Supplements: The allies of exercise

by Lydia Papaevaggelou

Εxercise and healthy lifestyle, in general, seem to win more and more people every day, regardless of age and physique. The reasons are several, but mainly because they improve the appearance and physical condition of the individual, relief from stress and anxiety and weight loss.
When we talk about exercise, we mean both gym and various sports –personal and team sports. For many people, allies in this effort are food supplements (especially multivitamins and supplements for athletes).
What exactly are these supplements, which are appropriate and finally how effective are they? The answers to these questions are given by Mrs. Irene Tzanetakou biologist, clinical nutritionist and her associate Ms. Iliana Michael, clinical dietitian-nutritionist.

According to experts, the term food supplement means "any product taken by mouth and may have various forms such as pill, capsule, tablet, powder or liquid and is used to supplement our nutrition effectively. It is, therefore, a source of concentrated nutrients or other substances. Furthermore, a food supplement contains at least one of the following ingredients: vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, metabolites, body builders, or a combination of the above."
A fair question that is answered by our ladies Mrs. Tzanetakou and Ms. Michael is whether food supplements are divided into specific categories. "According to the National Organization of Medicines of Greece, food supplements are divided in two categories, depending on their intended use. In the first category are food supplements, meaning food products that tend to supplement the normal diet. This practically means that these products fill the gap of some necessary components, that someone’s diet may lack.

Such a supplement is VM-2000 by Solgar, specially designed to meet the increased energy demands of the modern person. It provides the energy needed to perform his daily activities and helps the body cope with environmental pollution, stress, mental and physical fatigue.It contains all the essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, digestive enzymes, super foods, herbs, soluble fibers and bioflavonoids.

The second category contains the Special Diet Foods. These are foods that, due to their composition, are designed for particular nutritional use by specific population groups, eg people with intolerance to a substance, such as gluten or lactose, or people suffering from metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus."

Back to sports supplements, can food supplements for athletes improve their performance? According to the experts, "the purpose of supplements for athletes is to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass, while improving strength, as well as to promote the process of muscle recovery after training. Furthermore, they aim to reduce the organic stress of intense training, minimize the chance of disease occurrence or impart some other benefits that could improve athletic performance."
Tonalin® CLA by Solgar belongs to this category. It is a unique formula, which can help reduce the subcutaneous fat and also in weight control, while acting positively to muscle tissue maintenance. Made from safflower oil, this natural product, combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet, helps people who want to lose body fat, while maintaining the muscle tissue of their body, people who want to control and loss weight, athletes and people who are involved with fitness and muscle development.

How effective are supplements for athletes?
What you should not forget is that you should not expect everything from a product. The most important factor to have strength, power and achievements, is a good and balanced diet. For people who, for whatever reason, fail to follow this balanced diet or people involved in sports and require low levels of body fat (eg exercise), the use of supplements with vitamins and minerals, protein and amino acids, or even some herbs, are there to help and do what the eating habits of the person can not, as they fix the underlying nutritional deficiency.
"So people who are well nourished, can not improve their performance by simply taking a food supplement. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule. These exceptions include substances, such as creatine, bicarbonates and antioxidant nutrients. "

Suitability and key components
The decisive question is certainly clear: which are the appropriate supplements. "The appropriate supplements for the nutrition of athletes are divided into five categories: First we have the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, ingredients that are essential for every body.
Then there are herbs and phytochemicals, such as ginseng. Subsequently, very important are proteins and amino acids, such as glutamine. In addition, there are the metabolites, and finally more specific nutrients such as CLA », experts claim.
Protein and amino acid supplements meet the highest energy requirements during periods of intense training, rapid growth phase in young athletes or during the increase of muscle mass, "Mrs. Tzanetakou and Ms. Michael explain.
Protein is a key element for the reconstruction of body tissue. It nourishes the muscles of the body and helps in weight control and mood stabilization.

Whey To Go® Protein Powder by Solgar is a protein of high biological value from whey with additional L-glutamine (free form), amino acids BCAAs, for maximum performance, restoration, repair and growth of muscle tissue after exercise. It also contains nutrients, important for the proper functioning of the immune system. It is ideal for professional and amateur athletes, injured people, postoperative patients, the elderly, for weight control as well as for young people who do not meet the protein requirements through nutrition.

Adverse effects and discontinuation of supplements
Another parameter that we often examine is the unwanted results, but also what will happen when we stop receiving sports supplements.
We should be careful, informed and patient. Although sports supplements help to some extent, avoiding excesses and the correct and rational use of them, are important for a safe and effective outcome. In fact, when their use is combined with proper diet and exercise, then the result will certainly be much better.

Attention before choosing a food supplement!
Every athlete or trainee wants immediate and obvious effects on his body. What should one however check before buying such products? Are there any banned or harmful substances within sports supplements?
The experts answer: "These preparations should not be confused in any way with anabolic steroids, which have side effects and may cause very serious health problems. It is very important for someone who intends to buy and use these products, to be careful and sure that the preparation that he will buy is notified to the Νational Οrgnization of Μedicines of Greece, with the indicated number of disclosure and also that the analytical formulation of the product is on the package. This ensures that the product is certified and legitimate. "
It is also evident that a product is considered to be safer to consume, the more clear and official its selling processes and selling points are in the market (eg pharmacies) .


who is who

Irene Tzanetakou, Biomedical Scientist, Dietitian, BSc, RD, MPhil., 210 6464 123, 6970 147 157

Iliana N. Michael, BSc, MSc candidate, Clinical Dietitian-Nutritionist, expert in stress., 210 6464 123, 6973 654 887