The supplement industry is big business. Vitamins, minerals and herbal remedies are a multibillion dollar industry.
Americans spend about $35 billion a year on weight loss supplements.
As a result, there are a plethora of products claiming to resolve any issues you might have. Many of them claim to help you get big and lean.
Most of this is marketing BS!
Almost all of them will simply leave you fat skinny and out of pocket.
How do you know what is useful and what is simply marketing hyperbole?
Well, I thought I’d outline the top 7 supplements worth considering to save you some time and a whole lot of money.
These are the same supplements I use and recommend to my clients.
1. First up…Whey Protein
Everyone knows you need protein shakes to get hyooge, right?!
Is it essential?
No. But, no supplement is. The clue is in the name!
With that said whey protein is a great product especially for those that struggle to get enough protein in (if you aren’t sure if that applies to you then consider that you should be getting approximately 1.6g of protein per pound of bodyweight).
What is whey?
Whey is a product of cheese making. It’s the watery part of milk that separates from the curds.
Protein powders are popular with athletes and recreational gym junkies alike, particularly those lifting weights. They provide a fantastic source of amino acids. Several studies have found that whey protein, when combined with resistance training, might increase strength, muscle size, and lean body mass.
I would suggest using 1 scoop once per day (approx. 30g) for most people to top up protein intake.
Timing isn’t a priority for most but, everyone takes it straight after they finish their final rep of a session. Urban legend has it that if you don’t you will miss the anabolic window, go catabolic and waste away to look like a marathon runner instantly. Of course this isn’t true but, for many post workout is very convenient and earns them Bro points.
According to nutritionist Brian St. Pierre magnesium is an important mineral for those looking to build a better body.
Here a 7 reasons why:
- Magnesium plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body
- Magnesium deficiency is associated with hypoparathyroidism, low vitamin D production and disrupted bone metabolism.
- Magnesium is the mineral of insulin sensitivity. With optimal levels of magnesium you will process carbohydrates more efficiently.
- Low magnesium levels have been linked to type-2 diabetes.
- Magnesium supplementation has been shown to improve blood lipids
- Magnesium supplementation and repletion has been shown to restore endothelial dysfunction in people with coronary artery disease, and decrease inflammation.
- In conjunction with weight training magnesium can increase testosterone.
I often recommend that clients get their Red Blood Cell magnesium levels checked and depending on the results supplement with magnesium in various forms.
I have seen fantastic results with people using the Magnesium Glycinate form in the evening and Magnesium Malate post-training.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble prohormones obtained from sun exposure, food, and supplements.
Research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition estimates that by doubling current recommended vitamin D levels more people would avoid disease and an early death, and people might extend their lifespans.
If recommended vitamin D levels were raised, the researchers estimate that death rates from any cause would be reduced. The case for higher vitamin D levels is strongest for the prevention of heart disease, cancer, respiratory infections, tuberculosis, falls and fractures and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D is naturally produced by the human body when exposed to direct sunlight so even better than supplementing…go out and enjoy some sunshine. People with limited sun exposure should include good sources of vitamin D in their diet. It’s not that often we Brits get to see the sun so enjoy it while you can and supplement with it the other 364 days of the year ;).
4. Omega-3 with rheumatoid arthritis as well as osteoarthritis.
I would suggest you consider taking a fish oil supplement that has 1-3 g of EPA and DHA twice per day. Make sure to check the label of your supplement and take enough to get to that 1-3 grams of EPA and DHA, rather than total fish oil.
Diets high in omega-3s have been found to help control inflammation and protect the heart. Studies show strong evidence that omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels. There is also good evidence that diets high in omega-3 fatty acids help
Omega-3s can also be found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel or tuna.
I personally supplement with the liquid fish oil from Aliment Nutrition. My kids also take their Frutol product which is a combination of fish oil and fruits. It actually tastes like mango so is a good option if the straight up fish oil isn’t for you (pussy!!! ;).
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that have been linked to increased immunity, reduced inflammation, a healthy digestive system, reduced fatigue, and general well-being.
Many foods are rich in probiotics. I would suggest making eating more of these your first step in upping probiotic consumption. Foods such as, yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kim chi are all high in probiotics.
There haven’t been any studies investigating a direct link between probiotics and athletic performance. By taking a holistic approach, however, the benefits probiotics have on the entire body may in turn benefit performance and recovery.
If you experience consistent stomach problems like gas, bloating or diahhrea, it might be worth investigating using a probiotic supplement.
I use various probitoics. I have found the following brands to be good…
- Aliment Nutrition
- Designs for Health
Creatine is a naturally-occurring compound that can be produced by the human body and plays a role in energy metabolism. Creatine helps replenish our most immediate fuel source (intramuscular ATP). This gets used up in short (5-15sec) intense bouts of exercise like sprinting and weight lifting.
Creatine supplementation is a way to saturate intramuscular stores of this compound, which has been shown as an effective means to increase performance.
Some research shows that uptake of creatine is better when cosnumed alongside carbohydrates. Five grams per day of creatine monohydrate accompanied by about 30 g of carbohydrate is a commonly recommended dosage for improving performance.
7. Essential Amino Acids (EAAs)
EAAs are the building blocks of proteins. When we’re stressed, like during exercise, EAAs are mobilized and used for protein synthesis and energy metabolism. If this doesn’t happen, the body breaks down muscle for energy.
Stealing your gainz! No good bro!
If you consume sufficient protein throughout the day then I wouldn’t worry about adding EAAs into your supplement plan.
If, however, you need additional protein then EAAs can be a good choice. This is especially the case if you don’t tolerate whey protein (some people get digestive issues with whey).
Taking EAAs peri-workout (peri = pre/intra &/or post) is the best use of them in my opinion. I often have clients take them in combination with carbohydrate immediately post-exercise. This has been shown as an effective means of promoting muscle protein synthesis (MPS).
The EAAs are very rapidly absorbed meaning they get into your system extremely quickly. Ideal when you are trying to recover from a tough training session!
There is also some evidence to show that combining EAAs and carbs prior to exercise may be an effective strategy to promote increases in the muscle protein synthetic response to training.
Interested in getting bigger and stronger? Then you want to promote MPS.
Take approximately 6-9 g of EAA (note. 20 g of whey protein contains about 9 g of EAA) combined with 30-60 g of carbohydrate (dependant on your body fat, training volume and training goals) immediately post-exercise to optimise your recovery.
For more details about high quality products or advice on how to get the best out of your supplements drop me a message.