These days, the dietary supplement market has become crowded with supplements that make grand claims but deliver little to no actual benefits. The unfortunate result of this is that many people see dietary supplements – especially the kind you see in banner ads on the internet – as a sort of modern day snake oil.
The good news is that there really are good dietary supplements out there. These supplements are proven to deliver significant benefits to your workout and to your overall health. While there are numerous effective supplements on the market, including vitamin and mineral supplements, glucosamine, chondroitin, fiber, carbohydrates, and even green tea, there are a few that are the absolute best. Here is a list of the top three dietary supplements around, and the benefits they offer.
The health benefits of antioxidants – especially in food, but also in supplement form – are numerous and quite spectacular.
Oxidation is a natural process that occurs inside your cells. While certain amounts of oxidation are necessary for your cells to function, too much can be dangerous. Excess oxidation in your cells can produce toxins and free radicalsthat can significantly damage your cells. The potential causes of excess oxidation are numerous. One cause can be excess radiation exposure, whether from x-rays, the background radiation exposure you get during a plane ride, or from some other source. Another source is exercise.
Antioxidants can slow the damage to your body’s cells caused by oxidation, and sometimes can prevent it altogether. A diet rich in antioxidants can boost your immune system’s function by helping you fight off infections. Additionally, they can help prevent some signs of premature aging in the skin, such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Also, antioxidants boost your health by removing free radicals from your body. Free radicals are atoms, ions, or molecules that are produced when oxidation occurs. When they are produced inside your body, they can create damage inside your cells, leading to cell death, or to the kind of DNA damage that can result in the formation of certain kinds of tumors. Antioxidants bind to free radicals, preventing them from doing damage. As such, antioxidants can help to prevent certain kinds of cancer. They have also been shown to be effective at helping prevent heart disease.
Whey protein has numerous benefits. Whey protein makes it easier to build muscle without increasing body fat, and makes it easier to retain muscle once it has been built.
As you probably know, exercising your muscles creates microscopic tears. As you recover from the workout, your body repairs these tears, building the muscle back larger and stronger. Protein is crucial to this process. By adding a whey protein supplement to your diet, you increase the amount of proteins available to the body for this repair work. That means better and more efficient muscle building as a result of your workouts.
Whey protein supplements have lots of other benefits as well, and not all of them are just for bodybuilders. Increasing the amount of protein within your diet – within reason, of course – has all sorts of benefits, including weight loss, stress reduction, and improved immune system function.
As part of a healthy, balanced diet and even a simple a exercise program, whey protein can help to promote weight loss. The body uses more energy and resources to digest protein than other nutrients. The resulting thermic effect means you’ll be able to burn more calories during your workout than you otherwise would.
Additionally, whey protein increases the speed and efficiency of some of your body’s natural functions, which promotes overall physical health. Your body uses protein in all sorts of ways, not just building muscle. Protein is used to grow and repair hair, skin, nails, ligaments, teeth, organs, and other bodily systems. Increased protein consumption can help to slow the growth of certain kinds of tumors,and it can also help to prevent diabetes by helping the body regulate glucose levels in the blood. Whey protein also promotes the healing of cuts, burns, and other kinds of wounds by increasing the speed at which the skin heals itself.
Creatine monohydrate is a relatively new to the workout supplement scene, but its benefits are nothing short of amazing. Creatine gives your muscles a burst of energy that allows you to sprint harder, lift more weight, and do more reps. More reps and more weight, of course, means greater muscle growth.
The first way creatine benefits your workout is by helping your body replenish its store of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. ATP is the fuel that powers muscle contractions. When you’re out of ATP, you’re out of gas, plain and simple. Creatine boosts your supply of ATP, allowing you to lift for longer.
Secondly, creatine increases your body’s capacity to store glycogen. When the body breaks down certain sugars, it stores them as glycogen in your muscles, liver, and other places. When those stores are full, though the rest is converted to fat. Creatine allows your body to store more glycogen. Since glycogen is the fuel your body burns when you exercise, more glycogen means more fuel for your workout, which means more time spent working out. Also, glycogen is used by the muscles to help them rebuild following a workout, which means a faster recovery.
Finally, creatine supplements can make up for shortfalls in your diet, especially if you are a vegetarian. The primary source of creatine in most diets is meat – red meat in particular. So if you don’t eat meat, odds are you’re not getting enough creatine to benefit your workout. A creatine monohydrate supplement can make up the deficit.
Unfortunately, though, not everyone responds to creatine. Due to genetics, some people simply don’t respond to creatine supplementation. If you’re one of those people, you’ll know it fairly quickly, since you won’t experience the increased endurance and power that usually accompany creatine use.