With the supplement industry booming at a record high, it's hard not to get swept up by the gale-force hype. After all, there must be a reason this market has gained so much traction, right?
Well, yeah: because people are finding it increasingly difficult to muster the time, energy, and/or motivation to properly care for their minds and bodies. But whether the industry is a reflection of this trend or this trend is the reflection of this industry is a debate for another day. What we're here to talk about today is the supplements we recommend, and why we recommend them.
BUT first! Do you actually need to take any supplements? The short answer: that depends.
If you are a healthy adult who is not pregnant, nursing or elderly and who eats a varied and balanced diet with no major food restrictions, then no, you probably do not need to supplement.
However, if by choice (e.g. veganism) or necessity (e.g. allergy or autoimmune disease) you omit certain types of foods from your diet (e.g. fatty fish) then yes, you may very well need to supplement.
My, my...there are a lot of qualifying words being bandied about there.
Well, yes. Fitness and nutrition experts we may be: your doctor, we are not. If you are unsure of whether you need to be on supplements, speak to your health care professional.
If, on the other hand, you know you could benefit from supplements and have a health care provider's OK to pop some pills or crush some powder, read on. Here are our top recommended supplements to help you fill the gaps in your nutrition and live a healthier, happier life.
NAC Amino Acids
Helps with: Inflammation, Weight Loss, Athletic Performance, Heart Health, Mental Health, Gut Health, Fertility Health.
If you don’t believe this heavy hitting supplement can do all this, read our full article here. Also, a major benefit we neglected to mention in that first blog: fertility health! NAC has been shown increase the likelihood of becoming pregnant and is particularly helpful to women who with fertility issues due to PCOS.
How much to take: That depends on what you’re using it for. The recommended dosage ranges between 600 mg and up to 1,800 mg. Talk to your health care professional.
When to take it: 30 minutes before or 2 hours after meals.
Brand recommendation: Pure Encapsulations.
Helps with: Skin Elasticity, Muscle Building, Gut Health, Digestion, Joint Pain, Heart Health.
Keep in mind, while collagen is a source of protein, it is not a complete protein, meaning it lacks proper proportion of the nine essential amino acids required in our diets. In fact, collagen only has eight, and they are out of whack compared to the relatively balanced proportion we need.
So, by all means use it to power up the protein powder in your post workout shake or add it to your baking, coffee or kombucha, but don’t count on it as a stand-alone source of protein.
How much to take: 10-30 grams per day.
When to take it: Anytime in food or drink.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Helps with: Brain Health, Cognitive Development, Mood, Depression, Eye Health, Skin Health, Sleep.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, getting enough Omega-3s can be difficult, if not impossible. You need to be eating fatty fish at least a couple times a week to get enough. (Read our full article on Omega-3s here.) While there are numerous vegan sources of omega-3, our bodies can only convert limited amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (AHA -- the omega-3 in many of these sources like walnuts and flaxseeds) into DHA and EPA (the other 2 omegas), so supplementation with an microalgae is likely necessary for optimal health.
How much to take: The jury’s out on the exact recommendation, though 250 mg to 500 mg is a general consensus. Talk to your health care professional for dose more tailored to your needs.
Helps with: Stress, Anxiety, Sleep, Impulse Control, Fat Loss.
When we first wrote about ingesting this essential oil, there was some concern that we were suggesting you should start throwing back any ol’ essential oil. Rest assured, this was not suggested or even implied. We did suggest trying out lavender oil pills however, which (unlike many oils which may or may not be 100% pure and may contain chemicals and other toxins) are meant to be ingested. Of course, you should always do your due diligence and check brands and read labels, but a quality lavender oil pill will do wonders to calm your mind and even accelerate your fat loss efforts. Read our full article for more information. For dosage and brand recommendation, read on.
How much to take: 1-3 pills a day, or whenever needed.
When to take it: Whenever you need it, but we warned, it can make you sleepy so it is inadvisable to take lavender oil pills before driving.
Brand Recommendation: New Roots 100% Pure Lavender Oil Pills.
Listen, we know there are a slew of other supplements out there, ranging from your basic daily multivitamin to post-workout muscle building and performance enhancing BCAA. And we know our list, by comparison, may seem limited. We, however, beg to differ. We’ve said it once (OK, thousands of times), but we’ll say it again: constant supplementation in healthy, active adults who have balanced diets and live a healthy lifestyle with lots of quality sleep and little stress is most likely not necessary. However, if we’re real, how many of us can actually pull this off?
Yeah, didn’t think so.
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