A nutritional supplement is something you consume to assist a balanced diet which may be lacking in a certain nutrient. So supplements aren't ESSENTIAL unless you cannot get enough of what you need in your diet.
Protein is essential for growth and repair, for maintaining a healthy body composition and those who are very active require more of it.
Lacking enough protein can lead to fatigue, more aches and pains and potentially a poorer body composition (ratio of muscle to fat)
When considering whether or not YOU need to supplement you should take in consideration the QUANTITY you need, The QUALITY of protein you consume and the CONVENIENCE and COST of supplements.
What you NEED to know
For someone who is exercising intensely several times per week, it would be advisable to consume 20-30g of protein with each meal of the day. This CAN be done from diet alone. eg. 1 small chicken breast or 3 eggs or a 200g pot of yogurt will all supply 20g of good quality protein.
Its is also worth considering the timing of the protein intake, your body cannot store protein for use, so to ensure a constant supply it is best to split the requirements between all of your meals.
Most people consume protein during their evening meal and little , if any, during breakfast, lunch and snacks.
What else you should know:
The protein Quantity is something which is individual to you.
The basic protein requirements for a SEDENTARY person is around 0.75g per KG of body weight.
So if you weigh 70kg (11 stone), you should eat about 52.5g of protein a day.
and although figures vary from study to study , someone who exercises regularly would require between 1.2 - 1.7g of protei