This blog post was written on my wife's site. Great article not only for women, but also pertains to men.
Written by: Lynn Manning (Sources for article below post)
When asking what topic you all would like me to blog about this week I must say I was rather surprised the most popular answer was supplements! But when I read that more than half of the population is using supplements according to a recent study, I realized how important this topic is for reaching our optimal health and fitness.
But how do you know what supplements to take? How do you know they are quality supplements, and that you’re not throwing away your money? This is a broad topic and something I will most likely dive into through several blog posts throughout the year, but I wanted to address the specific questions asked by my followers on Facebook.
1) If we’re eating healthy do we really need to take a multivitamin supplement? Drew and I used to preach that if you’re eating healthy then you don’t need supplements. The fact is, we were wrong. Upon months of research we found numerous studies that have shown our food sources are deficient in the vital vitamins and minerals our bodies need to prevent disease. We met with nutritionists and even an expert in Pharmacognosy who has a Ph.D. in Botanical Medicine who confirmed this same thing. So what do we do to make up for our nutrient-deficient food supply? A multivitamin supplement that is from food sources (a whole food multivitamin). This ensures that your body will recognize it, use it and benefit from it.
Tips: Take an extra capsule or two a few days before and during your menstrual cycle. If you’re pregnant, take about ½ more than the recommended dose for a normal woman. In other words, if your vitamin calls for four (4) capsules per day, then take six (6) capsules per day during pregnancies. DO NOT TAKE ANY SYNTHETIC, ONE A DAY, OR PRENATAL VITAMINS. These are chemicals and your body will not recognize them and your kidneys will eliminate them out causing you to have colorful or bright urine. Confession- I used to think my bright urine meant the vitamins were “working”. I didn’t realize I was literally flushing my money down the toilet!
2) Do women need to use protein supplements (i.e. protein shakes)? All humans need protein; whether you are male or female. All us lovely ladies are made up of muscle and bones just like men, therefore our bodies need the same nutrients. If you are a woman who is exercising (and I sure hope you are!), you will need protein in order to firm and tone as well as build muscle mass (if that is your goal). And seeing as a pound of muscle burns 50-60 calories a day versus a pound of fat which burns only 5-6 calories a day I want all women to be building muscle! How you get your protein is honestly up to you. Many people find protein shakes are a quick way to get it and because of its bioavailability, depending on the type of protein, it's absorbed faster into your cells, which helps with muscle recovery.
3) What is the difference between Whey Protein Isolate and the Whey Concentrate you can buy in big bags at chain stores (which will remain nameless)? Whey protein isolate has had the harmful casein (found in whey concentrate) removed. Studies have shown casein to be a major cause of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Whey concentrate contains high amounts of casein, lactose as well as other dairy fats and sugars. So basically, whey isolate is a higher quality source of protein and generally contains less sugar thus most of them are lactose free for those who are sensitive to lactose. And let me tell you, more people have a lactose sensitivity (many who don't even realize it) then you'd think. Approximately 30 million American adults have some amount of lactose intolerance by age 20. So you'll have less "stomach" issues with the whey isolate compared to the whey concentrate.
4) Don’t women need to take Vitamin D supplements, especially after they’ve hit menopause? As long as you’re taking a quality whole food multivitamin like I’ve mentioned above you’re already getting a good amount of vitamin D in your diet and don’t need to take an additional supplement. In fact, too much vitamin D can harm your heart. There is really no need to take extra vitamin D during the summer months if you get out once or twice a week (or every day if you can). I recommend full-blown nudity for everyone at least 20 minutes a week- just kidding….but you would get a good amount of vitamin D that way. During the winter months with lack of rays, the supplementation found in a whole food multivitamin will take care of the deficiency.
5) What supplements do I personally take and why? There are several supplements I take and a couple I mentioned above but I’ll write a quick account of what I take and why:
Women’s Whey Protein Isolate– Aside from the reasoning mentioned in #2 and #3, this protein has Sensoril. I was diagnosed with high cortisol levels about a year ago (a stress-induced hormone). High cortisol levels make it harder to lose belly fat, make you moody, give you extreme afternoon fatigue, make it harder for you to sleep and intensify cravings (specifically carb cravings). So the Women’s Whey has a natural product (Sensoril), which helps to reduce those cortisol levels giving us a little extra (and deserved) help! Click HERE to see the details of the Women’s Whey.
Fish Oil– Fish oils are essential for heart and brain health, hormonal balance and a strong immune system! We don’t get too much omega 3 in the westerners diet. If you can eat salmon (including the eyeballs and liver once or twice a week, you do not need to supplement with it.) However, I rarely see people eating eyeballs and livers so you do need at least 1000mg of a good DHA every day. Most supplements only contain 300mg or so of DHA, so three capsules may be needed daily. Read your labels carefully to make sure you’re getting the proper dosage. Click HERE to see the details of the Fish Oil I use.
Digestive Enzymes– As we age, our production of digestive enzymes drops. It’s why when we were young, we could eat anything but by age 30, some things effect us negatively that didn’t before. Eventually, by age 50, 60, and 70, our digestive system is ¼ what it used to be. This affects how well we assimilate nutrients. It doesn’t matter if you’re taking the best protein, the best vitamins, or eat the best foods, if your digestion sucks, you will not benefit from what you eat. “After all, you’re not what you eat, you are what you assimilate.”-Dr. Tracy Gibbs, PhD.
Taking an enzyme supplement with each meal, or each protein shake, or with each vitamin insures that you digest and assimilate what you eat. There are many other benefits to taking an enzyme…too many to list here (reduces bloating and gas to be frank and name a couple)…but trust me when I tell you, it will soon become your best friend and you will never be without them. Click HERE for more details on the Digestive Enzymes I use.
Phytoestrogen– all you women who are menopausal, pre-menopausal or have hormonal imbalances (irregular menstruation cycles or cramps)… listen up because this is for you! Around the same time I found out my cortisol levels were through the roof I was also diagnosed as pre-menopausal. I am 29 years old and pre-menopausal?! I was in shock, but eager to get something to correct my symptoms which is where my research began. Synthetic estrogen pills are NOT the same as phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogen does not cause cancer, like many synthetic hormone replacements have shown to do. Phytoestrogen uses concentrated amounts of food sources that help to balance you naturally (raspberries, yams, sweet potatoes, and soy products). Click HERE for more details on the Phytoestrogen supplement I use.
There are several other products that I take sporadically including pre and pro biotic, viraguard, and total body detox. I’ll be honest, I never was a huge believer in supplements because I was buying the cheapest ones I could find thinking all supplements were created equal, but boy was I wrong. Regardless of what you use or what brand you choose make sure you choose supplements that are: all natural, have no fillers, no artificial sweeteners, and no synthetics. Don’t flush away your money ladies!
Before I close I’d like to say that supplements do NOT make up for a poor diet. Supplements aid in our success and health but they aren't a replacement for proper nutrition! If you can't afford to use several supplements then focus on eating nutrient-dense foods, and save up to purchase one item, such as a quality whole food multivitamin.
Disclaimer: All supplements I noted and suggested are all natural. If your doctor is treating you for any medical condition I am NOT advising you to discontinue the use of your prescribed medications. Consult with your physcian.
Sources: Dr. Tracy K. Gibbs, PhD