Supplements are designed to do exactly what they say, ie. Supplement our existing diet or nutritional intake. Supplements have become incredibly popular over the last 50 years within the developed world, with everybody from new mothers, professional bodybuilders and elite athletes taking them. The term supplement is a broad one, often used interchangeably with vitamins or minerals. Supplements mean many things to many people. In general though, when we think about supplementing, we think about adding or supplementing to our existing diet. The reasons why people choose to take supplements do vary massively. A large portion of people will take supplements because they want to improve their general level of health. A smaller portion of people will take supplements for a very specific reason. I.E. Bodybuilders use supplements to help them prepare for competitions. So let's examine some of the main categories of supplements.
Also know as a food supplement or dietary supplement these are designed to provide specific vitamins and minerals to the body. Numerous studies have shown that our daily diet does not provide us with enough vital nutrients. We simply can't get the vitamins and minerals, from the food that we eat alone. Therefore we decide to take a supplement to help make up for this. For example many scientific studies have shown us that OMEGA 3 fish oils help to reduce the risk of heart disease. It is difficult to consume the required levels of OMEGA 3 fish oils from diet alone, so we can take an OMEGA 3 supplement to make up for this.
Weight Loss Supplements
Weight loss supplements are used by people who want to lose weight. There are thousands of companies all selling different weight loss supplements but really they fall into 2 main categories. They are either appetite suppressants or fat burners. Appetite suppressants work by controlling the part of the brain that is responsible for feelings of hunger. They help people to feel fuller between meals, which in turn helps them to consume fewer calories. Hoodia is the most popular of all appetite suppressants although Caralluma is actually more effective. Fat burners work by increasing a person's metabolism, helping the body burn more calories. There are a lot of fat burners sold but the effectiveness of them varies massively. Science has proven to us that the most effective fat burner is sweet pepper extract known as Capsiate. Weight loss supplements are big business and unfortunately that has attracted many unscrupulous businesses. Make sure that you do your research if you decide to buy a weight loss supplement.
Do a quick on Google for supplements and you will find that most companies who sells supplements specifically target body builders. Body builders use supplements to help them either prepare for competitions or just keep their body in shape. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a popular bodybuilding supplement as it is thought to aid body fat reduction. Green tea extract is also popular as it is thought to stimulate the metabolism and burn fat. However the effectiveness of both CLA and Green Tea is disputed. Some body builders turn to even more hardcore supplements such as ephedra or ephedrine. Ephedra comes from a plant in China (known as Mu Huang) and is said to increase mental alertness and burn fat. It has been associated with some seriously unpleasant side effects and in some instances death. Consequently is has been banned by the FDA, although it is still easy to purchase them on the internet.
It is important to mention that most supplements come in tablets, capsule or pill form. Though they can come as shakes, powders or patches. Our obsession with supplements shows no sign of abating and with good reason. Our current diet of refined carbohydrates, processed meals and junk food is not sufficient enough to provide us with the vital nutrients that we need. If we want to lead long and healthy lives then we need to supplement with various different vitamins and minerals. Furthermore as competition in sport increases, people need to get that winning edge and supplements may be able to provide. When buying supplements be sure to deal with a reputable company. That way you can be sure that you are buying safe and quality supplements.