With the plethora of different supplements, supplement companies, pills, powders, and so much to read on the internet it is just overload trying to determine which supplements are necessary, which ones are trustworthy and really do what they say and which ones you are simply wasting your money on. I want to dive into a few key supplements I recommend to all of my clients to add to their daily nutrition routine. We will discuss which supplements are essential to add as well as their function. After reading make sure to check out the Built 4 The Hunt supplement tab for all of your needs!
Let's be real, you can literally walk into your local grocery store now days and find isles and isles with every single kind of pill and powder supplement you can imagine. Not to mention every single supplement shop, multi-level marketing company and television or internet advertisements offering the newest and greatest supplement. With all of the product and information overload out there, it is very easy to be overwhelmed and confused about what supplements are actually necessary and beneficial and which are not. I want to dig deeper into a couple staple supplements that I feel like everyone should be taking on a daily basis to enhance their nutrition regimen. I will go through what each supplement does as well as what the importance is for your body.
First off, a supplement should be just that! Supplementing or adding to a current nutrition or supplementation plan. Supplements are not meant to replace any one thing but should be added to enhance your current program. A well-rounded nutrition program is an absolute necessity to make supplements worth taking and worth the money you will spend on them. They are designed to help bridge the gap between what your body needs and what you may not be receiving through foods and if you are not getting enough vital substances the body needs to function. Dietary supplements include such ingredients as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes. Dietary supplements are marketed in forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, powders, and liquids.
There are a few staple supplements that I feel like everyone should have as a base when they start supplementing their nutrition. Those key supplements are:
Branched- Chain Amino Acids
Fruits and Greens
Clearly these are not even close to all of the supplements out there, but these are going to create a good base for you as you continue to have a balanced nutrition plan and good workout regimen. So, lets dive in!
Vitamins and minerals are important to the body's overall health. Because many of the nutritional practices of society today as well as food choices, many individuals are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. Multivitamins are the most commonly used supplement in the world and their popularity has increased in the past few decades. They contain a variety of different vitamins and minerals and since there is no specific standard as to what constitutes as a multivitamin, their nutrient composition can vary drastically by brand and product. The primary role of a multivitamin is to fill nutritional gaps and make sure people get their daily allowance of under consumed nutrients.
There are 13 essential vitamins (vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins which are thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12 and folate) and six major minerals (Major minerals include calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium). Many produce enzymes and hormones, boost your immunity, and keep your nerves and organs functioning properly. Your body also needs these nutrients for reproduction, maintenance, growth, and the regulation of bodily processes. Multivitamins may offer many of these vitamins and minerals, but in varying amounts. They may also contain other ingredients like herbs, amino acids and fatty acids. When considering adding any supplement, a multivitamin would be a great first addition.
Protein makes up the major component of the body, second only to water in the tissues of the body, making up 17% of the body’s lean tissue. Protein has many functions in the regulation and maintenance of the body, including forming vital body structures, energy, blood clotting, immune function, acid-base balance, fluid balance, contributing to satiety, hormones and enzyme production, and muscle growth. Because most of the body’s lean tissue is composed of muscle, and adequate protein must be available for amino acids to provide protein synthesis since muscle is primarily protein and water. We discussed the many different types of protein a few weeks ago in "The Scoop on Protein Powder" but protein can also come not only as a powder but now is often sold already mixed into a liquid and you can even purchase protein water.
With the daily protein intake recommendations being roughly .8-1.2 grams per pound, with some people who are trying to gain muscle or have very strenuous workouts intaking upwards of 1.5-1.7 grams per pound, it can be very difficult for some individuals to get those daily protein requirements in through food alone. Sometimes because of the large amounts of protein they are taking in but also out of convenience, many resort to supplementing their protein intake with a powder or premade shake which can alleviate a lot of the hassle of eating that much protein without sacrificing the quality of proteins.
There are 20 different amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein and make up the thousands of different proteins in the human body. Nine of the 20 are considered essential amino acids, meaning they cannot be made by your body and must be obtained through your diet. Of the nine essential amino acids, three are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine and valine. “Branched-chain” refers to the chemical structure of BCAAs, which are found in protein-rich foods such as eggs, meat and dairy products. They are also a popular dietary supplement sold primarily in powder form. There are several benefits to adding Branched-chain amino acids to your supplement arsenal, especially if you are not getting in enough protein through meats and dairy products.
Advantages of taking BCAAs are increased muscle growth, decreased muscle soreness after training, reduced muscle fatigue, and prevention of muscle wasting. Supplementing with 10-30g of branched-chain amino acids daily can help the active individual in sparing muscle glycogen and in aiding recovery from exercise. But recent studies have also come to conclude that if an individual consumes an imbalanced mixture of BCAA's it may also have some adverse effects on reducing muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein turnover. If these two processes cannot be sustained for a crucial period of time, there may not be any physiological significance to using BCAA's.
As one of the three macronutrients essential for survival, fats are used in many of the body’s mechanisms for survival, including energy, immune function, forming parts of body structures, insulation and protection of vital organs, vision, and the synthesis of important hormones such as estrogens and testosterone. A lot of the benefit of fish oils seems to come from the omega-3 fatty acids that it contains. Around 30% of fish oil is made up of omega-3s, while the remaining 70% is made up of other fats. What’s more, fish oil usually contains some vitamin A and D. Interestingly, the body does not produce many of its own omega-3 fatty acids. Nor can the body make omega-3 fatty acids from omega-6 fatty acids, which are common in the Western diet. A lot of research has been done on both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), two types of omega-3 acids that are found in fish oil supplements.
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce pain and swelling. These fatty acids also prevent the blood from clotting easily as well as aid in heart health, support eye health, support healthy skin, and may improve symptoms of depression. When choosing a fish oil supplement, choose a fish oil supplement that provides at least 300mg of EPA and DHA per serving.
Although they will never replace a diet rich in fresh fruits and greens, greens powders or a Fruits and Greens supplement can be a very convenient way to get these fruits and vegetables in when your diet may be falling short. Because of their highly concentrated nutrient profile, Fruits and Greens supplements are believed to help boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, detoxify the body, and promote healthy digestion. Some studies have indicated that adding this supplement may help regulate cholesterol as well as reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
Fruits and Greens powders have skyrocketed in popularity because they're packed with superfoods that trigger your natural detoxification process, stimulate energy production, minimize stress, and promote gut health. They're great for anyone who's on the run or doesn't eat a full serving of vegetables every day. Though there can be many variants as to what kinds of fruits and vegetables are in these types of supplements, the benefits of each different type are the same. Remember, they are supposed to be an addition to a well-balanced diet and not replacing all of your fruits and vegetables for the day.
By walking through a few of these key supplements and explaining their benefits and function, I hope you can feel better about making an educated decision when choosing to add certain supplements into your nutrition plan. Make sure you swing over to the Built 4 The Hunt supplements dropdown for all of your supplement needs!
Until we chat again next week, remember if you fail to plan you will plan to fail. It's never too late to get started!
Built4TheHunt Trainer & Content Contributor