Let me start out by saying the key word of this title is ‘Consider’. Anytime you are thinking of implementing a nutritional supplement, you should first start out determining the goal you are trying to reach by adding that supplement. Without a goal or purpose, there really is no point in taking any additional supplements, as a well balanced natural diet can give you all the vitamins and minerals you need.
Navigating the supplement industry can be confusing, frustrating, and well let’s face it, EXPENSIVE!
I will be the first person to tell you to be CAUTIOUS with using supplements, as many of them don’t do a thing and some are unsafe and full of artificial ingredients. So you may be asking how these products can be sold. That is because the FDA does not regulate any nutritional supplement on the market, so therefore companies can claim their product does EVERYTHING and ANYTHING without scientific evidence, and they can add ANY ingredient to try to support their claim. Kind of scary if you think about it, right? It is the reason why I have declined several offers to be an ambassador many of these companies.
BUT I firmly believe there are two supplements that you should you consider carefully, especially if you are physically active.
Protein supplements have been popular for many many years and with good reasoning. They are a great way to get the right amount of protein you need on a day to day basis. General requirements of protein are .36g/pound of body weight or 10-15% of your daily caloric intake. THAT IS if your protein intake includes higher quality proteins. Higher quality proteins include any animal based protein: Poultry, Beef, Pork, Eggs, etc. If you don’t eat much meat or animal based proteins, your protein requirements will go up and you may want to consider a protein supplement.
High quality protein builds and preserves lean muscle mass, which helps in weight loss and gaining strength ( two other reasons for considering it). Consuming protein powder before and immediately after working out is the most beneficial, and is when your body can maximize protein synthesis and build lean muscle ( but also include a complex carb like fruit, veggies, whole wheat food post workout).
Whey Protein powder is the highest quality powder form. Research by the NSCA conducted research that strongly suggests Whey Protein aids the best in building lean muscle mass over soy and other plant based protein powders. Consuming a protein supplement also helps with people with a high metabolism who find it hard to consume enough whole foods to maintain their weight.
Take Action: Determine your goal or purpose before buying a protein supplement. If a protein supplement will help you achieve your goal, be sure to choose a protein powder that is whey based without any artificial ingredients. As a guide, if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, it probably is artificial. If you want to be sure, Google the ingredient. I personally take SFH Pure whey protein supplement.
It is estimated that that fats should constitute 20-35% of our daily diet and that only around 1.2% should come from omega-3 fatty acids. Since our bodies CANNOT make omega-3 fatty acids, we have to get them from our diet.
Now, that 1.2% may seem very easily achievable through a natural diet, which it can be, but consider the minimal number of foods Omega-3 fatty acids are in: Coldwater fish, flaxseed and canola oils, soybeans, tofu, walnuts. I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t eat one of these foods every day.
Fish Oil supplements gives the body the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which are extremely important for controlling the inflammation response to working out. In addition, it aids in protein absorption and improves muscle growth and recovery. Protein absorption= muscle growth which helps with weight loss and gaining strength. Beyond fitness related benefits, omega-3 fatty acids show strong evidence in lowering blood pressure and helping with certain kinds of arthritis.
Take Action: Evaluate and modify your current diet to ensure an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acid rich foods. If you go the supplement route, be sure to choose molecularly distilled brands.