The use of sports or food supplements is increasingly common in amateur athletes.
A very common mistake is to rely on supplements to improve your performance without having controlled some variables such as rest , diet and training . We can say that if you focus first on supplementation, you are starting the house with the roof.
These variables that we have discussed are the central pillars of your performance. Therefore, you will have to focus on improving these aspects before entering the wide and complex world of supplementation.
- Food : Energy balance depending on the objective, adequate distribution of macronutrients (proteins, hydrates and fats), meet recommended daily intakes (RDI) of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals ).
- Training : Plan the type of exercise, intensity, volume and duration.
- Rest : Hours and quality of sleep, stress management.
Once you control and adapt these variables to your goal, we can start talking about supplementation . If you do not have enough knowledge about nutrición or training, contact a professional who will help you individualize and improve on those pillars. If you are looking to improve your sports nutrition, take a look at our service with online nutritionist .
Before starting to use a supplement we have to be clear about three concepts about it:
Is it effective?
It will be if its properties have been obtained through clinical trials in research papers published in scientific journals.
Is it safe?
It will be if it has been investigated and shown that the substance does not produce short or long-term side effects that may affect the athlete’s health
Is it legal ?
It will be if the substance complies with the current regulations.
If any answer is NO, we must discard that supplement.
Before looking at the classification of supplements according to current scientific evidence, we must clarify what we mean when we say “scientific evidence” .
Just because an isolated study demonstrates the benefits of a substance does not mean that it has the same effect on the entire population, since in most studies very similar samples (athletes) are used (same sex, age, sport performed, sport level, weather conditions …) and therefore cannot be extrapolated to the rest of the population.
However, when systematic reviews or meta-analyzes are performed , studies that include a large number of studies with different populations, a strong association between the substance and the effect it produces is achieved.
You must not forget that you are in the last link, that is, the studies provide you with the theory but you must put it into practice using the trial and error of a professional.
Once we have identified which supplements have more or less scientific evidence, it is time to classify them.
SUPPLEMENTS GROUP A
Authorized for use in specific situations with individualized protocols based on scientific evidence.
Food for athletes
- Isotonic drinks
- Jelly beans
- Protein in whey
- Iron and Calcium Supplements
- Vitamin D
Substances to improve performance
SUPPLEMENTS GROUP B
Little evidence of beneficial effect, more research is needed. Possible use through individualized protocols.
- Antioxidants C and E
SUPPLEMENTS GROUP C
There is no evidence of beneficial effects.
SUPPLEMENTS GROUP D
Prohibited or with high risk of contamination with positive substances in doping.