Nutritional expert warns against supplements

Psychology major Brit-tney Henderson works for about five hours most days as a Wellness Center Attendant.

She said on any given work day she sees a number of people toting workout supplements into the weight room.

Henderson said thousands of varied supplements are available through sites like and in chains like GNC and Vitamin Shoppe and now, at large retailers and many grocery stores. It’s her belief they can be beneficial. She said she has benefitted from protein shakes when trying to acquire more muscle mass.

However, Biology Professor Raul Ramirez said supplements are not necessary to attain the perfect physique. Ramirez teaches nutrition at OCCC.

“The supplements are really being overused or not used properly,” he said,

“If you don’t do the work by moving weight around and being physical in the gym, does it do you any good?

“If you don’t push your body enough to need all of that extra protein, then what your body’s going to do with that excess is metabolize it.

“And when you metabolize it, you’re going to store it in fat because of excess calories but then you’re also having to get rid of all that nitrogen so now you’re putting a big burden on your kidneys.

“We’re probably going to end up seeing a lot of people from this generation having a lot of kidney problems at an older age.”

Rameriz said the long-term effects have yet to be shown.

“In a typical American diet, we have no problem getting proteins,” he said. “We eat animal products like it’s going out of style.”

Rameriz said generally there is no need to add protein to our diets but said fruits and vegetables could use a little more of our attention.

He said the supplement industry is able to market so successfully by highlighting the deficiencies of vitamins and minerals in our diets. He said that can be achieved without supplements.

“Those who are serious about [fitness] and those you can actually see the results on, they’re already watching their diet,” he said.

Ramirez said a person’s fitness also depends on how they spend their time in the gym.

He suggests only using supplements when they are absolutely needed and warns against their misuse.

Chemistry major Shuai Wang said he works out in the weight room on campus at least twice a week. He said he uses a whey protein shake to recover faster from hard workouts.

Wang agrees that no supplement is a substitute for time or effort though.

“I think they help a bit but I don’t think that’s what makes it,” Wang said. “It’s just hard work that makes it.”

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