If I could have a dollar for every time I am asked “what supplement should I take?” I’d be able to retire at my early age of 23.
I’m going to be very blunt and harsh when I say this, but most supplements on the market are a waste of money. They promise fat loss and muscle growth but what they don’t tell you is that they will only work if your diet is perfect, which, let’s face it, most North Americans don’t have.
So therefore, for the average person just looking to be healthy and active (when I say this I mean not 5- gold medal winning Olympians), if you are going to use a supplement it should be one that fixes and aids your diet.
Here are 5 staple supplements that you should always have on hand. It is important to note that you will not need to use and rely on these supplements every single day. Simply used them on the days “bad” days more than on your “good” days. Frequency depends on whole food nutrient intake; if nutrient needs are met through whole foods, supplement use will be infrequent; if nutrient needs are not met, supplement use will be more often.
1. Protein supplement
Well, duh. Of course this would be first on the list. Our modern day North American diet is lacking on protein, severely. Aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. This is a great supplement to use when whole-food options aren’t available or inaccessible. If you cannot tolerate milk products, look for eg, rice, pea, or other plant based blends.
Double, duh. Take daily, and especially when dietary intake is poor.
3. Fish oil
In the modern North American diet, the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fat is disproportionate due to high intake of fatty acids from coin oil, safflower oil and fatty cut meats. Use fish oil supplement to increase your omega-3 and therefore balance this ratio. Look for high omega-3 content(at least 30% EPA and DHA). Liquid or capsule form.
4. Greens powder
Kinda like protein powder except it’s superfoods(fruit and vegetable) powder. This supplement is high in Antioxidants and rich in vitamins/minerals. Stir into any liquid such as water or protein smoothie.
5. Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Use during high-intensity and strength training activities when fat loss and muscle/performance preservation is desired. Look for the 3 major BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine).