Supplementation often gets a bad rap.
While that’s partially true, there are supplements that are not only effective, they are extremely beneficial.
It’s like this… there are a whole host of nutrients that the body requires that we simply don’t get enough of (in some cases-at all)from our modern diet.
Here are my Top 5.
If you’re not aware of what probiotics are, allow me to explain.
Your gut contains what is called a Microbiome-a collection of trillions of microbes living in and on the human body; which is where intestinal flora (bacteria) live. This Microbiome houses both good, and bad flora and believe it or not, the kinds of bacteria that live in our guts determine whether we live healthy lives or not-so-healthy lives. However, before talking too much about Probiotics, we should talk about Prebiotics.
Prebiotics are indigestible plant fibers that act as a sort of “fertilizer” to aid existing good bacteria already in the gut and serve as food for probiotics. This helps the positive colonies of flora; flourish. This fibers are abundant in things like under-ripe banana, oats, avocado, and my personal favorite- apple cider vinegar.
Now, Probiotics support healthy digestion, the synthesis of vitamins, the absorption of minerals, the production of certain enzymes and a lot more. When we don’t get enough good bacteria (which is not only because of our diet, but also the quality of our food) there can be negative effects on digestion and overall health.
The digestive system is also home to up to 80 percent of immune system cells, so remember that the next time you get sick. 😉
My personal recommendation for a great quality Probiotic is Garden Of Life at 50billion cfu.
2.Krill Oil/Fish Oil
I’m a big fan of fish in my diet, but it’s hard to do safely as most fish are simply too contaminated to eat large amounts of. So I take Krill oil.
Krill oil is often compared to fish oil, but there are actually a number of differences between the two that makes Krill a more ideal option.
Studies have shown that Krill oil may be 48 times more potent than fish oil. This means you need far less of it than fish oil. This is no doubt in part to its higher bioavailability.
Fatty acids are water soluble, but they can’t be transported in their free form in your blood -they require “packaging” into lipoprotein vehicles. In Krill oil, the Omega-3 fat is attached to phospholipids, which means your body can readily absorb it.
It’s also able to cross the blood-brain barrier, which leads me to the next advantage…
When you consume Fish oil, your liver has to attach it to phosphatidylcholine in order for it to be utilized by your body. Krill oil already contains Phosphatidylcholine (which is another reason for its superior bioavailability).
Phosphatidylcholine is composed partly of choline (the precursor for the vital neurotransmitter acetylcholine- which sends nerve signals to your brain), and for trimethylglycine, which protects your liver.
Oxidation leads to the formation of free radicals. Consuming free radicals further increases your need for antioxidants.
Fish oil is very low in antioxidants (making it more prone to oxidation) whereas Krill oil contains astaxanthin (probably the most potent antioxidant in nature) which is why krill oil is so stable and resistant to oxidation.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
Magnesium is a crucially important mineral for optimal health, performing a wide array of biological functions, including but not limited to:
- Activating muscles and nerves
- Creating energy in your body by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
- Helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
- Serving as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis
- It’s also a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin
- Calms Nerves & Anxiety.
- Relieves Muscle Aches and Spasms.
- Regulates Levels of Calcium, Potassium and Sodium.
- Important for Heart Health.
- Prevents Migraine Headaches.
- Helps Prevent Osteoporosis
Very few people get enough magnesium in their diet these days while calcium tends to be over-utilized and taken in high quantities. This can actually cause more harm than good, as it’s very important to have a proper balance between these two minerals.
If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles can tend to go into spasm, and since the heart is a muscle… well, Ill let you do the math. There are many forms of Magnesium supplements, but not all are created equal.
I personally use ZMA, which has a whole host of other benefits. The one I use is ZMA Jym.
Im sure this one comes as no surprise, but theres good reason it comes up so frequently. We simply do not get the best amount of nutrients we need from diet alone. There are many reasons, but a great Multivitamin is a critical way to help combat that.
Since this is the one supplement everybody already knows about, Ill spare you some reading time and tell you that my favorite multivitamin is Anavite by Gaspari Nutrition. I recommend this HIGHLY if you are seeking that extra athletic edge.
Honorable mention: BPI 24/7 Muscle Vitamin
This may raise some questions, but let me be frank. The vast majority of people I have worked with do not get enough protein in their diets. Protein powders are not just for after the gym. They can and should be used anytime you are not meeting your requirements (avg: .66g per lb of lean body mass, but varies in many ways) .
Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block every bodily tissue period.
Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a “macronutrient,” meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals, which are needed in only small quantities, are called “micronutrients.” But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply. I personally feel to full sometimes to consume more protein rich foods so I use powders as a great way to make sure I reach my goals.
Protein powder often refers to whey, but it doesn’t have to be if thats your thing. There are many great plant based powders. I like Garden Of Life’s Raw Organic Protein.
There are two major protein powders I recommend. One that I use for all purpose is BPI ISOHD and the one I find most complete and highest in quality for muscle building and repair is ReKaged by Kaged Muscle which has a host of other benefits for the movement minded. Keep in mind I am lactose intolerant and I assimilate both of these without problem, and in fact thrive on them.
I hope this helps point you in the right direction and gives you a solid foundation to better health. 😉