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THE ONLY 6 SUPPS YOU NEED
Health & Fitness
Because there are so many supplements that are available, it is easy to get overwhelmed and lose perspective on which supplements are essential to ingest on a consistent basis. The purpose of this article is to remove the confusion and to make sure that you are covering all of your dietary supplement bases with these gold standard supplements. If you choose to expand your supplement array beyond this, be our guest but your stacking should start here.
In nearly every protein quality ranking score, whey protein is ranked the highest as compared to other sources of protein. Whey protein has been studied repeatedly for its anabolic properties and the results of these studies continue to support its muscle building potential. The primary reason that whey protein is superior to other proteins is because of its high leucine content (leucine accounts for about 11% of the total amino acid profile of whey protein – more than any other protein supplement). Due to its high leucine content, whey protein is able to stimulate muscle protein synthesis in
in the hours following its ingestion. If the goal is to improve your physique by adding lean muscle mass, whey protein supplementation is essential.
Casein makes up about 80% of the proteins in cow’s milk and between 20-45% of the proteins in human milk. For example, when you drink an 8-ounce glass of milk, you are ingesting 8 total grams of protein, of which approximately 6 grams is casein and 2 grams is whey protein. Casein is often ignored by many in favor of whey protein but casein does possess a unique place in your training and diet program in certain circumstances. Specifically, research has reported that when dieting (lowering calories to below maintenance levels for the purpose of losing bodyfat)
casein outperformed whey protein in terms of losing fat and gaining lean muscle mass. Therefore, during periods of dieting, casein is the preferred protein source.
As a result of its widespread use, creatine may be the most extensively studied ergogenic aid in recent history. Do you want to increase your strength? Creatine can accomplish this. Do you want to improve your anaerobic power? Creatine can do this. Do you want to maximize your lean body mass? Creatine can facilitate this too! As you can see, creatine is a powerful supplement that allows the body to adapt to the stimulus of your training program. Another attribute of creatine supplementation that should not be overlooked is its safety profile. Controlled studies have been unable to document any
significant side effects from creatine supplementation.
The benefits of fish oil supplementation can be traced to two specific compounds known as α-linolenic acid fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The research on fish oil (and EPA and DHA specifically) in relation to athletic performance is in its infancy and for that reason concrete recommendations cannot be made at this point. However, the limited research that has been conducted on fish oil is promising. In fact, several studies have reported that fish oil supplementation increases lean body mass and muscular strength while also reducing body fat.
However, most of this research has been conducted in healthy, but older populations. What is needed next is for more research to be done which investigates the effects of fish oil on healthy, athletic populations engaging in high intensity training.
The branched-chain amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, and valine – are not produced in the body and must be obtained through the diet. “Branched-chain” refers to the chemical structure of these amino acids. The BCAAs are primarily oxidized (i.e., catabolized/broken down) in skeletal muscle. Exercise activates the catabolism of BCAAs in skeletal muscle, therefore, exercise may increase the BCAA requirement. The benefits that BCAA supplementation offers is three-fold:
suppresses muscle damage in the post-exercise period
reduces delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in the post-exercise period.
maximizes muscle protein synthesis following exercise (due to the leucine ingestion)
It has been reported that 5 grams of BCAAs taken about 15-30 minutes before exercise can reduce DOMS and muscle fatigue for several days after exercise. This same amount, if ingested in the post-workout period, will also elevate muscle protein synthesis as well.
A lot of individuals believe that vitamins supply direct energy to the body. This is not true, however. Vitamins are not direct sources of energy but they do facilitate energy production and utilization of energy from carbohydrate, fat, and protein. They also transport oxygen and carbon dioxide, regulate fluid balance and protect against oxidative damage. An individual who is not deficient in vitamin status will not improve exercise performance by adding a multivitamin supplement to their nutrition program. However, research has shown that those who were previously deficient in certain vitamin
can improve exercise performance by taking a vitamin supplement and getting back to a non-deficient status. Therefore, the purpose of taking a multivitamin is not to improve exercise performance, but to serve as an ‘insurance policy’ guarding against vitamin