Are Dietary Supplements A Necessity For Your Fitness Goals? 
Written by Joshua McClelland- 2018
Are Dietary Supplements a Necessity for Your Fitness Goals?

Whether your goal is to lose weight, build lean muscle or gain better health in general, we all need the proper amount of macro nutrients (proteins, carbs and fat) and micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals) for optimal health and performance.
More than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, and many are trying to lose those extra pounds. 
Some experts would suggest yes suppluiments are needed for fitness optimization. And some would argue not. If the “dietary supplements” are derived from natural food/animals’ sources, then shouldn’t we be able to gain the proper daily suggested amount from eating natural wholesome foods?
Let’s quickly define the term dietary supplement: a product taken orally that contains one or more ingredients (such as vitamins or amino acids) that are intended to supplement one's diet and are not considered food.

Supps & Weight Loss-
Supplement use for losing fat or building muscle have been very popular for quite some time now. Claims that “fat-burning” supplements will decrease body fat by increasing either mobilization or oxidation of free fatty acids (FFAs) are faulty at best according to the NIH (National Health Institute). The top two ingredients in most fat burners and thermogenics are green tea extract and caffeine. Both are natural stimulants that raise body heat (thermogenic: literally means heat-producing) to burn more calories while at rest.
“Americans spend over $2 billion a year on dietary supplements promoted for weight loss, but there’s little evidence they actually work,” said Anne L. Thurn, Ph.D., (director of the ODS Communications Program). “And people may not know that many manufacturers of weight-loss supplements don’t conduct studies in humans to find out whether their product works and is safe.”
Any seasoned workout junkey would tell you that they have taken or currently take supplements such as protein powder, pre-workout or Branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s) which have many fitness related benefits. But they should also add that they are not a necessity to working out and getting desired results.

Should You Take Fat Burners??
Untrained individuals have a greater ability to mobilize FFAs than they do to oxidize them. Supplements that “burn fat” or increase FFA mobilization, are not of any value for untrained people. For supplements to directly enhance FFA oxidation, the insulin response to the carbohydrates in those supplements would need to be eliminated (since insulin inhibits fat oxidation), and this is unlikely to happen. Exercise alone increases the muscles’ capacity to oxidize FFAs and burn fat naturally!

Wholesome Foods-
“Dietary supplements marketed for exercise and athletic performance can’t take the place of healthy food habits, but some might have value for certain types of activity,” said Paul M. Coates, Ph.D., director of ODS.
Using supplements for convenient on the go purposes in the morning or for after a grueling workout is a great alternative when you’re rushing and need something quick to hold you over until your next meal. However, if used in place of whole foods, it can lead to serious deficits in the consumption of other nutrients. Vitamins and minerals naturally acquired from food rather than from a pill concentrate or powder will ALWAYS be healthier. However, serious vitamin deficiencies do occur in a small proportion of the population, and supplements are useful for making sudden improvements in vitamin status.

Recommended Daily Supplements-
In a perfect world, all you would need are the natural macro and micro nutrients from whole foods that come from your food habits and lifestyle. But at times it can be challenging to achieve the daily recommended intake. So here are the top 6 daily supplements fitness and health experts actually use IN ADDITION to a well-balanced nutritional lifestyle- (Talk with your doctor first before taking any supplements. Some supplements can change how medicines you may already be taking will work)

1. Magnesium- an important nutrient which plays a role in hundreds of enzymatic bodily reactions, including metabolizing food, synthesis of fatty acids and proteins, and transmission of nerve impulses. Aids in healthy sleep.

2. Fish Oil (Omega-3)- Fish oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) .

3. Probiotics (Turmeric)- Probiotics are 'good' bacteria that line our digestive tracts and support our body's ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection and inflammation.

4. Vitamin B12- a nutrient that helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells.

5. Vitamin D “Sun Vitamin”- Important for strong bones, muscular and overall health.
6. Protein- When it comes to muscle gain and fat loss, protein is the king of nutrients. Protein provides your body with the necessary foundation to create the amino acids that are needed to build muscle tissue, quicker and more efficiently.

Supplement Usage & Lifestyle-  
Personally, I apply the 80%/20% rule to my nutrition and dietary supplements intake, like most other areas of my life. The goal is to obtain a minimum 80% percent or more of macro and micro nutrients from eating wholesome rich foods. And supplement the other 20% or less. Like Protein, Fish oils, daily vitamins etc. This is based off of my lifestyle and beliefs and I would highly recommend you take the same approach.
Supplements should be just an addition to the natural nutrients you get from your foods, NOT the main source of sustaining life!

-Benardot et al. 2001
- Clarkson 1998; Eichner et al. 1999
-Coyle 1995

Joshua McClelland 

Joshua McClelland assists entrperneurs and professionals in reaching an optimal life through health & fitness. He is an expert at pin pointing health problems and helping people understand a fitness lifestyle.
If you're interested in transforming your current routine and becoming confident in your health and fitness, then reach out and request a free strategy session today.

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