Who Exactly Takes Nutritional Supplements and Why?

I shot this video in the parking lot of a local store that sells  nutritional supplements.  As you can see, the parking lot is busy,
and customers entering and leaving the store exhibit a wide range of age  and characteristics.

People who take nutritional supplements are sometimes labeled as
“Health Nuts” as if they were part of some weird minority. It might surprise you to learn that most U.S. adults, 68%, use dietary supplements according to an October, 2015 survey by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).

This Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, conducted by IPSOS Public Affairs, found that when it comes to safety, quality and effectiveness of specific dietary supplement categories, Americans have the most confidence in the “Vitamins & Minerals” category (85%).  Results show that the vitamins and minerals category has the highest  usage compared to specialty supplements, herbals & botanicals, and sports nutrition and weight management.  79% of male supplement users and 77% of  female supplement users take vitamins and minerals, followed by vitamin D (32%),  vitamin C (27%) and calcium (24%) which are three nutrients that government reports have  identified as shortfall nutrients. Continue reading Who Exactly Takes Nutritional Supplements and Why?

Sports and Fitness Supplements – Safe and Legal?

Are sports supplements a safe and legal way to maximize sports and fitness performance?

Athletes who participate in competitive events at the professional, college, and even the high school level are always looking for a performance edge that will allow them to perform at their peak potential.

The same is true of ordinary individuals who enjoy participating in competitive sports or athletic events like tennis, racquetball, pick-up basketball games, company baseball leagues, or charitable walks and runs.

Participating in sports can be highly competitive, and there is always a desire to be just a little bit better.

Even those involved in other non-competitive physical exercise or fitness activities like bodybuilding, aerobic exercise, or rock-climbing are interested in maximizing and enhancing their performance.  In solo exercise like these they are competing with the person they were yesterday, seeking to progress a little farther every day on the way to their personal goals.

Many athletes try to find supplements, techniques, or special equipment that helps them perform at their maximum.  These are sometimes called “ergogenic aids”.  The term ergogenic means to enhance athletic performance by improving energy efficiency, production, or control during exercise. 

Nutrition ergogenic aids include such things as vitamin and mineral supplements, extra protein, electrolytes, carbohydrates, creatine, fish oil, bee pollen, flax oil, and glucosamine/chondroitin.

According to many experts nutrition plays a key part in athletic performance.  It is the position of Dietitians of Canada, the American Dietetic Association, and the American College of Sports Medicine that physical activity, athletic performance, and recovery from exercise are enhanced by optimal nutrition.  They suggest that an appropriate selection of food and fluids, timing of intake, and supplement choices be made for optimal health and exercise performance.

In a departure from statements made in the past, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) now concurs that nutritional supplements can boost athletic performance.  In the IOC Concensus Statement on Sports Nutritiion 2010 issued on October 27, 2010, the organization concedes that some supplements may enhance performance for some athletes.  In the past, the IOC had warned athletes against using nutritional supplements.  Continue reading Sports and Fitness Supplements – Safe and Legal?