Supplements: Do I Need Them? Nerdy Version

The Nerdy Version Supplements

 

 

DO I NEED SUPPLEMENTS?

Most people don’t need supplements. But that doesn’t mean that supplements can be helpful.  Because they can help you hit your health and fitness goals faster and more efficiently.

Variety of supplement pills and capsuls

Before I tell you which magic pills to start popping, you should know a little info about the supplement world.

The supplement industry is a 37 billion dollar industry! That’s right folks, we spend top dollar on these magical little pills.

Bottle of supplement with name phuck fatBUT THIS STUFF ISN’T MAGIC. And most of it really is just crap. I mean come on, a supplement named Phuck Fat doesn’t sound like it has much research to back up its effectiveness. It doesn’t even sound like the makers know what they put in it!

A huge majority of supplements on the market are junk and yet they still make the big bucks. That’s because those companies know how to market their superbly named products. And they know how to twist the “evidence” to give their supplement the appearance of scientific support.

And it works. Because some of those companies make billions of dollars.
So clearly, we want to avoid wasting our money on these crap capsules. But despite the huge amount of junk out there, THERE ARE SUPPLEMENTS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR INVESTMENT. They ARE important for your health.

SO WHY DO I NEED SUPPLEMENTS?

Many people shun supplements as just a sales tactic for these big companies to make money.  And sure, they make those companies money. But everyone who sells a product or a service makes money (or at least that is the goal) – even if that product or service is necessary. Hospitals make money and they are absolutely necessary.

So don’t throw out all supplements just because they are part of the big business world. You just need to understand why you need supplements and choose the ones that fill the gaps in your nutrient needs.

So why supplement?

I once thought that supplements were worthless because I ate a balanced diet (I wasn’t dieting per say – but I was eating healthy). I had salads, fish, chicken and chose whole grain breads (with the occasional dessert and margarita). My food was full of nutrients so why would I need any extra help? That would just be a waste of money!

But… I didn’t know how wrong I was. 

For those of you who think like that, let me be the first to welcome you to tell you: foods with sufficient nutrients rarely exist anymore.

Even if you eat whole, fresh, and healthy foods, you’re likely still lacking important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Why? Because this is how we have set up our Western World.
We have become financially rich, but dirt poor. And when I say dirt poor, I mean OUR DIRT IS LITERALLY POOR OF NUTRIENTS.

Pile of dirt

When foods are grown from the itty-bitty seedlings they start as, they absorb nutrients from the soil. The makeup of that seedling molecule determines which nutrients that food will get. So an apple doesn’t take up the same nutrients that a potato does. But that’s okay, because we could eat a variety of foods to get all of our nutrients.
The problem is our nutrient-poor dirt. Those apples and potatoes are no longer the nutrient vessels they once were. Now, I am not crazy enough to say that those apples and potatoes have NO nutrients in them – that’s clearly not true. But compared to the nutrients they had 5 decades ago, these foods are malnourished!

A team of big ol’ Texas researchers found that from 1950 to 1991, our fruits and vegetables have lost about 25% of their nutritional content (some even as high as 40%)! So just imagine how much we have lost since 1991 – that is 24 years of more nutritional decline (Dang, it’s been 25 years since the year Silence of the Lambs was released, one of my all time favorite movies – fun fact, I know). But researchers continue to track these declines and trust me, we’re still declining.  And it’s not just our produce; it’s our cheeses and proteins too.

So why the heck do we keep losing the nutritional value of our produce?

Back to our cultural desire for efficiency.

We have spent the last 65 years streamlining our food systems. We have created new hybrid foods, found ways to produce more and bigger foods with fewer resources, created better pesticides to “protect” the food, and found effective ways to pick not-yet-ripe foods and ripen them as we ship them all over the world. These processes allowed us to develop huge amounts of food (and most of it visually appealing), but we stripped out the nutrients in the process.

So that beautiful, shiny crisp apple is no longer the apple it once was. It may look prettier than those that naturally fall to the ground, but it’s not any better for our health.

