5 Supplement that works!

Utsav Agrawal
Utsav Agrawal

 | 1 minute to read
Supplementation
In my previous article, I have covered the top five worst supplements. Now, let’s look at the 5 top supplements that you can definitely consider taking (but only if you need them):

#1. Whey Protein The obvious one, whey protein is a dietary supplement derived from milk. It is one of the highest quality protein sources available and is also a fast-digesting protein. If you find it difficult to complete your daily required protein intake, then whey can be a lifesaver. There are three types of whey protein supplements available in the market viz. concentrate, isolate, and hydrolyzed. The difference between them is mostly insignificant - an isolate is a purer form of concentrate while hydrolyzed is a more refined form of whey isolate. Feel free to choose any type but if you’re lactose intolerant, then stick to whey protein isolate or hydrolyzed. Should you take it and how to take it? Yes, only if you are unable to complete the protein requirement of the day. Best had with water or milk. How much to take? As much as you need for completing the protein requirement of the day. Just make sure you aren’t solely relying on the supplement to complete your protein requirement. #2. Creatine Of all the supplements in the market, there isn't one with more scientific research backing it than Creatine Monohydrate. Creatine is found naturally in animal protein. For instance, half kg of steak would yield around 2gms of creatine. Creatine works primarily by replenishing the ATP-CP (Adenosine Triphosphate-Creatine Phosphate) system more rapidly as there are more creatine phosphates to create new ATP molecules. This particular anaerobic energy system is used for very high-intensity bouts of exercise, such as 100-200m sprints or low rep heavy set deadlifts. In other words, you can consider creatine a friend who lends you a few bucks when you are short of cash and need to buy something. In this case, that something is energy. In a meta-analysis, creatine was shown to increase lean tissue and muscular strength in both men and women, and the best part was that the participants in the studies had a mean age of 57-70. As far as dosage is concerned, it seems that 3-5gms per day appears to be sufficient. However, to reap the benefits of creatine, your muscles have to be saturated which can be done via creatine loading. According to the JISSN, the "loading" protocol should be done for 5-7 days at 20-25gms per day and 3-5gms after that. In a few people, this "loading" phase can cause GI distress, so you could forgo this method and take 3-5gms a day. Your muscles should get saturated in around 4-6 weeks. If you're an intermediate lifter (2-3 years of experience), then you can consider supplementing with Creatine Monohydrate. #3.Omega 3 Omega 3 fatty acids, commonly known as "fish oil" is another heavily researched supplement that’s available easily in the market. But exactly what is it? ALA, DHA, and EPA. ALA is typically found in plants such as flax, chia, and walnuts. DHA/EPA are found primarily in marine sources as well as plant algae. DHA and EPA, the fatty acids found in fish oil supplements are the ones you want to concern yourself with. ALA is a precursor to DHA and EPA, so your body can convert ALA to DHA and EPA. However, it is very inefficient in some populations, some with a less than 1% turnover. Some of the studied benefits of fish oil supplementation are cognitive function, cardiovascular health, reduced inflammation, reduced triglycerides, etc. How much to take? Most studies suggest a range of 1-2 gm of combined EPA and DHA as the recommended dose for maintaining good health. You might have to consume about 3-6 gm of actual fish oil to reach these levels. Should you buy it? I lean towards yes on this one. The potential benefits compared to the amount you would have to spend seems worth the investment. However, be careful - there are a lot of trash fish oil supplements. I call them trash because their dosages of EPA and DHA are so low you'd have to take ten capsules a day to equate to 1 gms per day of EPA/DHA. Read the label of a supplement to determine the EPA and DHA content per serving. #4. Caffeine Caffeine is a stimulant that increases alertness, focus, and pain tolerance. Caffeine allows you to train slightly harder in any given session, which makes it useful particularly for hard workouts, very long workouts, or workouts that you’re trying to finish when you are tired. A word of caution here: caffeine can impact your sleep, so it's better to use caffeine only before your morning workout sessions. For increasing your performance, somewhere close to 100-500mg of caffeine is needed depending on your tolerance. #5. Carb Supplement Carbohydrate supplements can be beneficial for endurance athletes or for those who find it challenging to complete their carbohydrate intake of the day. In the market, you will easily get liquid carb sources, such as Dextrose, Gatorade, and Glucon-d which are faster and easier to digest. There are also some very slow-digesting carb powders such as Waximaize. These supplements should preferably be avoided in the fat loss phase, as you’re already on a calorie restricted diet. There you go, folks! Before buying any supplement, remember that they are meant to supplement your diet. Your first choice for nutrition should still be whole foods. Use supplements only if you need help completing your macros. References- 1)https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-4-6 2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5679696/ 3)https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/3/1/1/4557081 4)https://examine.com/supplements/fish-oil/#how-to-take 5)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5839013/ 6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28480382/
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Archana Arora

Utsav Agrawal coach, body coverts ALA to DHA and EPA, so can someone take flax seeds instead of fish oil. (as ALA is plant based). and if yes? then please recommend dose of flax seeds per day. PS - luking for a veg option of omega 3

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