3 Elementary Supplement DOs and DONTs
Are you currently taking any supplements? "Yes! I don't exercise like I should and I eat too much junk, but I am doing this part right. I do a meal replacement from muscle milk in the morning instead of breakfast because any breakfast is better than no breakfast, right? I take a one-a-day and fish oil from walmart. I'm also taking my fat burner, the animal pack thingy that the nutrition guy at GNC said I should take, and the rasberry ketones from doctor OZ. So I don't need any help here!"
When it comes to health and fitness, supplementation is an important topic to be considered. The average person eats way too much of the wrong stuff and way to little of the right stuff to support an active and healthy metabolism and therefore supplementation is a great way to ensure that all the correct building blocks are available for your body to succeed in its healthful endeavors. Certain supplements are even helpful in supporting imbalanced hormonal systems, detoxifying naturally, and enhancing certain aspects of the performance and recovery of exercise. The following are 3 easy rules to follow when choosing what to make a part of your lifestyle.
1) DO take a multivitamin, fish oil, whey protein, and calcium/magnesium supplement, but DONT throw your money away on cheap, store-brand product.
These core supplements have something for everybody. Multi's cover your vitamin and mineral bases (since you're likely not eating perfectly and even if you did, our food is not as nutritious as it used to be!), Fish oil increases your omega 3:6 ratio which is anti-inflammatory or promotes the health of several organs and systems, whey protein promotes satiation, digestive health, and lean muscle maintenance. Magnesium (absorbed best in the presence of calcium) is the most deficient nutrient in the American body finding many of our fellow patriots with poor bone/joint health and prone to tendon injuries during exercise!
Not all supplements were created equal, however. In many cases, the quality of the supplement is even more important that the supplement itself! The quality of the supplement affects the the actual composition of each dose (what are you swallowing?) and the delivery from the supplement to the body (after you swallow it, what happens?). To illustrate this point, you are welcome to recreate the following experiment: drop a Centrum one-a-day tablet into a drinking glass full of vinegar. Leave it there for a week and marvel that it is still intact!
How is your body supposed to break that down and use it? In contrast, put a pharmaceutical AM/PM multi with an organic capsule in a glass of WATER for 10 minutes and presto! The capsule disappears and all that's left is nutritious goodness for your stomach and small intestines to absorb!
Douglas labs and Thorne are two nationally accredited pharmaceutical-grade companies that produce such supplements. If you're going to invest in supplementing your diet, get the benefit you're paying to get.
2) DO explore and research new supplements, but DONT forget that the fitness industry is out to make money just like any other business.
The nutrition field is constantly being updated, studied, and advanced so it is likely that you will encounter new and exciting cornucopias that promise amazing things. Some of them might be helpful, but the vast majority of supplements are out there, not because they have been scientifically researched to deliver long-lasting results, but for the simple reason that people buy them. If your being bombarded by Dr. Oz's top 10 list or being pushed by the Vitamin Shoppe associate, you would be well-advised to listen for specific, scientific evidence that you can access on your own (a research article(s)) rather than anecdotal stories about "this one guy/girl who took this and it worked well for them!". The research you do will likely save you money and get you your results much healthier and faster than if you go on a "miracle-supplement" spree. Yes, all of you Raspberry-Ketone-Takers, I'm talking to you!
(Proprietary blend? Kind of like saying "magical pixie dust". Just fyi)
3) DO commit to making supplements a part of your daily nutrition regimen but DONT make the mistake believing there is a magic pill out there for you to reach your goals.
I look forward to informing you further in upcoming posts about helpful, objectively-tested supplements that go beyond the core supplementation, however this point MUST NOT be overlooked. Supplements are just that. A SUPPLEMENTATION to a healthy life-style, diet choices, and activity. If you are sedentary, eating few or no nutritious foods, or inconsistent in your sleep, then there is no supplement out there that can change your body for the better. It's like adding cruise control to a car with no engine...cruise control is a nice feature that can make driving long distances easier and more enjoyable, but if your car can't even make it out of the yard, it's kind of a moot point.
Follow the Do's
There's no magic pill for the lifestyle changes required to live healthy.
But if you do add supplements to your program to support your health and fitness, do buy quality and do your research.
Your body (and wallet) will be glad you did!
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This information is meant to be actionable information to promote health and well-being and not to be used to diagnose or treat medical symptoms or conditions.