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The Lowdown on Supplements

Precision Orthopedics By Precision
November 20, 2023 | Health

Throughout our posts, we truly feel as if we’ve covered some of the most important topics when it comes to solidifying your overall nutrition. 

From Mastering Portion Control, to The Healthiest Diet in the World, to Junk Foods You Should Avoid Entirely
However, there is one area we haven’t yet touched upon, and this area is that of supplementation

Of course, anyone with a social media account will have no doubt been blasted with advertisements for fat burners here, and muscle gainers there, all in capsule or powder form.  

But do any of these work? Are they worth the hefty price tag that’s often attached? 

Despite the market being flooded with supplements that promise you almost instant results, we can honestly tell you that the majority of them are, for lack of a better term, BS.  

They often take something as common as ‘caffeine’ and jazz it up as a pre-workout. They’ll take green tea extract and label it a fat stripper. Without much real evidence to support their effects, it’s difficult to put much trust into any of these products.  

In this short article, we’re going to look at the supplements that do deserve a mention. We’ll highlight their benefits and establish whether or not they’re the right choice for you.  

Starting with our number-one choice for supplementation: protein powder.  

As we’ve previously discussed, protein intake is an essential macronutrient for building and maintaining muscle mass.  

When following a strict training regimen, whether it be resistance-based, cardio-based, or any mix of vigorous exercise, it’s paramount that you consume enough protein daily to keep both your progression and recovery on track. 

And with all of the healthy food options that contain adequate protein amounts, this shouldn’t be a difficult feat.  

That being said, protein powders can be an incredibly fast and convenient way to increase your overall protein intake. They’re considered a safe and effective supplement for reaching optimum protein levels. 

Rather than cooking a chicken breast right after your workout, which feels both time-consuming and a little challenging when searching for a grill in the changing room; a protein shake can be an excellent option.  

The most common form of protein powder is whey protein. Whey protein is made during the manufacturing of cheese. During this process, whey liquid remains a liquid byproduct that is then dehydrated to leave whey powder.  

Whey protein powder has the highest bioavailability score, meaning it is the most easily and most rapidly absorbed protein choice for your body. It’s a complete protein, containing all essential amino acids necessary for cell and tissue repair and construction. It can also taste pretty great too when mixed in a smoothie.  

There are thousands of whey protein choices, all coming in an array of flavors, and often have very low amounts of additional ingredients, other than perhaps a little sweetener.  

This makes it a great option for anyone looking to increase their protein intake, without all the extra calories.  

For those wanting to avoid animal products, never fear! Finding vegan sources of protein powder has never been easier. Pea, rice, hemp, and quinoa protein powders are all great sources of vegan protein and are usually packed with the right combinations to complete the amino-acid chain.  

The best times to ingest protein, in supplement form or not, are around your exercise routine. Aim for a twenty to thirty-gram fix around two hours before training, and another protein hit of the same size within forty-five minutes of finishing your workout.  

Our second supplement being discussed today is creatine. 

You may or may not have heard of this mysterious supplement, but it turns out to be the most heavily researched supplement available! 

Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid produced by the body and found in small amounts of certain foods such as beef, salmon, tuna, and chicken breast.  

The role of creatine is to supply a source of energy for muscle contractions. Those who perform rigorous amounts of training will eventually run a little low on natural creatine stores.  

Making creatine supplementation a powerful tool for continued high-intensity training.  

Studies have shown that with the addition of creatine supplementation, both energy and endurance levels are significantly improved.  

Creatine supplementation increases the water content within the muscle’s cells, which has been shown to lead to an anabolic effect and, as a result, a better rate of muscle growth, strength, and power.  

Additionally, an increase of creatine in the body has been found to improve overall muscle recovery, which can help to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness and even help decrease the risk of injury. 

High levels of research have found creatine supplementation to be both safe and well-tolerated. There are no significant side effects associated with creatine use. However, as creatine supplementation causes an increase in water content in muscle cells, a small spike in body weight in the form of water can be common. 

Generally, three to six grams of creatine monohydrate is the recommended dosage for creatine supplementation. However, it’s always best to do your own research and consult with a medical expert before personally taking on any new supplement.  

The final major supplement we’ll discuss today is the all-famous BCAAs

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are a combination of three delightful and essential amino acids called Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. This trio of amino acids has been particularly shown to help perform a tonne of positive functions when training.  

By taking BCAAs before a workout, your body no longer has to target the BCAA stores in your muscles, consequently allowing them to focus more growth and recovery instead. 

When in a caloric deficit, your body becomes naturally lower in a hormone called Leptin. Leptin is very much involved in several functions such as metabolism regulation, body weight management, and appetite control.  

Being low on Leptin can make food cravings almost unbearable. This low level of Leptin will naturally create an appetite; it’s literally trying to tell your body to get back to a comfortable body weight. But when fat loss is your goal, this is far from ideal! 

BCAA supplementation activates Leptin expression and this causes your body to feel full or as if you’re receiving adequate calories, which helps your fat-loss journey while making things more bearable when it comes to those dreaded hunger pangs.  

When choosing BCAAs, be sure to pick up a 2:1:1 formula. The recommended dosage falls between five and seven grams in the morning, before training, and after training.  

If you do choose to begin BCAA supplementation in powder form, be sure to mix them with a little fruit juice as they can taste a little icky.  

Before we close this article, we felt it necessary to mention some other supplements that you may want to consider. 

Multivitamins are an excellent choice when aiming to fill all gaps that may be present in your daily vitamin and mineral intake needs.  

Omega fatty acids have been linked to some powerful advantages, such as brain, skin, and eye health. They’ve been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer while improving bone and joint health. 

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that all supplements mentioned today should be run by your healthcare professional. Supplements should only supplement a healthy diet, and never replace one.  

In a nutshell: 

Supplementation can be a powerful tool for aiding your body through both training and recovery. Protein powders, especially whey protein, are an excellent, clean, and efficient way of boosting your overall protein intake.  

Creatine can aid workout performance and recovery while reducing your risk of injury. It is the most well-researched supplement on the planet and has been shown to have no significant side effects.  

BCAAs are a trio of essential amino acids that specifically help with both muscle growth and fat loss, especially when in a larger calorie deficit. They can help boost hormonal control while curbing hunger to make the whole process of a calorie deficit more comfortable.  

Supplements are not a requirement for reaching optimum health but can help you on a performance level, especially when pushing your body through new and exciting battles.