All your questions about supplements answered!
What are they?
In my case they are the pills that make me gag every morning...and every night.
They can be liquid, powder, pill or capsules.
They contain vitamins, minerals and amino acids, micro and macro nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy.
Do we need to take supplements?
Our bodies need certain nutrients to function properly. In an ideal world we would be able to get all the nutrients from the foods we eat. But sadly we don’t live in an ideal world; unavailability of organic veggies and fruits, pesticides in foods, busy schedules, stress, unbalanced diets (not eating all the food groups), age, weak immune systems, digestion problems etc etc!
In other words we need supplements to supplement nutrients that are missing in our diets.
What supplements should we take?
Every body is different so before taking my advice I’d consult a dietician or a physician, especially if you have a medical condition, and do some more research but the basic ones are:
MultiVitamin -Contains a combination of essential vitamins that our bodies do not produce on their own but need to stay healthy. Some of the vitamins & supplements listed below may be part of the multi so its important to READ YOUR LABELS!
Vit A- protects your immune system and your skin
Vit B6- prevents uptake of excessive hormones, reduces risk of breast and prostate cancer, relieves depression, PMS and carpal tunnel syndrome
B 12- essential for older people, vegetarians, diabetics
Vit C- we don’t produce it so we have to get it from our diets or alternatively our supplements. It supports production of adrenal hormones, relives stress (YES!!!), reduces risk of heart disease. Vit E- reduces negative effects of environmental pollutants, prevents cancer
Vit D- you need it if you live in Canada….& countries with little to no sunshine during certain seasons. It boosts immune system, fights autoimmune disorders, lowers blood pressure, reduces risk of cancer.Zinc- helps us feel ‘satisfied’ aka increases lean body mass while maintaining fat loss - who knew?!
Calcium- prevents muscle cramps and spasms, aids our nervous system, helps enzymes to break down glycogen & plays a role in insulin secretion.
Folic Acid- Great for women of childbearing age (even if you don’t plan on getting pregnant and especially if you do).
Make sure your multi has iron in it and if it doesn’t get a separate Iron supplement.
This one is essential for people with celiac, those suffering from ulcers, vegetarians and athletes.
Omega-3 Fatty AcidsOUR BODIES NEED THESE FATS TO SURVIVE.
In terms of food sources we get these from fish but that would mean you need to eat a lot of fish & today’s fish is full of mercury & pesticides. So it’s a necessary supplement.
Benefits include lower blood pressure, inflammation, prevent heart disease, reduces risk of heart attacks and is known to treat conditions like asthma, depression, dementia, diabetes and ADHD.
Prevents arthritis, joint pain and boosts tissue production. This one is a must for athletes, body builders and people who lift weights in general.
Helps nutrient absorption & digestion BUT take the recommended dosage or you may spend your day in the WC.
Fat Loss Supplements
There are so many of them on the market. The natural ones (and you should stick to natural ones only) are: Caffeine (no, coffee does not count), Raspberry Keytones, Green Tea.
These usually come in powder or liquid form. There are two common misconceptions about them
1. They do not make you gain weight or bulk up!
Consumption of protein supplement results in better athletic performance, muscle growth, fat loss & healthy aging.
2. Animal protein, i.e. lean meat is the only complete protein on the market, vegetable sources of protein such as nuts, beans, lentils, soy products are incomplete.
We need protein to survive so its important to know that you are getting enough of it in your diet, and this especially applies to vegans & vegetarians. Protein deficiency is known to lead to diabetes, edema, weight loss, thinning hair, ridges in nails, pale skin, skin rashes and irritations, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, dizziness, anxiety and severe depression.
Where can I buy supplements?
Your local drug store or grocery store will have it. GNC is my favorite destination for supplement needs.