These days, the health and fitness market is flooded with supplements, a handful of which can be quite beneficial to health and fitness.
Many of the supplements currently available over the counter come with great claims but they don’t necessarily have a lot of peer reviewed research to substantiate their statements.
On the other hand, we have identified five of them that really do appear to offer a significant effect with regard to strength gains, weight loss, or both. Consider the following:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3s, such as those found in fish oil and other supplements, have shown a considerable positive effect on everything from cardiac health to brain function. Omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to improve the ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol and give a boost to vascular health. In broad terms, better vascular health means more oxygen can get to your muscles and other tissues, resulting in better health and resistance to disease.
Vitamin D – Interest in Vitamin D as a supplement has increased dramatically in the past few years. In fact, The New York Times rated the health benefits of Vitamin D among the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2007. Some interesting research shows that athletic performance may tend peak during an annual cycle in which Vitamin D absorption is highest. Vitamin D improves calcium uptake and is also useful for weight loss.
Creatine – There are a large number of scientific studies that support creatine’s effectiveness as an ergogenic aid. Creatine appears to help during repeated bouts of high intensity muscular contraction, as in bodybuilding or interval training. Creatine helps build muscle and it protects against muscle catabolism following intense workouts.
Glucosamine and Condroitin – While there is still some debate over these two substances, there are a significant number of studies that show Glucosamine sulphate and Chondroitin sulphate can improve joint function and reduce pain for those suffering moderate to high levels of joint pain. Furthermore, studies show that both are safe to ingest and have no side effects, so you really have nothing to lose (other than the cost) by trying a Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplement.
Coenzyme Q10 – Q10 is an enzyme produced by your body that helps keep you in good cardiovascular health. It may also help reduce your chance of getting cancer, Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease, and the antioxidants found in Q10 can reduce the ravages of free radical build up.
Before you take any supplements, you should always talk to your doctor and let him or her know what you’re planning to take and why. Many supplements can interact with any medication you may be taking or have unintended health effects. Your doctor is the best person to give you advice on which supplements may be helpful for you.
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