A Guide to Supplements – My Review

In A Guide to Supplements – Which Ones do You Need, I tried to give you an insight into my daily regime and the supplements that I take for my health. Everyone is very different and so their bodies’ need a variation of supplements. For example, if someone is feeling weak for a prolonged period, there is a high chance that they could be anemic, hence they would potentially need an iron supplement.
Since my last article, I have had many people requesting me to review a number of different supplements, from zinc to creatine. So, today I will be discussing and reviewing supplements for general health, and supplements for fitness.

The consumption of vitamins and minerals has now become even more important, due to the effects of COVID-19. Our immune systems need to be given all the help they can get, to fight such viruses.

I have used a variety of supplementation for a long time, so I hope I can help you to reach the next level in your health and fitness journey.

Supplements for General Health



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Firstly, lets have a look at some very common supplements. These supplements are used on a regular basis, by many of us. They can range from Zinc to Vitamin A. In order to get the most out of your home fitness routine, you need to ensure you are looking after your general health first.

Some of the following were included in my previous supplement article. However, I will include them below, for your convenience.

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that we do not keep stored in our bodies’. However, it is imperative that we do not underestimate the importance of this mineral. Unfortunately nowadays, due to highly processed food, zinc levels have drastically decreased, which means that supplementation is required. The benefits of zinc are as follows:

Pros:

  • Supports Immunity and thinking
  • Keeps eyes, skin, hair and nails in peak condition
  • Contributes to macronutrient metabolism
  • Helps with protein synthesis
  • Ensures a healthy amount of testosterone in men, which aids fertility.

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • Nausea, diarrhea and/or headaches
  • Toxicity

Adult Recommended dosage: 10 mg

Magnesium

As with Zinc, Magnesium is not naturally produced in our bodies’. However, it is a very important mineral. Deficiencies can easily lead to muscle and bone degradation and damage. Along with calcium, it is the most abundant mineral found in the bones. The two work together to ensure the density and strength of teeth and bones. Magnesium is responsible for hundreds of processes within the body and has utmost importance in the role of muscle function.

Pros:

  • Helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue
  • Contributes to normal muscle function
  • Helps with healthy muscle function and contraction
  • Balances electrolytes in the body

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps

Adult Recommended dosage: 375 mg


Iron

Most people are well aware of this mineral. It is required in order to produce healthy hemoglobin, which is the protein in red blood cells, that carries oxygen around the body. Our bodies’ are unable to synthesise this mineral, and so require foods that are abundant in iron, and in some cases supplements. Low level of iron can affect the bodies’ antibodies, which in turn can lead to tiredness, fatigue and/or anemia.

Pros:

  • Supports normal cognitive and immune system function
  • Helps to maintain normal energy yielding metabolism
  • Helps reduce tiredness and fatigue
  • Supports red blood cell formation.

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • Serious gastrointestinal problems
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Brain and liver problems.

Adult Recommended dosage: 14 mg 

Calcium

Calcium is essential for healthy teeth and bones. We consume this mineral from the foods we eat. For the efficient absorption of calcium, we need vitamin D. These 2 work in tandem with each other.

Pros:

  • Provides support for bones and teeth
  • Supports muscle function
  • Supports nerve function.

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • Kidney stones
  • Impairment of the absorption of iron and zinc.

Selenium

According to the National Diet and Nutrition survey, we are not getting enough selenium in our diets. The most common types of foods it is found in are fish, meat, eggs and Brazil nuts. Unfortunately due to recent changes in farming practices, there has been a reduction of this mineral in the soil.

Pros:

  • Supports a wide range of body functions
  • Important for immunity
  • Essential for healthy thyroid function
  • Great for hair and nails
  • Helps combat cell damage
  • Needed for healthy sperm production

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • Bad breath
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Liver, kidney and heart issues
  • In extreme cases, can cause toxicity, which can lead to death.

Adult Recommended dosage: 55 mcg



Vitamin B12

This vitamin is one of the most complex of all vitamins. It is involved in the metabolism of every cell in the body. Not only is it required for the production of red blood cells but also for normal cell division. It is also important for neurological and psychological functions.

Pros:

  • Contributes to the formation of red blood cells
  • Supports healthy psychological functions
  • Supports energy-yielding metabolism

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • Dehydration and dizziness.

