By: Miami Beach Personal Trainer Ted Ryce
There are literally thousands of supplements on the market. In fact, when I did a search on Amazon.com for nutritional supplements, it turned up with over 80,000 results. Each claiming to enhance your health in some way or another.
The bottom line: most supplements are probably a waste of your time and money.
That being said, if you take the right ones you can dramatically improve your fat loss, muscle building or health improving efforts.
So which ones should you take?
There are many supplements that I recommend to different people depending on their goals. But there are two supplements that I recommend to ALL my clients: fish oil and multivitamin.
Why a Multivitamin?
I recommend a multivitamin simply because most people are not getting the nutrients that their body needs to function optimally. Vitamins and minerals cannot be made by the body (except for vitamin D which our body makes when we get sun) play a role in our energy levels, hormone levels, immune system strength and the list goes on and on.
Not only do they play a role in optimizing our body’s function, if we don’t get the proper amounts we can suffer from a deficiency. You might think that in our overfed society that the opposite would be true but it’s not.
It’s estimated that 75% of the general population is deficient in magnesium (check out the benefits of magnesium here), 95% in omega-3 fats, 68% in calcium, 90% in chromium, and 80% in vitamin B6 to name a few. Some research on athletes has shown that they often don’t get enough of the right nutrients and their performance suffers as a result.
Unless you plan out your nutrition to make sure you’re getting adequate amounts then I suggest you invest in a good quality multivitamin. I’ve never been one to push pills and powders over exercise and nutrition but taking a multivitamin as “nutritional insurance” is just smart.
How Much Should You Take?
I would follow the recommended dosage on your multivitamin. You can overdo some vitamins and minerals so better to follow the manufacturer’s directions to avoid any toxicity issues.
What Brand Should You Get?
Brands I’ve used and recommend:
– New Chapter Every Man/Woman
– The Vitamin Code by Garden of Life
I also recommend ordering these online (amazon, iHerb, etc.) instead of buying them in the vitamin shop. You’ll save a lot of money!
Why Fish Oil?
Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fats. As I mentioned above, 95% of the general population are deficient in this important group of nutrients.
Two beneficial fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are found in high quantities in good quality fish oil. Actually, DHA and EPA originate in algae then fish eat the algae, they build up high amounts. Then we get the benefits when we take fish oil or eat fatty fish. It’s good to be at the top of the food chain, huh?
The benefits in fish oil include:
– reduced inflammation
– heart health
– improved immune system
Besides the benefits above, fish oil has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in muscle cells while decreasing it in fat cells. In plain English, that means less fat and more muscle.
How Much Should You Take?
Different people recommend different amounts. You might also find that different fish oil supplements recommend different amounts as well.
Here’s what I do:
I take 5 grams/day regularly. However, if I’m trying to lose some extra fat I’ll bump it up to 10 grams/day for a month. Then, the next month I’ll go back down to 5 grams/day.
5 grams is equal to 5 capsules or 1 teaspoon of fish oil (each teaspoon contains 5 grams of fish oil). To get 10 grams, just double it. If you have trouble at the though of popping 5-10 capsules of fish oil a day then I recommend getting the liquid instead of the capsules.
That’s way over what many people recommend but I’ve found that it helps to burn off more fat at that dosage. So you know, I didn’t come up with this amount myself. Two people I respect, John Berardi, PhD and Charles Poliquin, both use high dose fish oil supplementation for fat loss.
Note: If you have heart problems or on blood-thinning medication, make sure you check with your doctor first before taking fish oil as it may interact with your medication.
What Brand Should You Get?
Brands that I’ve used and recommend:
-Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Purified Fish Oil
-Carlson’s Very Finest Fish Oil
-Barleans Fish Oil
Ordering these online will save you money as well.
Note: Don’t get cod liver oil, flax oil, or omega 3-6-9 oil. Just get plain fish oil.
So there you have it. Two supplements that (almost) everyone should be taking! We’ll get into other supplements in the future but i want you to start with the basics first.
You don’t have to follow my recommendations on brands but I will tell you this: You get what you pay for when it comes to supplements. That deal you think you’re getting on the cheaper brands is no deal at all. You’ve bought a much lower quality product. That is all!
…and NO, I don’t own stock in any of the supplement companies.
So don’t skimp when it comes to supplements. Like I mentioned above, ordering online can save you some money. Try it and let me know how it goes!