There are several components of a well designed diet including:
- Energy intake
- Strategic eating
Athletes who combine the proper dietary supplements with the right diet are able to perform at a higher level. However, supplements are not meant to replace a well balanced diet.
Here are several supplements and their category of effectiveness:
- Apparently effective: weight gain powders, creatine monohydrate, protein, essential amino acids
- Possibly effective: β-hydroxy β-methylbutyrate (HMB), branched chain amino acids,
- Too early to tell: ketoglutarate, Ketoisocaproate, Ecdysterones, growth hormone releasing peptides, Ornithine-α-ketoglutarate, zinc
- Apparently ineffective: glutamine, smilax officinalis, Isoflavones, Sulfo-Polysaccharides, boron, chromium, Conjugated Linoleic Acids, Gamma oryzanol, prohormones, tribulus terrestris, vanadyl sulfate
The methods discussed in the study are extensive. They touch on everything from the use of supplements to product development and everything in between.
1. Ergogenic aid. In short, an ergogenic aid is any training technique, nutritional practice, mechanical devise, or mental technique that helps improve exercise performance and training adaptation.
Some nutrition specializes only consider a supplement to be ergogenic aid if it shows a significant impact on performance. Others feel that it can be helpful as long as the supplement helps prepare the athlete to perform and/or speed up recovery.
2. Dietary supplement regulations. As noted in Exercise and Sports Nutrition: Principles, Promises, Science & Recommendations, the Food and Drug Administration regulated dietary supplements in the same manner as food leading up to 1994. However, this changed when Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in 1994. This moved all supplements into its own category.
3. Product development and quality assurance. Many athletes worry about the overall qualify of a supplement, including how it is manufactured. A number of cases studies have dug into the development process that often includes consulting with researchers to discuss the many types of supplements that can be commercialized. It is important to note that all new ingredients and supplements must be submitted to the FDA as a New Dietary Ingredient submission, ensuring that it is 100 percent safe to be sold to consumers.
4. Evaluating Ergogenic aids. The ISSN recommends that all ergogenic aids go through a process of evaluating the scientific merit of the claims. This is accomplished by examining the rationale behind the supplement and determining whether the data proves its effectiveness.
5. Dietary guidelines. A good training program includes both the proper energy intake as well as the proper timing of nutrients. Research shows that not getting the proper amount of calories or the right macronutrients can impede the athlete’s ability to meet his or her goals.
6. Dietary supplements for athletes. Dietary supplements can play a big role in ensuring that athletes receive the proper amount of protein, carbohydrates, and calories in their diet. That being said, studies show that the athlete will not benefit by using supplements as a replacement for a well balanced diet.
In short, it is essential to maintain an energy balance and nutrient dense diet along with specialized training, proper nutrient intake and the proper amount of rest.
It is possible to provide additional benefits of taking a limited number of supplements that have been proven effective.
Sports nutrition specialists should stay current with the role of nutrition in exercise while actively participating in regular research.