Monday, May 18, 2009

Energy Supplements

Energy drinks were a recent topic of discussion on Beatdown Radio. I'd like to throw out some thoughts. There are all kinds of energy supplements (pills, drinks, etc.) and people take them for different reasons, especially energy and weight loss.

You can take energy supplements without any sugar, which are much better for you if weight is a concern. These could be diet drinks, or pills.

I have to imagine that a lot of the harm comes from people taking the maximum recommended dosage or much more and never cycling off, which gives you liver time to recover.

With almost any supplement, its recommended that you drink enormous amounts of water, which is to assist you liver. Drinking that amount of water is quite a chore and can be a real nuisance, since you have to dispose of that water pretty frequently.

People tend to overuse energy supplements and build a tolerance, which leads to increased dosage, but its not that difficult to avoid building a tolerance by cycling off or even rotating through supplements with different ingredients.

But the more interesting aspects raised are around the psychological factors (which I frequently discuss with me wife). How does regular energy supplement use effect your long term quality of life? Particularly what about your bodies ability to produce its own energy and your minds ability to overcome its sometimes less than desirable energy levels? How does energy supplement use compare to medication prescribed to rectify or alleviate one's mental state? How does one compare the enhancement of their short term quality of life with the possibility of long term repercussions.

My wife has always been an advocate of forcing one's self to make do with their natural ability and not turn to artificial enhancements. But for me, the consequences of of taking that path are many. First of all, the main source of a lack of energy is lack of sleep. Which, for me to get would mean going to sleep about 1 - 2 hours after my kids go to sleep. That's barely time to unwind not to mention cleanup, pay the bills or take care of any personal needs or hobbies. Now if I don't get to sleep on time, do I forsake the gym? Go to work late?

What about when I get to the gym? What's the difference between being fully energized or tired and sluggish? And what are the long term effects of getting in good workouts on a regular basis vs. going through the motions?

What about when I get to work? What are the long term benefits of being an attentive, energized worker, vs. being a tired and groggy one? Some of those meetings are pretty boring as it is. I can be nodding out, or I can be an active contributor.

Then what about the differences at home? I have two young kids. What are the long term effects of being an energetic dad and husband vs. being a tired, cranky, grump?

So I've opted to enhance my day to day existence and hesitantly accept the associated risks. I alternate the supplements I take to avoid building a tolerance. I try to stick to the minimum recommended dosages, rarely taking the recommended "2nd" daily dose. I drink lots of water. And I hope for the best.

I hope some of this was of interest. Gotta go, nature calls.

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