Adult Recommended dosage: 2.5 mcg

Vitamin C

This vitamin is a powerhouse in the world of antioxidants. It helps to boost our immune system, which we all know is the bodies’ defense system. It also ensures that the nervous system is performing at optimum levels. Just these two jobs alone show how important it is for us to consume the right amounts. It is also imperative for the efficient absorption of iron. There are so many pros with this vitamin.

Pros:

  • Supports immune and nervous systems
  • Supports psychological functions and boosts our energy levels
  • Helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue
  • Helps with the absorption of iron
  • Supports the formation of collagen
  • Is an antioxidant.

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Nausea.

Adults Recommended dosage: 80 mg

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, or as many people know it, the sunshine vitamin, is one of the most important vitamins your body needs to synthesiZe. We need take vitamin D supplements because of the lack of sunshine we get in the UK.

Pros:

  • Regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus
  • Facilitates normal immune system function
  • Vital in the development of bones and teeth
  • Improves the bodies” resistance to many diseases.

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • A build up of calcium in your blood
  • Bone and kidney problems (formation of calcium stones).

Adults Recommended dosage: 15 mg

Vitamin E

This is a vitamin that promotes general well-being and immunity. It is found in foods such as cereals, meats, poultry and eggs. It helps the body to maintain a healthy heart. It is a fat soluble vitamin, which means too much can be stored up in fat, causing toxicity within the body.

Pros:

  • Protects the body against oxidative stress
  • Helps to maintain a healthy heart
  • Helps to maintain healthy arteries
  • Improves the absorption of other nutrients

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • Toxicity in the body
  • Excessive bleeding.

Adults Recommended dosage: 15 mg

EFA’s – Omega 3

This is literally a life saver. Unless you have been hiding under a rock your whole life, you would have heard of Omega 3. It is not naturally produced by the body but has a range of health benefits. Consuming Omega 3 is a must, if you want a healthy lifestyle.

Pros:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces triglycerides
  • Slows the development of plaque in the arteries
  • Reduces the chances of stroke and heart attack
  • Fights depression and anxiety
  • Improves eye health
  • Helps with brain health.

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • High blood sugar
  • Acid reflux
  • Bad breath.

 

The Importance of These Vitamins and Minerals



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The above are some of the most important vitamins and minerals that your body needs. As we all know the world of supplements is a vast one. There are so may to choose from, that it can get confusing. We get much of our recommended daily allowance (RDA) from our diets, however diets that are lacking in fruits and vegetables will unfortunately be lacking in these micronutrients.

It is of utmost importance that we do not overdose on these vitamins and minerals. Although taking more of certain micros is not severely detrimental to your health, there are some that can be fatal. Please ensure that you check with a qualified professional before taking supplementation.

Sports Nutrition Favourites




The world of Sports Nutrition is a maze of protein shakes, BCAA’s, meal replacements, fat burners, creatine and so much more. This market is growing every day. With individuals trying to be the next superstar, or just trying to emulate their favourite wrestler, sports supplements have now become a thing of need, rather than want.

Although there are some great supplements out there, you must ensure sure that you are choosing the correct one for your goal. I am going to go through some really popular ones so that you feel a little more confident when adding them to your regime. Some of them were included in my previous supplement article but I have included them, for your convenience.

Protein Shakes

As many of you know, getting the correct ratio of protein and carbohydrates into your body after training is vital. It is even more vital to get these nutrients into your body within 45 minutes of your training sessions, as the body is crying out for nutrients to help it repair, after your grueling workout.

We all need to ensure we are consuming an adequate amount of protein. This can all seem a bit confusing, especially if you add exercising into the mix. To make it easier for you, I have broken it down below:

  • Men – No training – 1g of protein per kg of weight (70kg male would require 70g of protein per day)
  • Men – training – 1.5/2g or protein per kg of weight (70kg male would require 105/140g of protein per day)
  • Women – No training – 0.8g of protein per kg of weight (60kg female would require 48g of protein per day)
  • Women – training – 1.5g of protein per kg of weight (60kg female would require 90g of protein per day)

As mentioned above, the whole process can get a little confusing, but if you stick to the above as a general rule of thumb, then you are on the right track.

