By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer
Since I am always asked about what supplements to take by acquaintances, colleagues, family, friends, trainers, and strangers in the gym here is a list with explanation and usage of some essential supplements that just about everyone can benefit from or use. At the end of each selection I list some brands that are great or good and Iâ€™m sure much better than I see most people take. Check out my article about Favorite Brands, where I list and give my favorite brands and online suppliers. I must thank Charles Poliquin, Warren Brown, Sonja Petersen, William Wong, and Johnny Bowden as my resources for this article.
Here are 8 essential supplements that most people need even if they don't know it.
Multivitamins - should help prevent cellular oxidation, improve energy and wellness, contribute to overall health, and protect from toxins. Itâ€™s a well documented that todayâ€™s foods have the same calories and less nutrients, than they did 30-40 years ago. So itâ€™s important to consume a multivitamin and one thatâ€™s highly absorbable or bio-available. The better multivitamins will break down, digest, and absorb in 10-30 minutes, and usually the faster the absorption, the better the quality. Which means the manufacturer used high quality ingredients and formulation methods. They will use amino acid chelates for minerals, natural carotenoids, therapeutic levels of vitamin B, natural vitamin E with a equal ratio of alpha to gamma tocopherols, genetically usable folic acid, and calcium citrate that actually builds bone. All of the nutrients should be highly absorbable, and in natural forms increase your energy after consumption. Try Multi Intense or Complete Multi by Poliquin, Life Force by Source Naturals, Beyond Basics by MRM, Preventive X by Douglas, or Total Balance by Xtend-Life.
Betain w/Pepsin - helps stomach health and repair, breaks down food, increases digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, kills bad bacteria, increases nutrient absorption and utilization, thereby increasing muscle (15-18 lb in 2 months), strength, fat metabolism, weight loss, energy, and overall health. Some symptoms of low stomach acid are: belching, bloating, or gas post meal, bad breath, meatless desire, nausea post supplements, brittle fingernails, undigested food in stool, stomach pain, desire to miss meals, estrogen increase, acne, and depression. Possibly half of the US population has a HCL deficiency. Also a deficiency of HCL decreases B12 absorption and causes accelerated brain aging, so energy and thinking decrease. Take 200-1600 mg mid-meal, with each meal depending on your need (based on HCL test). May take up to 5 years to repair. Try Digest Force or Ultra HCI by Poliquin, HCL w/Pepsin by Solaray, Essential Enzymes by Source Naturals, Digest-All by MRM, Betaine Plus by Douglas, or Betaine HCL by KAL,.
Proteolitic Enzymes - helps cells, vessels, muscles, and connective tissues reduce inflammation and eliminate excessive fibrin and scar tissue, caused by allergens, exercise, food allergies, injury, stress, toxins, and trauma. Excessive scar tissue can build up in arteries, ligaments, muscles, organs, tendons, and vessels and inhibit their ability to do their job and function, especially after early adulthood around the age of 25. Proteolytic enzymes such as bromelain, papain, serrapeptase, and trypsin, will help break down and remove only scar tissue not healthy tissue and manage inflammation over time. Another benefit is that proteoytic enzymes seem to boost or stimulate the immune system and disable certain viruses. It seems more effective to take them on a empty stomach if possible or a light fruit snack. Take 5 capsules, 3 x a day depending on the strength, and increase to 10 capsules, 3 x a day for more severe trauma, and will take 3-5 months to resolve or repair. Try Omnizyme by Poliquin, Wobenzymn by Mucos, Vitalzym by World Nutrition, or Neprinol AFD by Arthur Andrew.
Whey Protein – for muscle growth, repair, recovery, boost immune system, and promotes gastrointestinal health. The brand should be low-heat processed, contain immunoglobulins, CLA, BCAAâ€™s, and L-Glutamine, not be denatured, and is bioavailable or readily absorbable. Take 30-80 g, post workout, in a shake with chopped up fruit, juice, milk, dextrose, or water, depending on your needs. Try Whey Stronger by Poliquin, Isobolic WPI Whey by MRM, Whey Protein Isolates by Douglas, or Ultra Pure Whey Protein by Biogenesis.
Vitamin D3 - improves bone health, brain development of babiesâ€™, blood sugar levels, neurological conditions, depression, bipolar disorder, muscle function, body fat loss, life expectancy-longevity, immune defense against cold, flu, and other infections, reduce skin problems like psoriasis, cancer risks, insulin resistance, blood pressure, prevent and/or remedy rickets, multiple sclerosis, and protect the heart, A deficiency will cause muscle and strength loss. Almost every disease and adverse health condition is associated with low vitamin D3 levels Take 5,000 iu every day to return to normal levels in 3 months or 30,000-100,000 iu, 2 x a week to return to high normal levels sooner. Try D3 Emulsion or D3 Excellence by Poliquin, Liquid D3 or Vitamin D by Douglas, D3 2,000 by Source Naturals, or D3 2500 by Jarrow Formulas.
Magnesium – Regulates heart muscle contractions, calcium absorption, muscle relaxation, increase number and sensitivity of insulin receptors, improves glucose use in elderly diabetics, increase carbohydrate tolerance, correct insulin resistance or sensitivity, reduce stress, anxiety, cortisol, and hyper-responsiveness in the sympathetic nervous system, ATP energy production, protein synthesis, DNA manufacture, fatty acid synthesis, anaerobic glycolysis, and is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions, A deficiency will cause muscle spasm, tremors, personality changes, nausea, increase diabetic complications, interrupt insulin secretion and activity, reduce fat loss and muscle gain. Almost 70% of population is deficient, while most well trained athletes are deficient. Absorption is increased by stomach acid or HCL. Take 200-500 mg, mid-meal with dinner and bedtime. Try Uber Mag or Poly Mag Px by Poliquin, Magnesium Citrate by KAL, Ultra-Mag or Magnesium Chelate by Source Naturals, or Amino Mag by Douglas.
Omega 3 Fish Oil - with high levels of EPA will reduce inflammation and boost immune health, while omega 3 with high levels of DHA will improve nerve function that affect brain, eye, cell membrane, and heart health and muscle function. Also DHA will lower resting heart rate, cortisol levels, and body fat. Take 1-10 g, mid-meal with each meal, depending on your need. Try EFA Complete Px or EFA-DHA 720 or Omega 3 6:1 or Opti EFA or Uber Omega 3 by Poliquin, Omega 3/DHA by Xtend-Life, Smart Blend by MRM, Super Omega 3 or The Finest Fish Oil by Carlson, Pro Omega or Ultimate Omega by Nordic Naturals, Coromega Orange Flavor by Coromega, Omega 3 Fish Oil by KAL, or Krill Oil Neptune by Source Naturals.
Zinc - Aids in wound and burn healing, digestion, metabolism of protein and carbohydrates, and prostate gland functions. A deficiency will cause a loss of taste, poor appetite, fatigue, slow growth, insulin resistance, low HCL levels due to stress, and low testosterone. Take 50-75 mg, mid-meal at dinner and bedtime. Try Uber Zinc by Poliquin, Zinc 100+ Chelated by KAL, Zinc Amino Acid Chelates or Opti Zinc by Source Naturals, or Opti Zinc by Douglas.
Again I hope that this information is useful, which means that itâ€™s used!