And the toxic environments we have created for our foods, we have also created for ourselves! We spend more time indoors (in buildings growing who knows what microbes), less time in the sunlight, more time sitting, and less time moving, laughing or sleeping.  And because of our own toxic environments, we have changed our nutrient needs. We now need MORE nutrients to combat our environmental toxins, but our foods give us less. 

THIS IS WHERE SUPPLEMENTS CAN HELP

All we need to do is start popping these babies and we are nutritionally golden, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

Pill filled with fruits The word supplement explains it for itself. THESE LITTLE PILLS ARE NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR A HEALTHY AND BALANCE LIFESTYLE. They are supplemental – they are supposed to enhance what you are already doing.

So that means you need to already eat healthy and stay active. These won’t help you if all you eat is pizza and donuts. But they will help you if you’re making solid wellness choices already and just need a little super boost. 
So if you haven’t yet made the switch from the life of pizza and donuts, forget the supplements and start with some veggies. But if you are ready for the next step after a balanced meal plan, then keep reading.

WHERE DO SUPPLEMENTS COME FROM?

There are 6 sources that our Supplement Makers can use to create their magical pills.

NATURAL SOURCE

We can extract the nutrients from vegetables, animals, and minerals and encapsulate them to make our colorful daily candies. Sadly, when a supplement is “natural,” it only has to include 10% of ingredients from the natural source. The other 90% could be synthetic (yes that means our natural pills could be mostly fake).

NATURE IDENTICAL SYNTHETIC

These are completely manufactured in a mad scientist laboratory, but the molecular structure of the created molecule is structurally identical to how it occurs in nature. Most supplement companies use this method because they don’t have to concern themselves with the scarcity or expense of the natural resource.

STRICTLY SYNTHETIC

These are made in that same mad scientist laboratory and are completely different in structure than what you would find in nature. Sometimes, the structure is purposefully changed to interact differently with your body. Other times, the structure is different for convenience or cost. So what are these made out of? It depends on the supplement (and most companies won’t release their recipes to the public) but they have been known to include anything from coal tar to petroleum to acetylene gas. Yum.

FOOD CULTURED

Think of cultured foods – like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut. These supplements are made with the same process. Raw materials (like natural minerals) are added to yeast or algae and left to grow. The theory is that the yeast or algae then take on the properties of the nutrient it was fed. Unfortunately, most of these have fairly low potencies. 

FOOD BASED

These are made from concentrated forms of nutrients extracted from their natural food source. But remember, natural doesn’t mean it’s completely natural. Most of these use concentrated natural ingredients combined with synthetically created ones. The addition of the synthetic material increases the potency, nutritional profile, and shelf life.

BACTERIAL FERMENTATION

These are produced by genetically altering bacteria. When you modify the bacteria, you can produce nutrient by-products. Yum?


So which source of supplement should you take?

It really depends. Because not all supplements can be natural. And in today’s world, synthetic does not always mean it is bad. Some synthetically crated supplements are more effective than their natural counterparts. And let’s be honest, the natural ones are not all that natural anyway. So rather than focusing on the source, focus on which supplement you should be taking.

And yes, there are supplements that EVERY PERSON should be taking. Because we already know our nutrition and environments are putting us into a deficit.

There are 5 supplements you need to start taking today!

FIVE SUPPLEMENTS EVERYONE SHOULD BE TAKING


FISH OIL

Fish oil pill pile I can’t give you enough reasons why everyone should be taking fish oil! This little Nemo Capsule has been examined every which way, by thousands of studies, and always comes back as a super nutrient that you need today.

Fish Oil is the term given to most Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Omega 3s are naturally found in fish and phytoplankton, but since most of us don’t eat that for every meal, we need to start looking at the supplements. There has been extensive research on these fishy pills and the strong links they have to weight loss (now just because it has “fatty” in the name, don’t let it scare you! Remember fat does not make you fat). The research suggests that the Omega 3s stimulate blood flow to the muscles and helps transport triglycerides out of the fat cells to be burned for energy. So building muscle and burning fat. Bingo. Fish oil also protects against depression, muscle soreness, and ADHD.

