Do your dietary supplements claim to increase energy

Dietary supplements in sport: useful or not?

More and more people suffer from a lack of exercise. The most common consequences are obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. At the same time, awareness of the "healthy" body increases - and with it the desire to achieve it quickly and with as little effort as possible. Many athletes use vitamin preparations and other food supplements (NEM) for this. Athletic influencers are pushing this trend on social networks. Germans now spend one billion euros annually on supplementary pills, powders and drinks. But when does artificial intake with dietary supplements make sense and when does it harm its users?

Dietary supplements: the basis for a body in full swing?

Athletes take nutritional supplements to improve their performance. They hope for stronger muscle building, faster regeneration and healthier living. For many, the act of taking preparations alone helps - because from a psychological point of view, they are doing “something good” for themselves and their bodies. But the good feeling can be a fallacy. In moderation, some athletic supplements may have beneficial effects on their bodies. However, certain substances are not only ineffective, they are harmful. It is difficult for the layperson to decide which nutritional supplements he needs and which not.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist

Going to the doctor is the first and most important step in clarifying which dietary supplements are useful for you. He can determine whether you are missing important nutrients and whether taking vitamin supplements can help you. When choosing food supplements, you should stick to the Cologne list. This service platform informs you about unwanted additives. In this way you can minimize your personal "doping risk". Often, athlete supplements are fortified with questionable additives.

As a beginner, in particular, you run the risk of falling for cheap dietary supplements from dubious online retailers. You should be skeptical when manufacturers promise rapid fat burning and rapid muscle building. Substances that are ineffective and harmful are often added to these dietary supplements.

In principle, pharmacies are a reputable point of contact. You have tested dietary supplements and the necessary advisory know-how.

Which dietary supplements make sense for athletes?

Magnesium: boost energy metabolism by taking it?

Magnesium is important for energy metabolism as well as muscle and nerve functions. So it's no wonder it's one of the best-selling nutritional supplements. But you can also ensure that your body has enough magnesium with a healthy diet.

If you exercise a lot, sweat a lot, or are pregnant, magnesium supplements can help. Healthy people usually excrete excess magnesium. If you take in additional magnesium, the official recommendation is 250 milligrams a day. You can find out from your doctor which dose is optimal for you.

Symptoms and causes of magnesium deficiency

Anyone who suffers from a magnesium deficiency is prone to muscle cramps, is often tired and easily irritable. The reasons for this are diverse. A lot of stress, but also high fluid losses, promote the deficiency symptoms. This particularly affects athletes who sweat a lot. Dehydrators or laxatives can also cause magnesium deficiency. Pregnant or elderly people also have an increased need. In this case, magnesium supplements can be a useful dietary supplement.

Magnesium in food

So that you supply your body with sufficient magnesium, drink plenty of water with a touch of salt or fruit juice. If you eat magnesium-rich foods such as whole grain bread, lentils, bananas and pumpkin seeds at the same time, you can confidently do without dietary supplements. Unless your doctor certifies you have an increased need.

Protein Shakes: Necessary for Building Muscle?

Protein shakes are a part of many athletes. Whether at the bar in the gym or talking to friends - the question of sufficient protein is often asked. The selection of protein-containing food supplements ranges from simple protein shakes and protein bars to preparations with L-carnitine, creatine or branched chain amino acids (BCAA). Are they sensible food supplements for athletes or overpriced nonsense?

Protein deficiency: rather rare in German-speaking countries

L-carnitine and creatine are endogenous substances that support muscle building. During high and long exertion, such as strength training, they prevent your muscles from becoming too acidic. Your additional income is only useful for professional athletes. Because your body not only absorbs L-carnitine through food, it also produces it itself. If you add more creatine, your body cuts back on its own production. When you stop taking the drug, it will take some time for him to get used to the change. So better do without it completely. If you eat fish or meat every now and then, you are well supplied with creatine.

BCAA are also popular nutritional supplements among athletes to help build muscle. With valine, leucine and isoleucine, they contain three of the nine amino acids that the body cannot produce itself. They must therefore be ingested through food. The amino acids protect against muscle breakdown when your body is not getting enough calories. At the same time, they support the long-term development of the muscles. What sounds good, however, has a downer: So far, it has not been medically proven that the isolated intake of BCAA as a dietary supplement helps build muscle. However, there are no known side effects either. If you do not want to do without this type of nutritional supplement, read the package insert and adhere to the recommended dosage.

