Fitness supplements can give you an advantage when trying to lose weight, or when bulking up. They help provide you with the necessary nutrients to begin your fitness journey. When dieting you may lose valuable nutrients and this is when fitness supplements can come into play. Why are these fitness supplements so important? And what are they actually doing to your body?

Read below and check here for more information on fitness supplements.

The first known fitness supplements were produced in the 1950s by Irvin Johnson in Chicago, he had discovered that milk and eggs were two of the most important proteins, most likely due to the fact that they were a main source of food for many animals and thus why they were associated with muscle growth. Over many years Irvin had tried to refine his formulation and eventually moved to California and changing his name to Rheo Blair. During the 60’s his egg and milk protein supplement was a massive hit in bodybuilding and in movie circles.

One of Blair’s top recommendations for those finding it hard to gain weight and muscle, was to mix his protein supplements with heavy cream and one of the flavored extracts he produced at the time; coconut was the most suitable.

The rundown:

Basically, food is the most important thing to supply our bodies with the necessary fuel to keep us fit and active, but most people are limited to what they can eat or what they like to eat, whether it be diets, allergies or just plain pickiness, that’s when these supplements come into play. Whether it be protein powders, protein shakes, fitness pills, or even just plain old vitamins, they all help play a vital role in the development of muscles or the loss of fat, either way they help keep us fit.

A study shown with The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008, that to help with weight loss, protein is more satiating than either fat or carbohydrates. Which means that protein supplements would have to be the best bet when trying to feel fuller for longer periods of time. In 2010, a study was conducted by the researchers at the University of Ulm, subjects that were using meal replacement supplements that were high in protein, as part of a low calorie diet, had proven to of lost more weight and fat mass than those who were not taking fitness supplements at all.

Protein and nutrient sources:

Creatine: Is typically a protein powder that you mix with liquid, this helps the body’s ability to produce energy quickly. This supplement is a quick way to gain muscle but doesn’t come without some water weight also. This just means that the water weight will be pulled into your muscles to give them a more full effect. Using this protein powder can help you get a leg up and become fitter faster, if used correctly that is.

Whey Protein: Milk is made out of two proteins, whey and casein. This protein is able to be separated from casein in milk, or even formed as a by-product in cheese making. This then makes whey a complete protein because it contains all 9 amino acids, and it is low in lactose content. Whey is most commonly used for weight loss, anti-cancer properties, lowering cholesterol, asthma treatment, reducing blood pressure and prevention of cardiovascular diseases, also reducing weight loss in people with HIV. It really just depends on what whey is being paired with. Whey can come in three different forms:

  1. Whey protein concentrate – contains low levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates, usually contains at least 90 percent protein
  2. Whey protein isolate – Further processed to get rid of all the fat and lactose, usually contains 90 percent protein
  3. Whey protein hydrolysate – Considered to be the predigested form of whey protein, due to the fact its undergone partial hydrolysis, this is necessary for the body to absorb the protein

Casein: Although whey is the big kid on the block, casein is another popular upcoming milk-protein. It’s popular for enhancing muscle growth and recovery. Caseins are phosphorus, and they make up approximately 80 percent of the protein in cow’s milk whereas the remaining 20 percent of protein comes from whey. Casein also assists with building muscle during protein synthesis and protein breakdown. It’s also a good protein to help the recovery of muscles before and after a workout to prevent them becoming sore.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Experts suggest that if you’re not consuming at least 3 servings of fatty fish a week, you’re deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that around 80 percent of people are low in omega-3 fatty acids, the brain is made up of 40 percent DHA, one of the omega-3’s, so lacking in this nutrient long term can cause aberrations in the brains neurotransmitter function, causing depression and aggression. Recent studies have also shown that middle aged people who eat diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids have a 75 percent decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Yet again, many supplements and vitamin tablets contain omega-3 fatty acids which can give you an advantage to stay fit and healthy.

Glutamine: Plays a vital role in your body’s intestinal health, and is an important amino acid that has many functions. L-glutamine is a form that’s found in many foods, supplements and in the human body. It is a part of the proteins that are in your body and is involved your immune systems function and intestinal health. It can be found in eggs, beef, skim milk, tofu, white rice and corn.

In one study, it’s been reported that glutamine supplements may decrease muscle soreness and speed up recovery time after an intense exercise. Another study had shown that glutamine or glutamine plus carbohydrates can assist in reducing blood marker of fatigue during two hours of running. Reports have shown also that glutamine can help prevent the breakdown of muscle and increase protein metabolism.

Overall supplements are a key player when adding muscle, or even losing weight. They provide the essential nutrients that you may be missing due to dieting or even allergies, they also give you an advantage when trying to get fit and healthy through speeding up the process slightly. Every supplement works differently for different people so it’s best to find the right fit for you!