Supplements for Health
Athletes and exercise lovers are constantly looking for ways to improve their performance and achieve their goals. Supplements are one option that can help the body perform better and recover faster after each exercise. So, exactly what kinds of supplements are athletes and fitness enthusiasts taking?
27 February 2023
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Studies have shown that taking BCAAs before workouts help decrease muscle damage and increase muscle protein synthesis because the body uses BCAAs to build muscle protein and produce energy. Furthermore, some studies also show that BCAA supplements may be effective at increasing muscle mass, so getting enough BCAAs may boost muscle growth. Thai FDA controls the maximum level at L-Leucine 700 mg/day, L-Isoleucine 500 mg/day and L-valine 500 mg/day.
L-Carnitine is a substance that the body can create by itself in the liver and kidneys from two amino acids called Lysine and Methionine. L-carnitine may improve exercise performance by increasing your body’s ability to use fat as a fuel and help you recover quicker by reducing muscle soreness. Studies advise taking L-Carnitine before working out if you want to optimise energy during your workout. Most scientific studies recommend taking L-carnitine about one hour prior to exercise. However, if you want to take advantage of the other benefits, such as recovery and weight loss support, taking it after exercise can also be effective. Thai FDA controls the maximum level at 500 mg/day.
CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)
Conjugated linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid. Often referred to as CLA, researchers generally consider CLA to be a healthy fat with CLA supplements being used for weight loss, bodybuilding, and diabetes. Studies have shown that CLA supplements might help you achieve and maintain weight loss, reduce body fat and improve lean body mass. Scientists believe that it may promote the breaking down of fat and slow down the creation of fat. However, more research is needed. CLA is classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as GRAS (“generally regarded as safe”) and typically prescribed at between 3 grams and 6 grams per day and Thai FDA controls it at 3.2 g/day.
MCT Oil (Medium-Chain Triglycerides)
MCT oil is a supplement made from a type of fat called medium-chain triglycerides. MCT molecules are smaller than those in most of the fats usually consumed (long-chain triglycerides: LCT). This makes them easier to digest. MCTs can be absorbed quickly in your bloodstream and are converted into usable energy. Usually, MCT is used to help with problems taking in fat or nutrients, weight loss, appetite control, extra energy for exercise, and for inflammation.
Hot pink plant-based protein shake
Recently, at the Food Ingredients Asia 2022 exhibition in Thailand, our food team promoted a plant-based protein shake with supplements for fitness enthusiasts. Made using plant protein, essential amino acids and energy enhancers for a healthy, delicious, and nutritious boost. Our plant-based protein shake garnered a lot of attention and positive feedback during the event. If you are interested to learn more, please contact our team for more information.
Omega 3, EPA and DHA
With so many new technologies and innovations in this world, our daily lives are rapidly changing. People spend much of their time working and lack healthy foods and exercise. This is leading to health issues and cumulative stress that can lead to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Dietary supplements may be an alternative source of healthy foods because of ease of preparation and consumption. However, they are not medicines and are not intended to treat or mitigate diseases.
Is Fish oil the answer?
Let's have a closer look. Fish oil is the fat or oil that’s extracted from fish tissue. It is concentrated omega-3 fatty acids usually in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA and EPA can be extracted from microalgae also. The algae oil is suitable for vegan diets and has a milder smell than fish oil. Let's look at 5 key health benefits of omega-3s.
1. Cardiovascular Health
EPA and DHA can improve cholesterol levels. They can increase levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and may also lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce serum triglycerides, which may contribute to hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls. Furthermore, EPA and DHA have also been shown to lower blood pressure and prevent blood clotting in arteries (a key factor leading to hypertension). Lastly, EPA and DHA have been shown to increase the conversion of saturated fat into metabolic energy. This may inhibit the enrichment of lipids in fat cells and possibly hinder weight gain.
2. Cognitive Brain and Mood Health
DHA is the Omega-3 fatty acid abundantly present in a healthy human brain that is integrated into the membranes of nerve cells and is important for the normal tracking of electrical impulses as well as the release and uptake of neurotransmitters. It protects brain cells from inflammatory processes induced by different diseases such as Alzheimer’s, poor memory, mental decline and depression. DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function. It is stated that beneficial effects are obtained with a daily intake of 250 mg DHA.
3. Eye health
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in eye health. The light-sensitive retina layer of the eye is the tissue with the highest concentration of DHA in the human body. Same as the brain, DHA affects how light energy is transformed into electrical impulses that are then directed to the visual cortex. Studies have demonstrated that the syndrome of dry eye and eye fatigue can be relieved by Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.
4. Pre-and Postnatal Health
Omega-3 may reduce the risk of premature birth; the second leading cause of death in children under 5 years of age. DHA may improve fetal brain development and infant visual development, including hand-eye coordination. That can also help the immune systems responsible for the development of allergies, such as asthma, in children. These can be supplemented to infants while pregnancy and breastfeeding.
5. Healthy Inflammation Response
Omega-3s have strong anti-inflammatory effects and can help reduce symptoms of inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and dermatitis. Omega-3s have positive effects on the inflammatory process following a trauma, by reducing the tissue content of pro-inflammatory fatty acids, preventing chronic malfunctions in athletes. Those are benefits for bone health, healthy skin and sports nutrition.
Omega-3 / EPA / DHA / Fish oil and Algal oil are classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as GRAS ("generally regarded as safe"). For most adults, WHO recommends a daily intake of 1.1–1.6 grams (1,100–1,600 mg) of omega-3 fatty acids. However, the Thai FDA controls the dosage for omega -3 fatty acids by EPA each or DHA each or group of omega – 3 fatty acids by not over than 1 g / day.
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If you are interested in plant-based products or ingredients, please connect with the Jebsen & Jessen Ingredients Food team. Together with our world-leading technology partners, we are ready to support your product development and to be your solution for plant-based innovations. Find out more on our food page: food.jjsea.com/knowledge
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