Whenever I do my speaking engagements, I invariably get asked about nutritional supplements. Makes sense. There a lot of them, so which ones really work? And in the past, I’ve even had a client come to me, and they were on 37 different supplements (crazy, I know). She was taking one for everything. One for the eyes, one for her skin, one for her brain, and so on. After a careful analysis of her supplements, we got her down to 4.
First and foremost, let’s get this out of the way: supplements are the last thing I look at. When it comes to fat loss or muscle gain, the first thing I look at is lifestyle. This is things like stress management, environment and sleep. The second thing I look at is nutrition. The third thing I look at is exercise. And only the last thing I look at is nutritional supplements.
This is just the order for fat loss and muscle gain. With other goals (like speed development, flexibility improvement, etc., then I look at exercise before nutrition).
So with that out of the way, let’s list the 5 supplements I recommend to my clients most frequently.
A good, simple multi-vitamin goes a long way. Everybody has some nutritional deficiencies. Every. One. You can eat the perfect diet, with all organic food, and you would still have some nutritional deficiencies. A multi-vitamin helps minimize those. When you have a nutritional deficiency a few things go wrong in the body that you may attribute to “aging.” For instance, if you’re low in the B vitamins, you might be low in energy. If you’re low in zinc, your nails might be weak, and you may have a loss of taste. If you’re low in biotin, you might have thinning hair, or balding.
Or, as it relates to more of my clients, the deficiency of any one nutrient can halt fat loss and muscle gain in its tracks.
And yes, I did want to put the emphasis on a “good” multi-vitamin. And before you ask, no, Centrum, Jamieson and one-a-day are not good. Those are the worst of the worst. If it comes from a multi-level marketing company, it’s usually better than those 3 I mentioned, but still not what I’d consider “good.” There’s a few companies that I trust when it comes to supplements, and they include Metagenics, Genestra, AOR, Thorne, Xymogen, Genuine Health and Platinum. I’m sure there’s many other good companies that I haven’t heard of.
If I was to start listing the benefits of fish oil, you would think I get commissions on global fish oil sales. I don’t.
Here are some benefits of fish oil:
- It’s anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is implicated in many chronic conditions, and it can be responsible for fat gain (excess fat in and of itself is inflammatory).
- It helps with mood, and mental clarity. The brain is 60% fat. Fish oil is highly therapeutic for the brain. In fact, there is one clinical nutritionist in New York who recommends very high doses of fish oil to his patients who come in with depression. After one week of this, 50% of his patients no longer have depression.
- It’s great for your heart.
There, I did it. I listed a specific product (though again, I don’t make any commissions for this). This is a powder made by Metagenics. But it is NOT NOT NOT a protein powder. Yes, it has protein in it, but that’s not what it’s meant for. UltraGlycemX has high dosages of nutrients used to balance blood sugar levels. These include chromium, magnesium, zinc, and others. Rather than taking 12 different pills for each nutrient, here, they are all in a powder form that tastes like either chocolate or vanilla.
Using this in combination with nutritional changes, some of our clients have been able to reverse their diabetes. Much to their doctors’ surprises, because supposedly “type 2 diabetes is not reversible.” Right. Whatever.
OK, so I might have cheated a little bit on this one. I listed 4 different supplements for one point. We usually recommend CDG+DIM for the first 2 weeks, and then resveratrol and grapeseed extract for the next 2 weeks, and keep alternating.
What do we use these for? Estrogen imbalances. And these are extremely common. How do you know if you have estrogen imbalances?
- If you’re a man, you have gynecomastia (this is a nice way of saying “man boobs”). You might also like movies with Kate Ryan and Julia Roberts. You might also cry during Bambi. Basically, it’s what Ahhhhnuld would call a “girly man.”
- If you’re a woman, you have PMS, you’re on birth control, and other signs.
- If your blood work shows that you have estrogen/progesterone/testosterone imbalances.
If you must know, CDG stands for “calcium-D-glucarate” (and no, this isn’t the calcium you take for your bones) and DIM stands for “diindolylmethane.” Try using those words in Scrabble. If you can do it, you’ll be declared an automatic winner.
This is a group of herbs (they include names like ginseng, rhodiola, holy basil, schizandra, astragalus and others) made to manage stress. So if you can’t make the stress itself go away (like if you can’t quit your job), you can at least decrease the negative effects of stress on your body.
Different people experience stress in different ways. There are 6 different stress profiles:
Stressed and wired
Stressed and tired
Stressed and hot
Stressed and cold
Stressed and mentally exhausted
Stressed and immune challenged
Based on our clients’ profiles, we recommend the appropriate herbs.
Now, do we recommend each of those supplements to every single one of our clients? No. We assess their needs on a case-by-case basis. Do we just stick to these 5? Also no. There are other supplements in our repertoire that we recommend based on other needs. Like there are certain ones we recommend for our shift work clients, others for our vegetarian clients, and so on.
If you need some help figuring out what’s right for you, let me know. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to help you, but hey, you might get lucky
You can get a free downloadable version here.