Nutritional Supplements – Are They Necessary For Exercise?

Nutritional supplements are used on a regular basis by many who are generally serious athletes. These different types of supplements are not really needed by the average exerciser and are considered questionable by many experts even for athletes. It is still recommended that anyone exercising whether the average person merely seeking to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle to the serious athlete that the diet can provide all of the nutrients needed to sustain athletic performance. Some of these supplements and aids which are seen as questionable include:

• Liquid supplements and energy bars to provide calories.

• Multivitamin supplements that provide vitamins and minerals.

• Sports drinks and carbohydrate supplements that contribute to performance during exercise and that enhance recovery after exercise.

• Purified amino acids that are believed to stimulate and maintain muscle growth.

• Such products as caffeine, chromium picolinate and creatine that contain micronutrients, herbs and/or cellular components that are promoted as performance enhancers.

There are also aids called ergogenic that are promoted as being able to enhance athletic performance such as:

• Nutritional aids such as vitamin supplements, amino acids and carbohydrate loading.

• Physiological aids such as physical training including endurance training, strength training, blood doping via transfusions, warming up and stretching exercises.

• Psychological aids such as relaxation techniques, pep talks, hypnosis, and visualization.

• Biomechanical aids such as weight belts, knee wraps, oversize tennis rackets, and body suits for swimming and track.

• Pharmacologic aids such as growth hormones, anabolic steroids, and caffeine.

Nutritional supplements of any kind whether prescription or over-the-counter must meet the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) safety and effectiveness requirements, but dietary supplements are known to bypass these requirements although there are some regulations that manufacturers must follow to demonstrate that their ingredients are safe. Nevertheless these supplements are placed in a separate food category and not required to adhere to the stringent regulations that foods are required to adhere to.

Anyone contemplating using any of these supplements or aids should do thorough research first to get the pros and cons before making a final decision and should be aware that if we eat properly the diet can provide more than the nutrients found in a bottle of pills or capsules. The issue is however that many people don’t eat properly and may choose to use supplements especially for exercise, and should gather the facts first rather than risk endangering the health through a lack of knowledge about a particular supplement or aid.

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For more information about nutritional supplements click on the link to

For other information on nutrition some great references are:

• Nutrition – Fourth Edition by Paul Insel, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, and Melissa Bernstein

Exercise and Vitamins
Exercise Energy Systems
Nutrition and Exercise
Cooking and Nutrition
Nutrients In Food
Energy From Food
Vitamin B Complex
Water and Nutrition
Dietary Minerals
Cooking Recipes
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