This post has been on my “Blog Ideas” list for months … I’ve been putting it off because I wanted to create a very informative, thorough post, including everything I know about supplements, how to choose your supplements, and more. Once I really thought about that, though, I realized that I could write for dozens of pages with my thoughts on this, so in order to not bore you all to death, I’ve decided to break off a bite-sized piece to include today.
Today, I’ll discuss 7 supplements that I’m currently taking. What I won’t discuss in detail: how I decide which brands to buy (I do have a lot of thoughts on this, so if you’re curious, let me know and I’ll do a follow-up post!), whether or not I feel supplements are necessary (no, not if you’re otherwise healthy and eating a very balanced diet), how I decide what to take on any given day (some education, some whim), which supplements I’ve tried in the past (dozens! I love self-experimentation and consider myself my own guinea pig, so I’ve tried or researched many … if you have questions on any, please feel free to ask!).
**Please consider this post informational only. As you know, I am not a doctor and do not intend this to be medical advice. These are all things I’ve studied or researched thoroughly, but I am trying hard to limit what I include, so it is not a full download of everything you need to know about supplements.**
7 Supplements I Currently Take
- Multivitamin. This is probably the most controversial of them all, as many people believe that multivitamins are unnecessary, and only serve to create (for lack of a better term) “expensive urine.” I’m the first to admit that this may be true … for those who eat a very balanced diet, have well-functioning bodies, and are in good overall health, you should not need a multivitamin. Here is a recent CBS article that nicely sums up the buzz that multivitamins are unnecessary. Even though I do eat what I consider a balanced diet, I personally would rather be double-covered and ensure that I’m getting the nutrients I need for any situation that may arise. Here is a US News article that sums up my thoughts, and why taking a multivitamin is a nice insurance policy. I generally look for multivitamins that include 100% Vitamin D, contain a little bit of digestive enzymes (making it easier to digest and absorb), and are as free from artificial ingredients as possible.
- Calcium. Sticking on the controversial theme, calcium is another hotly debated supplement. Again, I personally choose to take calcium to ensure bone, tooth, blood, and muscle health, even though I do eat dairy (mostly from Greek yogurt) and many vegetables that contain calcium (like leafy, green vegetables). I choose those delicious chocolate-flavored chews, and eat them before bed with my magnesium tablet.
- Magnesium. I believe this is one of the most overlooked supplements, and it is incredibly important. Did you know that your body cannot absorb calcium without magnesium? A diet high in calcium but low in magnesium can actually contribute to osteoporosis, or indicate high risk for heart disease! Magnesium is critical for bone health, can help those who often get muscle cramps, can help keep you “regular” by activating digestion, reduces risk of stroke, and is crucial for athletes (since we sweat a lot, which can alter our electrolyte levels). I take magnesium right before bed – one of its other major benefits is that it helps promote sleep, so you probably don’t want to take it right in the middle of the day.
- Maca/ Vitamin B. Right now, I’m taking maca, which boosts energy (study results are mixed, but I actually do feel the boost), reduces fatigue, increases stamina, improves mood, reduces symptoms of PMS, aids in reproductive health and function, and may boost the immune system. Sometimes, I alternate this with Vitamin B, which also has a lot of energy production benefits, as well as immune system and metabolic benefits.
- Fish oil. Another supplement that I think gets overlooked frequently, fish oil can help with everything from brain health to joint health, heart function to immune system function, and can increase skin health and balance cholesterol levels. For athletes, it’s really great at reducing inflammation. (Although I said I’d save how to choose your supplements for another post, I think it’s important to note that fish oil is one place where investing in higher-quality is quite important. See this video from Ben Greenfield for more information).
- Amino acids. This is a relatively new addition to my protocol, although I had debated whether or not to include amino acids for months before I started taking them. An amino acid supplement has been proven to speed muscle recovery and decrease the risk of injury during “periods of overreaching” for athletes (or basically, times when you are training more than usual). Even among non-athletes, some studies show that amino acids can help muscle retention, increase mood, and even increase metabolism.
- A few other random supplements, on occasion. When my stomach is feeling a bit “off,” or when I’ve been eating differently than usual, I will take probiotics for a short period of time to try to restore my gut flora. I often chew 1-2 capsules of natural papaya enzymes after meals, since they help with digestion. If I feel I need to detoxify my body a little bit from drinking too much alcohol or eating foods I’m not used to, I’ll take a CapraCleanse, to help with digestive health. And I go through periods of taking biotin, which is healthy for the nails, hair, and skin.
Once again, I am certainly not recommending that you go out and buy every single one of these now, or suggesting that what works for me will work for everyone. I’m happy to answer your questions, and/ or do some follow-up posts if you’re interested!
I know … the post is already long! Sunday “7 Things” posts tend to do that to me. But this week’s Spill It Sundays topic just couldn’t be skipped! This week, Arman asked us what career we thought we wanted as a child. I am 100% honest when I say that I went through a period of my life where I told people I wanted to be “part-time President of the United States, part-time Olympic gymnast, and part-time teacher.” I guess I was over-ambitious at an early age! And on that note, stay tuned for some big news in tomorrow’s post!
So tell me in the comments … do you take any supplements? Anything else you’re curious about? What did you think you wanted to be as a child?