The worldwide sports nutritional market was valued close to $30 billion in 2016. At the same time, there’s been a 330% increase in the use of sports and nutrition apps since 2014. Fitness is booming. Apps are booming. And supplements are undeniably booming, too.
So why aren’t there more apps that cater specifically to supplement users?
It’s only a matter of time until the app world catches up to the supplement craze and brings around more innovative mobile solutions. But for now, you can use supplement apps for two key functions: tracking your timing, and researching supplement ingredients.
Here are the leaders in each of those categories.
Supplement timing apps
Some of the most popular supplement apps are ones that remind you to take your pills on time. They might not be sexy, but these apps do have their benefits. A busy work day can really interfere with your supplement timing, and timing plays a key role in your health. Consider these facts:
- If your calcium intake clashes with other minerals such as zinc and potassium, your body’s ability to absorb nutrients is reduced. The best time for calcium is between meals.
- The water-soluble B Vitamins should ideally be taken once in the morning and then around lunch. If you take too much at one time, your body simply gets rid of the excess instead of storing it (like it does with fat-soluble vitamins).
- Your fish oil supplements work best with a meal or washed down with a protein shake. Emulsified fish oil makes it easier for your body to absorb.
- Load up on your casein protein shake before hitting the sack. Any other time and this slow-absorbing protein will not have its maximum effect.
Keeping track of all your supplement needs through the day can be distracting. Hence the apps that do the work for you. These three apps aren’t specifically designed for supplement users, but can be tweaked to serve your needs.
- MyMedSchedule: The top-rated medical adherence app by The Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, MyMedSchedule is designed for patients/caregivers. But it can also be tweaked for supplement reminders. It has a straightforward dashboard complete with pictures of your supplements or pills.
- MyFitnessPal: This in-depth app from Under Armour, works as a food journal and fitness tracker combined. You can use the notes area to keep a tab on your supplement intake; or create a new meal category named Vitamin/Supplements and keep a log of all the supplements you consume in a day. The built-in calorie counter is a good way to keep track of the food you eat daily. Many users also track their micronutrients through MyFitnessPal.
- Pill Reminder by Medisafe: The virtual pillbox is divided into four quadrants, making it easy to know which one is coming up. You can easily customize the names of these quadrants, though, so that you never skip a protein shake or a supplement dosage.
Supplement research apps
Whether you’re just entering the supplement arena or are always on the lookout for new supplements, there are a couple apps that allow you to skip the gimmicks and make an informed decision about which one to pick up.
- Supplement Snoop: This comprehensive app is perfect for the supplement newbie, as it has a massive database of ingredients that go into dietary supplements. Supplement Snoop allows you to simply walk into a supplement store, aim your smartphone at the vertical bars on the back of a container and let the built-in barcode scanner do the rest. You can receive immediate feedback about ingredients, benefits and scientific research available. Its search function lets you find products depending on the brand you’re looking for, or a particular ingredient. Compare products and find the dietary supplement that’s right for you.
- Certified for Sport® App by NSF: A number of manufacturers get away with adding banned or harmful substances to their products because FDA regulations aren’t as stringent with supplements as they are with pharma drugs. This app targets athletes who want to stay away from products that could get them banned from competitions. But regular supplement consumers can also benefit from this app, as it helps you find products, with the Certified for Sport® stamp, that have been tested for close to 300 banned substances.
You can browse the database of certified products and find one that is in tune with your workout goals. Barcode scanning and product comparisons are two other features that help you make a quick yet knowledgeable decision.
The supplement app game still has a long way to go. But in the meantime, current solutions do offer you enough flexibility to get your timing and research down pat. You can also check out high-quality reviews across categories like protein powders, nootropics and testo boosters to help you in every stage of your supplement journey.