Supplements Worth the Price – Part 1

fish-oil-1915424_1920The supplement industry is booming nowadays and everywhere you look there’s the new “miracle pill” that everyone swears by.  Just walk into a GNC or down the supplement aisle of your local health foods store and chances are you’ll quickly be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the products available.  Are certain brands better than others?  How much should I be taking?  Is this supplement actually doing anything for me?  All solid questions and my hope is that I’m here to help you cut through at least a bit of the chaos.

Now, an important disclaimer – please do not use the contents of this article as a medical diagnosis.  While I’ll be mentioning what I typically use or the amounts of each supplement I personally take, that information is based off of my individual goals or needs.  While I do feel that the supplements I’ll be suggesting here are staples that can benefit a majority of people, you may be the unique individual that should consider an alternative.  Therefore, please discuss with your healthcare provider before beginning or investing in any major supplement routine.

The other thing I’ll throw out there, as it goes for every product mentioned on this list – quality is key.  It may be tempting to go for the convenient or cheaper options, but should you be dealing with food sensitivities or allergies, take special note when reading the ingredients lists.  Often times, knock off brands will add fillers to their products that can cause further inflammation to those dealing with leaky-gut syndrome, auto-immune conditions, etc.  I’ll be mentioning the brands I use – but again, these are what personally work well for me.  Please be sure to follow through on your own research before assuming they are the right fit for you too.

Finally, I’ve decided to split this article into two.  It turns out I had a lot more to say on this subject than I realized when originally drafting this idea, and I don’t want your brains to get overwhelmed by an excessively long post.

Alright – enough of the nitty-gritty details.  Let’s dive in!

Supplement 1: Vitamin D

71j68iiJcNL._SY679_Hello member of the modern world!  Should you be like me and live in a thriving metropolis, or should you be one of the 80% of people working a full-time, desk job – chances are, you’re not getting outside enough.  Hey – it’s okay – we are all still good people, but our lack of sun exposure might be causing some roadblocks.  That’s why Vitamin D is #1 on my list.

When I first started getting the lab work done that led to my Hashimoto’s diagnosis, the first thing noted was my Vitamin D deficiency.  In fact, I love to relay the story of when my doctor phoned me and asked me to sit down because he had some news.  As I prepared to hear the awful news (my brain immediately jumping to thoughts of cancer or some rare, incurable disease), he informed me I was the most Vitamin D deficient person he had ever come across.

Thanks for the panic attack, doc.

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But funny antidotes aside, a Vitamin D deficiency is nothing to shrug off, and the truth is…a strong majority of us are suffering from it.  Studies have shown that symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency can range from fatigue and muscle pain to weight gain, depression, and loss of bone density.

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Yeah…no bueno.

When I was first diagnosed, my doctor gave me a prescription strength dose of Vitamin D to jump start my levels.  We carefully monitored the improvements with frequent blood labs, and as soon as I was at a more favorable level, we dropped me down to a daily dose of 5,000IU (which is still on the higher end of dosing Vitamin D).  Most people do well supplementing 3,000IU per day, but again, please discuss with your medical professional what would be the right dose for you 🙂

Supplement 2: Fish Oil/Flaxseed Oil

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Let’s talk about Omega 3’s baby!

Omega 3s are sexy – they help with your skin and hair, keeping them glowing and hydrated.  Omega 3s also help with muscle stiffness or joint pain by providing extra lubrication (#dirty).  Studies also show it can help with prevention of depression, ADHD, and even Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.

Now, I’m going to talk in terms of Fish Oil because that is what I use.  If you are a vegan, vegetarian, or if the thought of Fish Oil simply churns your stomach, another option to supplement your Omega 3s is Flaxseed Oil.  Personally, flaxseed has a tendency to make my skin itchy, otherwise I’d probably switch to using it myself.  Ah well, fish oil it is for me – just be sure you take your supplement with a meal to best avoid those “fishy” burps. #yuck

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Now Fish Oil isn’t a perfect solution – the real thing always wins out (that goes for any supplement really).  Therefore, I always try my best to eat fish 2x per week.  Does this always happen?  No.  Am I still a good person?  I like to think so.

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But this is where a Fish Oil supplement comes in handy – it fills in the nutritional gaps that one finds in his/her diet.  It’s not the primary solution, rather it’s the assist.  Imagine your supplements as a spotter on a primary lift like a bench press.  You’re doing all the heavy lifting, but your spotter has your back just in case you miss something 😉

Supplement 3 – Protein Powder

Here’s the skinny on dosing with protein powder – know your goals.  I’m not going to get into a discussion here on how many grams of protein you need per day – that’s a bigger topic for another article.

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What I am going to focus on here is the obvious – protein powder provides a quick and convenient boost when striving to hit your daily macro numbers.

The trickier discussion to have about protein powder specifically is…which one to possibly get?

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Remember what I said about being overwhelmed on those supplement aisles?  Well the same could be said for the protein aisle alone.  There are so many varying options, brands, and flavors that it’s easy to get confused.  Never fear, that’s where I come in, remember? 😉

Here’s my two cents – and this is really targeted at the vast majority of the crowd who’s aiming to live a general life of health and hotness (re: anyone not going after an extreme physique or strength goal) – if your stomach can handle Whey protein, it’s really the way to go.  If dairy is a no-no for you, I highly recommend Vega Protein Powder.  It’s what I personally use when staying away from dairy.

As for venturing further down the Whey road – my preference is, the shorter the ingredients list, the happier your tummy will be.  That said, my personal favorite powders have been: Tera’s Whey, Jay Robb, and BlueBonnet.

If you’ve got the stomach of an ox and couldn’t care less about the massive amount of additives or ingredients in your protein powder – I’ve heard good things about Gold Standard or Syntha-6.

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As for flavors – I personally stick to vanilla as I like to blend my protein shake with various nut milks, butters, and fruit, but I haven’t had a chocolate whey powder disappoint me yet 😉

 

Alright kids!  Thanks for checking out Part 1 of recommended supplements.  Stay tuned for Part 2 which will be posted in the next few weeks 🙂

 

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