Get Your Money’s Worth From Supplements
Australians have embraced the value of supplements as part of their overall health and wellness program.
But not all supplements will give you value for your hard earned money.
The supplement manufacturing industry continues to rake in billions of dollars every year.
In Australia, the supplement retail business is estimated to grow at an annual rate of 4.1% over the next 10 to 15 years.
Because of the sustained profitability of the supplement manufacturing industry, companies are developing brands and products with the purpose of building a new niche in the market.
These could be variations of the same supplement or an entirely new product marketed to be the “only supplement you’ll ever need”.
We’ve come across many of these supplements that offer fat-burning, muscle-building, improved cognition and immediate strength gains all in one pill or one scoop.
Some have survived the test of time while some have found their way to the great supplement graveyard. Worse, some have been found to produce deadly side effects.
While supplements definitely have their place in a comprehensive health and wellness program, over-reliance could lead to dependency issues and cause a drain in your finances.
The best approach would be to choose supplements that offer the greatest value in terms of effectiveness and cost.
Here are 5 of the best value-for-money supplements in the market:
You can never go wrong with whey protein as part of your supplement regimen. It has a high PER or Protein Efficiency Ratio.
This measures the rate in which the body assimilates protein and results in quality weight gain. Generally, the higher the PER the higher is the quality of the protein.
Whey protein contains BCAA’s or Branched Chain Amino Acids which function to repair muscles and improve recovery.
The high PER of whey protein assures fast uptake of valuable amino acids to your muscles within 30 minutes of intense training.
A serving of Whey Protein contains 20 to 24 grams of high quality whey.
A 2.5 kilogram canister of whey protein could cost you around AUD$30 but yields 177 servings or AUD$0.17 per serving.
In order to ingest 24 grams of lean, high quality protein from whole food sources, you would have to eat 8 egg whites which would cost you AUD$4+. Thus whey protein is a more affordable source of protein.
Since the 1980’s creatine monohydrate has been the subject of much research and clinic studies.
It has gone through its fair share of intrigue and controversy but has survived unscathed.
Creatine is produced in the human body. It is a by-product of two amino acids: glycine and arginine.
Its function is to produce adenine tri-phosphate or ATP which is the quickest source of energy for our muscle cells.
ATP allows the muscles to contract forcefully which is essential to accommodate explosive movements.
However, the human body does not produce enough creatine. This is where supplemental creatine comes in.
Sports scientists and nutritionists recommend a minimum dosage of 5 grams of creatine per day to experience the strength-enhancing benefits of the supplement.
Today, there are various forms of creatine available on the market:
• Micronized Creatine
• Creatine Ethyl Ester
• Creatine Serum
• Effervescent Creatine
• Creatine Citrate
• Creatine Kre-Alkalyn
These types of creatine carry the same function and are differentiated by its quickness of absorption, absence of bloating and loading period.
Of course the more complex the creatine, the higher becomes the cost of the product.
If you have a tight budget, creatine monohydrate will do just fine.
Glutamine is the most common form of amino acid that is found in your muscles. 61% of skeletal muscle is made up of glutamine.
During periods of intense physical activity, your muscles get depleted of glutamine which decreases your strength levels.
Supplemental glutamine ensures your muscles have enough supply of glutamine to prevent catabolism of muscle protein.
Studies have also shown that glutamine could possibly increase the body’s ability to secrete growth hormone which helps metabolise body fat.
There are also studies that show supplementing with glutamine could strengthen the immune system.
This will be beneficial for people who are on a carbohydrate restrictive diet and exercise under a calorie deficit.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. 50% of our body’s supply of magnesium is found in our bones.
Supplementing with magnesium is very important because it is involved in several functions in our body.
These functions include:
• Support Nerve And Muscle Function
• Stabilise Heart Rhythm
• Strengthens Immune System
• Strengthens Bones
• Helps Metabolise Energy
• Supports Protein Synthesis
Research shows that supplementing with 390mg of magnesium per day can increase oxygen uptake and improve workout output.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats in our diet but since the human body cannot synthesise them these must be obtained in supplemental form. Fish oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish oil is a supplement that could provide you with the following benefits:
• Reduced Cholesterol
• Reduced Blood Pressure
• Reduces Swelling/ Inflammation
Unless you can eat salmon and anchovies at least twice a week, it would be a good idea to take fish oil in supplement form.
You can build an effective nutritional program with these products as the cornerstones of a supplementation plan.
These supplements can support your training efforts and provide the necessary vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy especially when your training becomes more intense.
There are other supplements that you could use to meet your strength and fitness goals.
But these 5 supplements could help you achieve gains without breaking your budget.
Before undertaking a supplement program, always make sure to secure medical clearance from your doctor.
There are supplements that may contain ingredients you are allergic to.
Finally, these supplements are just that, supplements. They are not designed to replace whole foods in your diet. Follow the instructions on the label on how to take the supplement.
However, regardless of what the label says, it would be a good idea to cycle the use of supplements.
These are synthetic products that the human body cannot assimilate for extended periods. Once you finish a container of the supplement, cycle off for at least one month.