Consumers across all age groups and genders are reaching for dietary supplements to help them meet their fitness goals to lose fat, improve muscle strength and endurance, and give them an edge in athletic performance. The 2019 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements (Link: https://www.crnusa.org/resources/2019-crn-consumer-survey-dietary-supplements-consumer-intelligence-enhance-business) reports the consumption of protein supplements in the past five years experienced a growth rate of over 13% for males and females in all adult age categories.
The sports nutrition market is continuing to grow as consumers seek help to improve their health and overall well-being. Supplements are being consumed both pre-and post-workout.
In a pre-workout supplement, consumers are looking to increase their energy, endurance, and maximum power output. Ingredients to consider in your pre-workout supplement brand will include caffeine, beta-alanine, and citrulline.
Benefits: Caffeine helps boost energy levels while promoting reducing the awareness of pain by disrupting the relaxation and sedation of adenosine. With adenosine’s binding capability interrupted, other energizing and stimulating compounds like dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline can take over the brain.
Caffeine helps improve exercise endurance by stimulating fat oxidation. The body burns stored glucose called glycogen to fuel muscle expenditure and movement. When glycogen stores are depleted, muscles are weakened and significantly less efficient. Caffeine aids giving the consumer longer workouts by helping to oxidize fat stores to use as fuel along with glycogen, and thereby, increasing the time to muscle exhaustion.
Caffeine may improve (Link: https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-016-0138-7) muscular strength as measured by the Wingate Anaerobic Test. Both peak and mean anaerobic power were improved with pre-workout caffeine supplementation. Peak power was improved over baseline and placebo by 7.5% and overall mean power by 6%.
Recommended Dose: A supplement targeted to burn fat should contain between 100- 200 mg of caffeine.
To aid anaerobic resistance exercise, maximum benefits are seen at much larger doses. Researchers studying anaerobic power see benefits from caffeine typically in the 4-6 mg/kg body weight range. To put that in English units, if your average consumer weighs 180 pounds, your brand should contain between 326-490 mg of caffeine to aid their weight training regimen.
Benefits: Beta-alanine may help lessen the effects of overall fatigue. As a non-essential amino acid, beta-alanine works with histidine to produce carnosine. Carnosine helps reduce lactic acid build-up which aids longer workouts before muscle fatigue sets in.
In a review of various studies, the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) concludes for exertions lasting more than one-minute, beta-alanine may improve the performance of high-intensity exercise.
Recommended Dose: ISSN recommends healthy individuals take a total of 4-6 grams of beta-alanine daily broken into 2-gram doses. They further recommend beta-alanine supplements should be taken with meals to maximize carnosine levels. It can take up to four weeks of supplementation to see the exercise performance benefits of beta-alanine.
Citrulline is instrumental in the urea cycle. It helps improve the body’s ammonia recycling process and nitric oxide metabolism which aids the delivery rate of nutrients and oxygen to skeletal muscles.
Benefits: As a pre-workout supplement, citrulline has been shown (Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26658899/) to promote increasing the number of repetitions an individual can do in strength training exercises.
Citrulline may reduce post-workout muscle soreness. One study, (Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20386132/) found a 40% decrease of muscle soreness in 90% of the study’s participants with citrulline supplementation.
Recommended Dose: To help sport performance, take 6,000-8,000 mg of citrulline malate an hour before your training session. On non-training days, athletes should take smaller doses of citrulline malate throughout the day.
Numerous studies have shown muscle endurance, growth, and repair may happen faster and more efficiently with large quantities of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These branched essential amino acids (bcaas) are contained in numerous plant and animal protein powders.
Many studies suggest whey protein contains the bcaa supplements to best promote muscle building, rejuvenation, and repair in both serious and recreational athletes (Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30255023). The training advantages of whey protein (Link: https://tsunamisupplements.com/blogs/articles) are due to high levels of leucine, isoleucine, and valine available with fast adsorption rates and digestive times.
Additionally, the various adsorption rates of the bcaas contained in casein make casein supplements a possibly ideal night time supplement for individuals involved in serious endurance or weight training regimes. When taken at night, casein supplements promote a gradual, steady release of bcaas to muscle cells to help reduce the rate of muscle protein breakdown during sleep.
Recommended Dose: The current recommended daily amount of dietary protein is 0.8 g/kg of body weight. However, to provide fuel for energy and promote protein synthesis, people engaged in strength or endurance training need 1.2 to 2.0 g of protein per kilogram according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Medicine.
Research (Link: https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-7-30) suggests keeping a positive protein balance in active individuals by ingesting easily digestible, absorbable protein within four hours of exercising. This helps decrease protein breakdown and increase protein synthesis.
Labeling your Pre- and Post-Workout Supplements
On your supplement label, always encourage consumers to seek appropriate medical advice before taking any supplement. Some supplement ingredients have side-effects that may have negative consequences for some individuals.
Side-effects to include on labeling:
Frequent caffeine use builds tolerance to caffeine’s stimulating effects on the mind and body. Side-effects of too much caffeine may include indigestion, headaches, anxiety, or insomnia.
A tingling feeling is a harmless side-effect of large doses of beta-alanine.
More research is needed to determine what if any negative side-effects there are with large doses of citrulline.
Too much protein can stress the kidneys and over years result in gout from high levels of uric acid. Whey protein does not seem to have the same harmful build-up effect as eating meat, especially red meat. However, individuals with damaged kidneys or liver should be cautious when using protein supplements.
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Martinez, Nic et al. “The Effect of Acute Pre-workout Supplementation on Power and Strength Performance.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2016. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-016-0138-7
Wildman, Robert. “Boost Your Workout with Caffeine.” Bodybuilder. 2018. https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/boost-your-workout-with-caffeine.html
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