Supplementation is BIG business, however there is a clue in the name…..’supplementation!’. You get nutrients from what you eat drink and breathe and this is where your body is designed to get the nutrients from, however there are 3 possibly 4 supplements that I take on a daily basis to supplement my own diet and I see these as essential to keeping my body running optimally.
The modern diet often leads to small deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals. These deficiencies can slow your metabolism and impair your ability to burn fat – among other things. A good multivitamin can help fix that. Choosing a multi-vitamin can be confusing. So many companies, so many products; it can be overwhelming. So, to keep it simple, My basic advice is that a daily multi-vitamin is better than none. Even cheap multivitamins represent a step in the right direction if you’re not supplementing right now. It’s important not to overdose on vitamins though as some of them (particularly the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K) can build up to toxic levels. That’s why you should stick with the recommendations on the label of the brand you choose.
2. Vitamin D3
Unfortunately in the UK we rarely see enough sunlight and our bodies are unlikely to manufacture Vitamin D in sufficient quantities, which I why I recommend taking a Vitamin D3 daily supplement. The health benefits are clear from the research but there is debate how much should we take. For me, I would suggest 1000ui for every 25lbs of bodyweight, so if you’re 10 stone or 140lbs then you will require 5600ui a day.
3. Fish Oils
One thing is for certain, we don’t eat enough oily fish. There’s a ton of very positive research on fish oil supplementation, it’s even been shown to improve mood and motivation. Not all omega 3-rich foods are created equal. So, even though flax seeds and flax seed oils are high in omega 3 fats, you can’t substitute these foods in place of fish oils. Further, not all fish oils are the same. For example, liver oils (like cod liver oil) aren’t the kind you should be using. No, to get the benefits you’ll want to choose omega 3 rich fish oils high in EPA/DHA. Krill Oil in very high in both but its also quite expensive, so do your research and buy a good quality fish oil to supplement your diet.
4. Protein Powders
I hear a lot of people who tell me they are put off by protein powders because they associate protein powders with body building and many still believe that taking them will turn you into the hulk (well maybe not, but it serves as a point of illustration!). Protein powders aren’t entirely necessary if we can meet our daily protein requirements from whole food sources like lean meats, chicken and fish but if you struggle to get enough protein into the diet then these can serve as a way to top up those protein levels. Nowadays, protein powders are extracted from all types of food sources – dairy, eggs, soy, and a host of plant sources like hemp, pea kernels, certain seeds and more. Plus, many of these options actually taste good.
So, whether you’re lactose intolerant, allergic to milk, or choose to follow a plant-based diet, you can pick the right product for your unique needs. The key, however, is to choose simple products, without too many additional ingredients.
So my Top 3 would be Multivitamins, Vitamin D3 and Fish Oils to take on a daily basis, and protein powder if you feel inclined to top up your protein levels. There are a vast amount of additional supplements you can buy but sticking to my top 3 will drastically improve your health goals in the short and long term.