The multi-billion dollar industry of food supplements has been under a lot of scrutiny as of late. Sports supplements, in particular, are a highly debated subject. The main arguments surround the subjects of how effective these products truly are, what the difference between natural and synthetic supplements is, and are they safe.
Here are some facts that should help answer these important questions:
Safe Sports Supplements: What Are They?
There are dozens of sports supplements available on the market, and some of them are definitely not safe as they contain anabolic steroids and other potentially dangerous elements. In order to bring some order to the industry, the British Dietetic Association has recently issued a guide to safe sports supplements. It states that some products if used wisely, can indeed contribute to enhancing the athletic performance in different ways.
The safest and most effective products (based on different studies) available today are:
- GABA (gamma-minobutyric acid)
- ZMA (zinc monomethionine aspartate)
- Protein powders
- BCAAS (branched-chain amino acids)
Among all of them, protein powders are used most widely by both pro athletes and regular fitness enthusiasts.
Natural vs. Synthetic Protein: How Safe Are Protein Powders?
Proteins are the ‘building blocks’ used by our cells, so they are vital for not only maintaining the overall health but for survival as a whole. Athletes require more of these elements in order to build muscle. However, not every type of protein is equally good for you.
The main arguments about protein supplements revolve around whether ‘synthetic’ proteins are truly safe and efficient.
The most important thing to understand about it is that there isn’t such a thing as ‘synthetic protein’ yet, because scientists are still working on recreating the natural amino acids’ functions. However, some protein powders can indeed be considered ‘synthetic’ because they contain other elements.
It’s a fact that supplements are not regulated by the FDA. There have been numerous studies that prove the contents of such products may not correspond the list of ingredients on the label. In some cases, the powder itself is filled with something neutral. This means it’s useless for enhancing athletic performance but isn’t otherwise dangerous.
However, some investigations indicate that these products may also contain dangerous chemicals, such as lead, mercury, and even arsenic. With no strict regulations to adhere to, the manufacturers of these products can get away with a lot of things.
On the other hand, when the protein powder is of high quality, it does contribute to increased endurance, recovery rate, and speed of muscle building.
How to Find Safe Sports Supplements?
The arguments regarding sports supplements have been ongoing for years and no matter how many studies are conducted, they remain active. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that these products may indeed be helpful. However, they are so only when they contain safe and pure natural ingredients.
At the moment, the majority of dietary specialists agree that smart and careful implementation of these products may enhance an athlete’s performance. They also admit that the quality of the products on the market varies greatly.
Therefore, in order to reap the benefits without the risks, you should use supplements only as an addition to a healthy whole-food diet and buy them exclusively from tested and trusted brands.