I’ve been asked by a few people about vitamins and supplements. This is probably one of the first things that come up when discussing health especially when weightlifting and training. Since this seems to be a commonly discussed topic, I will spend a few days speaking on it. I started taking supplements in high school. My doctor put me on a multivitamin and omega 3 when I was diagnosed with Chron’s. I then started to take 100% pure creatine monohydrate to enhance my workouts for football and track.
Just recently I started researching the science of how these supplements work and how they affect the body. It’s of my personal opinion that before anyone starts to entertain using vitamins, supplements, and minerals, that you must get your eating and exercise program up to par. If you’re not eating right and exercising then supplements mean nothing. They are called supplements for a reason. They are just to supplement your eating and not be your end all be all. Regardless of what these snake oil salesman on the internet try to say, there are no magic bullets.
Before taking supplements I find it necessary to determine why you need supplements. For example, if you have Chron’s Disease or another irritable bowel disease then taking a multivitamin is a must. When you have one of these conditions it can at times be difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients from your food. Many people with Chron’s suffer from inflammation in the small intestines and the small intestines is where nutrient absorption takes place. This inflammation prevents nutrient absorption and leads to malabsorption. This is one of the reasons Chron’s sufferers undergo so much blood work during flare ups.
There are times when changes in our diet or lifestyle can prevent the need for supplements depending on why you want them in the first place. If you’re thinking of a supplement for lack of energy then try working out in the morning before you get your day started. Quinoa, lentils, beans, apples, pumpkin seeds, green tea, spinach, chia seeds, blueberries, and bananas are great for energy. Try using fruits and veggies before seeking ginseng, maca root powder, or ZMA.
I’m not saying don’t use supplements because I take several. Its just seems that some people run and get supplements without understanding why they’re actually getting them or if it’s going to be beneficial for them. You have to first get your diet right before you can even know what your true deficiencies are. For example, when I became a plant based eater I discovered that vitamin B12 and creatine are mainly found in animal proteins. So I found a vegan vitamin B12 supplement and a kosher creatine and I’m good to go. I found a diet that worked for me, found the deficiencies, and acquired the appropriate supplementation.
But I can’t stress enough that your diet comes first. If you start taking omega 3 to help with your heart health, don’t be surprised if your blood pressure is still high if you haven’t given up fried greasy food. The omega 3 will help tremendously with your heart health but coinciding with a heart healthy diet.
On my next post I will go through all of my supplements that help me battle Chron’s Disease and with being a plant based eater. If it interests you I have a page that lists the supplements and brands that I use. I will just use the next post to give detailed reasoning why I chose those products and how they work for me.