Take a walk down the pharmacy isle and your head should start buzzing. With so many supplements to choose from, where should one start? Not only that, once you start down that path, does it mean that there’s no turning back? Well, the good news is that supplements, aren’t meant to be a food substitute.
You cannot replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Whole foods also offer three main benefits over dietary supplements:
1. Greater nutrition. Whole foods are complex, containing a variety of the micronutrients your body needs — not just one.
2. Essential fiber. Whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, provide dietary fiber. Most high-fiber foods are also packed with other essential nutrients.
3. Protective substances. Whole foods contain other substances important for good health. Fruits and vegetables, for example, contain naturally occurring substances called phytochemicals, which may help protect you against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
So yes, while supplements aren’t meant to replace good old fashioned, wholesome nutritious food, it might still have a part to play in this current society you and I live in. The truth is, due to our modern methods of farming and food processing, even those of us eating healthy, well-rounded diets are at risk of not consuming enough of the essential ingredients our body needs. I for one, am a firm believer in supplements. Here are the ones I believe help me and suit my active lifestyle.
The 5 best supplements for Women are:
1. Fish Oils (Omega 3)
We have been told to take more of it, and there’s strong evidence that Omega 3 really is crucial for our brains, hearts and immune systems. Two of the most important omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A good target for mental well-being and performance is 1000mg per day.
Omega-3’s seem to be responsible for everything from maintaining muscle and decreasing body fat, to healing strokes, to helping women have healthy babies. Put simply, fish oil helps reduce inflammation and promotes healthy cell growth. In practical terms this means less joint pain, faster healing, and shiny hair and nails. In the long term it could mean avoiding autoimmune diseases, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and more. There may be some people eating enough high quality fish and grass-fed meats who do not need to supplement omega-3’s, but the majority of us could use it. Check out Chia Seeds as a good alternative if you are vegetarian.
2. Cod Liver Oil
One of the best additions I have made to my diet has been cod liver oil. I fall sick less often and I generally bounce back more quickly even if I do occasionally suffer the sniffles. Why has cod liver oil become a permanent part of my healthy food plan? It is one of the most reliable and concentrated food sources of four nutrients that are essential to human health: DHA, EPA, vitamin A, and vitamin D. These four nutrients are needed for, Healthy skin, Strong bones and teeth, Healthy joints, a healthy cardiovascular system, a healthy nervous system and prevention of depression and other mood disorders and a healthy digestive tract.
A rising incidence of Vitamin D deficiency is being reported in the news frequently these days. We are supposed to get our Vitamin D from the sun, but depending on your geographic location, your use of sunblock, and the tribulations of modern life, that may be easier said than done. Vitamin D is essential to maintaining strong bones and teeth. It enhances the strength and efficiency of your immune system, and decreases your risk of developing autoimmune conditions. Vitamin D helps your body regulate its blood sugar levels, playing an important role in preventing type 2 diabetes. Finally, vitamin D is one of several nutrients that are necessary for preventing high blood pressure.
3. Vit B complex
Vitamins are essential for the body to function properly, but there may be a link between the B-vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, B-12 and folate) and good performance in high-level athletes. I take this because of my active lifestyle. B complex vitamins are very important for the health and proper functioning of the body. In addition to helping the body produce energy and maintain cellular functions, the B vitamins can also improve the appearance of the hair and skin, speed up chemical reactions in cells and help fight infection and protect the body against disease.
Many of the B complex vitamins help the body produce energy and may relieve fatigue. Vitamin B2, also called riboflavin, is involved in the metabolic processes of the body and helps ensure that energy is produced efficiently. Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, speeds up chemical reactions that occur in the cells of the body, making processes run more efficiently so that energy is produced using the least possible amount of resources. Without enough vitamin B12, the body cannot produce energy efficiently, resulting in severe fatigue.
CoQ10 is just a God sent for long distance running. CoQ10 plays a key role in producing energy in heart mitochondria, the part of a cell responsible for the production of energy in the form of ATP. ATP is a molecule in body cells that functions like a rechargeable battery in the transfer of energy. The more you have, the more energetic you feel. Coenzyme Q-10 been tried for treating inherited or acquired disorders that limit energy production in the cells of the body (mitochondrial disorders) and for me, it works for running.
Personal experience: Taking 2 tabs stat (at lunch time) helps me run faster and for longer, come evening time and we set out for our 15km run. Of course the right dosage is 1 tablet (ubidecarenone 10 mg) 3 times daily after meals, but I’m really bad with pills. So, as long as you don’t cross the threshold, I’m sure you’ll live. I have taken 3 stat before, but in the long run, it made my body feel hot/dehydrated (heaty) and gave me slight insomnia. I might try taking 3 stat in the morning instead then, instead of at lunchtime, to see if that helps with the sleep.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are both natural substances produced by your body. Glucosamine is thought to stimulate cartilage production in the joints and chondroitin is a component of cartilage tissue. It’s thought to attract water to the tissue, which helps the cartilage stay elastic, and also to block the action of enzymes that break down cartilage tissue. The idea is that taking extra glucosamine and chondroitin in supplement form helps your body replace damaged or worn away cartilage more quickly. In 2000, for example, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed 37 different studies on glucosamine and chondroitin. Twenty of the studies had design flaws that the authors felt made the results unreliable. But of the 15 that met their criteria, most showed moderate to large benefits. The authors expressed some doubts that the results would be quite as impressive in a large-scale, tightly-controlled experiment. Nevertheless, they concluded that the supplements were probably effective to some degree.
So whilst there isn’t a ton of research out there to support the use of glucosamine/chondroitin to prevent the deterioration of joints, it is logical to postulate that this may be useful considering the research that shows glucosamine/chondroitin helps slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Recommended dose is 1500 mg glucosamine/1200mg chondroitin/day. For me, after strenuous long distance running, glucosamine helps prevent the wear and tear of my joints and ligaments. I bounce back faster, and I hardly suffer any joint aches, when I am on glucosamine. This does not work for everybody, so listen to your own body, as it is the best guide.
These are the 5 Best supplements for women with a hectic lifestyle. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian about which supplements and what doses might be appropriate for you. Be sure to ask about possible side effects and interactions with any medications you take. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) keeps a list of dietary supplements that are under regulatory review or that have been reported to cause adverse effects. If you’re taking a supplement, it’s a good idea to check the FDA website periodically for updates.