Today we’re going to take a quick glimpse into my supplements cupboard. As I’m sure you’ll admit, most of us regularly look for the easy way out. It’s not laziness, it’s efficiency right? I’ve found that the idea of taking the right supplements can compensate for a bad diet and bad eating habits is very common. Trust me, this isn’t the case.
In this post I’m going to give you a quick glimpse into my cupboards so you can see what I take, with a little explanation of why. I don’t believe that pricey, over complicated supplement protocols are necessary for everyone. They need to be carefully selected for the individual and geared towards their needs. Any more is a waste of time and your hard earned money. As always, here’s the what, why, when and how of it all.
OMEGA 3 FISH OIL
Omega 3 fish oils are possibly my number one recommendation for most. They contain both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Omega 3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that are vital in maintaining optimal health and vitality. Adequate amounts can be taken in by consuming a good amount of cold water fish such as Mackerel, tuna, salmon, sturgeon, mullet, anchovy, sardines, herring and trout. Two or three servings per day will give you what you need. For those of you who don’t like fish there are plenty of manufacturers out there who supply great supplemental omega 3s.
Look out for high concentrations of EPA and DHA in your fish oils. Benefits include but aren’t limited to:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers triglyceride levels
- Lowers risk of strokes and heart disease
- Reduces inflammation
- May help with depression, Psychosis, ADHD, Alzheimer and other cognitive disorders
- Helps with maintaining eye health
- Reduces severity of female cycle symptoms
- Treatment of diabetes
- Treatment of asthma
- Treatment of dyslexia
- Treatment of obesity
- Treatment of kidney disease
- Treatment of osteoporosis
If you don’t already have some, get some. I’d recommend taking 3-5g per day for most people.
No it’s not an excuse to chow down on Yakult yoghurts and fruit corners (always the first response from clients, “can I just eat flavoured yoghurts?”) Probiotics contain live bacteria that are extremely beneficial to your digestive and overall health. They help to maintain a balance between good and bad bacteria in your gut. Your gut is the interface between your input (nutritionally) and the body’s output. Poor gut health can negatively affect overall health, wellness, vitality, body composition, energy and moods. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep a well functioning and healthy gut. More on how and why to do this in a later blog. Probiotics help to maintain digestive motility.
Other benefits include but aren’t limited to aiding in the treatment of:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Issues caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites
- Recovering from Antibiotic treatments
- Skin conditions
- Urinary and vaginal health
- Preventing allergies and colds
- Oral health
Look out for brands that contain a high number of LIVE strains, I would suggest taking a brand dependent dose every day to ensure optimal health.
Zinc is an important mineral used as a co-factor in more than 300 currently known enzymes in the human body. This means that even a small deficiency in it can have far-reaching effects on your health. Without it, these enzymes can not be created and the processes that they’re used for can’t be carried out. Dietary intake of zinc can be increased through the consumption of beef, spinach, certain mushrooms, lamb and some seeds among others. Vegetarians, please note that the meat which you so kindly don’t eat is high in bioavailable zinc and may enhance zinc absorption. More often than not you eat a lot of legumes and whole grains, which contain phytates that bind zinc and inhibit its absorption. The chances are that you’re deficient so get tested. To get adequate amounts it’s a good idea that we all supplement further.
Zinc is important for many things including but not limited to:
- Improves immune function
- Improves skin health
- Maintains sensory organ function
- Prevents Hair loss
- Prevents Impotence (lads pay attention, you don’t want the droop)
- Improves testosterone levels
- Improves healing speed
- Reduces lethargy
- Improves strength
- Improves body composition
Optimal levels of zinc should be based on blood results but I would suggest for most adults that 30mg per day should be perfect. I like to take mine in the morning upon waking.
Magnesium is another vital mineral important in human metabolism. It’s important and is necessary for more than 300 chemical reactions in the body, just like zinc. Without adequate amounts, these reactions can’t take place. Magnesium is found in good quantities in dark, leafy greens. I find that it’s most helpful in managing stress and symptoms manifested often as a result of high cortisol. Stress is a cruel cycle and using magnesium to calm the body and achieve good, restful sleep can really help combat this. Some benefits of supplementing with magnesium include but aren’t limited to;
- Improves cognitive function
- Improves memory
- Elevates testosterone levels
- Improves strength and body composition
- Decreases Inflammation
- Improves and maintains bone health
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Prevent Metabolic issues in pregnant women
- Reduces stress and helps to control cortisol
- Improves digestion
- Aids in treatment of ADHD
- May help to reduce Belly Fat
I find that taking 1g before bed every night helps me sleep like a baby. It knocks me out cold and I wake up refreshed and ready to go. All Elliott Upton Online coaching clients report the same improvements. You may find that when you begin taking it you get 2/3 nights of disturbed sleep, stay with it and you’ll sleep incredibly from then on.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which, can be found in small amounts in foods such as salmon, mackerel and tuna as well as cheese and egg yolks. Although in reality in such small amounts that they cannot be relied on as an adequate source for most people. Here in Marbella I and my team are lucky enough to be able to work out in the sun every day, when UV rays strike the skin, the body uses them and eventually turns them into bio-available vitamin D. For the rest of you supplemental Vitamin D may be necessary. Its benefits include but aren’t limited to;
- Manages the amount of calcium in your blood, bones and gut
- Maintains bone health
- Improves immune function
- Improves muscle function and strength (GAINZ)
- Improving lean body mass
- Treatment of certain skin conditions
- Treatment of depression
- Prevention of metabolic disease
- Male reproductive health (lads take care of your tool, no excuses)
- Female reproductive health and fertility
- Improves heart function and circulation reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Improves respiratory function
- Aids proper brain development
- Numerous anti cancer fighting properties (you protect yourself from this with creams that are proven to feed tumours growths)
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Vital in proper cellular communication
Optimal levels of vitamin D are between 80-120 nmol/L and studies suggest taking approximately 5000iu per day supplementary. If you aren’t lucky enough to live in the sun then using the advice I’ve given above will help improve all aspects of your health and body composition no end.
Digestive enzymes are enzymes that break down macromolecules into their smaller building blocks, in order to facilitate their absorption by the body. They aid in the digestion of food and give you a little head start on getting used to getting the most out of the nutrients that you take in. It’s produced by the body in the mouth (saliva), the stomach, pancreas and intestines. Proteases split proteins into smaller amino acids more suited for absorption. Lipase’s split fat into fatty acids and amylases split carbohydrates such as starch and sugars into glucose
Because more often than not clients need to eat far more food than they are used to get lean, I find that adding digestive enzymes help to
- Minimise bloating
- Improve nutrient absorption
- Improve energy
- Improve gut health
- Improve food sensitivities and allergies
- Reduces the efforts and anxieties of dietary change
- Reduces inflammation
For me personally, I carry them with me wherever I go, they keep me feeling great and keep bloating down or irritability if ever I eat something which I may have an unknown sensitivity to. I take 1-2 pills with each meal just to keep any issues at bay.
I also take powdered BCAAs during my training, intervals or cardio too, equal to 20g protein. But that’s not in my cupboard so if I wrote about that in this blog I’d be lying and that’s just not how I roll. I’ll cover BCAAs in a separate post.