Key Supplements Pt. 2

In continuation of my last fitness column concerning key supplements we will finish with creatine and omega-3 fatty acids. These are two supplements that are found in some of the foods that we already consume. I know people that say not to take creatine because it is bad for you because it is a “steroid”. First of all, please be careful where you get your information from; creatine is not a steroid. There are certainly many misconceptions, but I am here to help you understand as much as possible. Creatine is one of the most studied products in the fitness world and the number one supplement for improving performance in the gym; it also has an outstanding safety profile. It was thought that creatine was only good for bodybuilders or fitness fanatics, but research shows that it can do much more. Studies show that it can increase muscle mass, strength, and a number of other health benefits, such as protecting against neurological disease.

I sometimes get asked if creatine is only for men. The answer is no, it can be used by men and women without any problems. Why? Well because creatine is a substance found naturally in muscle cells. It helps your muscles produce energy (ATP) during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise. Around 95% of the body’s creatine is stored in muscles, in the form of phosphocreatine. The other 5% is stored in the brain, kidneys and liver. So, enough with the science part, why do we supplement with creatine? Simple answer is to make sure we have a good amount in our body when we train. Phosphocreatine in the body is usually used up a few seconds into your workout. The additional stores can be used to produce more fuel (ATP) for the muscles to keep on working harder for longer. Usual dosage is 5 grams per day of creatine monohydrate and it is recommended to drink plenty of water throughout the day; although you should be doing that already. I could definitely do a whole article on creatine since it has so much to write about, but the information given should suffice for now. Like I mentioned earlier, research on your free time and continue to find the awesome benefits of creatine. What are omega-3 fatty acids? They are essential fats that you must get from your diet. The word essential says it all; the body does not produce these fatty acids, so you need to provide the body with them. These healthy fats have important benefits for your body and brain. However, most people who eat a standard American diet are not eating enough omega-3 fats. When most people hear omega-3 they usually think about fish, but there are other ways to add these fats in your diet. Omega-3s come in a few forms but these are the most important, EPA, DHA, and ALA. The ALA form is found in plant foods, especially flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. The only problem is that the body does not break this form down too well. It needs to be converted into EPA and DHA in order to actually be effective. Only about 5% gets converted into EPA, and as little as 0.5% gets converted into DHA. This is why fish sources or even krill sources are the best. Omega-3 fatty acids have been studied greatly. They have been shown to fight depression, reduce fatty liver, lower blood triglycerides, and help prevent asthma, just to name some of the benefits. According to the World Health Organization, the typical dosage recommended is a minimum of 250-500 mg of EPA and DHA combined each day for healthy adults. The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish at least two times per week in order to ensure optimal omega-3 intake for heart disease prevention.

Creatine and omega-3 fatty acids finalize the Key Supplements article, which started in the previous article. I hope I was able to shed some light on some of the main questions I get about supplements and which I truly recommend. Remember to always consult your doctor and/or dietian before starting any supplement or starting an exercise routine. Research is essential in all you do, so please I encourage everyone reading this to do your homework and learn about new things every day, especially if it concerns your health. Thank you for reading this article, stay hefty my friends. You can follow me on social media and please check out my new online store and webpage.

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