Which are some good supplements I could take?
Every year, Americans shell out $76 billion of hard-earned money to purchase health supplements. Sad fact is, most of those compounds are unproven, untested and potentially harmful.
However, certain supplements are above scrutiny because they’ve long been known as essential to optimum performance and a healthy lifestyle.
Supplementing is not a replacement for a good, healthy diet although sometimes, eating the right foods isn’t enough. With the shift in lifestyles for many people, supplementing the right way can give us a mental and physical performance boost every single day.
Here are the four non-negotiable dietary supplements to take every day because you don’t want to come up short when everything you need is readily available.
1) ✅ Omega-3s from Fish Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential, unsaturated fatty acid that are key building blocks in your body and brain.
They’re crucial for keeping physical performance top-notch and decreasing harmful, painful inflammation in the body. You can keep your mind sharp and ward off depression by increasing your intake of omega-3s.
Sources of omega-3s are fatty fish, flax seeds, nuts and leafy greens.
Yet, a whopping 70% of Americans are thought to be omega-3 deficient. If you’re not consuming two to three servings of salmon, tuna, mackerel or sardines each week, this could be you.
Sadly, only fatty fish readily supply all the core omega-3 fatty acids we need. With this in mind, fish oil supplements are recommended for those unable to shift their diet. Currently, an estimated 10% of supplements purchased today are superfood omega-3 boosters.
Why do you need omega-3s from fish oil?
Well, unless you’re living on the coast, you’re not getting access to the historical levels of omega-3 fish oils your body wants.
Plus, the omega-6 fatty acids you eat are blocking your omega-3s.
Omega-6s are another essential fatty acid; however, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids compete for the same conversion enzymes after they’re consumed, so they cancel out each other.
This means the overall quantity of omega-6s has a direct impact upon the amount of omega-3s that can be used by the body. If too much omega-6 is present in a diet, the omega-3s can’t function to prevent disease and mental decline.
Unfortunately, most Americans eat way too many omega-6s.
Where do all these omega-6s come from? Corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil … all used in processed foods, sodas, fried food, bakery items and much more.
Today, our modern ratio is between 10:1, 20:1 and as high as 25:1 in some Americans. It’s important to know that anything more than 5:1 is potentially damaging.
Anthropological research suggests that our hunter-gatherer ancestors maintained an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of approximately 1:1 and were free of all our modern ailments such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
“We know that omega-3s, such as DHA and EPA found in fish oil, lower triglycerides, reduce inflammation, stabilize heart rhythms, and, at higher intakes, help prevent blood clotting,” says JoAnn Manson, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.
“Because of its anti-inflammatory effects, fish oil may help ease muscle and joint aches and make skin look younger.”
Adding fish oil caplets to your daily routine will help alleviate muscle aches and ward off dangerous diseases that are rampant due to modern food supplies.
Dosage: 1 to 2 grams of omega-3s from fish oil per day. Don’t overdo it, though: more than 4 grams carries a risk of internal bleeding.
2) ✅ Magnesium
Your body needs magnesium and lots of it.
Magnesium is key for “energy,” as it activates ATP (adenosine triphosphate), regulating energy levels and keeping you going full speed. To expand and contract muscles fully, the body needs plenty of this mineral. Avoid muscle spasms during or after a workout by eating a magnesium-rich banana.
More than 350 enzyme-level functions rely on magnesium to regulate your metabolism, sleep cycles and blood pressure. Sufficient levels of magnesium are also shown to prevent diabetes, cardiovascular disease, migraines and osteoporosis. Plus, by obtaining enough of this mineral, you can decrease muscle aches, insomnia and anxiety.
But according to Dennis Goodman, integrative medicine director at NYU, 70–80% of us are deficient in magnesium … even those who eat plenty of leafy greens, nuts, avocados, yogurt and other foods loaded with magnesium.
“Soils are usually depleted of magnesium, so vegetables aren’t getting enough from the soil,” he says.
And stress doesn’t help. Goodman says that magnesium needs in the body spike with stress levels. As adrenaline levels and blood pressure rise, our cells consume much more magnesium.
It’s also needed to regulate the “happy hormones” like serotonin through crucial GABA functions, which are located primarily in our stomachs. Digestive disorders lead to malabsorption of magnesium, as do widespread and chronic antibiotic use. These factors can tighten muscles and increase acidity in the intestinal tract, causing constipation and bloating. If you’re having regularity issues, relax yourself with magnesium.
