Debunking Fitness #8

We’re returning to fitness myths! This myth is sometimes a hot topic- just like fad diets, there are also fad pills.  You’ve probably seen dozens of ads on television, and in fitness magazines, for products that are supposed to BURN twice the FAT! REV UP your METABOLISM! and make all kinds of amazing, magical things happen…. for a price. Well, here’s the thing, it’s not just diet pills that make these claims. Even seemingly innocent vitamin supplements can’t resist the media attention. Here are a few common supplements and what they really have to offer.

Myth #8: Supplements help performance

Truth: There’s no such thing as a magic pill. (At least a legal one.)

Supplement: Antioxidants, Including Vitamins A, C, and E
Conventional Wisdom: They destroy free radicals, molecules created during exercise that are thought to contribute to cell damage.
Science Says: According to recent studies, some free radicals appear to trigger chemical reactions that actually help strengthen muscles after exercise and improve health. So taking antioxidants in excess may curb the benefits of exercise.

Supplement: Quercetin
Conventional Wisdom: A flavonoid found naturally in apples, red wine grapes, and other fruits and vegetables, it’s thought to improve endurance capacity and fight fatigue.
Science Says: Athletes get little or no benefit from it. An upcoming review of seven studies concluded that quercetin may be useful for out-of-shape people who start exercising but does next to nothing for the already fit.

Supplement: Creatine
Conventional Wisdom: It’s the most ­popular supplement in the country, and power athletes insist it helps build muscle strength and bulk.
Science Says: It does—to a point. College football ­players who used creatine bench-pressed more weight, and Australian soccer players sprinted faster. But if you’re an endurance athlete, creatine draws extra water into cells, leading to diarrhea and even cramping.

Supplement: DHEA
Conventional Wisdom: DHEA raises testosterone ­levels and helps build muscle and increase power.
Science Says: Yes and no. DHEA is a naturally ­occurring hormone that affects the body’s ability to produce testosterone. But a 2006 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that daily doses in men with normal levels did not increase muscle strength.

Source: http://www.outsideonline.com

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About SuzieSloth

I am a Certified Personal Trainer and Martial Arts Instructor with a passion for physical fitness and a background in public health. I love learning new things about the fitness world and about innovations in all health fields. I like to share tidbits that I find in magazines or on the internet with friends and clients. Please feel free to email me with questions or comments, or leave comments on any post on my blog. And make sure to stop by my website: http://www.formfitsfunction.net View all posts by SuzieSloth

2 responses to “Debunking Fitness #8

  • ksmahoney

    Can you explain your “science says” section on antioxidants? You mentioned that some research has shown that these supplements strengthen muscles after exercise, but then you said they curb the benefits. Why?
    Thanks!
    Sara from http://www.losingtogether.com

    • SuzieSloth

      No Problem- I think the original author could have made this a little more clear for us all!

      Antioxidants are supposed to destroy free radicals- but *some* free radicals are shown to help rebuild muscle tissue. This becomes a problem if you’re taking an excess of Antioxidants, which would destroy the few free radicals that help us rebuild muscle. If the “good” free radicals are shut down by excessive Antioxidants, we don’t get any benefit.

      The actual science behind this is very controversial. Some research says antioxidants minimize inflammatory response in the body and in cells, which can promote cell regeneration and allow the body to heal more efficiently- while other studies claim their research shows Antioxidants do not offer protection against cell damage and the reduction in inflammation actually hinders recovery! Personally, I take vitamins on a daily basis for whatever benefit I can- but who knows if they are actually protecting me from any sickness or free radials or whatever the case may be!

      I hope that clarified everything!

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