Which Supplements
are Worth It?

With millions of different supplements out there, it's hard to know where to start when looking to take something to support your diet, exercise, and health needs. While it's impossible for me to write an article that will cover everyone's needs, I can share the basics that most everyone might at least take a look at when considering a supplement plan. Be sure to check with your doctor or health provicer before taking any supplements! Your doctor can work with you to find what is best for your needs.

1.  Multivitamin/Mineral

This can be like an 'insurance policy' for your everyday needs. Not everyone eats a perfect diet every day. Even if you did, there is no guarantee that the foods you're eating are as chock full of nutrients as they might have many years ago when the soil was different and our lifestyles were different, too.

Pro tip: Some vitamins and minerals are 'heavy' and can't fit into one pill (they themselves would take up a whole pill). Vitamin C, calcium and magnesium come to mind. If you need larger amounts of those, consider a multivitamin that is more than one pill per serving, or take those substances on top of your regular multi.

2.  Omega-3

These are also a great insurance policy to make sure your body gets the essential fatty acids it needs for optimal functioning. Even if you eat fish a couple of times a week, chances are your omega-3 intake is still a bit below the suggested amount.

Pro tip: Medicinal doses of omega-3 have been used and shown to help with pain and inflammation as much as NSAID medications in some cases. This is something you should work with your doctor on. The average person won't need mega doses, but if you have something going on health wise, it's something to think about.

3.  Magnesium

Ah, one of those bulky minerals I mentioned earlier. Magnesium has the power to help your body in countless ways, and the average person doesn't come close to the RDA in their daily diet. It's just as well that a worthwhile amount of magnesium doesn't fit in your multivit, because magnesium is great to take on it's own right before bed. Magnesium can help promote sound sleep and help ease the muscular tensions that develop from the day's work.

Pro tip: It has been shown in clinical studies that taking epsom salt baths can lead to increased blood levels of magnesium. This is another option if pills aren't your jam. Click here for the study.

4.  Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a hormone that has the power to influence everything from mood, to energy, to the health of your bones. It's tremendously complicated in that people have varying abilities of how well they absorb it from the sun. Also, the amount added to supplement foods doesn't tend to make a dent in the need some folks have. This vitamin is so important that it's even available in prescription strength.

Pro tip: Consider taking more in the winter and less in the summer to help your body stay at it's best year round. Consult your doctor to discuss the dosage (blood tests can show you where you're at now). Even though vitamin D is great, overdoing is not so good either--that can cause problems like bone spurs if you don't need all that extra 'D.'

5.  Creatine

I list creatine because it's one of the only sports-type supplements that is as safe as you're gonna get, and has proven results. Furthermore, some studies have shown a benefit for depression. Click here for more on that.

Pro tip: Depression aside, creatine helps make workouts easier to get through which is motivating when you're trying to build strength. Don't believe the myth that you need to 'creatine load.' If you take the standard dose daily, you will build up the levels you need for the strength improvement--it will just take a couple weeks. What's the rush? Also, it's true that you might gain a couple of pounds when you're on it. However, these pounds come from increased fluid in the muscle and don't look like 'fat.' Furthermore, they will go away if you take a break from creatine. The extra strength and stamina you'll have when working out is more than worth the couple of extra pounds.

6.  CoQ10

This supplement can be a game-changer for anyone 30 and over. Coenzyme Q10 is a vital participant in the chain of metabolic chemical reactions that generate energy within cells. It is found in every cell of the body.Many medical studies demonstrate CoQ10 benefits when taken as a supplement, most of which stem from its vital role in oxygen utilization and energy production, particularly in heart muscle cells.

Pro tip: Seek out the soft-gel ubiquinol form when taking CoQ10 as a standalone supplement, as this has greater antioxidant efficiency than the ubiquinone form.

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