Whether you’re new to the fitness world or an expert bodybuilder, you will know that nutritional and dietary supplements are pretty popular. This is because they serve as a convenient way to take in nutrients that we sometimes have a hard time finding the time to take with whole foods. These nutrients include, but are not limited to protein, carbohydrates, calories, vitamins, and healthy fats. They also allow us to have an extra kick of energy before we hit the weights or go for a run. While many applaud the protein powders, pre-workouts, and the numerous other kinds of dietary supplements, many don’t understand one very basic and important fact about them.
Supplements do NOT need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While some of you may read this and shake your head in disbelief, the information is indeed factual. It is in lieu of current events including lawsuits to many well-known companies.
There have been several lawsuits filed against well-known companies regarding certain chemical ingredients in their products. Even more letters of warning have been sent to other companies regarding the same subject matter. The chemical ingredients are found in many supplements from companies around the world. The only difference is the amount of the ingredients in the supplements themselves as well as how much the person is taking.
This chemical is called dimethylamylamine, or DMAA for short. DMAA is said to be a natural extract from rose geranium oil. It’s also said that it is a synthetically made chemical that acts as a stimulant. Acting like caffeine, it increases your heart rate to get you “psyched” up and help aid your workout endurance. However, this is also the same chemical that has caused many health problems and complications for some taking it.
Many doctors say ingestion of this chemical is unsafe. Being that it is a stimulant, it speeds up the heart. Over time, a steady intake of DMAA can contribute to heart problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack and brain issues of strokes.
*Keep in mind I’m in no way bashing any company using this ingredient in a negative way. This is strictly informative purposes only. I can vouch that I have taken products with this chemical in it and have suffered no complications. It all depends on the person taking it. Which brings up several points of advice I would like to cover.
Read the Labels
This is the most overlooked yet most important piece of advice anyone could give pertaining to this subject. Mostly all supplement companies have warnings on them. These include allergen warnings regarding the supplements contents, amount to be taken, and when to be taken. These warnings are placed in fine print for a reason. Many people blindly buy a product because they read about them in advertisements in hopes it will bring results over night. I’ll be honest, there’s a good chance that won’t happen.
Another thing on the labels (usually right beside warnings) is to seek professional assistance from your medical physician. Again, most people don’t do this. I’ll be honest, I haven’t done this with all the supplements I’ve taken either. It’s just human nature. We think we’re invincible and it’s just a type of powder sold on the shelves. I’ve been fortunate enough not to have any bad or life threatening side effects. Others (like those filing lawsuits) are not so lucky. Case in point, a simple phone call or visit to a physician for their advice isn’t so much to ask.
There are different warnings for different types of supplements. This is obvious considering there is a different mix of ingredients geared towards a certain goal. While most say the same thing such as seek physician assistance before consuming, other warnings are geared toward a certain ingredient in each product.
Read the Labels Cont: Protein Powders
A majority of labels (if not all labels) of protein supplements display a very clear allergen warning. Wording varies from company to company, but the meaning behind it is still relatively the same. Many protein powders contain dairy products. This spectrum includes whey, casein, and soy protein. Some also contain peanuts, peanut oil, or some other type of extract. Most people reading this may think that this rarely happens. However, there are still some people with these allergies that take them.
Read the Labels Cont: Pre-workouts
These have been the most recent types that stir up controversy. Most labels boldly display stimulant warnings. And while not all labels display the amount of caffeine per serving, it’s still recommended via common sense to research a product prior to taking it.
As I’ve mentioned before, lawsuits have been filed and warning letters have been sent out. While not all labels put the amount of caffeine in fine print, there are other stimulants that exist in pre-workout supplements. DMAA is a prime example.
Follow the Directions on the Labels
This goes along with reading the labels. However, I know some people will read them but disregard the information that’s on them.
Regardless how big, buff, or “jacked” you are, you’re still only human. Your organs still work the same. There are reasons the labels have warnings and recommendations on them. Yes some people are more fit than others which means a healthier heart and other organs, but everything has a breaking point. I don’t want you to experience a breaking point because of chemicals.
Pre-workout supplements usually have a spot telling you to assess your tolerance. This means to start with a small dosage and increase when you feel necessary. This is to help you find out how much you can take without going overboard. This is common sense but there’s at least one person that everyone knows that buys something new and takes twice the recommended dosage.
There are also warnings on pre-workouts telling you never to take a certain amount in a confined time frame. An example would be to not take more than three (3) scoops within twenty-four (24) hours. Again, this is here for a reason. Regardless if you weigh 200 pounds with 5 percent body fat and can run a mile in 4 minutes, do yourself a favor and adhere to the warnings set by the company. Again, this is for your own safety.
Whether you are just new to them or have a stack you’ve acquired through trial and error, safety is and will always be your best bet. No, it may not look tough taking one scoop in front of your buddies, but keep in mind that everyone is different. Not to mention, that guy taking twice the recommended dosage will more than likely have medical problems in the future if not cycling properly.
Keep your head up, do well, and stay safe.