Which Supplements Should I Take?

Which Supplements Should I Take?

veggie-supplements

I’ve split my recommended supplements into tiers and here’s what you need to know:

  •  Tier 1 contains the supplements that I highly advise using whether you are wanting to lose fat, perform better, or just improve your overall health.
  • Tier 2 contains supplements that will give you an edge but to a lesser degree than Tier 1 supplements. I consider these optional, but if your budget affords these by all means, add them in.
  • Tier 3 is comprised of herbs that I have personally used and that have scientific research behind. There are tons of herbs and spices that have health benefits but in most cases I recommend eating them in the raw form, not in supplement form.

Notice you won’t find whey protein in my tiers below. This is because I consider whey protein a food source, and not a supplement. Is it the best source to get protein from? No, but it is cheaper than most other sources per serving and it is very convenient.

Examine.com is hands down the best resource I know of for researching ingredients. They compile scientific evidence on individual ingredients and supplements to see if each one lives up to what supplement companies claim they do.

Tier 1

Fish Oil

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Nervous system, brain, and cardiovascular function
  • Fat burning
  • Improved immune system

I’m a believer in higher doses of fish oil since most Americans are severely lacking omega-3 fats. Try taking 5 grams of fish oil per day for two weeks and see how much better you feel.

Creatine Monohydrate

  • Improved power output (run faster, jump higher, lift heavier)
  • Increases ability to provide ATP for cell function
  • Cognitive function

Creatine is possibly the most researched supplement currently on the market. There are no side effects like dehydration or bloating as long as you are drinking water. Crazy idea right? Shoot for 5 grams per day and there is no need to cycle creatine use. Be sure to use creatine monohydrate and not the crazy stuff the GNC salesman tells you will absorb better. Creatine is common in preworkout formulas but there are no acute effects of creatine, meaning when you take it makes no difference.

Caffeine

  • Fat burning
  • Performance enhancer
  • Cognitive function
  • Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s, cirrhosis, and liver cancer

There are too many benefits to list here. Caffeine is awesome and you should already know this. Be careful not to use TOO much, as it can act as a diuretic and cause dehydration.

 

Tier 2

Beta-alanine

  • Improved muscular endurance

Beta-alanine buffers acid build up in muscles, allowing you to delay fatigue for performance benefits. The scientific dose that has been shown to have the best effects is 3.2 grams per day. Similar to creatine, beta-alanine does not need to be cycled and can be taken year round. Beta-alanine commonly causes a harmless tingling sensation in the skin. There are no other acute effects aside from this so take beta-alanine at any point in the day.

BCAAs (branched chain amino acids)

  • Increased fat oxidation during exercise
  • Anti-catabolic (reduce muscle protein breakdown during exercise)
  • Stimulates protein synthesis (builds muscle)

BCAAs are made up of three amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Although they are found in all forms of protein like eggs, animal meats, and whey protein, they are in smaller doses than in a BCAA formula. Leucine has been shown to be the most anabolic of the BCAAs and should be in at least a 2:1:1 ratio to isoleucine and valine. If you have adequate protein intake throughout the day there is really no need to supplement with BCAAs but if you have the disposable income and want the added benefits they will do nothing but help benefit your recovery and muscle-building potential.

Vitamin D

  • Decreased risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Increased bone mass density
  • Improved body composition
  • Improved hormone function

Take 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin therefore toxicity could be reached if too much is consumed so use caution with your dosing.

Tier 3 (Herbs)

Ashwaghanda

  • Reduce the effects of chronic stress (minimize fat storage in those problem areas)
  • Minimize depression

Garlic

  • Increase HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Decrease cholesterol
  • Anti-aging

Yohimbe

  • Potent fat loss stimulant
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Can cause anxiety

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