Caffeine & Nutritional Supplements

November 18, 2009 8:42:30 AM PST
Millions of people rely on caffeine and less traditional stimulants like supplements and energy drinks to perk up in the morning.Ways to get energized?.safely!

Everyone wants the magic bullet for getting energized and staying awake.

While there are medicines and supplements that can help, they need to be taken cautiously and only as directed.

Caffeine is the only FDA approved stimulant.

There are few things you should know about caffeine:

* Doses of 100-200mg of caffeine can decrease fatigue and elevate mood

* Consuming as little as 100mg per day (1 cup of brewed coffee) and then stopping can lead to withdrawal symptoms which include headaches, drowsiness, poor mood or depression, nausea, aches and pains and difficulty concentrating.

* The symptoms of withdrawal usually start within 12-24 hours of your last ingestion and can last a week or more. Many times people don't even realize they are experiencing withdrawal - they just think they are getting sick.

* If you have been ingesting large amounts of caffeine and want to avoid withdrawal symptoms you should figure out how much you are consuming keeping in mind that there is caffeine in things like chocolate, tea, soda (like Coke and Mountain Dew), some over the counter pain relievers like Excedrin, as well as the usual suspects like coffee and Red Bull so don't forget those sources.

* Once you know about how much you take in each day, gradually, over a period of time start decreasing the amount you consume. (if it is a large amount, it can take weeks).

* Don't start with your morning jolt of caffeine; go for stopping some that you ingest later in the day. Drink as much water as you can to stay hydrated.

NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS:

B vitamins:

* 52% American adults take vitamins/minerals, 36% take 2-3 products/day

* B vitamins are sometimes called the energy vitamins; compounds in the B complex are needed to metabolize carbohydrates and are involved in energy production during exercise and in production of red cells, protein synthesis and in tissue repair and maintenance.

* B vitamins need to be replenished regularly as they are water soluble and excess is excreted in the urine. A balanced diet will provide sufficient B vitamins.

Sports Drinks, Energy Bars

* The use of sports nutrition products like high energy drinks, protein powders and electrolyte drinks is growing and common among athletes

* Carbohydrates are important to maintain blood glucose levels and to meet energy requirements.

Recommendations for carbohydrate intake range from 6-10 grams/kg of body weight per day and depends on the type of sport, duration, gender and energy expenditure.

* Sports bars may contain other macronutrients such as fat and protein and may not be a good choice before exercise or participation in athletic events - they are better for after exercise fuel replenishment.

* If you are planning to use supplements, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your specific situation as the type of exercise, duration, food preferences and your general health can dictate which product and supplements are best for you.


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