There has been a resurgence of health products in the market because of the renaissance of a health conscious mindset in the last decade. According to statistics by Global Industry Analysis, revenues of sports nutrition supplements are expected to increase to $6.17 billion by 2018. With more people clamoring for products that is centered on better nutrition, particularly in ‘natural’ products, rather than just providing empty calories, sports nutrition companies are improving their products by adding ingredients to evolve their brands and are introducing nutritional supplements to grab more consumers. Here are the more common nutritional additions both in foods and as supplements:
Probiotics. The better your digestion, the more efficiently you absorb protein as well as other nutrients to optimize it for your body’s functions. Here is where probiotics come in. Probiotics are good bacteria that enhance your digestion. For athletes, better digestion could mean maximized performance because of the elevated protein levels.
Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential in calcium absorption, relieving fatigue and managing a healthy blood pressure. However, many people, including athletes, are Vitamin D deficient because most people do not know how to get it. Primarily, Vitamin D can be obtained through sun exposure for approximately 10 to 30 minutes, two times a week. However, when juggling a busy work schedule and training can make sun exposure limited. Thus, supplements, serums and dietary sources like low-fat dairy, fatty fish and cod liver oil are available in the market.
Glycerol. Glycerol is aimed primarily for people who are training and want to avoid what is referred to as “hyper dehydration.” Glycerol is marketed by companies as a supplement that can reduce dehydration by improving the blood volume which also regulates body temperature and enhances athletic performance in humid and hot temperatures.
Despite the promising effects of these nutritional additions, the rule of thumb is that whether you are an athlete or just engaging in healthy life style, you should your nutrients primarily from food. When your nutritional needs are not met by the foods you eat, then it’s time to consider nutritional supplements or nutritionally-enhanced foods.
There is also the danger of taking supplements that have substances that may be considered illegal or unhealthy. For athletes, taking supplements with banned substances even unknowingly can put their sports career at risk, especially since random drug tests are done regularly. However, in general, whether you are an athlete or a person that loves to exercise, supplements with illegal substances can cause harm to your body.
To avoid these kinds of products, people should check if it has been tested by a certified and trusted organization like the FDA or the USDA. Athletes can check with their sports organizations if the supplement is allowed. It also helps not to be swayed by flashy and large marketing campaigns. The whole point of having the supplement is that it has scientific validity and is considered safe.
Whether you are an athlete or just really health conscious, remember that it is always best to consult with a physician when taking supplements or foods with added nutritional ingredients.