How sports supplements are affecting your body
Sports supllements

Do you know the effects of sports supplements on your body? From energy gels to creatine, there are many supplements available, and they can all benefit you in different ways.

Due to their benefits, supplements have gained popularity in recent years among athletes and gym-goers. However, some supplements do have side effects that you should be aware of.

Whether you’re a serious athlete wanting to enhance your performance or you simply want to get more out of your fitness regime, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about sports supplements and how they affect your body…


What is creatine? 

Creatine is a substance found naturally in your muscle cells. Half of your body’s creatine comes from the food you eat, particularly red meat and seafood. The rest of the creatine in your body is made in your liver and kidneys. 

It supplies energy to your muscles to help them contract, keeping a steady supply of energy in your muscles so that they can continue to work. 

Creatine supplements are natural, making them a safer and popular choice for boosting athletic performance.

The benefits of creatine

If you want to build muscle, creatinine can help to speed up the rate at which your muscles grow. Creatine benefits the muscles by adding muscle mass, with research showing that it can decrease myostatin levels, a molecule responsible for stunting muscle growth.[1]

Another benefit of creatine is that it can help to improve strength performance across several different exercises, such as squats, leg press and shoulder press.

Creatine may also prevent dehydration by making your muscles hold more water.

Creatine side effects 

When you take the recommended dose of creatine, it’s usually safe to take for up to 5 years. However, some people might experience side effects.

 Reported side effects of creatine can include:

  • Weight gain 
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Muscle strains 
  • An upset stomach 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Dizziness 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Liver dysfunction 
  • Kidney damage 

Taking creatine supplements for a long period of time may prevent the body from making its own stores. 



What does pre-workout do?

Pre-workout is a supplement designed to boost your energy levels and increase your performance during a workout. Not only does pre-workout enhance your performance, but it can also help with recovery. 

The supplement should be taken around 30-60 minutes before exercise, giving the ingredients enough time to be absorbed and start to work. Consistently taking pre-workout gives you better results in comparison to taking it every so often. 

Pre-workout supplements usually contain caffeine, BCAA’s, creatine, beta-alanine and many other ingredients to help you get the most out of your workout. 

Consuming pre-workout regularly allows the ingredients to build up in your body. After using pre-workout for three weeks, you should begin to notice that your workouts last longer and that you feel less tired during and after them.

Benefits of pre-workout 

The main benefit most people get from pre-workout is additional energy, allowing them to train at a higher intensity for longer. 

It also reduces exhaustion or the chance of sustaining an injury from your workout. 

One of the most common ingredients in pre-workout is caffeine, which helps to improve alertness and cognitive function. Studies show that consuming caffeine before exercise can help with weight loss.[2]

Side effects of pre-workout - is pre-workout bad for you?

Consuming pre-workout is generally safe if you’re healthy and don’t have any underlying health conditions. However, some people might experience side effects. 

Pre-workout side effects are more common in people who consume more than the recommended dose. Common side effects of pre-workout include:

  • Feeling jittery 
  • Tingling in the skin 
  • Water retention 
  • Heart palpitations

If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you should avoid caffeinated pre-workout supplements to avoid undesirable side effects.

Woman making protein powder

Protein powder

What is protein powder? 

Protein powder is a supplement designed to help you meet your protein goals. It’s an easy way to add more protein to your diet. You can blend it into a shake, use it as an ingredient for bread and pancakes or sprinkle it on top of your yoghurt. 

Protein powder comes from animal sources like whey and casein or plant-based sources such as soy and peas.

Some proteins will include electrolytes, but what do electrolytes do? Electrolytes regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body and help to rebuild damaged tissue. 

What are the benefits of protein powder?

Including protein powder in your diet can help you reach your protein goals. A high-protein diet can keep you fuller for longer, preventing snacking which can help you to lose weight. 

Protein powder can also improve muscle size and strength when taken alongside resistance training, such as lifting weights. In addition to helping with muscle growth, protein powder can repair damaged muscles and tissues.

Protein powder side effects 

When used as part of a balanced diet, you rarely experience side effects from protein powder. However, some potential side effects of protein powder include:

  • Gas, bloating, diarrhoea, cramps 
  • Allergic reactions
  • Acne 
  • Nausea 
  • Thirst 
  • Reduced appetite
  • Headaches

Protein powders with electrolytes side effects:

  • Elevated heart rate 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Dehydration 
  • Gastrointestinal distress 

You shouldn’t consume more than the recommended daily allowance of protein. High doses of protein powder for a prolonged period can put you at risk of kidney disease.


What is ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is one of the most popular herbal supplements in the world. The most common supplemental form of ashwagandha is an extract from the plant’s root. 

It’s an adaptogen that can bring your body back to a steady balance by managing your physical and mental health. Many people use ashwagandha to manage their stress levels. 

Ashwagandha is used in sports to help with muscle recovery, which can then lead to better endurance. Adding the supplement to your diet can make a huge difference to your training performance.

Ashwagandha benefits for men

Ashwagandha has been known to increase sperm quality and count in men with fertility issues. Studies have shown a 57% increase in sperm motility after 90 days of treatment with ashwagandha.[3]

It also has aphrodisiac-like qualities which could potentially enhance your libido. As ashwagandha can offer stress relief, this can allow your body to relax enough to feel sexual desire. 

Woman taking supplements

Ashwagandha benefits for female anatomy

Ashwagandha can balance your hormone levels, which benefits women's health. By balancing your reproductive hormones, it can help regulate your menstrual cycle, soothing cramps and reducing fatigue.

By regulating your hormones, ashwagandha may also be effective at helping with symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, anxiety and sleep issues.

Ashwagandha side effects

The majority of people who take ashwagandha won’t experience any side effects. However, some people may experience mild side effects such as:

In very rare cases, ashwagandha supplements may cause issues with the liver.

Amino acids 

What are amino acids?

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Your body needs 20 essential amino acids, also known as BCAAs, to function effectively. 

Your body can make many amino acids; however, you get nine through food and supplements. 

The supplements are popular with athletes who want to improve their athletic performance. Amino acids are also common in sports drinks.

Amino acid benefits 

One of the benefits of amino acid supplements are that they can help your muscles to feel less sore after training. They work by lowering the blood levels of creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase which contribute to muscle damage.[4]

Amino acids might also lower your blood sugar levels, helping you to maintain normal levels.

Poor sleep habits caused by insomnia, sleep apnea or stress can impact your overall health. The amino acids histidine and tryptophan help you to maintain a normal circadian rhythm, promoting a good night’s sleep.

They can also help boost your immune system, meaning your body can fight off viruses better!

What are the side effects of amino acids? 

For most people, amino acid supplements are usually safe. However, people with diabetes or pre-existing mental health conditions need to be careful with this dietary supplement. 

Amino acid side effects include:

  • Nausea 
  • Stomach discomfort 
  • Insulin resistance 
  • Decreased appetite 
Woman and protein shake

Sports supplements are a great way to enhance your performance, especially if you want to gain muscle or increase your energy during a workout!

The benefits of each supplement vary, so it’s important to know what you want to get out of your supplement before taking it. The effects of sports supplements depend on the person, but generally speaking they’re an asset to your training! 

Olivia Malone - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 14 May 2024
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