Do you have to take supplements? What supplements should you take for optimal health and wellbeing? So many questions, and so many answers in this article.
So Much Food but Not a Lot of Nutrition
We’re surrounded by food everywhere we go. However, what most people consume can hardly be considered as nutritious.
What matters more about any type of food is not its caloric proportions but the minerals, enzymes, vitamins, the essential nutrients and what hormonal effect it has on the organism.
You should always focus on trying to maximize the micronutrient component of your diet but that’s not always possible because of seasonality and the overall reduction of soil quality and what not.
I’m going to share with you some of the supplements everyone should add to their diet that would address these common deficiencies.
I also have to add a massive disclaimer, that before taking any supplements you have to know the overall condition of your health and what you individually need. The responsibility is solely on you, not me. If you don’t have a lot of knowledge about these things, then consult your doctor first.
What Supplements You MUST Take
But here we go, some supplements you most likely would benefit from.
- Omega 3s – Omega 3s are essential fatty acids that the body can’t produce itself and thus they need to be derived from the diet. Omega 3s need to be kept in balance with the omega 6s. Unfortunately, that balance can be easily tipped off as every amount of omega-6 requires triple the amount of omega-3 to reduce the negative effects. The more omega-6 fatty acids you consume, the more omega-3s you may need. Sources of omega 6 fatty acids are vegetable oils, corn oil, peanuts and some cereals. Naturally, omega-3s can be found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines but also in plant-based sources like chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds. However, fish has DHA and EPA, which promote brain functioning, fights inflammation, supports bone health, increases physical performance etc. Fish oil can be used easily as a capsule or liquidized. A healthy dose of omega-3s is 1000-3000 mg/day. Research shows that more than 5000 mg doesn’t seem to have any added benefits. For EPA and DHA, you should aim for a minimum of 250 mg and a maximum of 3000 mg/day in a combined dose. Krill oil might simply be a more potent and bioavailable source. Make sure to use wild-caught sources to avoid mercury poisoning. Plant-based supplements for omega 3s include hempseed oil and wheat germ.
- Vitamin D-3. It’s not actually a vitamin but gets synthesized into one inside the body. Vitamin D-3 governs almost every function within us starting from DNA repair and metabolic processes. It fights cardiovascular, autoimmune and infective diseases. Of course, the best source would be to get it from the Sun but that is not always possible because of seasonality and location. An average adult should take at least 2000 IUs of vitamin D but it would also depend on how much exposure you get to natural sunlight. It can be consumed as oil or a capsule.
- Magnesium. Another foundational mineral. It comprises 99% of the body’s mineral content and governs almost all of the processes. Magnesium helps to build bones, enables nerves to function and is essential for the production of energy from food. Some people who are depressed get headaches because of this deficiency. RDA is 400 mg/day. If you’re physically active, then pay especially close attention to this because you may get muscle cramps and other problems.
Now, these 3 are the main supplements, I would add to any diet.
What Micronutrients You Should Supplement
There are other micronutrients that are very important for optimal health and energy. Like potassium, vitamin K, zinc and b vitamins. However, you would want to supplement them only when you’re actually deficient in them because consuming too many of certain nutrients will hinder other metabolic functions and mineral absorptions.
- Estimated daily minimum for potassium is 2000 mg/day and the RDA is 4700 mg/day. You shouldn’t worry about eating too much potassium unless you’re taking supplements. If you don’t consume a lot of green veggies or avocados in a day, then consult your doctor before taking potassium
- RDA for zinc is 8-12mg/day. Zinc is an essential mineral involved in cell growth, protein synthesis and protecting the immune system. The upper limit for zinc a day should be under 100 mg because you may get nausea, vomiting and reduced immune functioning. Oysters are the most abundant sources of zinc with a massive 74 mg per serving. Other sources are beef, poultry, and some nuts. If you’re a male, then you should pay close attention to your zinc consumption because it’s one of the crucial minerals for testosterone production. But if you’re eating a lot of seafood or red meat then you don’t need to supplement it either.
- The RDA for vitamin K is roughly 60-120 mcg, and the optimal level is roughly 1000 mcg. This optimal level is mostly the same for both vitamin K1 and K2. It should be noted that while many sources may claim to hit the RDA for vitamin K, they have poor bioavailability – your body is unable to extract the full amount of said foods.
- B vitamins are also essential and they can be found in animal products. If you’re already eating a whole foods based diet that includes some meat then you really don’t need to supplement this. Vegans, however, are commonly deficient in b-vitamins so you’d have to look into that.
- Overdosing iron can be toxic so consult your doctor first. Iron deficiencies are more common on diets with little or no meat
- Calcium deficiencies are common in older people or those who don’t consume a lot of dairy. Before supplementing, you should know whether or not you’re actually deficient.
- Taking a multivitamin is also counterproductive if you don’t know what you’re actually deficient in.
What Supplements You Should Take for the Extra Edge
Now I’ll move on to some other supplements that aren’t detrimental but they’re still very beneficial and empowering. You’ll definitely experience a boost in energy and health.
- Creatine Monohydrate. Creatine is an organic acid produced in the liver that helps to supply energy to cells all over the body, especially muscles. It enhances ATP production and allows for muscle fibers to contract faster, quicker, and makes them overall stronger. Creatine has been found to improve cognitive functioning, as it’s a nootropic as well, improving mental acuity and memory. Naturally, it can be found mostly in red meat. It’s dirt cheap and easy to consume, as only 5 grams per day will do wonders and doing so won’t make a person big nor bulky.
- Pro- and prebiotics. In order to have a healthy gut, we need to have a well-functioning microbiome. Naturally, food is full of living organisms. Sauerkraut, raw milk, yogurt, unprocessed meat all have good bacteria in them. Probiotics are live microorganisms in a pill that transport these good bacteria into our gut for improved digestion and immune system. Prebiotics are different, they’re not alive, but plant fiber that feeds the bacteria. They’re indigestible parts of the vegetable that go through our digestive tract into our gut where the bacteria then eat them. If you don’t like eating a lot of broccoli and spinach, then you should still get a lot of fiber into your diet.
- Thyroid supplementation. The thyroid gland is incredibly important for our health because it regulates the functioning of our metabolism. Moreover, because of its location in our throat, it also is a connective point between the brain and the rest of the body. This organ is a part of an incredibly complex system which creates this intertwined relationship between the two. With a low functioning thyroid one will have an impeded metabolism, suffer hypothyroidism and many other diseases because of the necessary hormones will not be produced. Promoting thyroid functioning can be done by taking iodine supplementation or eating a lot of sea vegetables. The daily requirements for selenium can be met with eating only 2-3Brazil nuts.
If you don’t know which products and brands to buy, then I’ve listed out some safe supplements in my Amazon Influencer’s Shop. It includes the ones I mentioned here but there are others that will give you even more energy.
Do You Need to Take Supplements
Like I said in the beginning, you should focus on getting your nutrition on point first before taking any supplements. And secondly, you don’t need to take all the supplements, only the ones you’re most deficient in.
Micronutrients actually have a much greater impact on how you feel and how you perform than you think. Your decision making, your cognitive processes, and emotions are very much affected by them. That’s why it’s important to pay close attention to these things.
If you want to learn other ways of optimizing your physiology and mindset, then check out my free e-book called the Body Mind Empowerment Handbook. It includes information on nutrition, exercise, sleep and even meditation.