We regularly hear about different fitness supplements, often plugged by celebrities on social media. However, it’s important to know their true effects on your body, and whether these substances will help you achieve full-body health. To help, we have received professional advice from Emma Clegg, a practicing naturopath and member of the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association Australia.
Protein powders are undoubtedly some of the most familiar supplements, and typically associated with ‘gym rats.’ “Protein is essential for muscle recovery,” Emma says. Protein shakes are easy ways to consume more protein, although Emma reinforces that they are supplements and should not replace healthy eating choices. “Incorporating a protein powder may be beneficial for those who are exercising intensely, or not meeting their daily protein requirements. However, they are not necessary, as a well-balanced diet will contain adequate protein.”
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance found mostly in meat and has been the subject of considerable research. “It demonstrates an ability to increase lean body mass and improve strength and endurance. If you are looking to maximise performance at the gym, then creatine may be the right supplement. Loading doses of up to 20g per day for one week are often recommended for those who have never taken creatine before, thereafter a maintenance dose of 3-6g per day is advised.”
You will sometimes see fitness enthusiasts swear upon pre-workouts to help them power through exercise. “Pre-workouts are aimed at those wishing to maximise their performance. They often contain amino acids which play a role in neutralizing muscle acidity. This means that you can potentially exercise for a longer period of time, at a more intense rate.” Some key ingredients are found in other substances, including caffeine. “For some, too much caffeine can tax the nervous system, making them feel jittery, or even cause digestive upsets or headaches.”
Touted by famous figures all over social media, slim teas claim to burn fat while requiring minimal effort. “Each product needs to be evaluated on its own merit, however there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to back up any claims,” Emma warns. Ultimately, a miracle problem-solving tea is unlikely to exist. “There is no fat-burning supplement that can outwork poor lifestyle choices.”
Despite being an unfamiliar substance to many, glutamine is actually the most abundant amino acid in the body and plays a significant role. “Research has indicated that glutamine can reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery. Glutamine is also essential for immune system function.”
Remember to seek personalised advice from a qualified health professional before taking any substance. Emma is an experienced naturopath based in Hornsby, with specialties including (but not limited to) gut health, skin conditions and hormone support. To learn more about her services and book a consultation, visit https://www.liquidlighthealth.com/