The Truth About Supplements

the-truth-about-supplements-bottlesWhen I was sick, and I mean REALLY SICK, I was taking a lot of supplements. Seriously there was around 16 or 17 different things I was taking at a time and it was up to 7 times a day I had to remember to take them!

Yes it was a little ridiculous but when you’re sick and don’t know what to do, you do whatever you can and whatever the doctor advises you to do so.

But do supplements work?

It’s a huge industry and there are tablets and capsules and powders and oils for this, that and everything in between. We as consumers are constantly bombarded with a magic pill to help burn fat, increase energy, fix this and cure that but does any of it work or does it just end up down the drain?

Some stuff works. Some stuff doesn’t. And sometimes it just doesn’t work for your body.

And it definitely wont work if you don’t take it!

Did you know that people will only take tablets or supplements an average of 50% of the time? This number includes people who need them for life threatening conditions!!! No wonder people complain that supplements and even medication doesn’t work. They’re not taking it when they should!

the-truth-about-supplements-healthy-on-the-insideYour body may be deficient in a mineral, but sometimes supplementing it doesn’t work either. Sometimes you may be getting plenty of that mineral but are unable to absorb it. If this is happening you may have another problem going on.

I like the idea of getting everything we need from what we eat. I don’t like the idea of having to supplement all the time. However the quality of our food isn’t as great as it has been in the past. If you can eat everything organic you are going to be getting much better nutrition than without, but still will likely require some supplementation.

So what should you supplement with?

The best answer is whatever your personal health care professional recommends for you. If you’re seeing a naturopath or natural therapy practitioner then listen to them and trust their judgement. What I’ve recommended below is based on personal experience and recommendations from fellow health and fitness professionals.

the-truth-about-supplements-krill-oilFish Oil

If you’re not getting enough good fat in your diet fish oil is one of the best sources. Jon Berardi of Precision Nutrition recommends 6-12 grams of fish oil per day.

Is Krill Oil better? Probably, but it’s not 100% proven so you be the judge. You should always try to buy the best product you can afford and always read the label to see if it’s exactly what you want. And you can check with a nutritionist for more information.

A Multivitamin or Mineral Complex

There are so many of these around now and is one better than another? Possibly. But it’s hard to tell.

Most companies will produce a mens multi and a womens multi or just a general multivitamin. Maybe they’re right.

The metabolic typing diet says that there are specific needs to different people so they produce a multivitamin to suit all 3 types – protein type, carb type and mixed type. Maybe they’re right.

At the end of the day try a few and see what feels like its working best for you.

the-truth-about-supplements-pea-proteinProtein Powder

It’s a food, yes, but it’s also a supplement. You don’t need protein powder, but to get adequate protein can be time consuming so this is more of a meal on the go substitute to match our busy lifestyles.

There’s milk based protein powders and plant based protein powders and what you use is based entirely on your own preferences and needs, or another’s recommendations. I recommend whey protein to those who tolerate milk or pea protein to those who are adversely affected by dairy. I don’t recommend soy in a protein powder as it’s proven to have detrimental effects on the body.

I personally take pea protein powder several times a week for variety in my meals and blended up in a smoothie with fruits and vegetables to keep my immune system working well.

Digestive Enzymes

If you have problems with bloating, gas, irritable bowel syndrome or any other digestion complications then digestive enzymes can help. This help to break the food down so your body can absorb it.

This is something I have used for the last year as my digestive system has been working poorly for a long time. Now it’s getting better and once my intestines are working properly I won’t have to take them.

Once again this is only a piece of the puzzle so if you suspect you have digestion issues check with your health practitioner for a personal solution.

the-truth-about-supplements-probioticsProbiotics

Probiotics are a beneficial supplement for keeping your digestive system healthy. For those people who have a compromised digestive system then this stuff can help to restore the good bacteria levels to where they should be so everything works properly.

But you don’t always have to supplement with a tablet or capsule. Fermented vegetables such as kimchi and sauerkraut are probiotic rich foods.