Pros:

  • Promotes muscle growth
  • Help to get protein to the muscles straight after training
  • Can lower blood pressure
  • Easy way to add more protein to your diet.

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • Some contain harmful artificial sweeteners
  • Bad breath
  • Constipation
  • Can cause weight gain (fat).

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

These supplements often come as a combination because they work so well together. They are found in the connective tissues in the human body, usually at the ends of bones in the joints. Taking these as a supplement will help to rebuild worn cartilage, which will help prevent diseases such as arthritis. People are split when it comes to the benefits of these supplements, however, in my experience, they definitely work.

Pros:

  • Can help reduce inflammation
  • Supports healthy joints
  • Can treat bone and joint disorders
  • Can be used to treat glaucoma.

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation.


Creatine

Creatine is a substance that is naturally found within muscle cells. Its major function is to help muscles produce energy during intense exercise, which could include weight training and/or HIIT training.

Many people will take a creatine supplement to enhance their results. However, taking too much creatine, in supplement format, may severely affect the bodies’ ability to produce its own supply. Although this product is great for helping to increase strength and size it must be cycled e.g. 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off.

Pros:

  • Increases strength
  • Increases size
  • Aids recovery
  • Improves burst of speed and energy.

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • The bodies’ own supply to deteriorate
  • Organ damage
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dehydration.

BCAA’s

Branched Chain Amino Acids are a group of 3 essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. This is usually taken to boost muscle growth and improve exercise endurance. The jury is out on this supplement, as there are many that believe BCAA’s do not really have any significant impact on the body (when taken in this format). I believe it is a case of how it affects us on an individual basis.

Pros:

  • Increased muscle growth
  • Decreased muscle soreness
  • Prevent muscle wastage
  • Reduce exercise fatigue.

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of coordination
  • Nausea
  • Headaches.

 

Fat Burners

There are many fat burners on the market. Many of them are full of stimulants, such as caffeine, however you can purchase stimulant free too. I have a sensitive stomach, which means too much caffeine can play havoc with my digestion. So when I first found out stimulant free capsules were available, I was very happy. The ones on the market today, are full of natural ingredients such as herbs. They also contain L-Carnitine, which helps the body release energy from fat.

Pros:

  • Boost energy
  • Help curb appetite
  • Increase metabolism
  • Increase core temperature, which helps to burn more calories throughout the day.

A very excessive amount can cause:

  • Diarrhea
  • Black stools
  • Nausea
  • Constipation.

When purchasing fat burners, be careful which one you choose. There are many companies that ‘promise’ amazing results with minimal effort. For them to be effective, you must exercise, and eat healthily. Do not purchase any from brands you do not recognise, as they can have horrendous side effects.

Be Sensible


When taking vitamin and mineral supplements it is absolutely imperative that you seek the advice of your GP or a qualified practitioner. Overdosing with any supplement can be extremely detrimental to your health, and in some cases, fatal.

I can not stress the importance of vitamins and minerals enough. Our bodies’ are put through the ringer on a daily basis. Whether it is exercising at home, or just everyday activities like working, the body needs help in order to carry on functioning properly. This is where supplementation comes in. Choosing the correct supplements is a science, as each body differs. What is right for you, may not be right for the next person.

Sports supplementation is a fantastic way to push yourself to the next level. These products help you to perform that extra rep, run one more lap, or row that extra 200m. However, as with vitamin and mineral supplements, please ensure that you are consuming the correct dosage, and get advice from a fitness professional, like myself.

A healthy and balanced diet should always be at the forefront of any lifestyle. Before you start taking a supplement, ensure that you are eating healthy and nutritious foods. Supplements are just that. They are meant to SUPPLEMENT healthy and nutritious food. All too often people overdo it on protein shakes and other supplements, as they are not aware of how the body works.

With the correct diet, supplements will work wonders for you. If you drink the right amount of water, eat the right foods, exercise correctly and supplement with intelligence you will achieve the results you desire. Be patient, confident and seek the advice of a competent professional and the world will be your oyster.

I hope you have enjoyed my article. Please leave any questions, comments and/or feedback below. As always, it has been an absolute pleasure having you here.

 

 

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