Now there’s another fatty acid you need to know about: Omega 3s evil twin. That evil twin is the Omega 6 Fatty Acid (now in reality, we do need Omega 6s in our diets, but the average person gets 15x more Omega 6s than you need – which leads to major health problems). So what happens when we get too many of the 6s: osteoporosis, depression, inflammation, cancer, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Okay those aren’t all necessary a result of the 6s, but the scientific evidence shows links.

Omega 3s and Omega 6s compete for our attention. Unfortunately, Omega 6 is quite the bully and most of the time takes over (hence the reason we have 15x too much). 

Where do we find these Omega 6s? They are in all of our vegetable oils – corn, sunflower, pumpkin, and olive – red meats, poultry, eggs, salad dressing. Even in some of the “healthier” foods like flax and pumpkin seeds. So even when we eat a balanced diet, we can get way too many Omega 6s.

What we want is a 1:1 ratio of Omega 3s to 6s in order to keep the 6s in check. And since we can get too many 6s with even a healthy diet, we need to supplement our Omega 3s. When we achieve the ultimate 1:1 ratio, we get healthier blood vessels, lower lipid counts and a reduced build up of that nasty artery plaque. That means reduced chances for diabetes and cancer.

Fish oil is not a stimulant, but it has been linked to increases in brain activity. So clearly all the smarty pants take it.

Fishy burps are the biggest downside of these horse sized pill capsules. But don’t worry, you can take them with food or freeze them to keep those flavors down in your belly.

HOW MUCH DO I TAKE? Fish oil doses vary depending on your goals. For general health, 250mg is sufficient. The American Heart Association recommends 2g daily. If the goal of supplementation is to reduce soreness, a 6-8g dose, spread over the course of a day, is most effective.  Did your supply run out? Click here so we can help! 

 


VITAMIN D

Woman with her face faced toward the sun

The sunshine pill! We naturally get Vitamin D through sun exposure to our skin. Vitamin D is one of the 24 nutrients critical for survival! And sadly, this is the most common deficiency in the western world!

Supplemental Vit D is linked to increased cognition, immune health, bone health and reduced risks for cancers, heart disease, diabetes and MS. A recent study found that for overweight individuals with a Vit D deficiency, the more Vit D they to took, the more weight they lost.

If you are a frugal supplementer and you only want to take one supplement, it should be Vitamin D.

HOW MUCH DO I TAKE? The recommended daily allowance for Vitamin D is 400-800IU/day, but we know this is too low. In the US, the upper limit is 2,000IU/day (but in Canada it is 4,000IU/day – so maybe we should follow their lead). Research suggests that the true safe upper limit is 10,000IU/day. So realistically, you should be taking 1,000-2,000IU dose of Vitamin D3 as the lowest effective dose range.

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is recommended over D2 (ergocalciferol), since D3 is used more effectively in the body.

Vitamin D is most effective when consumed with a fat soluble element, so pop this pill at the same time as your fish oil!


MAGNESIUM

Bottle of magnesium supplementsMagnesium is another dietary mineral and the second most common deficiency.

Magnesium is important for those of us on the weight loss track because magnesium is connected to our insulin sensitivities. Low magnesium can reduce our insulin sensitivity – which means we have to release extra insulin into the blood just to clear out the glucose floating around. And extra insulin leads to fat storage. So we struggle to lose weight!

Magnesium is found in beans and nuts, leafy vegetables, and whole grains. But sadly, these food sources don’t supply enough of this necessary nutrient to meet our daily needs. Why you ask? It’s because of that dang decline in the nutritional value of our foods! But despite the presence of magnesium in most foods, very few foods can actually supply the necessary amount. You can eat one orange and get your total recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. But you would need to eat 3 cups of quinoa to hit your recommended intake of magnesium – and that quinoa is considered a good source for this nutrient!

Magnesium has also been linked as a protective factor against depression (no that doesn’t mean this is a happy pill). But you can’t go wrong by taking it!

HOW MUCH DO I TAKE? The standard dose for magnesium supplementation is 200-400mg.  Did your supply run out? Click here so we can help! 

 


ZINC

Zinc supplements on a zinc element squareMost people are not zinc deficient, but sit just under the recommended levels. Your body loses zinc every time you sweat, so if you regularly get your heart pumping and soak through your t-shirts, you need to start taking zinc.

