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Supplements-don't believe everything you read!

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

Recent policies adopted by Amazon require dietary supplements have been tested and offer an assurance from the manufacturer that the products meet FDA regulations. Last year, Amazon's actions drew praise from many industry stakeholders who feel the changes could promote transparency for consumers and improve the quality of supplements sold through the e-commerce giant.

The supplement market is strong, very confusing with every supplier pushing their products as the "complete" solution to "all your supplement needs". The weightlifting industry is complicit promoting products which are often overpriced and over claiming their benefits. Not all BCAA products are created equal. While some will do a great job of helping retain lean muscle tissue, many are under-dosed and rendered ineffective unless taken in unrealistic serving sizes. Key to understanding which product to use is to assess whether the key ingredients responsible for helping the body are all in order at the correct quantities. Focussing on muscle building the critical BCAAs are leucine, valine and isoleucine. Nevertheless, when and how do they get used to have the best benefit? The optimal dosage of BCAA's before training is around 3 grams. The optimal ratio of BCAA's is 2:1:1 in favour of leucine. Leucine is often referred to as the "primary" of the three BCAA's as it is vital in the muscle-building process. Research by the American Journal of Physiology identified that participants in the study who consumed a post-workout mixture of leucine, whey protein and carbohydrates had an optimal response to training as well as experiencing more remarkable muscle protein synthesis (muscle building) over six hours than those consuming either whey protein and carbs or carbohydrates alone.

One approach is to ensure the diet is high in protein, and then the additional "supplement" dose is not required. Some companies list histidine as a 9th essential amino acid. However, the "essential" acids do not have to be because the body cannot produce them by itself, meaning they must be sourced from dietary consumption. Lysine deficiency can lead to a vitamin B deficiency. Simultaneously, phenylalanine is responsible for stimulating the release of hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline, which are both crucial for optimal central nervous system performance. Threonine will improve the immune system, methionine is used to supply sulphur, and tryptophan is excellent for improving sleep.

In brief, it is critical that both are measured in the diet and only supplement where there is a shortage or for a particular targeted benefit.

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