A few blog posts ago I discussed (Which Protein Powder To Use) to help you achieve your goals. Well, most people looking to maintain/improve health, lose weight or gain muscle are always curious as to what supplements they should take. My first response is that no supplements are true necessities; they are useful tools but should be dependent upon the specific goals of that person. The problem today is that there is so many supplements, so many contradictions and so much misinformation that it’s hard for people to gauge what they should use. I keep it fairly simple for the most part with my own supplementation but what I prescribe to clients is highly specific to them. I don’t like the articles where they blindly say, “Take these supplements”. So in this first installment I am going to categorize these supplements so you have a better idea on where to look if you are trying to improve specific components of your health. For information on what to eat or supplement with Pre, During and Post workout see my previous articles Peri-Workout Nutrition Part 1 and Peri-Workout Nutrition Part 2: To Carb or Not to Carb.
**This list is just meant to give you a basic idea on where to look if you are looking to improve certain aspects of your nutritional program. If you would like help putting together a nutrition program with the exact supplements to use then contact me or check out the Online Coaching tab**
1.) Macronutrient Supplements – A supplement is exactly what the name states, if you have a hard time getting adequate protein you use a protein supplement like Whey protein. Things that fall under this category are Whey, Soy, Rice, Beef, Egg Protein….Superfood (for servings of fruits and veggies)…Fish Oil, Flax Seed, Krill oil, MCT oil, Coconut Oil for healthy fat supplements…Dextrose, Glucose Tabs, Malodextrin for carbohydrate supplements.
2.) “Fat Loss” – The reason I put this into quotations is because a supplement is only a small factor in helping you achieve fat loss and they are not necessary. BUT that doesn’t mean that they can’t help. Thermogenics are commonly used for their role in appetite suppression, increased energy, and increased metabolism. However, a lot of people abuse these and negatively impact their thyroid levels. Other potentially beneficial supplements for fat loss are L-Carnitine, Leucine, Caffeine, CLA, Fish Oil, Green Tea Extract.
3.) “Muscle Building” – Again, these supplements aren’t magic and other supplement categories mentioned here can help in this process (like increased testosterone, improved digestion). Nitric Oxide supplements are complete crap and if a supplement has some crazy claims its more than likely bullshit. In my opinion, Whey Protein, Creatine and BCAA’s are proven and effective in your quest to gain quality muscle.
4.) Hormonal Support – Maybe you want to increase testosterone, lower or control estrogen, increase luteinizing hormone, reduce SHBG, increase growth hormone levels, hypothalamic or pituitary support, control cortisol, etc. Ex.) D-Aspartic Acid, Nettle Root, DHEA, Tribulus terrestris for testosterone support. DIM, Zinc, Grape Seed extract, Resveratrol, B Vitamins, Calcium D-Glucarate for estrogen metabolism.
5.) Antioxidants – There is some controversial information regarding the benefit/health to these supplements. A proposed benefit is a reduction in free radicals. Ex.) Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, etc.
6.) Digestion – For whatever reason more and more people seem to be developing intolerances to certain foods, whether you’re gluten or lactose intolerant, there’s a definite market for those with digestion issues. Some other things that fall under this category are nutrient repartitioners or supplements that enhance insulin sensitivity Ex.) Probiotics, Apple Cider Vinegar, ginger, acidophilus for digestion, I like also like psyillum husk for added fiber. I will touch on glucose disposal agents in another article.
7.) Micronutrients – If you are deficient in certain minerals or vitamins it makes sense to use supplements. Most athletes are deficient in Zinc (Jonathan Mike, a colleague of mine at Elitefts recently published this article on Zinc (Zinc Article), But other common deficiencies include Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, Vitamin D, etc.
8.) Mood Enhancements/Energy – These supplements are broader; stress defense, cognitive enhancements. I will also throw Pre-Workouts into this. While pre-workouts are nice for an energy boost they aren’t necessary. Most include some amino acids, creatine, caffeine, niacin and some other helpful compounds. Ex.) Dark Chocolate, Phenibut, St. Johns Wort, 5HTP, Tryptophan. For pre-workouts we sell and recommend 360Cut Pre-Workout as it’s got great taste, a nice list of ingredients and doesn’t give that “jittery” feeling,
9.) Sleep Aid – The majority of people suffer from inadequate sleep which takes its toll physiologically and physically. From not being able to fall asleep to not getting that deep REM sleep, there are some supplements you can use to try and help. Ex.) Valerian Root, Melatonin, Phenibut, Chamomile tea. We offer an incredible sleep aid supplement from 360Cut. You sleep right through the night and wake up incredibly refreshed. Email me for more information on it (email@example.com).
10.) Health or Symptom Related – Again, this is a broad category but common issues are prostate health, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, insulin resistance, high triglycerides, thyroid issues etc. Some of these can be dealt with natural supplements while others may need prescription.
11.) Joint Pain/Inflammation – If you are looking for some help in this area I’d look into Tumeric or Curcumin for anti-inflammation, Glucosamine sulfate, Chondroitin sulfate, Ginger, Omega-3’s, MSM, SAMe have proposed benefits for this as well. Also, try some topical agents, my favorites are: Voltaren (diclofenac) and Bio-Freeze.