while some of them are definitely worth the money, many others do not come close to living up to what they promise. Therefore I decided to write this series of articles to take a closer look at which supplements are beneficial and worth the money and which ones simply do not live up to their hype or are overpriced for the benefits they provide.
This article looks at sports supplements, specifically the group of supplements called performance enhancers, which are designed to improve performance in an activity or enhance the results you get from your workouts. These supplements have become a huge part of the supplement industry and there are new products coming out all the time. Some of these products contain a single ingredient, while most of them involve mixes or blends of many different ingredients that are supposed to work together to create even greater benefits than the individual ingredients alone.
There are certainly some standout supplements in this category, such as creatine monohydrate, but in general this category is filled with supplements that have some minor benefits that are largely overhyped. Perhaps the biggest problem with these supplements is that every company seems to be trying to outdo the competition by taking a decent ingredient and then adding many other ingredients to make a product that is supposedly better than everything else on the market.
Take creatine for example, which is primarily used to increase strength, although it does have some other uses. Creatine was originally sold as a plain powder Genf20 Plus with no other ingredients and that product was and still is very effective. Since then companies have made pills, serums, effervescent drinks, and even chewable creatine products. Most of these products have been promoted as being better than the original creatine, because they have improved delivery systems, which allow your body to absorb more of the creatine you ingest.
Other products have worked to enhance creatine uptake within the body by adding other ingredients to form a mix product, most notably sugar. Researchers found that taking creating with sugar improves absorption, because sugar increases insulin and higher insulin levels result in better creatine absorption. Then companies started adding even more ingredients to the mixes, such as alpha-lipoic acid, which is supposed to further enhance absorption.
These “improved formulas” continued to develop over the years and naturally, the more ingredients that were added to the formulas or the more advanced the delivery system, the more expensive the creatine product became. Eventually, researchers found that while the newer creatine mixes did result in greater creatine absorption, the real world physical improvements were not statistically any better than those of the original creatine in the plain powdered form.