Sports supplementation based on different substances is increasingly used, not only by professional athletes where its use is widespread and controlled, but also by amateur athletes. Whey (or whey) protein, creatine, HMB (hydroxymethylbutyrate) or BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) are some of the most popular products. The objective of consumers of this type of product is to increase muscle mass and sports performance. But several questions arise in this regard. Are these supplements safe for health? Are they really effective? I will try to solve these doubts in the following article. First of all, I must advise the use of supplementation always under the supervision of a professional. 40% of the body's proteins are found in the muscles. During exercise there is a protein expenditure that must be recovered later with an adequate intake. And this is where sports supplementation comes into play. Supplements should be a complement to a healthy diet that meets our needs. The isolated fact of consuming sports supplements will not improve our sports results if they are not accompanied by quality training, a good diet, sufficient rest and restful sleep. During high-intensity sports practice, it is advisable to drink isotonic drinks that will provide us with carbohydrates and will replace the minerals that are lost with sweat. When the exercise is very long, it will also be necessary to use sports gels and bars, which will provide us with easily digestible carbohydrates. Later, after finishing the exercise, it will be time to take a recovery shake that will provide us with carbohydrates, proteins and mineral salts in liquid form, easily assimilated, and will allow us to start recovery and muscle regeneration. It is necessary to clarify that a recovery shake will not have more effect than a balanced meal based on carbohydrates, vegetables and proteins. The advantage of shakes is that we can take them as soon as we finish the exercise and that they are easily digestible.
Is it important to make this contribution as soon as you finish practicing sports? It seems that the so-called 'metabolic window', that is, the time the body has to recover from energy expenditure, is not limited to just one hour, but will also depend on the type of meal eaten before sports practice, and therefore, although advisable, it is not necessary that the nutritional contribution after exercise take place in the first hour. That period of time can be extended to the following hours and be effective. BCAAs or branched chain amino acids are 3 amino acids that initiate protein synthesis. But it must be clarified that these three amino acids by themselves are not capable of synthesizing proteins. Amino acids are obtained through food, and therefore BCAA supplementation is not clear to improve the effects of a healthy and balanced diet. Creatine is manufactured in our body and obtained from foods such as red meat, shellfish and fish. Creatine supplements have been shown in speed and strength sports to increase performance. The use of creatine and BCAAs in healthy people should not cause kidney or liver problems as long as they are used in the right amount and under the supervision of a professional. In conclusion, the use of supplements can be beneficial after exercises that produce high energy expenditure for the body, but always in the necessary amounts. The abuse of these supplements will not improve our results and can cause serious health problems. Its use must always be accompanied by quality training, a balanced and healthy diet, adequate rest and restful sleep.