Feb 18 2012
Some legal Performance Supplements have the potential to improve athletic performance. Athletes who take legal enhancers may find that they gain a competitive advantage. However, even legal substances should be taken with caution and in safe amounts.
Some athletes use diuretics to adjust their weight. By helping the body to shed water weight, diuretics allow athletes like wrestlers to compete in a lower weight class. Diuretics carry the risk of causing dehydration, which may produce muscle cramps, dizziness and exhaustion. Severe side effects may include potassium deficiency, heart arrhythmias and drops in blood pressure.
The popular supplement creatine is a substance naturally produced by the human body. Creatine helps the muscles to release energy more effectively by causing the muscles to produce higher amounts of adenosine triphosphate. Sprinters and weightlifters may experience more power, and all athletes may benefit from better post-workout recovery and improved muscle mass. Users should also know what creatine side effects include weight gain, diarrhea, nausea and muscle and stomach cramps. High doses may lead to kidney or liver damage.
Stimulants may help athletes to perform more successfully. By stimulating the central nervous system and increasing both heart rate and blood pressure, stimulants improve endurance, suppress appetite, reduce fatigue and increase alertness. High doses may lead to insomnia, nervousness, heart palpitations and other circulatory system problems.
The body’s insulin activity is stimulated by chromium picolinate. More insulin activity breaks down fats and glucose, which keeps the body leaner. Some athletes think that chromium picolinate will improve protein synthesis and enhance muscle growth, but research is inconclusive. Side effects of high doses include liver and kidney damage as well as hypoglycemia.
Very little research has been done to determine the long-term consequences of using performance supplements. Athletes who are considering taking enhancers should discuss the advantages and disadvantages with a doctor. Also, athletes should check with their sports organization to make sure that enhancers are allowed.