Dietary supplements are not a magic cure for obesity.
Over a quarter of the world population is battling with their weight and this is not a number to take lightly.
To follow a balanced diet or a whole-food plant-based diet is the best and fastest way to build a healthy lifestyle.
Do supplements help? Yes. Are supplements necessary? No. According to a study published by the Harvard Medical School, they might help you get that extra 1% but if your diet and training are not appropriate first, supplementation is not going to do much for you.
Some supplements may help when your energy levels dip and will help you lose weight in the shortest amount of time but they are not necessary by any means.
“Supplements are never a substitute for a balanced, healthful diet, and they can be a distraction from healthy lifestyle practices that confer much greater benefits. ”Dr. JoAnn Manson
Are supplements safe?
Weight loss supplements can be dangerous for certain individuals because they are not regulated by the FDA.
Oftentimes there is no scientific evidence supporting their safety and effectiveness before they become available to consumers. Weight loss supplements can be really dangerous for people with certain medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, thyroid conditions or women who are pregnant or nursing.
It’s really important for everybody to talk with their doctor or nutritionist before taking any supplements.
Over-the-counter dietary supplements don’t require the same FDA regulation, so it’s up to the manufacturer of the product to ensure that the product is safe and to make sure that the claims they make about the benefits of the product are true and accurate.
Are supplements drugs?
Research published by Reuters shows that potentially harmful pharmaceuticals are not listed on product labels in more than 700 over-the-counter dietary supplements.
Can supplements cause cancer?
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reported that taking vitamin B6 and B12 supplements in high doses appeared to triple or almost quadruple the risk of lung cancer for some people.
Too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. Supplements can help with anxiety, blood pressure or acne but if you overtake them you can cause a much bigger problem.
Take with moderation, as with everything in life.
What supplements are good for the joints?
Glucosamine is highly beneficial for supporting the health of many different parts of your body such as your joints, bones or cartilage.
If you happen to suffer from any joint problem like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, joint pain or pulled tendons and ligaments glucosamine is a supplement you should be taking.
The way glucosamine works are increasing the fluid in the joint and help with the circulation. If you were injured it will help to heal quickly, it also helps with joint repair and with your digestive tract health.
If you suffer from the leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, IBS syndrome or any type of inflammatory bowel or digestive issue, it will help with tissue repair.
What supplements should vegans or vegetarians take?
If you are following a vegan diet, maybe you are missing some of the nutrients that meat and fish offer according to a study published in PubMed. So you should make it up by taking some supplements.
According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, there are 6 supplements every vegan should be taking. These supplements are vitamin B12, Zinc, vitamin D3, algae DHA/EPA, vitamin K2 and Iodine.
What supplements can I take during pregnancy?
If you follow a balanced diet you should have enough nutrients and you won’t need any supplement, but if you feel you are under in some vitamins or minerals here are a few options you can use.
Prenatal multivitamins, probiotics, vitamin D3, omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), collagen, protein powder.
Remember that each person is different so what works for somebody else might not work for you.
Always consult with your obstetrician, Midwife or doctor about the right supplements for you.
What are the best supplements for weight loss and energy boost?
Some studies show that most people are deficient in micro-nutrients. Micro-nutrients are crucial for tissue repair, production of hormones and neurotransmitters and for growth and development, among other benefits.
Multivitamins help fill in the nutrition gaps with vitamins, minerals and key nutrients that may be missing from your diet. But there are many ways to get the nutrients in your system.
Research published in the NCBI shows that there is no overall benefit from taking multivitamins supplements.
If for some reason you cannot get all the nutrients from real food then you should take multivitamins, otherwise, don’t spend your money on them.
2. Protein powder
Whey, casein and milk-based protein powders are essentially the best parts of milk, with carbohydrates and fats removed.
This allows you to increase your protein intake without vastly increasing your intake of other macronutrients (carbs and fats), which can help to boost athletic performance, improve muscle tone and increase overall health.
When you eat food your body burns calories to digest that food. Protein takes 20-30 % of those calories to digest that food, carbs takes 5-10 % and fat takes 0.3 %.
When losing weight you and your body want to retain as much muscle mass as possible, while still burning fat. You can achieve this by eating a high-protein diet along with some exercise.
The hypothalamus is a gland in your brain. What it does is it helps to regulate your body temperature, tells your brain when you are ready to sleep and tells your brain when you’re hungry.
Protein reduces the levels of the hunger hormones that are sent to your brain and increases the levels of the hormones that tell your brain that you’re full.
Not only you do need protein for a lean muscle but also for hormone regulation and red blood cell production. Almost everybody is under-eating on protein.
3. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for your health. There are 2 types of fats that you want to keep balanced in your body, omega-3s, and omega-6s.
The benefits of omega-3s are reducing inflammation, helping reverse heart disease, reducing your risk of cancer, helping with athletic performance and recovery, depression, weight loss or improve brain function, among many others.
