Supplements. They are just that, SUPPLEMENTS. Therefore even though they are good and supplement healthy living, they shouldn’t be used solely in the name of being “healthy”.
They are not magic pills, they are supplements.
That being said, I have really never been one to take too many “fitness supplements” except for natural ones like multi-vitamins, all natural About Time whey and such. But since this was a big topic requested by many, I did some research on the best, CLEAN supplements, to help you reach your fitness and health goals. The first 4 are ones that are a part of MY diet every day!
Update: now that I have a MS in sports nutrition, I can validate this all a little more 🙂
1. First one up, multi-vitamins. Even if you are a super, squeaky clean eater, you may not be getting all the vitamins and minerals you need to support healthy growth and health. You know the saying, “you should get all your vitamins in through diet alone”? WELL, that’s not necessarily possible nowadays…
- Improper farming practices deplete the soil of nutrients. When plants are repeatedly grown on the same land, the soil loses nutrients faster than they can be replaced. Over time, the plants have fewer nutrients to grow. Fertilizer contains just enough nutrition for the plant to survive until harvesting, but not enough to support human health. This results in plants that have 75% fewer micronutrients. (“Not On The Label“, p213.)
- According to David From Time Magazine, “the average vegetable found in today’s supermarket is anywhere from 5% to 40% lower in minerals (including magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc) than those harvested just 50 years ago.”
And that is why we all need to be taking a multi-vitamin. Yet even though more expensive, try to go with all natural ones, as they are much more easily absorbed by the body. The extra money spent benefits in this situation a ton.
2. Fish Oil. This is something I take every day. Fish Oil supplies those omega fatty acids, which prevent muscle break down, increase your immune system, and slow down the aging process (Women’s Health Magazine) so you can look like your younger 20 yr old self much longer.
- Foods also high in Omega 3’s? à salmon, tuna, sardines (ew), chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, and walnut oil.
3. Probiotics. Whether you have digestive problems/ intestinal related issue or not, probiotics is something that should be in everyone’s daily consumption. Why? Breaking down our food, absorbing nutrients from the food, and building up strong muscle all require a running gut function/digestive system. We all have good and bad bacteria in our gut, but sometimes when we get sick and take antibiotics, those same pills that kill off the bad bacteria, also kill all the good bacteria, which helps us breakdown food and aids in digestion. Especially if you’re taking in a lot of protein and protein powders/bars, you definitely need a good digestive system to break all that protein down to be used to its fullest capability and to prevent problems in digesting it which can lead to all sorts of undesired effects.
4. Whey Protein. The last one I’ll be talking about today that I consume every day, and one I have personally seen such great benefits in! So many people spend endless hours in the gym, only to be disappointed with no results. WELL, one of the biggest solutions to that is pre-fueling and refueling, which is where whey protein comes into play. It helps in repairing the breakdown of muscle fibers that occur during working out. Here are the top 5 benefits of whey according to Men’s Health:
- Helps you lose fat and preserve muscle (proven through studies)
- Increases size and strength of muscle if taken within an hour of exercising (studies have shown benefits of both before and right after workouts)
- Decreases hunger: studies have shown those taking whey protein drink vs those who didn’t had reduced levels of ghrelin, which is a horomone that signals you’re hungry
- Helps coping with stress: This came as a surprise to me! But studies have shown it does and is most likely due to changing levels of brain serotonin. So instead of drinking your stress/sadness away, grab a whey protein shake!
- Improves immune system: high levels of aerobic exercise can increase glutathione levels, which can affect your health in many ways; however studies showed whey reduced these levels of glutathione. Just another reason why whey is great for those who are living fit and active lives!
- Read more on ALL protein powders here! Everything you could want to know!
5. Glutamine: This is a supplement I use to take as a competitive runner all the time, and then stopped for a while. But as I strive to put on muscle mass now, I think I’ll be getting back to taking it again.
- Glutamine is a very strong anti-catabolic agent that helps you to recover from workouts faster and promotes healing. It is such a strong healing agent; it’s even used in hospitals for burn patients! (Evolve Fitness Inc). Glutamine is a conditional essential amino acid, which mean the body produces enough of it for normal circumstances, but under high stress (LIKE WORKING OUT), your body can’t make enough; hence why this supplement is great to take!
- It also is great for women as it increase the production of HGH (Human Growth Horomone), which is a fat burning agent that women only have a 16th of the amount men have.
- Update: research has now been showing little benefit from glutamine in the athletic arena, even though it is very widely used in the clinical realm with burn patients and wound healing.
6. BCAA’s: This is one I’ve never taken before actually, but has great benefits! 2/3’s of your free form amino acids in your muscle is made of glutamine, and then the other 1/3 is made of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). BCAA’s is actually one of the NINE essential amino acids, which CANNOT be produced by the body itself. So it is very vital to being taking this, especially if you are exercising as exercise could possible “increase the BCAA requirement” (Nutraceutical effects of branched-chain amino acids on skeletal muscle).
Shoot, guess I’m going to start taking my BCAA’s! You learn something new every day…
Those sum up my top, clean supplements I’ve chosen to share after research with you that can SUPPLEMENT your fit and healthy lifestyle!
Questions for YOU
What supplements do you take?
Are there any not on this list that you think are important?
Out of curiosity, what are your opinions on creatine?
How did you like this type of informative post that required my research?
Until next time,
Xo Sarah Grace
*Disclaimer: All advice and facts given in this post are based off my own research. I am only a nutrition student, and am not certified in any way. Take all advice as you will.*