“Take MagicWonder 2.0 to cleanse your body and get rid of toxins!”.
“Load up with MuscleFlex to add 20 pounds of muscle in a month!”.
“A weekly dose of Miraclatrol will instantly make you look longer and extend your life by many years!”.
If you’ve ever opened a magazine about fitness and health, then I’m sure you’ve seen ads like these.
Supplements promise to do anything from melting fat off our bodies to making us look younger and giving us more energy.
I’m pretty sure 90 times out of a hundred, these claims are bogus.
Often, the only effect you can expect from these supplements is a small amount of weight loss due to having less money in your wallet.
Not All Supplements Are a Waste of Money
The human body requires a vast amount of different substances to ensure healthy functioning.
There are the vitamins and minerals that we all know, as well as some other essential substances like certain fatty acids. Many of these are severely lacking in the modern diet, due to various reasons.
Now if you eat plenty of grass-fed meat, fish, eggs and a variety of fruits and vegetables, not to mention expose yourself to the sun regularly, then you do not and probably should not take supplements.
However, most people’s diets are far from perfect.
Below, I am going to outline what supplements I believe may provide actual health benefits for people who don’t eat a perfect diet.
I supplement with all of these myself, although I often skip some of them when I run out and forget to buy more.
A Low-Dose of a High Quality Multivitamin
Multivitamins vary greatly in quality.
Some of them are dirt cheap, others are more expensive. The more expensive ones usually have higher quality ingredients, but they also tend to give you more than you need.
The expensive multivitamins tend to pack the daily dose into 2-3 tablets.
What I recommend, is buying an expensive high-quality multivitamin and take just one tablet instead of a full dose.
That way, it won’t cost you much, and you won’t risk any long-term side effect from taking excessive amounts.
Omega-3 fatty acids are severely lacking in the modern diet, while consumption of Omega-6 fats is excessive.
A distorted ratio of Omega-6:Omega-3 is unnatural, and humans have never been exposed to this until in the last few hundred years.
Supplementing with Omega-3 fats shifts this balance in the right direction, and provides a range of health benefits.
The best option would be to take Cod Fish Liver Oil, which also provides a decent amount of the fat soluble vitamins D3 and A.
When human beings are exposed to the sun, the skin uses the energy contained in the sun’s ultraviolet rays to generate Vitamin D3. This vitamin actually functions as a steroid hormone, and a deficiency of it is associated with many serious diseases.
Vitamin D3 can not be obtained from the diet in any significant amount (cod fish liver oil is the richest source).
I recommend that anyone who doesn’t get regular sun exposure go to the doctor and get tested for a Vitamin D deficiency. It is extremely common.
Vitamin k2 is another fat-soluble vitamin that is very important for health, and is severely lacking in the modern diet.
If you don’t eat a lot of grass-fed animals and grass-fed dairy, then it might be a good idea to supplement with it.
Magnesium and Iodine
Magnesium is another mineral that many people don’t get enough of. Personally I supplement with 400mg per day, about an hour before sleep. It’s best to stay away from Magnesium Oxide, as it is absorbed poorly.
Iodine is the last one. If you don’t eat a lot of seafood then supplementing with a seaweed like Kelp can cover your needs.
All in all, supplements are generally not necessary for those who eat a perfect diet and expose themselves to the sun regularly.
However, almost no one eats a perfect diet, and a large part of the world isn’t exposed to the sun for a large part of the year.
If this applies to you, then what I recommend is to do some research on the nutrients I mentioned above and see whether any of this might apply to you.
You can also create a free account on FitDay, log everything you eat for a few days and see how much you’re getting of all the nutrients.