Foods like fish, chia seeds or nuts are high in omega-3.
4. BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)
BCAAs are one of the best supplements since can help increase muscle growth by activating pathways in your body that promote muscle protein synthesis, according to a study published in PubMed.
Several other studies support the use of BCAAs for inhibiting muscle protein breakdown. This may improve the health and quality of living in certain populations such as the elderly and those with wasting diseases like cancer.
BCAAs can help to prevent muscle wasting, which is a sign of malnutrition and occurs with chronic infections, cancers, periods of fasting and as a natural part of the aging process.
In humans, BCAAs account for 35% of the essential amino acids found in muscle proteins. They account for 40% of the total amino acids required by your body. They can also help reducing exercise fatigue.
BCAAs can be found in foods like beef or chicken breast, and also in whole protein supplements, so if you are having enough protein already in your diet you can cross this one off the shopping list.
This is probably one of the best supplements for energy. It is meant to be taken prior to your workout. They mostly help you with your motivation to go to the gym or after a long day at the office when you are lacking some extra energy.
Pre-workouts will help you train harder when you are struggling mentally. These supplements combine different stimuli like caffeine or blood flow enhancers to get you going.
If you already have the motivation and energy to go through your day then do not take it.
When we talk about fat-burners, we talk about the process of your body to generate heat naturally, called ‘thermogenesis’.
Thermogenesis is also the dynamic effect of food also known as the thermic effect of food. The temperature of your body slightly elevates after consuming food simply because the body is having to use those calories.
The most fat-burners main ingredient is caffeine which is going to stimulate what is called beta 2 and beta 3 adrenergic receptors. That means calling out more adrenaline and more epinephrine, and that’s why your body temperature goes up, as shown in a study published in NCBI.
Fat-burners might help you slightly increase your energy levels in the short term but you can have a cup of coffee and it would have the same effect.
Fat-burners are a type of energy supplement that works but for a short time.
Glutamine helps with protein metabolism, which makes sure all the protein you are consuming is being properly broken down and used by your body. It also helps reduce muscle breakdown.
Your body is in a constant state of building new tissues but also breaking down existing tissues, so glutamine minimizes how much of your existing tissues you are breaking down. It makes it easier for your body to build muscle.
Your small intestine and your immune system also need glutamine as well. When you train hard your body depletes its natural glutamine stores, so a little extra supply will directly improve your digestive and immune health.
It can be taken as a pre-workout supplement but is much better after working out or before going to bed.
Creatine is a key fuel source for high-intensity activity. It is involved in the energy pathway that supports the first few seconds of an explosive bout of exercise.
Your body naturally stores creatine and other immediate fuel sources in your muscles. The problem is that your body can only store a very small amount of it naturally.
9. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is the healthiest form of vinegar, even more than balsamic vinegar. It will help you feel full and therefore to consume fewer calories.
Studies show that it helps reduce spikes in blood sugar levels. This supplement can be used replacing oil in salads for example.
Apple cider vinegar combines very well with Garcinia Cambogia.
Pay attention if you are suffering from gut health problems as it might irritate the gut lining.
Dandelion enhances metabolism and has powerful laxative effects, but it’s also a mild diuretic.
It has to be taken with sufficient hydration in the form of water to ensure that you achieve the best weight loss results. It also helps reduce cholesterol and aids in eliminating waste quickly from the body.
11. Garcinia Cambogia
The peel of this fruit contains hydroxide citric acid which has been found to have powerful natural fat-burning effects in the body and helps inhibit the production of new fat tissue in the body.
It also raises the level of serotonin, which reduces appetite. It improves digestion and lowers triglyceride levels and the ‘bad’ cholesterol, LDL levels while raising the ‘good’ cholesterol, HDL levels.
12. Green Tea
Green tea helps curb appetite reducing the consumption of an excessive amount of food. Especially helps to prevent overindulgence but also helps to burn fat due to the main antioxidant in it, EGCG.
13. Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin which is proven to reduce appetite and increase fat burning. The best way to get their natural weight loss promoting properties is by consuming the pepper itself with your food.
14. Psyllium and Glucomannan
Psyllium is a soluble fiber derived from the seeds of a herb plant called Plantago Ovata, mainly grown in India.
It helps to eliminate body waste products and in reducing hunger, also helps control blood sugar levels and cholesterol.
Psyllium is a source of prebiotics, non-digestible compounds that feed healthy intestinal bacteria, as shown in a PubMed research. It is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women or people with asthma.
Glucomannan is a similar fiber found in the root of konjac. It promotes fullness by absorbing water. It also feeds healthy intestinal bacteria and lowers the sugar levels, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels and eliminates constipation.
Always consult with your doctor or nutritionist before taking a new supplement or changing your diet.