Today I wanted to tackle a controversial subject – and one I haven’t touched for a long time.
Specifically, what should you be taking for optimal health, longevity, and results.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind as we dive in.
Not everything that is sold is good for you, or even useful. Companies want money, and the margins on supplements are generally ridiculously high.
The law of diminishing returns applies – for a lot of supplements they might move the needle 1%. Unless you’re a top tier athlete (or under Dr’s orders for a specific regime), these aren’t worth your time.
Supplements are supplementary. Meaning if you aren’t strength training 3x/wk, walking regularly, and eating well (primarily protein, colorful veggies, fibrous carbs, and water), practicing a sleep hygiene routine, and managing stress, supplements might not make much of an impact for you.
Disclaimer! I am not a doctor, nor am I recommending you take these. If you have hesitations, talk to your doctor. I just want to shine some light on what’s out there and what could be useful for you.
Without further ado, here’s the top supplements to build muscle, lose fat, and age gracefully
For the record, I consider a quality protein powder like the Grass-Fed New Zealand Isolate like we sell at Lean Strong to be a food more than a supplement.
We rarely get enough protein, and when we do the quality isn’t always top tier – hence the popularity of free range eggs and grass-fed beef.
Protein powder is a cost-effective solution to get more protein in your diet.
The general recommendations vary drastically, but here’s how I see it.
If you’re over 40 you’re starting to lose muscle mass every year. That leads to sarcopenia and other issues which lead to decreased function as you age and not being able to enjoy a big chunk of your life.
So one of your key goals should be to add strength and muscle, and protein is key for this (your muscles are literally made out of protein).
For muscle building you want to eat at least 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 150lbs x 0.7g/lb = 105g of protein minimum, and more is generally better.
You can hit that with food, but it means you’re having a solid (aka chicken breast) sized serving at least 3 times per day, and larger humans need more.
That can be tough, and having a serving of protein in your morning smoothie is the same equivalent.
In short, it makes it easier.
Just make sure to get a Grass-Fed New Zealand Isolate like the one we sell at LSFW – for only a couple extra bucks you get something that’s drastically higher quality with less calories, more protein, and less fillers.
And a quick aside – protein does not cause kidney damage, unless your kidneys are already damaged. I don’t want to bore you with the details, but basically that’s a myth. You can’t realistically overdo it on protein unless you have underlying health conditions.
Greens powder, such as Greens+ or Athletic Greens have become increasingly popular, and for good reason.
We rarely eat enough veggies and are missing out on a lot of vitamins, nutrients and minerals they contain.
For reference, most people should be eating 4-6 fist-sized servings of fibrous veggies per day. If that feels like a lot of vegetables, you’re probably not getting enough. I know I’m not.
That means we’re missing out on benefits such as immune function, gut and hormone health, and a whole host of other key benefits.
Taking a serving of greens powder every day balances out our lack of veggies.
But be aware – this isn’t a hall pass to skip vegetables – it’s to take you from “okay” to “optimal”.
Vitamin D is useful for a whole host of health benefits, ranging from bone health to improved immune system function to overall well being.
It truly is a “general health” supplement, and especially since we are bundled up and not getting a lot of sun exposure for a good part of the year, supplementing with vitamin D is incredibly beneficial.
The Canadian guidelines for intake are 600IU for most people, though 1000-2000IU is shown to be useful for many people.
There is also some evidence to show higher doses might be beneficial as well, but there is less research to say one way or the other for sure.
Oh, and make sure to buy the vitamin D3 version – it’s more effective.
Magnesium is needed for Vitamin D – in short your vitamin D supplementation is more effective with proper magnesium levels, and possibly ineffective without.
Plus, it also helps with blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and overall health. Although there isn’t much evidence to back it up, in my experience you’ll sleep better with consistent supplementation.
There aren’t great recommendations on how much to take but it was explained to me by my good friend Dr. Eleveld at Natural Choice Medical Clinic to take “until digestive tolerance”.
The body only absorbs what it needs, and the remainder you excrete. Just be aware, too much can be a laxative.
Start with 150mg and work your way up. I personally take 300mg every night.
It’s also noteworthy that this is a seriously cheap supplement. $10 gets you a few months supply, so it’s worth it.
OMEGA 3S (AKA FISH OILS)
Fun fact – one of my professors in university was a leading Canadian researcher and taught us a lot.
I’ll give you the summary – he gave fish oil supplements to his children.
Fish oils are the common term for popular Omega-3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA. They’re the beneficial parts of fish oil and why you take them.
Although often touted for help with reducing joint pain, they also have key benefits for reducing inflammation and heart health, among other things.
Generally you want a combination of 1g of EPA + DHA.
Note that 1g of fish oils is usually 300mg of EPA and DHA combined, so you want 3-4 fish oil capsules – check the label on yours as this can vary and higher quality fish oil have more SPA and DHA per capsule.
I’ve personally found I feel better taking up to 2-3g per day, and as another disclaimer, that’s completely anecdotal in my experience.
Second, be sure to buy ones that are certified heavy metal free and high quality – don’t buy the discount brand with these.
There are LOTS of other supplements out there, and although it’s contradictory to a lot of the marketing you see, most are a waste of money.
There are obvious exceptions to this – specifically things your doctor tells you to take – and I didn’t intend this to be the “be all, end all” of supplements.
But, this gives you a great starting point.
If you take some or all of what’s above, the research supports you’ll be healthier and very likely happier.
To learn more about improving your health and getting into a consistent fitness routine, click here to book a call.
I also believe in giving credit where it’s due – Examine.com is the only unbiased (unlike most sites, which are funded by the people who stand to benefit from specific results of studies) resource I know of that takes research studies and breaks them down into easy to understand, actionable information we can use to improve our health. Check it out.