I have conversations around supplements pretty much daily and there is a boat load of confusion.
What exactly is a supplement?
A supplement is something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.
So, when we are talking about our nutrition we look at supplementing any deficiencies we see in someone’s diet. If they can eat the variety of foods and the amounts necessary to get their daily requirements then awesome, stick with real food!
In our professional opinion and practice we believe in real food first and supplement where necessary.
Unfortunately, most of us are deficient in something or we like the convenience a supplement provides.
The biggest thing I urge anyone reading this is do your research. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
There is no magic pill, shake or bar. (Bars and Shakes are Supplements)
Also with all the latest greatest diets out there you should be guarded. How long has it been around, is it researched, does it pass quality standards or even have them? Where do they get their ingredients? Does the container you bought last time contain the same ingredients this time? How do you know? Are the formulas pharmaceutical or USP grade, with each lot tested for purity and potency?
It’s overwhelming and not all supplements are created equal.
Also in our world of information overload you can get pulled into something that genuinely sounds good.
Where do you begin?
First and foremost, food journal with a resource like My Fitness Pal. This will help you see if you are deficient with any of your macro nutrients: Carbohydrates, Protein and Fats.
The area we see people struggle the most is protein. Most of the time we can adjust how much, for example, chicken they consume, etc. and that will pull that number up, but if we see someone struggling to eat one more thing, a shake is an easy way to increase protein without feeling super full.
Multi Vitamins and Omega 3 Fatty Acids are another simple easy to do but easy not to do.
Again, if you are getting everything you need from all your daily food intake, there is no reason to take a multi vitamin, but for us to consume the plethora of foods to obtain all the vitamins and minerals needed, we may resort to taking a high quality Multi Vitamin/Mineral.
Omega-3 fatty acids are paramount for nutrition because of their involvement in the transport of nutrients, the maintenance of healthy skin, and they can help support a healthy immune system. I cannot say enough good things about taking in Omega-3 and DHA and there are several studies supporting the intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Recovery is another area we look at for supplementation. When someone is working out they are breaking down the muscle fiber in an appropriate way, then nutrition and a few other factors play a huge role in recovery.
We have added in branched chain amino acids, along with L-glutamine and L-arginine to help repair and protect muscle fibers. Adding in branched chain amino acids, along with L-glutamine and L-arginine along with a healthy diet will not only help repair muscles but will also help preserve muscle tissue in a caloric deficit.
I could go on and on about the supplements we personally recommend and use but from here we would need to go into more details about your goals, which is what we do in our program.
Other supplements can help with performance but again do not just read the label. Do your due diligence and talk with a professional, not the guy behind the GNC counter that has been trained on what needs to sell.
It can be very overwhelming. Just look down the aisle at your big box store, pick the pretty label, I am just kidding. But the aisle never ends and several products are pure marketing.
Therefore, I feel supplements get a bad rap. Or you have had your cousins friend try to sell you into this new thingy…
Direct Sales is not a bad way to earn a living. It is how some companies have chosen to get their products out there. Believe me, each of these companies can chose to put the products on the shelves at the store or they can use relationships to sell.
But it does not make the product bad, it may skew how you think about the product based on your personal experience.
Ok, enough of my soap box and if you are still reading I hope you gained some insight and if you have more questions please always reach out.
I wanted to share our professional recommendations without ever selling or saying the name of the products, we choose and that was intentional. We believe in certain products because of the science and research behind them. Also, I have successfully used these products through pregnancy based on an approved list and the recommendations of my midwife and doctor.
Remember good nutrition comes first, then supplement where you find deficiencies.
If you have any questions just reach out and I would be glad to help you navigate.
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