The fashion for sports lifestyle applies to different age groups, and therefore also to the youngest. Among adults, dietary supplements are an inseparable element of various types of physical activities. Do children also use them? If so, what do they choose and is it safe? Let’s see.
It is not surprising that the topic of the use of dietary supplements among children and adolescents evokes various emotions, and even raises a lot of controversy. For adults, the use of supplementation has a positive effect on sports performance, regeneration levels or a decrease in body fat. It is worth being aware of the fact that in the context of juvenile enthusiasts of physical activity, not everything is so obvious. So far, the effect of supplements in the long-term period has not yet been analyzed on a research group aged 12 to 18 years. It has even in mind purely ethical reasons. However, despite insufficient arguments for supplementation of children and youngsters, this is a common phenomenon.
An extremely important element in the context of creating appropriate habits in health-related issues are parents and trainers. Unfortunately, the use of dietary supplements in juniors is often misunderstood by those responsible for a given child. It is worth realizing that a number of sports organizations recommend not to combine sports and medical issues related to support among the youngest. You mustn’t underestimate the dietary issues in the junior period because eating certain foods has a considerable impact on health, fitness, well-being, mental condition, as well as on potential sports performance. However, it is worth asking yourself whether the diet itself is able to guarantee the right amount of nutrients so that the shaping of key motor features and ensuring the body’s proper regeneration rate is real. So is supplementation safe at an early age? Should we focus onlyon a well-balanced diet? We will try to answer these topics later in this text.
Table of content
- Features of supplementation in achieving specific sports goals
- What supplements can young active people get?
- The most popular types of supplements that young people use
- When can supportive preparations be used?
- What supplements can young athletes use to avoid harm?
- Can a young athlete take products for athletes without medical consultation?
- Does the parent have cause for concern about supplements recommended by the trainer?
- What threatens teens when they reach for supplements without any adult control or knowledge?
Features of supplementation in achieving specific sports goals
At the beginning it is worth looking at the dietary supplements themselves in the context of their help in obtaining better sports results. As you know, getting more strength, endurance or burning fat is not a simple activity. In addition to the target-oriented training plan, a carefully matched diet plays a very important role. Additionally, at some stage the athlete reaches for additional support in the form of supplements. They are recommended to professional athletes and amateurs mainly when we need to supplement any nutrient deficiencies or accelerate the regeneration process after exercise.
If young people think about the same practices, they should be aware of the fact that adolescence is closely linked to hormonal changes. Thus, even adolescents should be careful about supplements and reach for only those that are well known. The completely safe and legal ones can be found in every good sports nutrition store.
What supplements can young active people get?
You can still meet parents who want to block their children’s access to prohibited steroids at all costs, mistake them for sports nutrition. In general, properly selected supplements should not cause more harm to the body of an adult human, as well as an older teenager. However, they should be treated as a supplement and must be applied as prescribed.
The most popular types of supplements that young people use
Most often it is about whey protein, which, as the name suggests, is obtained from a by-product during the formation of cheese, i.e. whey. From the liquid form to the product available in stores, the road runs through the ultrafiltration process. This is how we get whey protein concentrate (WPC-80). Whey protein contains all the amino acids we need (L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine). They are responsible for the regeneration process and building muscle tissue again after a strong training session. This protein also affects muscle growth. – healthline.com says.
Creatine is definitely one of the most popular supplements for athletes.
At the same time, it is one of the best-tested products dedicated to athletes.
This dietary supplement is an amino acid found in muscle tissue. Supplementation with it aims to increase strength, endurance and build muscle mass. One of the most important tasks of creatine is the accumulation of energy in muscles. However, in the context of its use by underage athletes, it is not necessarily so colorful. Cbsnews.com says that children have frequent aerobic metabolism, and therefore the desire to improve, with creatine, anaerobic oxygen production is doomed to failure. Therefore, it makes no sense for underage people to consume it.
Isotonic drinks are extremely popular drinks. There is no surprise because they are perfect as a supplement to water, vitamin and mineral deficiencies. CNN.com says that these drinks are rich in digestible carbohydrates such as glucose, sucrose and fructose. We lose them eventually during intense physical effort, and such a drink quickly replenishes these deficiencies, giving us new deposits of energy. On sale we have a whole lot of this type of drinks with various proportions of ingredients as well as a wide range of colors and many flavors.
Another very popular product available in principle in every grocery store or local store. These are carbonated drinks with a high caffeine content. They are dedicated to people with a lack of concentration or lack of energy. The vast majority of them are caffeine, taurine and inositol. Due to the increased caffeine content, they can flush out magnesium and have a diuretic effect. It is therefore not a good drink for young athletes.
Bars of this kind are snacks containing a large amount of protein and / or carbohydrates, and are enriched with vitamins and minerals. They are ideal as a form of pre-workout snack or between meals. They add energy and reduce hunger.
When can supportive preparations be used?
For the youngest trainers, i.e. children aged 11-12 and training a maximum of 2-3 times over the week, a balanced diet should be the only source of all nutrients and energy. It is necessary to ensure that it contains unprocessed products.
In the case of children aged 12-15 who participate in more specialized training, the main source of energy should be unprocessed and a varied diet. It must contain all guidelines related to puberty, i.e. rapid growth and weight change. In fact, the only acceptable variants of supplementation at this age are those vitamins and ingredients, the amount of which is low. However, you should remember to use a specific supplementation only after consulting a dietitian and doctor about this.
In fact, supplementation with supportive products is suitable for adolescents after puberty. However, this is a very individual matter because biological puberty has a different time interval. Most often, however, in the case of girls we talk about a period between 16-18 years. In contrast, boys mature later because their puberty ends around 18-20 years of age.
What supplements can young athletes use to avoid harm?
Among the safest supplements that young athletes can use are simple protein supplements in the form of isolate. There is no need to use creatine, and for younger children it is simply inadvisable. Beta-alanine has properties for buffering metabolic by-products of physical exertion. However, a young organism in which hormones even rage does not need to have additional support for regenerative processes.
Can a young athlete take products for athletes without medical consultation?
The dietary supplements and nutrients for athletes already mentioned in this text are definitely safe for the body and the only limit may be the minimum age of the young athlete and the dose itself. It is recommended to buy them from a legal source in order to enusre safet.
However, due to the fact that the young body needs various substances, and also can react differently to them. Therefore, before reaching for a given nutrient, it is worth consulting with a sports nutritionist. Such a person assesses individually whether there is a need to use supplements. It is also worth noting that you reach for the products of proven manufacturers. Moreover, be careful of products imported from abroad as they may be contaminated or may contain illegal substances.
Does the parent have cause for concern about supplements recommended by the trainer?
It must be said clearly and definitely a trainer without appropriate qualifications cannot independently choose young athletes from supplements. It is basically a decision that lies within the competence of a sports dietitian who is able to schedule any program of this type. After all, they must always be safe products that fulfill their function. First of all, young athletes should pay attention to the diet and the amount of individual nutrients it contains. However, if we want to reach supplementation at a young age, the product should not be coloured artificially.
What threatens teens when they reach for supplements without any adult control or knowledge?
Certainly, such activities can affect the disorders associated with the level of nutrients. In the long run, this state of affairs may lead to the opposite situation than assumed at the beginning.
To sum up, dietary supplements are a very practical form of supplementing deficiencies of specific nutrients. This also applies to young athletes but they have some restrictions. They should only take them if the demand for the ingredients has not been met. Only in such a situation does their use make sense. Using these specifics without any knowledge or insight into the case can raise health problems, and at best, money will be thrown away. In general, it is better to focus on healthy eating habits.