Posts Tagged ‘supplements’


Just so we’re clear, there is absolutely no supplement out there that is going to make up for crappy nutrition and destructive eating habits. Supplements are there to supplement your diet.

With that in mind, food is always going to be superior to supplements. There’s no debate in saying that your nutrition should primarily consists of whole foods — it’s a given. But, there are a handful that I strongly recommend looking into.

1. Curcumin


Curcumin is the yellow pigment associated with Turmeric — and is perhaps the most powerful supplement I’ve taken. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, its other effects range from pain management to benefits that affect nearly every organ system in the body. One of my long-time clients who has osteoarthritis in both knees has experienced tremendous feedback from supplementing with curcumin.

The caveat, though, is that it has poor bioavailability. So, you need to ingest curcumin as part of a formula that contains piperine (black pepper extract) to enhance absorption.

2. Vitamin D


More than 40 percent of American adults are thought to be deficient in vitamin D.  In fact, every time I ask my clients for their blood work, more often than not, their vitamin D level is sub-optimal. Interestingly enough, when carbohydrate intake is controlled, I’ve found that supplementing with Vitamin D has a positive effect on Hemoglobin A1c. So, if you’re pre-diabetic, look into your Vitamin D levels. Of course this is just anecdotal evidence.

3. Magnesium


Magnesium is a big player for a number of biochemical reactions that keep the body functioning properly. Unfortunately, most people across the population are deficient in it. A deficiency has been shown to increase blood pressure and has a negative effect on carbohydrate metabolism.

If you don’t want to supplement, nuts and leafy vegetables are among the best food sources.

4. Fish Oil


It’s pretty obvious that we all should be taking this due to it’s variety of health benefits. There’s ample evidence that suggest it promotes healthier blood vessels, and lowers lipid count. Omega-3 fatty acids delivers potent anti-inflammatory effects, and the most obvious is that it has a positive effect on brain and cardiovascular health.

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I’ll admit that I had a lot of supplements and different vitamin isolates on my kitchen counter.  I was young, naive, and misinformed, if you will, thinking that it would make up for my lack of nutrition. Man I sure do miss Jack in the Box and Taco Bell!  These days my approach to “healthy living” is eating whole foods for that is the best way to get the nutrients in, so I’m not too fond of taking a plethora of supplements. Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or even run a 10k, you have to be on board with your nutrition first, prior to taking any supplements because that is what they are—they SUPPLEMENT your diet.  However, no matter how good you eat some supplements are actually worth taking and they’re there to help fill in those gaps.


1. Fish oil


This is an absolute must in my book!  We should already know by now that fish oil has tremendous health benefits, but the one that stands out is its effect inside the body with regard to anti-inflammation.  To steal a phrase from holistic nutritionist and health coach Yuri Elkaim, “we have an overly inflamed lifestyle.”  I think that stands true because aside from poor dietary choices, our lifestyle in general wreaks havoc in our body and it produces a pro-inflammatory response.  This in turn will lay the foundation for degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and dementia; just to name a few. When you factor in poor dietary choices, a stressful day at work, and lack of sleep, the mileage will add up.  If someone wanted to build muscle or lose weight, that individual is going to have a difficult time because inflammation is going to impede his/her recovery.

capsule-15570_640So what exactly causes inflammation? The consumption of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids is the root cause of systemic inflammation. In other words, you’re straight up eating garbage. Genetically modified oils such as vegetable oil and canola oil are predominately omega-6 fatty acid based—the cause of inflammation.  On the other end of the spectrum is fish oil and it is one of the best sources for omega-3 fatty acid, which is highly anti-inflammatory. Seeing the bigger picture here now, right? My personal preference is Norwegian Cod Liver Oil by Carlson.

2. Probiotics


I’ve spoken about the benefits of probiotics on several occasions, for good reason. Muscles won’t work if your digestive system is whack.  If it’s not functioning properly then building muscle or getting lean is going to be the last thing your body wants to do. Moreover, an unhealthy gut results in a weakened immune system. Remember: your digestive system has to be able to digest, metabolize, and eliminate the foods that you eat. The live and active cultures (good bacteria) in a probiotic supplement aids in the maintenance of a healthy gut, so you actually absorb most of the nutrients in the foods you eat.

3. Whey Protein


You guys saw this one coming.  This was a given. Protein helps build the muscle and more importantly, helps repair the tissue breakdown that occurs during physical activity such as lifting heavy weights. The biggest thing for me about the consumption of protein shakes is its convenience.  I start the day training clients at 5am and eating a proper meal for breakfast is time consuming.  Despite the obscure views that women may have about sipping on protein shakes, they can actually benefit from it  because I’ve found that most women don’t get nearly enough protein as much they should.  The only caveat about protein powders is the quality.  It’s important to take into consideration the quality of what you’re consuming because most protein powders just have too many ingredients for my liking. Actually there is another caveat…PROTEIN FARTS!

protein4. Multivitamin

If you’re eating enough nutrient-dense foods, then you don’t have to worry about this one.

vegetable-621782_640Remember that you can’t out-supplement your way out of a poor diet.  If becoming a better you is what you really want, then put in the work and stop wishing for it.