Supplement Trends for 2016

From fashion to food, every New Year welcomes a selection of new trends and the world of supplements is no exception to this rule. Here’s a guide on what’s set to be hot for 2016 in the supplements industry:

Creatine and Amino Acid chains

Creatine is useful for boosting the intensity of a workout and improving performance so it will definitely be in vogue at the start of the New Year as people head back to the gym to lose their holiday weight. It works by increasing ATP production, which helps to transport energy to the muscles and maximise training. Creatine is especially beneficial during high intensity exercise, such as interval training, spinning and boxing, because it pushes the body to go that little bit further with each workout. Creatine Hybrid Matrix from the XFN range is a blend of 6 types of creatine that make it suitable for a varied training program that combines cardio with weights. Amino BCAA Pro is Creatine’s ideal partner because it helps to create and retain new muscle mass after exercise and speed up recovery.

Protein powders

Protein is vital for creating new muscle and fuelling the body, which is why many bodybuilders eat lots of lean meat, eggs and chicken. Whey protein, that’s mixed into a milkshake, is designed to increase the body’s strength, power, muscle recovery and performance. Protein powders that are made with soy are set to be very popular among vegan and vegetarian consumers in 2016.

Superfoods

If you love superfoods you’ll already be eating plenty of kale, raw cacao powder, goji berries and chia seeds but get ready to add some new superfoods to your grocery list in 2016, such as:

  1. Baobab fruit powder, which is derived from the fruit of an African tree, has excellent probiotic qualities that make it perfect for maintaining a healthy gut.
  2. The bitter Gubinge pear, which is high in Vitamin C, is ideal for adding a kick to cereals and smoothies.
  3. Gluten-free Teff grains that contain more calcium, iron, fibre and protein than wheat.

It’s fantastic if you can adjust your diet with supplements and superfoods to obtain all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. However, it’s also good to top your body up with general A-Z multivitamin’s to fill any nutritional holes that act as a safety net that guarantees that you’re getting everything you need with virtually zero leg work.

 

Could Vitamin C replace the need to exercise?

Taking a daily Vitamin C supplement may be as effective as regular exercise in improving the cardiovascular health of overweight and obese people, according to a recent study.

Scientists at the University of Colorado focused their research on the presence of a small vessel-constricting protein called endothelin (ET)-1, which is known to be more active in the blood vessels of people who are obese or overweight. When the blood vessels constrict or narrow it hampers the body’s ability to respond to changing demands on blood flow, which can lead to heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes and even heart failure. An over-activity of ET-1 therefore increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

A total of 35 sedentary overweight or obese adults took part in the study – 20 participants took a daily Vitamin C supplement and the remaining 15 undertook daily aerobic activity over a three month period.

Researchers compared the results and found that taking a 500mg supplement of Vitamin C each day reduced ET-1 related vessel constrictions just as much as walking did. However, it should be borne in mind that the results apply only to obese or overweight adults and that the study included only a very small sample of participants.

Furthermore the research didn’t look at the benefits of exercise beyond lowering blood pressure, such as reducing cholesterol or strengthening the health of the heart itself. Neither did it show that those participants who regularly took Vitamin C showed any weight loss.

However, the research did highlight that rather than being a replacement for exercise, Vitamin C is a useful alternative for obese and overweight adults who cannot exercise.

 

Protein; the real pros and cons

The body needs protein to build muscle, which is why bodybuilders eat protein-rich diets featuring foods like chicken breast, cottage cheese, fish and beans. However, it can often be easier and quicker to drink a milkshake topped up with protein powder – it’s simple and takes seconds to prepare. Here are some of the other pros and cons of protein powders:

Protein shakes can be transported easily to the gym for workouts

After exercise it’s essential that the body is refuelled with a mixture of carbs and protein to aid recovery and boost muscle development. It’s great if you can get that fuel through protein-rich snacks but the reality is that it can be tricky to carry a cooked chicken breast and a sweet potato to the gym. A protein shake (that also includes carbs) is better suited for many busy people who need a quick hit of protein to enhance their endurance and energy levels.

Whey powder is fast-acting

Protein powders made of whey protein are absorbed quickly by the body, helping to deliver amino acids more effectively to the muscles. That leads to a better workout and a swifter recovery.

It’s easy to monitor how much protein you’re ingesting

If you’re eating plenty of natural protein it may be the case that you don’t require extra protein from the shakes – a gram of protein per pound of body weight should be more than enough to encourage muscle growth when combined with exercise. Your activity level will also determine how much protein your body needs to build muscle.

However…Protein powder is a supplement not a whole food

You shouldn’t rely on protein powder alone to meet your body’s dietary needs. Foods like beans and pulses that are protein rich also contain essentials like fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients that a healthy body requires.

Don’t go overboard

Overdoing it on a protein supplement can cause damage to the kidneys, which have the job of metabolising the body’s waste products. Too much protein can also leave the body dehydrated and, in extreme cases, increase the risk of developing kidney stones and gout.

Protein from natural foods does the same job as protein powder

Animal proteins and even vegan proteins, such as brown rice, fermented soy products and hemp, are just as good as protein from a powdered source. However, they can be harder to find and take more time to prepare than a shake.

A balanced diet combining plenty of natural protein sources plus protein supplements makes the recipe for enhancing training and boosting muscle mass.

Seasonal supplements

The cold weather and shorter days of Autumn can put a dampener on our healthy eating plans and exercise routines, leading to weight gain, lethargy and sickness. The good news is that a few simple supplements can help us to stave off those colds, keep our tummies in check and maintain our energy levels through to Christmas and the New Year. Here’s our guide to the best seasonal supplements for Autumn:

For healthier bones and joints

Vitamin D boosts the body’s ability to absorb calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth. It’s found in foods like fortified cereals and eggs but most of us get it through summer sunlight – the body synthesises sunlight under the skin to make its own Vitamin D. Too little Vitamin D can lead to bone pain and tenderness around the joints so taking a supplement to top up production is useful when the days are shorter. Glusosamine is also great for joints because it improves the health of the cartilage and supports pressure points like the knees and elbows.

To fight infections

Vitamin C boosts the immune system, fights bacteria and combats viruses, making it useful for recovering from colds that are common at this time of year. It also improves circulation, protects the body from infection and helps wounds to heal faster!

To boost energy levels

Lots of people feel tired and lethargic when the weather gets colder, especially when the alarm rings in the morning and it’s still dark outside. Vitamin B12 is known to increase energy and boost the stamina, which helps to stay focused during the working day. It also helps the body carry more oxygen through the arteries and protects the red blood cells.
L-glutamine supports stamina and recovery too by helping to metabolise body fat and support muscle growth.

For glowing skin, hair and nails

Frosty mornings and cold air can make the skin feel dry, tight and chapped. Omega fish oils soothe and soften the skin by encouraging collagen production and treating dry skin conditions like eczema and rashes. They also support heart function and reduce cholesterol.

Cutting back on alcohol, curbing your comfort eating and exercising more can also help to improve the health of the mind and body over Autumn and Winter. Adapting your lifestyle to suit the changing seasons is essential to staying on track with your fitness goals.