Performance Enhancing SupplementsThe Good , The Bad and The Ugly Tracy Krueger HW499: Bachelor's Capstone in Health and Wellness Kaplan University Professor Kristin Henningsen February 2, 2014
What are Supplements and Ergogenic Aids for Athletes ? There are many dietary supplements that claim to make you faster, stronger, more energized and slimmer. Athletes train very hard to reach their peak performance, so products that offer an edge can be alluring. But buyer beware. These products do not have to have proven effectiveness or safety prior to hitting the store shelves. There are both sports supplements and ergogenic aids. An ergogenic aid is a substance that claims to generate or improve work or capacity to exercise.
Dietary Supplements: Is Anyone Watching? Dietary supplements are under the scope of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but are regulated differently than conventional foods and drugs. Manufacturers are not required to prove a supplement is safe before it is sold, or even that it does what it says. The FDA can however take action to remove or restrict the sale of a supplement but only after it has been on the market and shown to be unsafe.
Popular Sports Supplements At-A-Glance • Beta-Alanine • Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) • Caffeine • Carnitine • Chromium Picolinate • Creatine • Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT) • Pyruvate
Beta-Alanine Claim for Use Evidence • Improve high-intensity exercise performance • Improve physical performance and delay muscle fatigue in older adults between 55 and 92 years of age • Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for athletic performance, building muscle, and physical performance in the elderly.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)(leucine, isoleucine and valine) Claim for Use Evidence • Delays muscle fatigue and reduces breakdown during exercise • Boost the immune system • BCAA can provide fuel for endurance activity, but has not been shown to delay fatigue as a result • Growing research suggests it may play a role in supporting immune function
Caffeine Claim for Use Evidence • Helps you burn fat and protect carbohydrate stores • - Makes you feel energized • Caffeine increases alertness and acts as a central nervous system stimulant. • It does promote fatty acids release, however fat burning does not appear to increase during exercise and carbohydrate stores are not protected. • Caffeine is considered a banned substance by the National Collegiate Athletic Association if too high an amount is found in the athlete’s urine. • Helps with mental sharpness; decreases perceived exertion
Carnitine(found in muscles and used for energy production) Claim for Use Evidence • Helps you burn fat • Improve the ability of certain tissues to produce energy, leading to its promotion as a sports performance enhancer. • Does not increase fat burning when taken as a supplement • There is not sufficient evidence that this is the case.
Chromium Picolinate(a mineral found in foods that plays a role in glucose utilization) Claim for Use Evidence • Weight loss aid • Produces body composition changes • Insufficient support for use in weight loss and body composition changes • Could result in oxidative damage, therefore not recommended
Creatine(found in muscles and used for energy production) Claim for Use Evidence • Increases lean body mass • Increases strength • Improves exercise performance, especially for high-intensity workouts • Positive results have been found for increasing total body mass and lean mass • Some athletes have found to be non-responders • Improves short-term intense exercise performance • Aids with recovery • Increases strength gains with exercise • There are many negative side effects which include high blood pressure, bloated weight gain, excessive gas, muscle cramps, and dizziness. Can also cause severe kidney damage its use is not recommended.
Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT)(fatty acids) Claim for Use Evidence • Increase endurance • Promote fat burning in long duration exercise • Does not enhance endurance performance • Could increase blood lipid levels, therefore not recommended
Pyruvate(end product of carbohydrate metabolism) Claim for Use Evidence • Increases endurance and decrease body fat • Promotes weight loss • Does not enhance endurance performance • Insufficient evidence for weight or fat loss • Side effects may include unpleasant gastrointestinal effects, such as gas and nausea • Appeared to negate the beneficial effect of exercise on cholesterol profiles
Is the Supplement Legitimate or Fraud? In order to determine if a supplement is safe, useful, well-planned and controlled, research is required. However, there are some consumer red flags to look out forand be wary of: •Boasts that it is quick and easy •Uses testimonials from "real users" to promote its benefits •Claims it's right for everyone •States it has been used for millions of years •Belittles the medical or scientific community •Has a secret formulation.
Consumer Conclusion While manufacturers may have useful information about their products available, itis best to do your own homework and take a balanced approach. Educate yourself with many unbiased resources, including online and direct supplier websites. You can find sound information about dietary supplements from many online resources by researching through the USDA.gov, Informed-Choice.org, the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine and the Office of Dietary Supplements to name just a few.
References: • Beta - Alanine. (n.d.). Retrieved February 2, 2014 from WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1222-BETA-ALANINE.aspx?activeIngredientId=1222&activeIngredientName=BETA-ALANINE • Sports and Fitness Support: Enhancing Performance. (2014). Retrieved February 4, 2014 from NYU Langone Medical Center: http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=38221 • Supplements and Ergogenic Aids for Athletes. (2013, January). Retrieved February 2, 2014 from Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=7088