Supplements & Drugs – How They Affect Your Health and Fitness

How are supplements different from drugs? Supplements are products intended to supplement the regular diet, which means they will provide your body with nutrients that it doesn’t get through food alone. The most common supplements available include vitamins, minerals, fiber, herbal extracts, amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), and fatty acids (such as omega-3s). Supplements can come in various forms, such as capsules and tablets, powders, liquids, and bars.

How do drugs affect your health? A drug is any substance other than food that has a physiological effect when taken into the body. We classify drugs according to their origin. The major categories include:

-Alimentary tract and metabolism (medicines that act on the digestive system)

-CNS (central nervous system or those that act on brain function and the nerves that relay information to and from the brain)

-Dermatological (affect the skin, hair, and nails)

-Genito-urinary (effects on kidneys, bladder, genitals, etc.)

-Hematological (affect red blood cells or platelets)

-Immunological (affect the immune system)

-Musculoskeletal (related to muscles, bones, and joints)

-Miscellaneous (includes medicines for pain relief, smoking cessation, or motion sickness)

What are the risks of taking performance-enhancing drugs? According to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), some people consider supplements and performance-enhancing drugs synonymous. However, many supplements available do not fit into this category. Some examples include:

-Creatine, which helps to supply energy to the body’s muscles and is taken by some athletes

-Caffeine, which increases attention and alertness and may improve an athlete’s ability to perform time-based tasks; taken in drinks such as coffee or cola

-Glucose polymers (carbohydrates) can improve endurance and aid recovery

Sports drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade, or Lucozade Sport contain carbohydrates and electrolytes (salts) and provide energy for the body. There is no evidence of harmful effects from taking supplements that fall into these categories. However, if you take supplements more likely to contain a banned substance, there is a higher risk of testing positive for doping.

 

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