Mar 31, 2020
Understanding Supplementation: What coaches need to know about the supplement market

{Sponsored} When it comes to your athletes, knowing what types of supplements are going into their body is vital to not only their health, but potentially their eligibility to play in games and participate in the team’s organized activities.

Now more than ever, information about your athletes and supplementing their health is of the utmost importance. From the safety and effectiveness of supplements, to the testing and regulations, there’s a lot of information to take in when selecting the right supplements for their goals.

Understanding supplementation: a look at NOW Foods' BCAA Blast
NOW Foods’ “BCAA Blast.” / Image via NOW Foods

Supplements for Student-Athletes

Health supplements are best described as vitamins, minerals and herbal products that supplement a student-athlete’s routines, helping the body in various different ways. The most common supplements come in the form of powders, pills or liquids and can easily be added to your everyday routine.

Bryan Morin, the sports brand manager for NOW Foods, said that when it comes to supplements for your athletes, it’s important to remember that it’s a “supplement,” and not a replacement for proper nutrition or fitness routines.

“One of the most important things, and what we always preach here at NOW, is supplementation in addition to healthy diets and exercising,” Morin said. “There is no magic pill that you’re going to take that’s going to make you stronger, or faster, or lose weight. It will work with the adherence to whatever the end-goal is.”

Supplement Safety

The most beneficial supplements, according to Morin and NOW Foods, depend entirely on the person using them and their goals. However, one of the hottest trends in supplements are Branched-Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs, that help fuel intense exercises.

“(BCAAs) are great support for helping to build muscle proteins, and the body, and are used to help fuel intense exercises,” Morin said. “A good BCAA supplement can help preserve existing muscle tissue, and in addition, can help support the recovery process, in addition to playing an important role in the immune system.”

Another potentially beneficial supplement that carries a large popularity in the industry is the well-known Creatine, which helps preserve lean body mass. Morin describes the supplement as a “mass building-type product,” and says it is potentially the industry’s most studied supplement to date.

With seemingly thousands of different types of supplements on the market, however, there is a heightened potential for false claims and confusion surrounding products. Morin adds that while the industry continues to grow and expand, the importance of understanding what’s in a supplement, and how it works with your body, is at an all-time high.

“There (are) a lot of companies that come up and are trying to get into it quickly,” Morin said. “So you don’t really know where they are sourcing ingredients from, and whether or not they have any studies to back up the claims being made on their label.”

NOW Foods: Quality Assurance & Testing

At NOW Foods, there are roughly 140 products in the sports category, including products like amino acids, energy production categories, endurance categories and more. But what makes NOW unique is its exhaustive testing and audit process of all of its products, including the company’s regular auditing for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliance.

NOW’s testing and auditing processes are what helps set it apart from other supplement companies — going the extra mile to test products twice, once internally and then once externally.

“We test to make sure that the product is exactly what it says it is, and to make sure there’s nothing added that doesn’t need to be in there,” Morin said. “If we’re stating that it’s a 90% protein product, we’re actually testing to make sure it hits that level before releasing the product.”

For athletes in particular, the importance of understanding the ingredients in a supplement is more than just a practice in health — it’s also a precautionary step in preserving their current or future career. Following NOW Foods’ internal testing, it sends the products to Informed-Sports, a third-party quality assurance program for sports nutrition products, to ensure that its products provide athletes with the highest level of assurance, as well as pass the standards of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s list of 200-plus banned substances.

“We cannot release a product for sale until (Informed-Sport) gives us the OK to do so,” Morin said.

To learn more about NOW Foods, the supplements they produce or their testing and auditing programs, visit www.nowfoods.com today.




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