In part one of this blog, we talked about Creatine, Vitamin D and HMB. If you missed the first part, you can view it here – Sports Supplements for Health, Recovery and Performance (Part 1) The basis of the post is to give a little bit of insight into how, why and if health supplements work. Unfortunately, the supplement market is incredibly large! So these posts simply cover some of the most popular. Without further ado, lets get into the next handful of health supplements.
Omega 3 -Fatty Acids
Whilst fatty acid supplementation is very low risk, research is unclear on whether or not it is essential for sporting performance. However, there are a number of health (and some performance) benefits that have been found.
Positive benefits include – Improved cognitive function, enhanced recovery from mild traumatic bran injury and a reduction in DOMS
For general health and well being, you may well get enough fatty acids from fish based products. However, those who don’t but seek improvements in cognition may well pursue it as a supplement. The generally accepted dose is 2 g/d.
We’re going to look at the use of probiotics for performance. Research has found positive effects of probiotics in certain situations. Athletes who have a history of gastrointestinal tract issues, or those travelling to regions where these problems are more common may find probiotics useful.
The research found a reduction in incidence, duration and severity of upper tract infection when taking probiotics. However, it is important to note that supplementation must begin well ahead of competition/travel.
The use of tart cherry juice as a supplement is relatively new. Because of this, the research is limited and the area requires more evidence to give solid advice. Despite this, early studies have found potential benefits.
Potential benefits include – An anti inflammatory effect an a reduction in DOMS.
Again, these benefits are not clear cut yet! You may want to experiment or read a little deeper into the current body of work.
A Final Note on Health Supplements
A well balanced diet of fresh, non processed food should give you everything you need. As a Leading Personal Trainer in Berkshire, I will always advocate diet of supplements. However, when performance, health, lifestyle and time factors come in to play, the need to supplement may b e necessary. try to get everything you need from food first. Then and only then can you sprinkle the icing on the cake.