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  • Writer's pictureAnnie Bothma

SPORT NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT SERIES: INTRODUCTION

- Annie Bothma, IOPN Sports Performance Nutritionist (EQF Level 7. Masters), Running Coach and Elite Marathon Runner

Welcome to the Sport Nutrition Supplement Series, where we will embark on a journey to explore the fascinating world of supplements that have the power to elevate your athletic performance to new heights, improve health and help speed-up the recovery from injuries.

I only chose to highlight the supplements in this series that have a substantial amount of evidence behind them to actually improve health or performance.

Whether you're a seasoned athlete striving for that extra edge or someone just beginning their fitness journey, this series is your comprehensive guide to unlocking the potential of sport nutrition supplements.



TIPS & CONSIDERATIONS FOR WHEN BUYING SUPPLEMENTS

When buying supplements, it's important to be well-informed and cautious to ensure your safety and get the most out of the products you choose. Here are some key tips to consider before you buy any supplement:

  • Consult with a healthcare professional: Before starting any new supplement regimen, consult with a healthcare provider, such as a doctor or registered dietitian. They can help determine if you need supplements, what types are appropriate for your specific needs, and if there are potential interactions with medications or health conditions.

  • Quality matters: Choose reputable brands and products that are known for their quality and safety. Look for third-party testing and certifications from organizations like NSF International, USP, or ConsumerLab.com, which can verify the purity and potency of the supplements.

  • Read labels carefully: Carefully review the supplement label to understand its ingredients, serving size, and dosage recommendations. Pay attention to the form of the nutrient, and check for any potential allergens or additives.

  • Avoid exaggerated claims: Be skeptical of supplements that make extravagant claims about their health benefits or use terms like "miracle cure." Supplements should not replace a balanced diet, and their effects may be limited.

  • Know your needs: Determine why you are considering supplements. Are you deficient in a specific nutrient, or are you looking to address a particular health concern? This will help you choose the right supplements and dosages.

  • Consider whole foods first: Whenever possible, try to meet your nutritional needs through a balanced diet rich in whole foods. Supplements should complement your diet, not replace it.

  • Be aware of interactions: Some supplements can interact with medications or other supplements. Inform your healthcare provider about all the supplements and medications you're taking to avoid potential conflicts.

  • Start with a low dose: If you're new to a particular supplement, start with a lower dose to see how your body reacts. Gradually increase the dose as needed, especially for fat-soluble vitamins.

  • Be cautious with mega-doses: Taking excessive amounts of certain vitamins and minerals can be harmful. Avoid megadoses unless specifically recommended by a healthcare professional.

  • Watch expiration dates: Check the expiration date on the supplement label. Expired supplements may lose their potency or become unsafe.

  • Report side effects: If you experience any adverse effects or unexpected reactions after taking a supplement, stop using it and consult your healthcare provider. Not all supplements are well-tolerated by everyone.

  • Store supplements properly: Follow the storage instructions on the label. In general, most supplements should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

  • Consider specific recommendations: Depending on your individual needs, you may have specific considerations for supplements. For example, pregnant women, vegetarians, and athletes may have unique requirements.



CONCLUSION

Remember that supplements are meant to complement a healthy diet and lifestyle. They are not a magic solution to health problems, and their use should be guided by medical advice. Your healthcare provider can help you make informed decisions about which supplements, if any, are right for you. When starting a new supplement, just like with a training plan, remember, it takes time for it to work - there is no magic pill! You have to be willing to give it a chance and consistently take it for a while to see if it actually has a benefit to your performance and health.


Stay tuned for the three part supplement series:

  • Supplements that improves your performance

  • Supplements that can improve your health

  • Supplements that can help speed up the recovery after an injury.


If you would like to work with me one on one to nail down your nutrition as an endurance athlete or you need a running coach to help you prepare for your upcoming race, please click on the link below to learn more about the services I offer.





Contact me at anniesathletes@gmail.com to set up a consultation today.

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