Almost everybody in Singapore and around the world takes health supplements of some kind. Some are great and some are worthless. But with all the advertising and marketing of the supplement industry, it is hard to find out what really works and what does not. In this article I will teach you the top 5 supplements that you should take to ensure your health, and improve your sleep, well being and energy levels in both the short and long run.
Supplement #1: Digestive Aids
Nothing works till you fix your digestion. You can take the best organic, nutritious food and the most healthy supplements. But without a healthy digestive system, you are not able to absorb the nutrients found in these great foods. That would be a waste of time and money.Some telltale signs that your digestion is not doing well are brittle fingernails with lots of vertical ridges, smelly farts, bloatedness after eating food and a distaste for meat. Other possible symptoms are acne, very smelly stool (poop), and farting soon after meals.
Because of the bad smells that come out of your body when your digestion is not in good shape, I always joke that a good digestive aid improves your marriage and interpersonal relationships!
The cause of this problem is low stomach acid. And the reason we usually have low stomach acid which usually due to high stress!
You see, our body is designed to handle high stress for short periods. For e.g. a tiger chasing you. Your body goes into fight and flight mode and “unimportant” tasks like digestion shut down so you have more energy and blood flow to your muscles to fight the tiger or to run away!
But nowadays, in our busy and stressful city lives, we have less deadly stresses like project deadlines, exams and nagging bosses! The body responds the same way, by shutting down digestion.
That means less stomach acid is produced and thus the above problems that come with it.
In fact this low stomach acid problem is so common that of all the 123 people I tested this year, only 1 person had normal levels. The rest would all do better with supplementation. Oh yeah, good levels of stomach acid also kill bacteria and other bad stuff in your digestive track, yet another bonus!:)
When choosing a supplement for digestion, make sure that it should contain Betaine HCl (stomach acid) as well as digestive enzymes like Protease, Amylase, Lipase, Pepsin and Bile Extract.
Supplement #2: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Did you know that cavemen ate large amounts of animal brains, seafood and organic meats such that they ate an average of 300-400g of omega-3 fatty acids per week?
In the diet of a person in a developed country, this might be as low as 3g per week. Here is the problem? you need omega-3 fatty acids to be healthy. Here is just a short list of the things is does!
* Helps you burn fat by turning on fat burning enzymes and turning off fat storage ones
* Help you to “prefer” to use fat as fuel for energy
* Improves mood, concentration and brain function
* Helps reduce pimples and improve skin quality
* Reduce blood pressure
* Reduce stress
* Reduce sugar absorption/fat storage
I can’t keep on going because the list would be too long? In fact if you go to online medical research sites like http://www.pubmed.com (its a collection of medical research) and you search for “fish oil” or “omega 3” AND “human” so you don’t get animal studies? AND “XYZ” where XYZ is ANY DISEASE YOU CAN THINK OF? fish oil/omega 3s help prevent, cure or reduce the symptoms of it!
It’s hard to believe but I really mean any disease. Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, acne, arthritis and the list goes on and on.
NOTE: For Pregnant women, it’s even more important because you deplete your omega-3 stores when you form a baby inside you. Supplement heavily with omega-3s before, during and after childbirth to have a smoother pregnancy and a healthier baby!
When looking for omega-3 supplements, try to take those that come from smaller fish such as sardines and anchovies. Smaller fish are lower in the food chain so they don’t have as much toxins in them as large fish.
Supplement #3: A Good Set Of Multivitamins
A good selection of vitamins from a high quality multivitamin helps the body detox, and boosts your immune system function and overall health. However there is such a wide variety of multivitamin supplements out there, and they vary wildly with prices and of course with quality.
This is very true especially in Multi-vitamin formulas. It is possible to make a multi-vitamin appear very complete (look good on the label) yet very cheap – and of course poor quality.
Here is how:
* Choose less absorbable ingredients (that look the same on the label?) for example, a quality ingredient like Magnesium Aspartate has a high absorbability of 58%, but a low quality one like Magnesium Oxide ? 5%! more than 11x less? but hey? most consumers can’t tell the difference!
BTW a good multi vitamin blend does not cost 11x more than a lousy one, so its certainly a good idea to go with the best ones!
* Make low quality tablets/capsules by packing them with filler and compressing them so that they have low density of nutrients (yet you can sell huge capsule numbers on the bottle front “640 capsules” and so on!). This has the added advantage that your capsules will never break apart giving an even higher appearance of quality!
* Use Synthetic additives. Natural beta carotene or vitamin E is not the same as synthetic ones because the natural one will be complete in all its forms. The way vitamins are intended to be. The multiple forms help you absorb the vitamin. The synthetic ones only look good on the labels but do nothing for your health.
There we have it, 3 ways to make a lousy multivitamin supplement. So if you see these telltale signs, stay away!
NOTE: Men should choose the Copper and Iron Free versions of any Multi vitamin because excess of those nutrients are not good for men.
Supplement #4: Zinc
Take the following quiz…
* Do you fall sick often (weak immune system)
* Do you have lower than normal testosterone (check your tricep skin fold with a body fat
measuring caliper, it should be 5mm or lower for men)
* Do you have a low sperm count?
* Do you have trouble gaining muscle or recovering from training?
* Do you have low appetite?
* Do you have a “fatty chest” if you are a guy? I.e. Man boobs?
If you have some of these difficulties, chances are you are deficient in zinc. Zinc helps you absorb just about every nutrient and is involved in more than 300 (known) enzyme and hormone functions!
You can use a zinc test solution of zinc sulfate to find out your zinc levels (take 1/8th a cup of zinc sulfate and put it in your mouth for 3-5 seconds) If you can swallow it after that as if it’s water, you have low zinc, if it tastes like metal and you spit it out immediately, you have good zinc levels. Don’t worry this is a totally safe test, it’s just some zinc ions dissolved in water?
Supplement with a good zinc supplement that uses Zinc Orotate and Zinc Aspartate as its ingredients instead of lower quality stuff like zinc oxide.
Supplement #5: Magnesium
Take the following quiz…
* Do you have trouble falling asleep?
* Do you wake up feeling unrested/Quality of sleep is low?
* Do you have high stress or consume large amounts of carbohydrates (these lower magnesium
* Do you do a lot of exercise?
* Do you store fat easily when you eat starchy foods (insulin resistance)?
* Do you have muscle cramps often?
These are signs of magnesium deficiency, it’s very common so don’t feel bad! It’s not your fault. Low stomach acid, high stress and heavy exercise can all contribute to this situation.
The main benefit of sufficient magnesium is a high quality of sleep. This is the first thing I look at and suggest when a client complains of poor sleep quality. Supplement with magnesium aspartame or magnesium citrate for best results. There we have it, 5 top supplements that are basic yet necessary. Get these in order and watch your health and performance sky rocket!