#FakeMeds What's in your supplements? DMAA Awareness Week!

The idea of ‘clean eating’ - or just generally being aware of the ingredients that make up your foods consumed is currently bigger than ever. Did you know frozen chicken from certain supermarkets are being pumped with Dextrose – a form of glucose? It’s effectively a supplement athletes often use intra training for an insulin spike and those extra reps out… which leads me to my next question..

Do you know what’s in your supplements?

In 2012, during the final stages of the London Marathon Claire Squires aged just 30 collapsed and passed away. The inquest into her death found traces of the Drug DMAA (also known as 4-methylhexan-2-amine, DMAA, Dimethylamylamine, 1, 3-DMAA, Geranamine, Methylhexaneamine, 1, 3-Dimethylpentylamine, Forthane) in Claires system. Similar to caffeine DMAA delivers a quick spike of energy now known to constrict blood vessels having effects on the lungs, heart and reproductive organs. Mixed with high intense exercise, this forms a recipe for disaster - especially for those with existing health conditions. DMAA has been linked with high blood pressure, nausea, strokes and cerebral haemorrhages.
In August 2012 the FSA (Food standards agency) ruled the ingredient found in many sports nutrition supplements to increase endurance as unsafe and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency ruled DMAA was an unlicensed medicinal product causing it to be banned in various countries around the world.

I have no issues with the vast majority of sports supplements on the market but I do feel that athletes, established or aspiring should be taking care to read/understand the ingredients going into the supplement before consuming.

In addition to this, here are my final thoughts in regards to supplements:
  • ·         Supplements should not be used in place of any foods. For the same reason I don’t promote any meal replacement products – you can take in addition, to up your protein, extra caffeine boost – that’s fine, but you should never skip out on your body’s daily dietary requirements in favour of a substitute.
  • ·         The term ‘Natural’ does not always mean safe. Just for example, herbs such as Kava used for relaxation of anxiety - long term can actually contribute to liver damage.
  • ·         If you are aware of any existing medical conditions such as weak organs you MUST always, seek the advice of a doctor as to whether a supplement will be safe for you to use before any form of consumption. I was talking to a girl with a pace maker who was asking me what forms of pre workout I take before training, as soon as I found out she had a history of heart problems, I immediately advised her against taking high content caffeine stimulant products. If you have a coach or personal trainer raving about a certain product that doesn’t ask you about your medical history first – you need to be looking elsewhere for guidance. Your health comes first, physical appearance goals second.
  • ·         Any form of supplement should not be taken in excess or for long periods of time, even if they are safe. If you notice in time that a product ceases to have the same effect as it once did, you’re not getting the same level of BAM into your workout, then you’ve already been taking that product too long, your body has become accustomed to it. I never take a product for longer than 4-6 weeks without taking myself back of it for 4-6 in return. I don’t want to build an addiction where I feel like my body depends on a certain supplement to get certain a level of workout in.
  • ·         Your body is just as capable of doing those lifts without supplementation as it is with them. Energy, stimulation gives you that extra boost. If you have a healthy balanced diet and fuel your training properly – I’ll bet you won’t struggle through those lifts while taking a break from the supplements you have adapted to.

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