What are the best supplements for teens? A parents guide.

Let's get this straight.

The issue of irresponsible marketing activities undertaken by mass market supplement (and drinks) companies have given supplements a bad name. Leaving parents, coaches, athletes and dare I say it, even National Governing Bodies confused and scared of what could be in many respects, a vital component of any balanced diet, when participation in high level sport is combined with selective eating habits, lack of time, or access to properly timed meals.

Fortunately, this image mass market supplement companies have portrayed has put off many conscientious parents from allowing their young athletes access to sports supplements due to health concerns and safety.

Breaking News

Many youth athletes use supplements. The question is, should your youth athlete be using supplements?

    NO, if they: 

    • Do not know what supplement they are taking.
    • Do not train at a level that denotes an increased nutritional requirement. 
    • Obtain everything they need from a 'food first' approach.
    • Are taking supplements that are not designed for youths.
    • Are taking supplements that are not Informed Sport® batch tested. 
    • Are under the impression that a supplement is a magic powder or potion that will make them superhuman (okay, so this is a little cheeky, but you get the idea).

    YES, if they: 

    • Are informed on what supplements are safe. 
    • Know what their bodies require, and what supplement meets this need (luckily we can help you understand this).
    • Understand the importance of combining a supplement within a balanced diet.
    • Only use a supplement if they have a common nutritional deficit in their diet. These are commonly associated with a youths diets due to selective eating habits, hectic academic, social and training schedules or lack of money/access to healthy foods.
    • Train or perform at a level that denotes an increased nutritional need, to help them recover, which prevents injuries, aids development and growth, alongside ensuring energy levels are sustained. 
    • Cannot afford to eat healthy food for every meal.

    Some supplements can positively benefit youths in sport

    Youth Sport Nutrition are out to change the negative perception of some supplements, because, if used correctly they can be a remarkable tool that can tackle prevalence of undernourishment head on.

    The main benefit of implementing a sports recovery shake is the added convenience of having an all-in-one product that contains all of the necessary ingredients in relative amounts to a youth athletes needs, that can be mixed up and consumed on the go.

    Here's some key ingredients that we recommend looking for in supplements for youth athletes, given their unique needs and requirements: Protein, Iron, Zinc, Carbohydrates, Omega 3, Omega 6, B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorous.

    • Protein- After intense exercise, a healthy dose of protein will provide a rapid delivery of amino acids to your muscles to help support growth and repair, optimising recovery time post training / match day. Our flagship product PROTEEN®, can help repair, maintain and develop muscle tissue broken down in training to reduce injury susceptibility and support growth. If your child has any dietary preferences such as vegan or vegetarianism, it can be difficult to intake the correct amount of protein at the right time to support recovery. 
    • Iron and Zinc– To help cognitive functions such as memory & concentration. Iron is also critical for junior female athletes and a common deficiency within this community. We want to eliminate any risk of Anaemia which is why PROTEEN® was designed to meet up to 84% of a young athlete's NRV (Nutrient Reference Value) per 50g serving.
    • Carbohydrates-  Your body needs to replenish its glycogen stores immediately after exercise, so carbs will help support replenishment of energy levels after training. Consuming carbohydrates with protein also supports absorption and uptake.
    • B Vitamins- Offering many health benefits and contributing to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue (B2 & B12).
    • Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous and Vitamin D3– AKA the ‘Bone Constructors’ - help build healthy bones during rapid periods of growth (preventing issues carried into later life). Calcium is a core element needed by youth athletes to support them through their growth spurt, and deficiencies can lead to skeletal problems in later life, not to mention forcing athlete to retire way to early. The rock star Vitamin D found in PROTEEN® is sourced from cholecalciferol (pronounced: KOE-le-kal-SIF-er-ol) the most biologically active form of Vitamin D found in humans and animals!
    • Vitamin C– Helping to maintain normal function of the immune system during and after intense physical exercise. 

    This list can go on, but we class these as particularly important components of a youth athletes diet.

    Decision Time

    When it comes to any supplement, make sure to not just listen to what others have to say about it, but do your own research. This will help you make the best choice, regardless of what the product is. Although we know its sometimes difficult, always strive to implement on a food first approach wherever possible to set solid nutritional foundations for athletes into later life. Speak to health professionals to ascertain weather or not introducing a supplement is right for you and your youth athlete.

    Until a couple of years ago, there was no safe all-in-one recovery shake developed specifically for youths in sport. This forced parents to administer supplements designed for adult use, as there was no alternative. Mass market sports nutrition firms historically place the emphasis and focus on 'steroid', 'over-muscular' athletes, which is neither achievable or recommended for younger participants. Instead, the focus needs to be on health, balance and responsibility.

    It is important to remember that sporty youths and adults have different nutritional needs based on their stage of development and dietary patterns, hence YSN developed PROTEEN® to meet the individual needs and values of active youths, to provide a safe alternative.

    Each ingredient in PROTEEN® is tailored to suit an active teens development needs, reducing susceptibility to injury and ensuring common nutritional deficiencies are eliminated Discover more >>

    Just imagine if your youth athlete missed one of these nutrients out of their diet every day for a year. Or more commonly, if your youth athlete didn’t reach their daily recommended amount of any given nutrient for a consistent period of time. At best this will negatively impact performance, at worst you could impact health for the longterm, alongside affecting academic performance and normal development.

    Hopefully you know that the range developed by YSN can positively impact health, nutrition and performance, acting as a safe alternative to mass market supplements.



    Message from the Author. 

    "I would like to extend my gratitude to all readers currently engaging with our content. Thank you, please share this link and help others in your position understand our wider mission to eliminate youth athlete undernourishment. We are trying to create change, which is impossible to achieve alone."


    Any personalised questions regarding supplements, feel free to email info@youthsportnutrition.com and we are happy chat (for free).

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