Who else has been in the supplement isle and felt so confused by all the options that you do one of two things:
- Spend WAY too much money
- Don’t buy anything and walked away
I think it is safe to say that we all have been overwhelmed in the supplement isle. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way! You too can become supplement savvy so you can confidently walk into the supplement isle and know you are choosing supplements that build you to be a healthier human. Below are three steps to becoming supplement savvy:
I know it may be a little cliche, but the reality is it’s true! Supplements are… supplements! In order to get what you need from them, you have to have a solid food foundation first. This means ensuring you are eating enough food, nutritious food, and keeping a healthy boundary with your fun food and alcohol intake. There has been a great deal of research looking at the health benefits of supplement vs. food effects. Almost always, the benefits are amplified when micronutrients are taken in via food. Food captures things like phytochemicals and antioxidants, which are powerful nutrients in food and increase the absorption of nutrition in your body. My advice: If you are looking to up your micro-nutrition do it with food and add a supplement if you need that extra boost. For example, if you have low iron, add in foods like red meat twice a week, spinach daily, and consume your iron rich foods with oranges (vitamin C) to enhance the absorption and THEN add a supplement to your daily regimen.
Talk to Your Provider
A supplement stack needs to be individualized. Talking to your provider and/or getting a detailed nutrient analysis and reviewing your lab work is crucial when deciding to add any supplements. Take Vitamin C and E for example: Two awesome antioxidant micronutrients! However, studies show that over supplementing with these antioxidants can turn them into PRO-oxidants. This means they do the exact opposites of what we want them to do! In addition, if you are supplementing to correct an imbalance, your dose needs to be adjusted over time. For example, my vitamin D was low last year. I supplemented with 6000 IU/day for 3 months and retested my levels. At this point my levels had returned to optimal ranges and my dose was reduced to 2000 IU/day. Continuing at the higher level may have increased my risk for other issues down the road. Knowing what and how much you need to supplement by speaking with a medical provider is a must!
Buy Quality Supplements
Not all supplements are created equal. The FDA does not regulate all supplement ingredients. Therefore, it is up to each company to honestly disclaim what they use to create their products. Some companies volunteer to be third-party tested. These companies are among the most reputable and are supplements chosen by professional athletes to ensure there are no banned substances in their stack. Choosing supplements that have “NSF”, “USP”, or “informed choice” stamps on their label ensure that the product has been tested by a party outside the company and contains only the ingredients it claims to contain.
My FAVS In My Supplement Stack
My supplement stack has been individualized to my needs and nutritional holes. Here are some examples of what you will always find in my supplement stack:
I have a family history of cancer and want to know I am doing everything I can to prevent cancer. Turmeric is a flower plant that may prevent cancer development and has an astounding antioxidant capacity! This is not a nutrient I consume on a daily basis, therefore, I have added an awesome turmeric (aka curcumin) from Thorne Nutrition to my stack. This supplement is NSF stamped and contains pepper, which has been proven to increase the absorption of turmeric by up to 2000%! To check out this supplement head on over to jessbrownrd.com, click on shop, and then supplements. You can access all my favs for a discount!
I have a lot going on in a day and don’t always have time to make a meal post-workout. Protein supplements are an easy way to meet your needs and keep up with your busy day. I add whey protein post-workout, collagen protein as an anti-inflammatory snack, or casein before bed to maintain my muscle mass while I sleep. BCCF has excellent (and delicious) whey and casein protein options. For collagen recommendation checkout my options at jessbrownrd.com
This one is always in my stack because it does amazing things! Magnesium combats anxiety and depression, improves gut health, and can prevent muscle cramps. Research shows most Americans get only 75% at best of the RDA for magnesium. Therefore, adding magnesium to your stack may be helpful in meeting your needs. When choosing a magnesium supplement pay attention to the type. Magnesium citrate is the cheapest option, but often causes loose stool and isn’t absorbed as well. Magnesium glycinate is a better option! My personal fav can be found at jessbrownrd.com.
I hope this helps you take the first steps in building your own supplement stack! Supplements can be powerful and help us attain that next level of nutrition, but we have to supplement smart. Here’s to us being our healthiest and getting the most out of our supplement stack.
Cheers and happy eating,