the amount of nutrients that correspond to each recommended serving. This is important because you can’t get the ideal results unless you take the necessary limits for you. Generally, you should not take supplements in megadoses.

Remember that your multivitamins can lose their potency over time, so take note of expiration dates. When they are expired, throw them away. Also, pay attention to storage requirements. Avoid storing them in places that are too cold or too humid. Otherwise, the product will lose its effectiveness.

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image courtesy of Auntie P (flickr.com)

If you think your supplements can take the place of good old nutrition through food intake, think again. These dietary products are intended to aid your body in absorbing the specific nutrients you lack. However, you still need to eat well, and never take whole grain, meat, fruits, vegetables and water for granted.

Do not be too confident about getting the same dietary product. Health regulations keep certain supplements under constant review or further study, particularly those that have been found to be less effective or offer adverse effects. Stay informed by checking out supplement updates from government-regulated websites or by talking to your health provider.

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The Benefits of Creatine Supplementation

Creatine supplements have been around for years and used by many athletes and bodybuilders for building up muscles. It is one of the numerous supplements that have undergone scientific research in order to produce better quality and to meet the requirements of the industry. Over the years, creatine supplements have provided increased energy for bodybuilders to utilize so they can lift heavier weights at the longest possible time.

Formulation Varieties

It is a fact that not every single bodybuilder has the same experience or result when taking this supplement. These days, there are various formulations to choose from such as creatine ethyl ester or CE2 or CEE which was developed to improve the standard effects of the monohydrate formula. This formulation is quite popular because it has been backed by science to improve strength, muscle mass, and stamina. Although it has been proven safe over the years, it also has some negative effects such as bloating, dehydration, diarrhea, and cramps.

Side Effects of Intake

The inability of the monohydrate formula to absorb efficiently is one of the probable causes of the aforementioned side-effects. It is partially soluble in fat which results to minimal cellular absorption when ingested. The rest of the unabsorbed formula takes up space and water as it sits outside of the cells. This is often thought of as the main reason for causing bloat and water retention which causes weight gain.

Absorption Rates

The introduction of an ester to the monohydrate formula has created a more absorbable creatine which, theoretically, results in less bloating and water retention. However, as a caution, it is essential to drink sufficient amounts of water to prevent dehydration. Lower doses of creatine ethyl ester also allows for better and efficient absorption, but has similar effects as the monohydrate formula.

Best Intake

This formulation is more beneficial for those who are taking it as a pre-workout supplement as the absorption of creatine is enhanced by the ethyl ester. For bodybuilders who load up and cycle this supplement, the ethyl ester may not be as beneficial. However, this formulation is believed to be more stable with the stomach acids as it prevents the conversion of creatine into creatinine.

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Integration with Workout Programs

As a general guideline for anyone who will take any type of supplement, it is still vital to include proper exercise and diet to ensure better results. You can also learn more about Dfine 8 here if you want detailed information. By working closely with a trainer and nutritionist, you can attain a better physique without compromising your health in the process.

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When to Take Protein Shakes

There’s no questioning the importance of drinking protein shake for those who are into intense workouts. Truth is, the question for many is when to drink it: before or after working out?

Breaking down the facts about protein

Before we can answer the question above on what the right time to drink protein is, let’s lay down the facts first about protein powders and their benefits.

First off, protein is used for the production of muscles. It’s also used to manufacture enzymes, hormones, cellular messengers, nucleic acids, and components for the immune system. When our bodies don’t have sufficient protein, putting together structures that make up every cell, tissue, or organ won’t be possible. Our bodies also cannot produce the biochemical substances that are necessary for important things like cardiovascular function, growth, muscle contraction, as well as healing.

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Before or after workout?

This has been a longstanding issue among those who perform intense routines in the gym, especially those who are into bodybuilding. There are those who believe that it’s better to drink protein shakes before getting into strenuous exercises, while there are those who advocate drinking them when they’re done with their workout.

Truth be told, there’s no right or wrong in this debate. Drinking protein before or after working out is both fine. But if you really want to get the full benefits of the protein shake you’re taking, it’s better to gulp it down prior to sweating it out in the gym.  This is because pre-workout protein, specifically BCAAs or branched chain amino acids, will help fuel your muscles while you’re performing your routines. BCAAs don’t need to be processed by our liver. After they’re absorbed, they go directly to our blood stream, which are then picked up by our muscles.

Another advantage of taking protein before working out is the fact that it starts protein synthesis during the session instead of after it. Furthermore, you also burn more calories if you consume it before getting started with your training. There’s a study that found that a scoop of whey protein prior to training increased calorie-burning over the next 24 hours.

There’s also the ‘carryover’ effect of pre-workout protein-drinking as far as nutrients are concerned. Once you’ve taken protein, muscle protein synthesis levels remain high for as long as 3 hours. Now that’s a twin benefit right there: enjoying the benefits of elevated blood amino acids and carryover of elevated blood amino acid levels even after you’re done pumping iron.

Whether you take it before or after your gym sessions, there’s no doubt you’ll reap tons of benefits by taking protein as supplement (know about protein powder and the benefits of doing pre-workouts).

Bodybuilding: More Than Just Buffing Up

When we see men and women all buffed up, we can sometimes perceive them simply as narcissistic people who just want to flaunt their bodies. The truth is, there are those who pump iron in the gym to build muscles not only to look good but also to improve both their physical and mental health.

What Is Bodybuilding?

That may sound like a dumb question, but there’s more to bodybuilding than meets the eye (and the mind). Bodybuilding benefits not only the body but also the mind. Of course, the primary goal of this physical activity, which is also a sport, is to have a proportionally shaped body, although there are those who want to increase muscle mass only in specific parts of their body.

Improving Physical Health

Aside from getting a great-looking figure, bodybuilding can actually help decrease the risk of developing coronary heart disease. Sweating it out in the gym is certainly not only about achieving a body worthy of a spread in a bodybuilding magazine. By getting into weight training and aerobic exercise, you’ll have more chance of reducing and controlling high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as curbing obesity. This beneficial physical activity also keeps our muscles strong and flexible, which helps a lot in our daily activities that involve physical strength and flexibility.

Improving Mental Health

Ever heard of the saying ‘A sound body is a sound mind?’ This expression makes perfect sense. Although some people have the tendency to stereotype bodybuilders as mindless persons trying to look good, there are mental benefits that bodybuilding provides. It can boost our mental well-being. It helps in reducing stress, anxiety, and even depression. Many people who are into bodybuilding also gain more confidence and self-esteem.

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Improving Nutrition

We all know how the food we eat figures in as far as our overall well-being is concerned. When you start training in the gym, you also become more particular with the food you eat. In fact, it is a requirement that you have a specific diet when doing weight training or aerobic exercises. This means taking healthy foods and beverages, as well as taking bodybuilding supplements that can improve our health in many ways. And since you have to lead a healthy lifestyle to optimize your training, you also have to stay away from unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking. You’ll also develop the habit of getting enough sleep every day.

Indeed, the benefits of bodybuilding are not limited to just being in good shape and looking great and fit. It’s also about building a strong and healthy mind and leading a positive lifestyle.