The effects of training should be further enhanced by a balanced diet, healthy lifestyle and recovery time. Many athletes also reach for dietary supplements which are designed to strengthen the body and accelerate muscle recovery. However, not all such substances have a positive effect on the health of the body.
Supplementation of the body during active physical effort is an important part of an athlete’s diet. An active athlete should provide his or her body every day with essential micronutrients, vitamins and nutrients that build muscle tissue, support the proper functioning of the body and help in faster recovery after training. Some of the supplements available on the market also help burn fat, improve the efficiency of the body or compensate for nutritional deficiencies.
In addition to choosing the right specifics, you should also pay attention to the way and frequency of their use. It often happens that an adverse effect of a supplement can be read from its composition alone. In most cases, regular supplementation supports the athlete’s body and has a positive effect on his health, although sometimes supplements can be harmful and dangerous to health.
According to the World Health Organization, over 66 percent of supplements worldwide are taken by professional athletes. For this reason, WADA is interested in the composition of supplements and regularly detects doping substances in products not listed as ingredients. Banned substances appear in supplements with such regularity that every year the World Anti-Doping Commission extends the list of banned supplements.
The most common substance found was ephedrine, particularly found in supplements taken before training. The chemical compound artificially raises the body’s performance, increases muscle capacity, and prolongs an athlete’s workout time. According to tests conducted over the past few years, in vitamin and herbal supplements, almost 25% of the products have contaminated substances, doping agents or compounds that affect the reliability of laboratory results. Most contaminated products were found in the Netherlands, Austria, Great Britain, and the United States.
Many of the countries that produce dietary supplements recognize them as food products rather than drugs. Due to this liberal provision of the law, many problems arise with the non-publication of medical contraindications in the use of supplements. In our homeland, products called supplements are treated as an element of food, so it is difficult to find on the label a description of diseases and ailments that may be caused by them, as well as information on what substances the supplement should not be taken with.
The lack of such records can lead to harmful effects of the specific, worsening of health conditions, the occurrence of diseases and complications, and nullifying the effects of drugs taken by the athlete on a daily basis. An example is some of the herbs used to make supplements. Their effects adversely affect the treatment of people with HIV and may reduce the effects of medical therapy.
A study published last year by Canadian researchers at Saint Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto found that the world’s most popular dietary supplements containing vitamins, herbs and minerals have no effect on the user’s health. The tests, conducted over a period of five years, showed that most of the ingredients have no beneficial effect on the way the body feels or works.
This research was also confirmed by a Polish physician – Prof. Przemysław Kardas, who noticed that the composition of dietary supplements more often includes harmful substances that actually affect the deterioration of health. He included pathogenic bacteria, psychoactive substances, substances considered to be doping or stimulants structurally similar to amphetamines among such compounds.
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