Zinc is found naturally in meat, eggs, and beans with the highest levels coming from oysters. If you regularly use those slimy things as aphrodisiacs to woo your dates, you might not need this supplement. But the rest of us do. (Actually, zinc itself is an aphrodisiac so you might start convincing your dates to pop this supplement rather than eat those slimy oysters).

And what is zinc’s superpower? Zinc helps run our enzymes, hormones, and immune systems. It is a protective factor against depression and effective with reducing acne. For us weight concerned folks, zinc helps control our blood glucose levels and reduce our insulin concentrations – a good thing to reduce our fat stores! In high doses, zinc also acts as an estrogen blocker – another key in shedding some extra poundage.

HOW MUCH DO I TAKE? Zinc has two standard dosages. The low dosage is 5-10mg, while the high dosage is 25-45mg.  And we can help if you need a refill! Just click here!

The low dose works well as a daily preventative, while the high dosage is for anyone at risk for a zinc deficiency.

Zinc comes in different forms and those forms have different amounts of elemental zinc in them. The best rule of thumb: choose a supplement that contains 50mg of elemental zinc (the bottles should have this number listed).


PROTEIN POWDER

Alright, protein powder isn’t a magical little pill. But it is still considered a supplement because it can enhance your nutrition and meals. Protein powder is obviously consumed to add protein to your intake. It can come in many forms –whey, casein, milk, beef, soy, hemp, rice, pea, etc.

So why should we take it? 

Protein is essential for our bodies. And it can often be hard to get enough protein in through our daily food.

Protein helps prevent muscle loss, aids in muscle growth, speeds up your recovery for your post workout muscles, and can help build strong bones. Protein also stimulates your metabolism and helps keep you feeling full for longer.  Sure, you can get protein through your steak and chicken, but protein powders are formulated to be more effective and efficient. They can bypass your liver and enter your bloodstream directly for maximum effectiveness. And yes, protein powder is much more convenient than cooking that meat.

So what kind of protein is best? Well we’re a bit biased, because we created the best protein powder out there! The best protein powder is our own formulation. It is 100% all natural, Grass-Fed (Hormone Free) Whey Protein. 

HOW MUCH DO I TAKE? The amount of protein you need depends heavily on your goals. Research has shown that for most of us, we should get about 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean muscle mass we have. 

And if you aren’t getting enough chicken breasts, you need to start supplementing with protein powder! Purchase Here! 


Honorable Mention: WELLNESS GREENS

I used to always eat my vegetables. But they just don’t taste as good as that steak and bacon. So I started skimping on my veggie intake – and now I hardly eat them! That is certainly not good for my nutrient needs. 
So yes, I have added some veggies back into my meal plan, but I clearly don’t eat enough. Fortunately, there is a superfood supplement to help!

Wellness Greens are nature’s way of bottling up every vegetable into one! Okay, not every vegetable – but it does include 50 different kinds. 
Wellness Greens is a “super blend” of 100% natural fruit and vegetable extracts, vitamins, flax lignans, ionic trace minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and symbiotic intestinal flora. Now we already know veggies are important.

But why do you need this supplement? Wellness Greens support fat-burning, high energy levels, digestion, hormones, and immune function. It helps what your veggies help.

So do you need this supplement? Maybe not. If you are a veggie lover and already eat kale and spinach, broccoli and radishes. then no, you are probably doing fine with your veggie intake (you veggie-loving weirdo). But for the rest of us that have to force ourselves to eat that second bite of broccoli, Wellness Greens are a big help. But remember, it’s not a replacement for veggies – just a supplement. 

HOW MUCH DO I TAKE? This is a powder you mix into a daily drink so you can chug down those veggies. Take 1 scoop (10 grams) daily, either mixed in water or a morning smoothie. That’s it.

(But you can’t find this in any ol’ store. So if you are interested, simply click here to purchase!) 


So there you have it. Supplements.

If you need help with adding supplements to your daily routine, let us know! But these Fab Five are the first place you should start.

Are you already taking supplements? You might want to check out this list to see if you should be feeding those supplements to the trash instead! Click below to see what supplements belong in la basura! 

Top 10 Supplements to Throw in the Trash

 

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