Protein-containing foods are sufficient

What sounds like a quick muscle push to many athletes is a rather critical view of the medical profession. Healthy adults should eat around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. For a man weighing 80 kilograms, that means an average of 64 grams of protein. Higher values ​​only apply to elderly people and patients with certain diseases.

50-100 grams of protein a day can be easily consumed through a healthy diet. Protein powder and shakes, on the other hand, quickly lead to oversupply. This can damage your kidneys in the long term. So invest your money in healthy foods rather than expensive dietary supplements.

Important natural protein suppliers are fish, meat and dairy products. High-quality protein is also found in numerous types of vegetables and grains, legumes and nuts.

Isotonic drinks or gels: Only with high stress

Isotonic drinks are particularly popular with athletes in warm temperatures. They help you to balance your fluid balance after exercising and to replenish your mineral reserves. Gels, on the other hand, consist of readily available carbohydrates. They are more suitable for long-term loads such as a marathon. As long as the manufacturers do without questionable ingredients, these dietary supplements are not critical. However, water and juice spritzers are often enough to compensate for your loss of fluids during high stress.

Enzymes: the magic bullet against sore muscles?

Enzymes play an important role in your regeneration. Some doctors prescribe enzyme tablets for surgical patients and professional athletes. These supplements have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, while also reducing swelling. As a regular dietary supplement for recreational athletes, however, they are rather unsuitable. Muscle soreness is caused by microscopic injuries and can possibly be alleviated by the enzymes. However, you are messing up your body's warning system. When you're in pain, he'll show you need a break. So it is better not to use an artificial supply of enzymes.

Caffeine: Use with caution

During heavy endurance exercise, dietary supplements with caffeine can help you last longer. But be economical when taking it. You can overdose on them quickly. Sleep disturbances, headaches, tremors and palpitations can be the consequences. Your body will be affected and exercise will be more difficult than before. So enjoy your breakfast coffee, but avoid caffeinated food supplements.

Iron: only to be taken in consultation with a doctor

Iron is an important trace element in the human body. It helps keep your blood oxygenated. While adult men have an iron requirement of around 10 milligrams a day, women already need 15-20 milligrams. What many do not know: Too much iron is just as harmful as too little. Too high a dosage leads to stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. Even organ damage is possible. Therefore, you should avoid iron-containing food supplements, unless a doctor certifies that you are iron deficient.

However, if you eat a balanced diet and eat iron-rich foods like lentils and grains regularly, deficiency is unlikely in healthy athletes.

Sodium bicarbonate: does it help against muscle acidification?

Lactate forms in your muscles when you exercise for a long time and at high levels of stress. The typical burning occurs. Sodium bicarbonate can reduce this. That is why many dietary supplements for athletes contain this substance. If you rely on the intake of sodium bicarbonate, you should only consume small amounts and drink a lot. Otherwise gastrointestinal problems, nausea, diarrhea and cramps can occur here as well.

Be careful with dietary supplements with additives containing nitrates

Dietary supplements containing nitrates are recommended in many media for athletes because they are supposed to increase mechanical efficiency. However, converted nitrate is partly converted into highly carcinogenic substances. At the same time, it inhibits the absorption of iodine in the thyroid. Our recommendation is therefore: Better avoid!

Risks often outweigh the benefits of additional drugs

You should only use dietary supplements with the advice of a doctor. While some supplements can help you, in most cases they are expensive and unnecessary. And be careful: Dietary supplements for athletes can also interact with everyday medications or other nutrients. Get comprehensive advice from your doctor and pharmacy before you resort to the remedies. Don't order anything from online vendors with low prices and big promises. And always keep in mind: Legal food supplements and preparations cannot replace a balanced diet and cannot work miracles. In the end, all that remains is intensive training and healthy eating as a guarantee for performance and good results.

A balanced diet provides you with all the necessary nutrients - your money is better invested in healthy food. Only when your sporting activities reach a consumption of over 1,000 calories or you suffer from food intolerances, dietary supplements are a sensible alternative. Recreational athletes toying with the additives because they tend to have an unhealthy or one-sided diet. But it doesn't work that way: If you eat a healthy diet, a wide variety of nutrients, minerals and fiber as well as trace elements complement each other. Concentrated pills, powders or drinks cannot replace that.