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NASM CNC Chapter 13: Supplements

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Chapter Goals:

  • Find the position that supplementation takes in the hierarchy of programming.
  • Discuss the role of supplementation in the achievement of various goals.
  • Discuss how the strength of evidence affects popular supplements.
  • Determine how to be effective with clients when considering the pros and the cons of using supplements.

Introduction to Dietary Supplements

The general population already uses many supplements, especially in athletes and exercise populations. It is important for us to look into the validity and safety of these supplements, as not all supplements are created equal. There is a lot of misinformation regarding supplementation. 

Prevalence of Use

Around half of the general population is thought to be currently using some form of supplementation. The most common supplement is going to be multivitamins and mineral formulas. When looking at older adults, we see the percentage climb to around 63% of them using supplements. And then when we see people attending various health clubs, this population is around 84$ taking some form of supplementation.  

An ergogenic aid is something that is going to improve your physical or your mental performance in some way.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as it relates to supplements and nutrition is this:

First priority is getting the right amount of daily energy needs that meet the goals and demands of the activity.

The second thing to consider is that your daily protein needs are met for your desired outcome.

The third thing is that we have tailored the carbs and fat based upon the preferences and needs for the client’s energy so they may excel in both training and competition.

Fourth, we should meet micronutrient needs based upon needs based on any existing nutritional gaps.

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The last thing to do is to use a proper supplement to support your body composition, your training, and optimal performance.

Regulation of Dietary Supplements

We should look at the current laws that regulate the supplement industry. 

The manufacturers of these goods must adopt the current good manufacturing practices. These are going to be the guidelines and the standards that they must follow. They have to make accurate claims on their labels and are not allowed to market them as prevention of any disease. 

The FDA performs random inspections annually to ensure the companies are doing as they should. 

Guidelines for Supplement Selection

The approach of being evidence-based includes the evaluation of safety and effectiveness based upon the strength of research and the population that is studied, the potency of the supplement’s formula, the included dosages and their ingredient forms, and if the supplement or any ingredients are legal or not. Once the supplement goes through the right testing.

Strength of Research

One of the biggest variants when it comes to supplements is going to be their level of evidence that backs them. Many supplements promise one thing and then you never know if it really works, unless you look at what kind of evidence they have. 

The most credible sources will be the national institute of health’s office of dietary supplements, the micronutrient information center of the Linus Pauling Institute, and then there are some other big name reputable sources to be found.

Dosages, Ingredient Form, and Study Populations

In addition to the level of research for the supplements, we also have to look at the formula that makes up the product. This includes the amount of, and the form of, the ingredients. 

The use of well-designed clinical trials are used for the study populations. These include a control group, human subjects, controlled variables, randomization of the supplement and the placebo, and measurement of any relevant outcomes. 

Independent Testing

This will look to the quality, the label accuracy, purity concerns, and the supplement’s disintegration. This is done through third parties usually. 

Dietary Patterns to Optimize Health

Many food choices are not exactly what the USDA recommends, which means that people may miss out on what their body needs. Hence, the use of supplementation can become quite welcomed. 

Multivitamin and Mineral Supplements

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The right amounts of essential micronutrients are needed for proper growth and development, longevity, and also our metabolism. Low consumption of these micronutrients will see negative results like poor moods, less focus, a smaller attention span, general body fatigue, and a lowered ability to use our immune system.

Properly using these supplements has been shown to fill the nutrient gaps that may present themselves. 

We should look for multivitamins that contain everything shown in the figure “what your multivitamin should contain”.

Supplements for Muscle Gain and Recovery

Many dietary supplements are marketed for enhancing muscle mass and strength, losing weight, optimal athletic performance, and recovery from hard exercise sessions. 

The strongest evidence we see is from only three things. These are protein, creatine, and essential amino acids.

Creatine Monohydrate

This supplement is synthesized in the kidneys and liver from amino acids. This is going to mainly be store in the muscle tissues. Its role is to regenerate ATP, and it does so quicker than any other molecule. It is used in the ATP – PC system. 

Supplementing with creatine monohydrate is done to increase the amount of creatine that we store in our bodies. This is done through a loading cycle or through just taking a certain amount daily. 

One side-effect is that you gain weight due to the retention of water. It is a generally safe supplement to take when following the guidelines, and it does work. 

Protein

This is obviously going to be used for gaining muscle weight and recovering from a workout due to the many times we have talked about protein and its use in the body. Supplementing with protein powder is often done so that athletes can ensure they reach their recommendations and optimize their muscle growth and even fat loss. 

Whey

Whey is a protein type typically used in powders. It is rich in EAAs and it has the highest leucine content compared to animal sources. It mixes easily with water and we happen to absorb it rather quick.

Casein Protein

It is a complete protein but does not contain as much leucine and is insoluble in acids. it, therefore, has a slower absorption time to the body. It is still a somewhat popular protein to have in many powders.

Plant Protein

These are now growing in popularity. They come from sources such as soy, peas, rice, and some others. It is, however inferior to whey protein in most ways, and also inferior to casein. 

Essential Amino Acids

These are the Building blocks for our muscle tissue and other body proteins; three of them are the most abundant amino acids in the body. Greater muscle synthesis occurs with ingesting leucine alone; the others also aid this. These are oftentimes taken in conjunction with protein powders. 

HMB

This is a by-product of leucine and the main indicator of muscle protein synthesis. It has been shown to have some significant research backing its ability to lead to muscle mass gains over time.

Supplements for Fat Loss

Since the rate of overweight and obesity has gone up so much, many people have sought supplements to help with weight loss. 

Stimulants

These may often be advertised as fat burners due to their increases in our metabolism. These essentially cause us to burn more calories throughout the day. 

Caffeine

This is naturally occurring, and it stimulates the nervous system. It has been shown to increase daily energy expenditure, decrease energy intake levels, reduce perceived effort from activity, and improve energy levels in general. 

Starch/Fat Blockers and Other Common Weight Loss Supplements

Many ingredients have been found to decrease the absorption of macronutrients and their calorie content. This in turn promotes weight loss.

Meal Replacement Formulas

Many people have been using protein-rich shake formulas as effective strategies to reduce caloric intake and support weight loss and maintenance. It has been proven to reduce weight in those that are obese or overweight and use them enough. 

Performance Enhancing Supplements

Dietary supplements are sometimes aimed to enhance exercise performance. The ability for these supplements to increase the tolerance of intense training may lead people to a greater capacity for work and improvements in strength, power, and endurance. Some of these have some credibility to them, but many out there have no evidence to support them or they are banned. 

Creatine Monohydrate

As discussed before, this is supported in hundreds of studies as a way to increase strength and the amount of muscle gain achieved. It is performance enhancing because it greatly enhances our ATP – PC system. It increases the reserves of creatine in our body and, thus, allows us to work harder. 

Caffeine

Also previously discussed, and one of the biggest supplements used in the world, it is often used for exercises as a form of pre-workout drink. It stimulates our nervous system and increases energy and many other aforementioned things. 

Beta Alanine

This is a non-essential amino acid naturally present in animal meats and also in the liver. It combines with some other existing amino acids and forms carnosine. This essentially is to be used for decreasing the level of fatigue that occurs during high intensity exercise sessions through the buffering of the drop in pH.

Sodium Bicarbonate

This is known as baking powder. It can aid in the buffering of acidity of the blood due to producing hydrogen ions during sustained strenuous work. 

NASM CNC Chapter 13: Supplements 4
NASM CNC Chapter 13: Supplements 5
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Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


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