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Stimulants and their use

Stimulants and their use

Datum: 25.1.2021

What are stimulants, how do they work and where do they naturally occur?

What are stimulants?

Stimulants are psychoactive substances that serve to uplift the body and soul. Almost everybody uses some stimulant on a daily basis that has proven to work for them. Sometimes, all of us need to boost our efficiency, whether for work, sports, a long drive, or learning. Luckily there is a wide range of stimulants so each of us can choose the one that will be suitable for him. 

How do stimulants work? 

Stimulants have an energizing effect on our central nervous system and they do overall enhance the work capacity of our organism and they maximize the usage of our body’s energy resources. They may induce boost or euphoric feelings, improve vigilance and wakefulness, and increase energy levels. They provide us with vitality and postpone the onset of fatigue. Furthermore, stimulants are used for metabolism improvement and their diuretic and nootropic properties. They are widely used in medicine, for example to treat narcolepsy, concentration disorders, and obesity. During a controlled weight loss, they might reduce appetite and boost metabolism of fats in a human body.  

Stimulants are popular among professional sportsmen for their energizing effects not only during races and competitions, but also during training and on a daily basis. It is suitable to use these substances mainly before and during sports activity. They usually improve the blood circulation in muscle tissue and increase productivity, mobility, and motivation; nevertheless, it is important to realize that simultaneously, they do increase pulse and blood pressure.  

When it comes to stimulants, professional athletes must be careful about those that are in the list of the World Anti-Doping Agency. We may also find some natural stimulants (for example ephedrine, atropine or cocaine) in there. It is important to be careful about the excessive or regular usage of stimulants as they might result in creating mental or physical addiction. 

In a daily life, there are other methods apart from stimulating food supplements that may help us. These include enough sleep, internal motivation coming from relaxation exercises and least but not last, emphasize on a healthy diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B, and antioxidants that support our central nervous system.  

Where do stimulants naturally occur?

Stimulants, also called ergogenic substances, may be found in foodstuff like green tea, coffee, guarana, dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa, cocoa, yerba mate, coca-cola drinks, and in others.

We may divide stimulants based on their origin into plant, animal, and synthetic. 

Nowadays, the healthy lifestyle trend calls for a return to natural substances. We may find stimulants in places where we would not expect them, for example in herbs or spices. To name a few let’s mention curcuma, pink stonecrop, thyme, basil, cardamom, ginkgo biloba, ginseng or chilli (the active substance called capsaicin will awaken all your senses J).   

Other popular stimulants based on amino acids are for example L-arginine, taurine (derivative of cysteine amino acid), tyrosine or L-carnitine that naturally occurs in meat, fish, dairy products, or in some kinds of soya.   

Author

Bc. Veronika Pokorná, DiS.

Resources:

BŘENKOVÁ Barbora. Přírodní stimulanty ve sportovní výživě. Masarykova Univerzita. BRNO, 2019

FOŘT, Petr. Výživa (hlavně) pro kulturistiku a fitness. 2. vyd. Pardubice: Ivan Rudzinskyj, 2006, ISBN 80-864-6221-8.

Zdravé zdraví. Bylinky (online 7.12.2020) Dostupné z: https://zdravezdravi.cz/bylinky