Our bodies require a lot of nutrients to function optimally. Being deficient in certain nutrients can cause more problems than you may realize, and can even lead to medical conditions and disease. Thankfully, here in Lubbock we have access to a lot of good quality, nutrient dense foods. Whether you buy your veggies at the store, pick them up from a farm, or grow them yourself, they will be loaded with powerful vitamins and minerals. Same goes for the meat, and there is no shortage of it around here- whether you want traditional or grass-fed, buy a pound at a time or a half beef (that’s what they call it in the cow world, and the plural is beeves in case you’re wondering).
If the majority of your diet is made up of quality meat and vegetables, you are likely doing a great job providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function. Still, you may be a little short on some.
I often get asked what supplements I take. I’m known to be a bit of a supplement snob, if you will. I have done a lot of homework over the years, and there are certain ingredients or forms of supplements that I avoid, and certain forms I require my supplements have. The important thing to remember is this- supplements should be used to supplement a nutritious, healthy diet. Not to make up for a poor diet.
This is a list of the most important supplements (in my non-medical opinion) that I take:
1) Omega 3. Omega 3 fatty acids have so many positive effects on the body. This nutrient can help with brain health, heart health, eye health, inflammation, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s, depression, just to name a few… However, if you’re not eating fatty fish on a regular basis (2 times a week or more), you likely aren’t getting much in your diet. I prefer Omega Drive by Driven Nutrition, but there are a lot of good options out there. Just remember- quality matters. I try to aim for a total of 2 grams per day from a combination of EPA and DHA.
2) Magnesium. Some studies show up to 75% of us aren’t meeting the recommended daily intake. Magnesium deficiency can show up as muscle twitches/cramps, mental disorders, fatigue, high blood pressure, and more. There are a lot of forms of magnesium out there, I prefer a few different forms. I take Magnesium Chelate (powder that is dissolved in water, Dimagnesium Malate (pill form, slow release), and Magnesium Bisglysinate Chelate (capsule, part of my multi-vitamin). I won’t get into why I take these different forms, other than they are all absorbed a little differently and have slightly different benefits.
3) Quality Multivitamin. There are so many multivitamins out there, but the vast majority use cheap, ineffective ingredients, some are imbalanced, and many use cheap fillers and binders that can cause their own side effects. One thing to look for is the form of B-12 it contains. If it contains Cyanocobalamin, put it back and look for one that uses Methylcobalamin instead. The former is poorly absorbed, and can cause upset stomach, itching, and rashes. Methylcobalamin is a more bio-available form of B-12. Side note: B-12 is one of the vitamins I’ve come to learn my body really seems to need supplemented. My current multi is Thorne Multi Elite AM and PM.
4) Post-workout Protein. It took me a couple of years to realize the benefit taking whey protein after my workouts provided. I have always struggled to keep and gain muscle. Of course I eat meat, but once I started consistently taking whey protein after my workouts, I started gaining strength. After a while I started making sure to add carbohydrates to the post-workout routine, and that seemed to have a positive impact on my recovery. If you get plenty of protein in your diet, you may not see much benefit. But if you struggle to get 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass every day, I would definitely consider looking into it. Again, like the others- quality matters. Many proteins are full of extra junk, sugar, even hydrogenated oil! Read the ingredient label. My current favorite post-workout protein is Iso-Drive by Driven Nutrition.
5) Potassium. This is the newest to my list. It works well with the magnesium in helping to keep my electrolytes balanced. And like magnesium, our food sources now days contain lower levels of this mineral. I usually add a little to the powder magnesium/water mix I make. Bonus- it’s cheap! I use No-Salt (in the salt and pepper isle at the grocery store), it’s like $3 and lasts more months.
6) Vitamin D. This one is critical for so many functions, yet so many people have less that optimal levels. One of the many roles it has is supporting a healthy immune system. There is even more and more research coming out about the connection between severe COVID cases and low Vitamin D levels. There are food sources- egg yolks, some fish; however the body is designed to get it through sun exposure on our skin. Now that skin cancer is a real risk, many of us get little sun exposure. Add to that, sun screen can block the UVB rays that produce Vitamin D. Also, the darker your skin, the more sun you will need to boost your levels. Given all of these scenarios, I feel it’s a good idea to supplement with Vitamin D. This is actually a pretty inexpensive vitamin, you can find 240 softgels at 5000iu each for less than $15 on Amazon. I try to get it through the sun when I can (hopefully I don’t regret that later…), but there is also some in my multi, and in the winter I also take NOW Foods 5000iu.
So, there are my 6 go-to supplements to support a healthy body. As always, it’s a good idea to do your own homework and talk with your doctor. In fact, talking with your doctor should be step one if you are taking any medications or managing any conditions.