Fit Food: Do You Need Supplements?

00supplementsThe quest to be fitter, leaner, stronger and healthier has given birth to an entire industry. Nutritional supplements promise to help us achieve our goals faster and easier and every year millions of people spend billions of dollars looking for a magic pill. This doesn’t exist, but there are some supplements that can be beneficial for someone living an active lifestyle, depending on your goals.

Before we look at the research I want to make one very important point. Even if a supplement has been shown to work, keep in mind it is only a supplement. It is meant to supplement the work that you are already doing. In most cases this means that the supplement will enable you to work harder and longer in your workouts, which in turn will lead to better results. So it’s not the supplement specifically that is giving you the improved results, but rather your own work. None of the following supplements will give you overnight results and some of them may not even work for you at all. When adding any supplements to your routine I always suggest only adding one thing at a time and determining efficacy before adding something else. If you start taking more than one supplement at the same time you have no way of knowing what works and what doesn’t. Why waste your money on something that may or may not be working? Now that I’ve said that, let’s look at the research.

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1. Candow DG, Burke NC, Smith-Palmer T, Burke DG. Effect of whey and soy protein

supplementation combined with resistance training in young adults. Int J Sport

Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 Jun;16(3):233-44. PubMed PMID: 16948480.

2. Burke DG, Chilibeck PD, Davidson KS, Candow DG, Farthing J, Smith-Palmer T.

The effect of whey protein supplementation with and without creatine monohydrate

combined with resistance training on lean tissue mass and muscle strength. Int J

Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2001 Sep;11(3):349-64. PubMed PMID: 11591884.

3. Hayes A, Cribb PJ. Effect of whey protein isolate on strength, body

composition and muscle hypertrophy during resistance training. Curr Opin Clin

Nutr Metab Care. 2008 Jan;11(1):40-4. Review. PubMed PMID: 18090657.

4. Rawson ES, Volek JS. Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance

training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance. J Strength Cond Res.

2003 Nov;17(4):822-31. Review. PubMed PMID: 14636102.

5. HAKIMI, Mehdi; MOHAMADI, Maryam Ali; GHADERI, Zoleikha. “The effects of glutamine supplementation on performance and hormonal responses in non-athlete male students during eight week resistance training”. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise [en línea]. Vol. 7, No. 4 (2012). ISSN 1988-5202, pp. 770-782.

6. Wenkai Ren, Yinghui Li, Xinglong Yu, Wei Luo, Gang Liu, Hua Shao and Yulong Yin. Glutamine modifies immune responses of mice infected with porcine circovirus type 2. British Journal of Nutrition, available on CJO2013. doi:10.1017/S0007114512006101.

7. Candow DG, Chilibeck PD, Burke DG, Davison KS, Smith-Palmer T. Effect of

glutamine supplementation combined with resistance training in young adults. Eur

J Appl Physiol. 2001 Dec;86(2):142-9. PubMed PMID: 11822473.

8. Pinkoski C, Chilibeck PD, Candow DG, Esliger D, Ewaschuk JB, Facci M, Farthing

JP, Zello GA. The effects of conjugated linoleic acid supplementation during

resistance training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Feb;38(2):339-48. PubMed PMID:


9. Cornish SM, Candow DG, Jantz NT, Chilibeck PD, Little JP, Forbes S, Abeysekara

S, Zello GA. Conjugated linoleic acid combined with creatine monohydrate and whey

protein supplementation during strength training. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab.

2009 Feb;19(1):79-96. PubMed PMID: 19403955.

10. Suleyman Bulut, Ebru Bodur, Ridvan Colak, Husrev Turnagol

Effects of conjugated linoleic acid supplementation and exercise on post-heparin lipoprotein lipase, butyrylcholinesterase, blood lipid profile and glucose metabolism in young men

Chemico-Biological Interactions, Volume 203, Issue 1, 25 March 2013, Pages 323–329

11. Brilla LR, Conte, V. Effects of zinc-magnesium (ZMA) supplementation on muscle attributes of football players. Med and Sci in Sports and Exercise, Vol. 31, No. 5, May 1999

12. Negro M, Giardina S, Marzani B, Marzatico F. Branched-chain amino acid

supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery

and the immune system. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Sep;48(3):347-51. Review.

PubMed PMID: 18974721.

13. Shimomura Y, Murakami T, Nakai N, Nagasaki M, Harris RA. Exercise promotes

BCAA catabolism: effects of BCAA supplementation on skeletal muscle during

exercise. J Nutr. 2004 Jun;134(6 Suppl):1583S-1587S. Review. PubMed PMID:


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