What Are The Best Supplements For Fitness?

Fitness enthusiasts all seem to promote a different supplement. There are dietary supplements for weight loss and weight gain; supplements to build muscle; supplements to burn fat; supplements for joint health; and supplements which claim to ward off just about every disease known to man (or woman).

So choosing the best supplements to enhance your own fitness program can be very difficult. We have researched the pros, cons, benefits and side effects of many of the most popular dietary supplements to help you decide which ones will deliver the results you’re seeking, and which are worthless if not outright dangerous.

And remember, dietary supplements generally do not fall under the regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so you need to think carefully about the claims being made. Check with your doctor (or a professional herbalist) to help you evaluate the potential benefits and side effects of any dietary supplement.

Whey Protein Powder
It’s no secret that many fitness enthusiasts and body builders use whey protein powder as a dietary supplement to promote increased muscle gain. But did you know that whey supplements can also decrease the effects of stress, improve the memory and promote fat loss by replacing glucose and milk proteins as the source of energy before workouts.

While recent studies have shown the heart benefits of soy to be over-rated, soy is still an excellent source of lean protein – it doesn’t have the saturated fats that come with animal protein. So it’s best to substitute soy for high-fat meats in your diet, but there is not much evidence to support using soy supplements in addition to the soy you are already eating.

Fish Oil
The Mayo Clinic has gone on record as stating that the use of fish oil supplements can: lower triglycerides (one form of cholesterol), reduce the risk of heart attack and death, reduce the risk of stroke, slow the hardening of the arteries, and slightly lower blood pressure. However, it is also possible to overdo a good thing, and too much omega-3 fatty acids can result in some dangerous side effects such as bleeding, so watch those dosages.

Green Tea
The health benefits of green tea have been hotly debated these past few years, but scientific evidence is mounting that adding a few cups of green tea to your diet can help ward off just about every malady, from bad breath, to the common cold, to cancer. If you aren’t a tea drinker, green tea can be taken in the form of an extract. To read more, see the article “The Health Benefits of Green Tea“.

Amino Acids
Why are amino acids important and which ones do you need to supplement? There are approximately twenty amino acids that are necessary for the human body to properly synthesize protein, but only eight of them are considered “essential”, meaning, they cannot by made naturally by our bodies. These eight essential amino acids are: Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, and Valine. People who don’t eat meat may not get enough of the essential amino acids in their diet, although cereals, grains, nuts, seeds and legumes all contribute part of the necessary amino acids.

Creatine is an organic acid that occurs naturally in the body. It helps supply energy to cells, particularly to the cells in the muscles. By using supplements to add to the body’s stored amounts of creatine, the body can more quickly supply energy to muscles, and recover more quickly from muscle fatigue. For more information, see the article “What Is Creatine“.

HCG Hormone
HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is one of the most controversial weight loss supplements to be marketed in recent years. Produced in the human embryo and later in the placenta, hCG is a glycoprotein hormone that works to maintain progesterone levels and to improve immune tolerance during the pregnancy.

However, it was postulated by British endochrinologist, A.T.W. Simeons, that an ultra-low 500-calorie diet, combined with daily low-dose injections of the hGC hormone, would program the brain to target and consume excess fat tissue.

But it has been clearly stated by both the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that hCG is neither safe nor effective when used for weight loss purposes. Because of shortages of hCG, it is now popular to market a homeopathic version of the hormone, but there is no scientific evidence that indicates homeopathic hCG to be effective, or even to contain the hCG hormone itself. In short, hCG is one weight loss supplement to avoid in any form.

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