The world of supplements can be a minefield to navigate so I’ve put together this blog post to clear up the facts and explain some of the most popular supplements to you.
While I’ve always taken a food-first approach, aiming to get the majority of my nourishment from my diet, there can be certain situations in which taking supplements can be helpful, such as Vitamin D in the winter months (due to lack of sunlight).
I don’t see supplements as a quick fix, and it’s important to highlight that taking too much of anything isn’t necessarily a good thing. Not all brands offer the same quality, so I’ve outlined some brands I recommend within this post.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional – I am studying a Nutrition BSc to become a Registered Nutritionist. It is advised to consult with doctor/nutritionist/dietician before starting any new supplement regime.
A typical Western diet provides far too much Omega 6 compared to Omega 3, which can cause an inflammatory response in the body. The ratio between the two is important, and an Omega 3 fish oil supplement can help bring these back into balance. Omega 3 is an essential polyunsaturated fatty acid – the body does not make it so it must be consumed through the diet. It is important for the health of the brain, heart and eyes, and plays a key role in cell signalling and the nervous system too. I take this Omega 3 from Bare Biology which is made from sustainably sourced fish.
B vitamins are required for the release of energy from food. They also support the production of hormones and the healthy function of the nervous system, circulatory system and immune system. A deficiency of B vitamins can lead to tiredness and fatigue. Vitamin B12 is particularly important for those following a plant-based diet as it is difficult to obtain without consuming any animal products. I take this methyl B complex from BioCare, which provides the nutrients in their naturally active form.
Vitamin D contributes to the immune system function, and is essential for healthy muscles, teeth and bones as it increases calcium absorption. 50% of people worldwide are Vitamin D3 deficient, and the NHS recommends that everyone in the UK takes Vitamin D supplements between October and Mach as the sun is not strong enough to provide adequate amounts. I take this Vitamin D3 from Pharma Nord. Make sure to supplement with D3 (cholecalciferol) rather than D2 which is less biologically active.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps the body to fight free radical damage and contributes to a healthy immune system. It’s also needed for collagen and connective tissue formation. As well as Vitamin C, zinc also plays an integral role in the body’s immune system, so I take this Vitamin C and Zinc complex from Link Nutrition.
If you do exercise vigorously and regularly, and experience muscle soreness after a workout, magnesium can help to relieve this pain. It’s also important for DNA and RNA, as well as helping to calm anxiety and aiding a good night’s sleep. When I’m struggling to sleep, I take this food-based magnesium from Link Nutrition before bed.
Digestive enzymes can support the body to break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and help the digestive system to extract nutrients from your food. I take this digestive aid from Viridian which also contains peppermint and ginger.
Chromium plays a role in glucose metabolism and can help with insulin sensitivity. Cinnamon has a similar function, so I like this chromium, cinnamon & lipoic acid complex from Terranova.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post about supplements and found it useful! Remember that supplements are just that – a supplement alongside a healthy diet, and certainly should not replace obtaining your nutrients from food.
Do you take any supplements? What are your favourite supplement brands? Let me know on Instagram @elibrechernutrition – I’d love to hear from you!
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