Well, first thing’s first. What is considered a supplement?
In this context, I’m defining a supplement as any nutrition one gets that is not from whole foods.
Supplements are called supplements for a reason. They’re meant to supplement your diet (the real foods you eat). Nutrition from whole foods should come first and foremost. But it’s a well-known fact that the nutritional value of most food in the modernized western world just ain’t what it used to be. It’s much more difficult to obtain the ideal amount of vitamins and micronutrients in today’s world. So that means it’s a good idea to supplement our diet, even if we’re eating healthy. I’m not a huge fan of supplementation, but there are two supplements I never leave home without.
Greens Powder– This covers all nutritional grounds. It’s often referred to as “nutritional insurance,” ensuring that no nutritional deficiencies develop. Most high-quality greens powders contain the whole spectrum of vitamins and minerals (in varied amounts), probiotics, herbal extracts, and condensed “superfoods” that promote optimum health.
Fish Oil– Reduces inflammation, joint health, exercise recovery, cognitive function, skeletal health…etc. The list of benefits from fish oil is so extensive that I CAN’T NOT take it. For me, I noticed a significant improvement in skin (never dry, and radiant) and joint health after taking fish oil. It’s a must have for everyone, especially people who exercise regularly.
Those are the only 2 supplements that I take consistently. Everything else I use gets cycled in and out depending on what I’m looking to accomplish at that specific time.
Other supplements I cycle:
Vitamin D– During times when I’m not getting enough sunlight or want to stay healthy during cold and flu season. Vitamin D is obtained through direct sunlight (without sunscreen) and in some foods. A deficiency in Vitamin D creates a whole host of health problems (see this report). Vitamin D supports healthy immune function, among many other things. I’m taking vitamin D daily right now, and enjoying perfect health while everyone is worrying about the flu.
Creatine– When I want to focus on gettin swole or increase performance in the gym.
Whey Protein– Same as creatine (I use grass-fed whey protein, gluten/soy-free, and look for brands that have the least amount of complex-sounding ingredients in them).
I don’t like including something as a part of my long-term routine unless I’m 100% sure that it’s beneficial for me. This is why I cycle supplements like Creatine and Whey Protein. Although I believe they’re not harmful (at least the brands I buy), it’s best to periodically give the body some rest.
*Remember; do your research before taking any supplement, and err on the side of caution with your dosage when you start out.
As with everything else in life, it’s good to try new things, as long as you’re not being stupid about it.