A lot comes to mind when we think of nutrition for athletes in their teenage years because this is a crucial stage of their growth. Questions like are sports supplements safe for teenagers? What are the different types of sports nutrition for teenagers? Are sports supplements essential for teenagers? If these questions trouble you too, then continue reading as we unfold the answers to all of these questions one at a time.
But first, let us understand what we mean by sports supplements?
Sports supplements are available in various forms, including powders, drinks, and pills. All these pills, drinks, and powders are engineered to enhance physical performance or provide the body with necessary nutrients that are not easily available in usual diets. These supplements are prevalent among people who participate in physical activities or workouts at regular intervals. However, before buying some sports supplements, it is essential to know that the FDA does not monitor them before they’re sold to the general public. Therefore, it is better to do our research and make informed decisions by understanding the sport nutrition requirements of our bodies. Also, it is better to consult a physician before consuming any type of supplement.
Are Sports Supplements Safe For Teenagers?
When it comes to sports supplements, the first thing one should consider is the product’s safety, especially when it is to be used by teenagers who are still growing. The supplement industry is growing at an unprecedented pace! While any adverse effects of these supplements are going unchecked, researchers from different preeminent organizations have found that certain ingredients in sports supplements can cause severe complications like cardiac arrest and liver damages. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that the sports supplement is not contaminated.
However, that does not mean that all sports supplements are harmful. It is all about conducting research and finding the perfect sports supplements based on our needs. The label of the supplements says a lot about their quality; it can be enough to determine the safety of those supplements. Therefore, be wary of sports supplements that say the following on the label:
- Promising unrealistic outcomes like gain 20 kg in 20 days.
- Take notice of the word “proprietary blend” because, for all, we know it could contain anything that might even be harmful to us.
- Avoid ingredients such as kratom, germander, geranium, yohimbine, bitter orange, and more.
What Are Different Sports Supplements For Teenagers?
Numerous types of sports supplements are perfectly suitable for teenagers. However, the most common sports supplements for teenagers include:
- Amino Acid Supplements: Amino acids are known as the building blocks of protein, and they are beneficial for building the muscles in our bodies. Amino acids that are used as supplements include arginine, glutathione, citrulline, leucine, and cysteine. These supplements are available in different forms, such as powders and pills. However, an overdose of some amino acid supplements might cause some side effects. Unfortunately, there are still not enough studies conducted on amino acid supplements to ensure teenagers’ safety.
- Antioxidants: There are numerous processes in our bodies that involve oxidation. Oxidation reactions can give rise to free radicals that can be very harmful to the cells in our bodies. The damage to cells can lead to numerous complications that can reduce immunity and increase susceptibility to diseases, apart from other adverse effects on the body. But with antioxidants, one can reduce and even eliminate the impact of those free radicals. Even though natural food is a good source of antioxidants, many supplements are still available on the market. These supplements include Vitamin C, garlic capsules, Vitamin E, goji juice, and more.
- Protein Powders: Teenagers require more nutrients than an average individual to satisfy the natural growth process requirement. Protein is one of the most crucial macronutrients for everyone, and protein from usual diets is not always enough. But teenagers who are involved in sports and other energy-intensive physical activities require much more protein than adults. Therefore, protein powders are a great way to ensure that a teen reaches their daily protein requirements. It is recommended to consume protein powder in liquid form as this way it can be easily digested.
- Multivitamins and Minerals: Most teenagers tend to be very fussy about sticking to the proper diet, especially when it comes to vegetables; it gets challenging to convince them to eat veggies. Over that, the adverse effects of processed food reduce the nutrition intake of a teenager significantly. One easy way to deal with this problem is to feed quality multivitamin pills to teenagers and ensure that they consume the required amount of minerals and vitamins. This will help the teenagers experience healthy growth along with a healthy lifestyle.
Are Sports Supplements Necessary For Teenagers?
Every individual has different requirements and needs when it comes to sports supplements. In addition, as mentioned earlier, sports supplements are not regulated by the FDA, which makes it very difficult to decide what type of supplement to consume and what not to consume. Finally, adolescence is a critical stage in a person’s life, and sometimes consuming the wrong sports supplements can lead to severe complications.
Even though most teenagers do not require sports supplements, consuming the right supplement with proper knowledge about the nutrients and the correct dosages can be very helpful for a growing teenager. Therefore, it is recommended by experts to carry out thorough research and determine the necessary supplements based on the requirement of an individual. Furthermore, it would be best to consult a physician who is already familiar with the medical history of the teenager. This way, one can be assured about getting the right supplements in the proper dosages and hence minimize the chances of encountering any adverse effects.
Sports supplements can be very beneficial for a growing teenager, but that does not mean supplements can replace a good diet. Therefore, leverage sports supplements, combine them with a balanced diet, and get a competitive edge in athletics and other physical activities. Also, always conduct thorough research before consuming any supplements and consult a physician to be on the safe side.