Dosage: Aim for 400 mg magnesium total intake per day. If you eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit and dark chocolate, then cut any supplementation in half. Too much magnesium leads to diarrhea, as the body needs to excrete it fast.
3) ✅ Probiotics
Take probiotics to help with nutrient digestion and absorption, for example, this will directly help with magnesium uptake.
Your gut is full of bacteria, three pounds to be exact. Thankfully, there are trillions of “good” bacteria that keep “bad” bacteria in check and keep your immune system humming along nicely.
Every time you put something into your body, your stomach bacteria have to deal with it. And if these bacteria are depleted, they do a poor job.
Your inner gut health is called your microbiome and it’s very sensitive to changes in your diet, stress, medication and alcohol.
If this ecosystem is out of whack for whatever reason, it can have serious implications for your body and mental well-being.
For example, researchers in Denmark uncovered that people with low bacterial diversity gained significantly more weight over a nine year span than those with a healthy gut system. Supporting studies confirm that obese and non-obese individuals have very different bacterial compositions in their stomachs. This becomes important when you eat, because you’re going to absorb and store calories very differently depending upon the bacteria you have working for you.
Studies in mice also showed that bacterially altered mice accumulated as much as 57% more fat in 14 days.
Scientists in New Zealand found that those taking probiotics suffered 40% fewer colds over a year. It’s estimated that 75% of the immune system response is a result of the bacterial composition of our gut. This is because good bacteria improve the gut barrier, reduce inflammation, digest the bad bacteria and communicate with white blood cells for further bodywide immune action.
If you lack the bacteria, you lack this response.
The gastrointestinal tract, the gut, is know as the “second brain.” With 100 million nerve cells and a direct link to the spine and nervous system, the gut also produces 95% of your body’s serotonin as well as stores of dopamine and oxytocin.
To stay as happy as you can, go with your gut.
Dosage: There’s no set dosage for probiotics, unlike the many antibiotics on the market. Ask your doctor or consult the label on any trustworthy brand. Negative supplementation has not been documented with probiotics.
4) ✅ Vitamin D
Sufficient vitamin D is readily available through 30 minutes of direct sunlight a day (without sunblock). Yet, most of us fall substantially short of that, even in summertime. With a life lived in front of computers and inside cars, time outdoors is at a premium.
So we supplement with vitamin D to benefit our immune system and fight the flu as well as heart disease and potential cancers. Seasonal depression also correlates with vitamin D deficiency, especially in northern climates where the sun is sparse for half the year.
Unfortunately, vitamin D is rare in most foods. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel offer 100% DV, as does cod liver oil. A serving of sardines and tuna bring about half of your recommended daily intake, but beyond that fortified milk (24%) and eggs (10%) are your best bet.
Since it’s a fat soluble vitamin, it’s best to eat any vitamin D supplements with a meal. Vitamin D increases the amount of calcium we absorb from our food, so it’s great for reducing the risk of osteoporosis and bone breaks that increase as early as our 30s.
Be sure to grab vitamin D3 instead of vitamin D2, as it’s more readily assimilated into the body.
Dosage: The RDA for vitamin D is 600 mg for anyone between 1 and 70 years of age. A multivitamin will offer around 100 mgs, but cod liver oil supplements offer both omega-3s and vitamin D in one fell swoop.
In a perfect world, no one would have to supplement. However, as our lifestyles and world have changed, it’s become difficult for many to receive the adequate nutritional balance only from our food. Fortunately, modern science offers us the option to seize complete everyday health in the form of helpful supplements. Before purchasing though, consult with your physician or a nutritionist, as these professionals can assess your individual needs accurately. Always buy supplements from reputable sources—and never super-dose, as it can create serious health problems. Here’s to your health!
Fitplan helps you achieve your fitness goals by sharing the exact training methods of the world’s top athletes!
Best of all? It’s free to get started!
[mks_button size=”medium” title=”Sign Up For Fitplan” style=”squared” url=”https://www.fitplanapp.com/subscribe” target=”_blank” bg_color=”#22272E ” txt_color=”#FFFFFF ” icon=”” icon_type=””]