Supplements are a hot-button issue in the fitness industry. Some (falsely) claim that they are absolutely necessary, while others say that you don’t need them at all.
The reality is that while supplements aren’t required for optimal health and progress, they certainly can help. Even people who eat a diet rich in a variety of foods can still be lacking in some areas, and could benefit from taking certain supplements.
We all know about some of the more popular supplements on the market: protein, creatine, omega-3 fish oil, caffeine, etc. None of these are absolutely necessary for you to take, but they all provide benefits in some way.
But did you know that there are many lesser known supplements on the market that may be even more beneficial to your health? Here are the 5 best supplements you’re (probably) not taking, but (probably) should be.
If you’re like me, then you probably have trouble getting in your required servings of fruits and veggies every day. And the truth is, no matter how balanced your diet is, you’re going to be lacking in some areas.
A good greens drink can be taken in place of a multi-vitamin because most greens drinks actually offer more benefits. Not only will they help you get in your required servings of fruits and vegetables, but a good one will contain probiotics and enzymes to help with gut health and digestion.
One of the biggest problems with most greens drinks are they taste like shit. I’ve tried a lot of different ones, and the best I’ve found that meets all the criteria of a good greens drink AND tastes great is Athletic Greens.
This is the only supplement I recommend to every single one of my clients. That’s how good it is. Drink it with one glass of water in the morning or in a shake, and you’re good for the day.
Nootropics are a type of supplement designed to increase cognitive and mental function. They work by helping your body increase neurological components that help you remain calm, focused, and mentally driven, as well as clear away mental fog and free radicals. This results in better sleep, focus, and mental acuity. People taking nootropics also report having deeper sleep, and more lucid dreams.
The best nootropic on the market hands down is Alpha Brain by Onnit Labs. Onnit produces some of the best supplements on the market.
As a coach and writer, focus and mental sharpness is huge for me to be able to do my job effectively. I take Alpha Brain because it helps my productivity and to get shit done. I even credit it with helping me pass a few tests.
Vitamin D3 isn’t found naturally in most foods. You can get what you need from direct sunlight, but if you’re like me and live in a place void of quality sunlight almost half the year, supplementing with D3 is a good idea.
Vitamin D may be one of the most important supplements you can take to ward off a wide range of physical, emotional, and neurological issues, including:
- Reduce the risk of Type 1 & 2 diabetes
- Maintain healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis
- Fight off Alzhiemers and other neuro-degenerative diseases
- Increase immune system
- Allieviate depression and fatigue
- Reduce the risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancers
- Support hormone function and boost fertility
And most importantly for men, like we talked about in my last article, D3 seems to be the one supplement that can aid in maintaining healthy levels of testosterone.
Probiotics are live yeast and bacteria that live in your gut. And while we often think of bacteria as bad, probiotics are actually a good kind of bacteria.
They work by keeping your gut healthy, and aiding in digestion. When your body loses good bacteria, probiotics help replace them. There are two main types of probiotics: Lactobacillus, which is found in yogurt and other fermented foods, and Bifidobacterium, which is found in dairy products.
In addition to helping with digestion, probiotics can help treat irritable bowel syndrome, and diarrhea.
Magnesium is arguably one of the most important minerals the body needs. It helps regulate hundreds of different functions, including metabolism, blood pressure, and sleep.
Magnesium deficiencies are common as the only sources in our diet come from leafy greens, nuts, and beans. Being deficient in magnesium can put you at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, muscle aches, insomnia, and anxiety.
Magnesium can be taken anytime but when taken before bed can help you relax and fall asleep easier.
Like I said earlier, none of these supplements are necessary. They’re not going to make up for a crappy diet or lack of exercises. However, when taken in conjunction with a good program, can help maximize your results and increase performance.