I was taking probiotics supplements for around 3 months and they worked a treat. While my digestion is still not perfect I’ve been adding sauerkraut to my meals as often as I can each week. It’s much cheaper than buying the capsules and am hoping it’s effective in maintaining proper levels of healthy bacteria.

A Greens Supplement

If you’re not getting enough vegetables in your diet then a green supplement can help. It combines many different types of greens in a powdered form to help keep you healthy and boost your system.

They often contain vitamins and minerals, herbs, essential fatty acids and fibre, as well as probiotics and prebiotics to help your digestive system function well.

I’m not on one but once I’m off the rest of my supplements I will be. In the meantime I throw spinach in my smoothie in the morning and try new vegetables as often as possible and I suggest you do the same.

the-truth-about-supplements-joint-healthGlucosamine & Chondroitin

If your joints are creaking and it feels like there is no cartilage left in your knees, then I’d recommend taking both glucosamine and chondroitin for at least 6 months if not 12 before you will notice a difference.

I did take this stuff for around 6 months and my joints improved dramatically so I will higly recommend it. I also recommend taking it with fish oil as it’s know to help improve joints as well.

Most importantly, you have to eliminate the crap from your diet and make it as clean as possible for the body to repair itself. Cut out as much sugar and alcohol as possible and anything else that may be detrimental.

You may be able to buy replacement knees but the price for improving your health and knees naturally will definitely be worth it in the long run.

Creatine

Creatine is a muscle gaining supplement and one of the only supplements available with consistent results as working for its purpose. If you wanna gain muscle then creatine will definitely help.

Just be sure to cycle its use. You don’t want to use it all the time or your body may stop producing it as it’s supposed to.

the-truth-about-supplements-glutamineL Glutamine

Glutamine is often marketed as a bodybuilding supplement that helps with muscle growth too, but that’s not why I’m bringing it up. This stuff helps with healthy gut function and may be of benefit with gut repair for people with leaky gut syndrome.

I’ve taken it while going through treatment for leaky gut so I can recommend the stuff. But it’s only one piece of the puzzle and will rely on a specific diet and other supplements for best results.

Vitamin C

I recommend this purely for the fact that since I started taking this regularly I stopped getting colds, even when I was exhausted and my housemates had a cold or flu. Sure you may get enough from your diet but during winter or time of high stress, a healthy immune system is a blessing. I hate being sick so I’m gonna keep taking this stuff year round.

The recommended dosage is low so I’ve been taking 2-5 grams a day depending on my stress and energy levels. I’d recommend 2 grams during warmer months and up to 5 in colder months especially if you’re prone to colds.

The supplement that I like most.

the-truth-about-supplements-vital-greensVital Greens.

I’ll let them describe it…

Vital Greens is a nutrient and enzyme-rich, complete “Superfood” which contains 76 nutrients essential to deliver optimal health, energy and vitality to every cell in the body. These essential nutrients include naturally occurring whole food source vitamins and both macro and trace minerals.

Together with powerful antioxidants, pro-biotics for intestinal health, essential amino-acids, essential fatty acids (both Omega 3 and 6), digestive enzymes, cell pigments, plant sterols and fibers. All these nutrients combine synergistically to provide a balanced nutritional support from real food that’s alive instead of synthetically made vitamin pills. This combination will supply the body with the raw material it needs daily for optimum health and vitality – in a powder form for easy and complete absorption.’

Why do I like it? Because it contains vitamins and minerals, digestive enzymes, probiotics and greens supplementation all in one. That means less tablets or capsules and more bang for your buck.

Granted this stuff is kind of expensive at around $2 a day but I think it’s the best around. My housemate has been taking the stuff for around 4 years and hasn’t been sick since. And you can just throw this in with your morning smoothie or mix it in a glass of water once a day.

Bottom line with supplements is if you can’t notice the difference after 3 months of taking a supplement then you may be better off spending your money on real food instead. But don’t kid yourself – a supplement is a supplement to your diet.

You still must get your diet sorted out and be strict with it if you want that supplement to make a difference.

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