5 Supplements you should be taking everyday.
The nutritional supplement industry has taken in roughly $30 billion in annual revenue over the last three years. From detox weight loss pills to bright colored powders 'guaranteed' to have you swimsuit ready in 30 days, consumers looking for a quick fix will often fall prey to clever marketing. With so much information (and misinformation) out there, it can be hard to discern what products really work and are backed by unbiased research. One broad claim of the supplement industry does contain an element of truth though...most people aren't receiving adequate nutrient intake through diet alone. Unless your daily routine consists of downing 6 servings of green vegetables, 500mg of Omega-3 rich foods, spending at least 15 minutes outdoors, and getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night, you might find yourself counted among these numbers. I'd like to share some ways to help you fill in the gaps. These supplements will make you leaner, boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and even help you get a good nights sleep. I've taken all of these regularly over the past 5 years and have noticed a substantial improvement in my health ever since I began using them. These work for athletes as well as sedentary individuals.
Note: while all of these supplements are considered safe for consumption, I would encourage you to consult your doctor if you're taking any medications or have a history of allergic reactions.
1. Fish Oil - One of the most researched supplements on the market today, fish oil has benefits ranging from lowering triglyceride levels and joint pain to boosting the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin. Some studies have even shown it to reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, ADHD, depression, and memory loss. They contain two essential Omega 3 fatty acids - EPA and DHA. Fatty acids are essential for daily functioning and your body can't produce them on its own...if you're not getting them from your diet (ie fish) it's likely that you're deficient. Don't skimp and go with the less expensive generic brands...oftentimes the higher quality fish oil supplements have higher doses of EPA/DHA per serving. Recommended daily dosage - 500 mg.
2. Vitamin D - AKA "a little dose of sunshine" - Most of us don't receive an adequate amount of sunshine on a daily basis. Too much can be harmful to your skin, too little little can alter the amount of vitamin D your body can create. Vitamin D is important for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption (healthy bones and teeth) and maintaining normal immune system function to help protect you from illness. Recent studies have found that low levels of vitamin D can cause an increased risk for the development of type 1 diabetes, high blood pressure, muscle and bone pain, and various types of cancer. If you find yourself spending most of your days indoors, this a supplement I would highly encourage you to add to your regimen. Recommended daily dosage - 1,000 IU's (I take a 5,000 IU daily supplement).
3. Greens powder - Hitting your recommended 10 daily servings of fruits and vegetables can be tough, even with a well balanced diet. As the name implies, these supplements are the powdered remains of fruits, vegetables, and herbs that will provide you with a concentrated dose of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. They can also help restore your body's pH balance, as alkaline foods - fruits and veggies - counter the acid producing effects of other foods and beverages in our diet - sugar, grains, dairy, meat, coffee, etc. An over acidic system can lead to digestive disorders, heart disease, lowered immune system function, and joint inflammation. While there are many varieties out there, one that I like in particular is Amazing Grass Green Superfood. Take one scoop first thing in the morning.
4. Zinc - This essential mineral aids immune function, protein synthesis, and cell division. Most of us don't get an adequate amount of zinc from diet alone. Even a mild zinc deficiency has been associated with suppressed testosterone concentrations/infertility in men and hair loss, dry skin, and poor wound healing in women. This supplement is widely used to treat conditions ranging from from diabetes and high blood pressure to osteoporosis and the common cold. Recommended daily dosage - men - 30mg, women - 20mg.
5. Melatonin - Both a sleep aid and powerful antioxidant, melatonin is a compound that helps regulate our body's internal clock. Light suppresses the secretion of melatonin via the pineal gland, while darkness triggers our body to produce more for a good night's rest. If you're jet lagged or have difficulty sleeping, it could very well be that your body isn't producing enough melatonin. To make things worse, our natural levels of this compound start to decrease as we grow older. Studies have show melatonin can help alleviate symptoms of migraines, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), digestive disorders, insomnia, Alzheimer's, and memory loss. Recommended daily dosage - 3mg before bed.