I am actually not the biggest fan of vitamins and supplements in the world. In fact I think that most of them are a rip off. Your body doesn’t absorb near what you think it is and most of it can end up in the toilet (Literally) if you are not absorbing them properly.
Still there are a few that I do take on the regular that I have found help and that maybe you should be taking as you get older, as your training gets harder or if you’re diet might not be as nutrient dense as it normally might be, like when you are sick or traveling.
Women’s or men’s this guy is going to cover all of your bases. It’s a daily guarantee that you are going all of your Vitamins and Minerals. Keep in mind that vitamins and minerals are two specific groups and are not food groups like proteins, fiber, carbohydrates or anything else that comes with eating real food.
Make sure that you are checking how many pills you need to take. Some will say two and for me, that’s too many. I just want to take one.
Keep in mind that your body is not absorbing everything. If your urine comes out bright yellow, your body is really just pushing those out without really absorbing the majority.
Our diet is not what it used to be and there is a lot of acidity and PH disrupters that are in modern foods (Mostly processed but also things like coffee, sugars and preservatives) that can disrupt the delicate ecosystem in our gut. You need the bacteria in your belly to be being nurtured and fed so that it can do its job properly.
Probiotics and Prebiotics feed and nurture these helpful little bacteria and the environment they live in so that they can absorb and process food in your stomach better. Of course that is the simple explanation.
When you start taking a Probiotic, build up. You don’t need to start with a 10 Billion culture count. Start with a small number and build up so that your body has time to adjust. If you are taking too many you will likely feel gastrointestinal distress (Gas, diarrhea, ect). The reason to take this however is that your body is able to break down food more effectively and you will often have better, more frequent bowel movements.
If you are a female, you have most likely seen those over priced Hair Skin and Nail supplements at both the health food store and even at stores like Ulta or Sallys. Biotin is the main ingredient in those. It is also important during pregnancy and breast feeding. However, I take it for the positive effect it has on my hair, skin and nails.
Biotin is a water soluble B vitamin so it is important to make sure you are hydrated when taking it if you want it to be absorbed properly. Again, this is one of those Vitamins where if you are taking too much, you are just going to urinate it out so make sure that you aren’t over doing it.
Biotin has also been linked to adverse lab test results so if you are seeing your doctor for any sorts of testing, be sure to tell them all of the supplements, including Biotin, that you are taking.
In my opinion this is one of the most underrated minerals in our arsenal. It is present in everything and is used as a chemical cadalist for over 600 of the functions in our body including Energy production, gene maintenance, Muscle and connective tissue repair, nervous system regulation, and protein formation. It has also been show to help with depression, fight type 2 diabetes, lowers blood pressure, prevents migraines and improves PMS symptoms. Best of all it is in tons of foods and is supper well tolerated by the body in supplement form. I personally also find that taking it before bed gives me much better sleep, most of all when I have had a harder training session that day.
I personally take it because of its anti inflammatory benefits and because it has been shown to help with athletic performance and recover. When exercising the body needs in between 10%-20% more then in a resting state. For runners like myself, it helps dispose of lactate build up (Muscle cramps.) Evidence on this is not completely conclusive, but with all of its other benefits and the fact that most Americans and people in the UK show to not be getting enough, it can hardly hurt.
Tips for Taking Vitamins & Supplements
Some things like Probiotics are supposed to be taken on an empty stomach. Some like Biotin are water soluble and should be taken with liquid. Some will make you sick for you take them on an empty stomach. Like all other things, make sure you read your labels and do your research.
Almost everything says that its a dietary supplement. This does not mean that it is intended for weight lose or that you should use it in place of a healthy, balanced diet.
The newest rage is those prepackaged vitamin packets (and boy do they enrage me!). Don’t be wasteful for both the environment and your wallets sake. They will say they are tailored specifically for you but without long term lab work that is really just a gimmick. Be an educated consumer and put your own pills into a little pill box. I do mine on Sunday and leave it at work so I can take them after my morning smoothie.
Remember that everyone’s body is different. When trying a new supplement, pay attention to how your body feels and its function. You don’t need to be taking tons of supplements if they are not helping you. Watch you energy, your urination, your skin and your sleep to make sure that these are helping you. Everything has an adjustment period but if it doesn’t feel right, stop.
If you have questions about vitamins or have a medical or mental health condition, be sure to consult your doctor or a reputable source.