THE SUPPLEMENTAL TRUTH: PART III- PERFORMANCE ENHANCERS
By Nmami Agarwal
THE TRUTH ABOUT PERFORMANCE ENHANCERS
Before we talk about performance enhancers, you make take a note that none of these have been approved by FDA. There are, however, few scientific pieces of research that list down their benefits. So what are performance enhancers? They are also called “ergogenic aids” and claim to improve endurance, exercise efficiency, and workout tolerance. We bring you a transparent guide on the use of performance-enhancing supplements focussing on the ones that are most popular and widely available.
- Glutathione– Glutathione is considered as one of the most powerful anti-oxidants. It is naturally produced by your body and is present within every cell. Glutathione aids in the eradication of free radicals, detoxification, tissue repair, and building, and enhancing the immune system. It is also prescribed in the treatment of various disorders like- heart disease, asthma, AIDS, cancer, and osteoarthritis etc. Glutathione saves you from pollutants, allergens, and cancer-causing agents. It can also prevent aging by fighting oxidative damage.
Glutathione can improve stamina, reduce recovery time and impart an attentive and healthy overall state of the body. You might also gain better immunity, so you won’t fall sick as often. Glutathione supplement can reduce muscle fatigue associated with intense exercise, and can improve cellular metabolism. Its deficiency is extremely rare, so you might just want to focus on getting your dose of glutathione from natural food sources which are- garlic, onion, parsley, avocados, squash, and tomatoes.
- Beta Alanine– β Alanine is a popular supplement to improve exercise performance. It is a type of non-essential amino acid that means your body can manufacture it on its own. It is not used by the body to synthesize proteins but is used to produce carnosine- a compound that reduces lactic acid formation in the skeletal muscles, thereby improving athletic performance. β Alanine has very swiftly become a popular ergogenic agent. Regular intake of β Alanine ensures less fatigue, increased threshold, and greater ability to sustain exercise output.
Natural food sources of β Alanine are meat, chicken (especially chicken breasts), beef, and fish.
β Alanine supplements come with their own health risk, with paraesthesia being the most common adverse effect. Paraesthesia is described as an unusual sensation in the skin, experienced through tingling mostly felt in hands, face and neck. This is because of the supplement’s effect on the central nervous system. This kind of paraesthesia caused by β Alanine is considered to be temporary or acute unless really high doses are taken.
- Anabolic Steroids– These are one of the most illegally used performance enhancers. Anabolic steroids are synthetic compounds which are similar to the male hormone testosterone. Apart from enhancing performance, they are also used by many to improve physical appearance as they provide the “bulk” to the physique. In the body, they behave like testosterone and stimulate its receptors. Once stimulated, they direct the body to boost muscle tissue production. People consuming anabolic steroids gain muscle strength very rapidly.
Steroid supplements come with an array of side effects ranging from hair loss, acne, liver and heart abnormalities, irritability, mood alteration, and depression. They have also been reported to cause violent behaviour in many consumers. It can also cause hormonal imbalance, leading to excessive hair growth on face and body in females and gynecomastia (abnormal development of mammary glands leading to breast enlargement) in males. Many people tend to rely on anabolic steroids to boost their self-esteem and confidence, and withdrawal from the supplement can cause them extreme tiredness, decreased strength and depression.
So, now you know that anabolic steroid supplement is a strict no-no. There are, however, few natural food sources that can boost natural steroids in the body, which are- quinoa, avocados, cottage cheese, fish, eggs, and celery.
Over to you
We strive to detach fact from fiction while bringing to you the utmost honest guide on the use of fat burners, muscle gainers and performance enhancers. The intention is to raise awareness and make you acknowledge the fact that while there may be thousands of supplements in the market, there are also many food options to obtain these naturally. And, whenever you are in a doubt, you must consider a dietitian consultation first. Do not just rely on the advice of your gym trainers and instructors. Spread the word!
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