Should Your Child Use Supplements?




Obviously, we live in an era of high levels of interest in getting an advantage on your competition. That’s certainly true of performance in sports where you’ve all read horror stories regarding anabolic steroid use and abuse of other so-called supplements. Unfortunately, that environment and attitude has pervaded all youth and junior sports too, including golf. As a result, it’s important that you teach your junior golfer healthy habits and appropriate ways to support healthy training and dietary support.







Without a doubt, as supported by recommendations of almost all experts in the field of nutrition and sports science including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the most important dietary help you can give your growing competitive golfer is regular, healthy, balanced mealshttp://www.mypyramid.gov/. 

Before they head out for a competitive round of golf, make sure he or she gets a good breakfast or lunch. Don’t forget, even with today’s lighter equipment and bags, your junior golfer is toting 10-12 pounds of gear while walking 3.5 to four miles! If it’s a hot day playing in the South, add the stress of heat and humidity and if they’re playing in the Southwest, a 105 degree day can be a challenge to keeping enough fluid on board.

Vitamins

If you’re lucky enough to have a junior golfer who gets plenty of sleep, eats regular healthy meals including a great mix of grains, fruits, and green vegetables and drinks plenty of milk to get that important source of Vitamin D (click here to see see new American Academy of Pediatrics supplements recommendations) then vitamins are probably not needed. Call us if you have that kid because we’d like to meet one!

You should consult your pediatrician or family physician before adding vitamins to your junior’s diet. Many of our son’s friends in golf have added a daily multivitamin to their morning or evening meal to help fill those vitamin and mineral gaps in their daily eating. Good vitamins should not upset their stomachs and be taken regularly. There are many choices including chewable and liquid vitamins. Some of the best selling are Centrum Kids®, Scooby-Doo! ® Complete Multivitamin / Multimineral, and One-A-Day® Teen Advantage.



Energy Drinks

Our teenager sees these in a lot of golf bags but, as a supplement to his golf game, we’re not in favor. Junior-Golf-World.com has asked some cardiology and sports exercise physiologists about energy drinks and, even if you set aside all the controversy about youths being “vulnerable customers”, in general, the amount of sugar and caffeine make energy drinks poor choices for junior golfers. A recent article from WebMD shares these comparative caffeine figures:

  • Red Bull: 80 milligrams per 8.3-ounce serving
  • Tab Energy: 95 mg per 10.5-oz serving
  • Monster and Rockstar: 160 mg per 16-oz serving
  • No Fear: 174 mg per 16-oz serving
  • Fixx: 500 per 20-oz serving
  • Wired X505: 505 mg per 24-oz serving
  • Brewed coffee: 200 milligrams per 12-oz serving
  • Instant coffee: 140 mg per 12-oz serving
  • Brewed tea: 80 mg per 12-oz serving
  • Mountain Dew: 54 mg per 12 oz. serving
  • Dr. Pepper: 41 mg per 12-oz serving
  • Pepsi Cola: 38 mg per 12-oz serving
  • Coca-Cola Classic: 34.5 mg per 12-oz serving
  • Canned or bottled tea: 20 mg per 12-oz serving

Keeping adequate levels of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins is important to maintaining top physical conditioning for athletes. Should you choose to add a supplement to the “training table” be sure to discuss this with your pediatrician, family physician, or neighborhood pharmacist as most directions for supplementation are based on larger adult consumption. Some popular products for golf professionals include Amino Vital and products from GNC Live Well stores. 

The hydration value of plain, filtered water or bottled water as a routine companion in your junior golfer’s bag can’t be argued. Bottles of flavored water with electrolytes can be good choices too when you want to add some vitamins or sodium but watch the serving size. In most of these 16 – 38 oz. bottles, the serving size is based on 8 ounces so the amounts of sugars, sodium, etc. can be a bit deceptive – what looks like 40 calories can be 120 calories when your junior finishes the bottle.

Keeping properly hydrated during any match is important to reducing muscle and respiratory fatigue, maintaining good cognition, and prevention of muscle cramping. So choose your drinks wisely but always stay hydrated.

Other Supplements

There are a multitude of other performance and exercise supplements for all ages playing competitive sports including golf. In general, your junior golfer will not need nor benefit from most of these but, undoubtedly, as your junior plays at the tournament level both in the US or internationally, the topic of supplements will come up.

Keeping adequate levels of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins is important to maintaining top physical conditioning for athletes. Should you choose to add a supplement to the “training table” be sure to discuss this with your pediatrician, family physician, or neighborhood pharmacist as most directions for supplementation are based on larger adult consumption. Some popular products for golf professionals include Amino Vital and products from GNC Live Well stores.