If you eat a perfectly healthy and balanced diet 24/7, you are probably getting all the nutrients you need from your food…and I envy you.
But if you’re like me, taking the right supplements will give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to perform at its optimum, even on days you slip a little.
What's been your experience with supplements?
There are hundreds of options on the market, with various claims of weight loss, joint health, hair growth, and even anti aging.
Figuring out what you need and works best for your body , is a challenge we all have to navigate.
In this post i’ve put together a list of the 5 most important supplements you might need and what you need to know, including where to buy in Trinidad and Tobago.
Women’s Multi Vitamin. (this should be first on your list)
Popular Brands: GNC Women's Ultra Mega - Active, One A Day Women’s Multivitamin Supplement, Nature’s Way Alive! Women’s Vitamins, Centrum Silver. ( I take Astymin C because I hate tablets)
Where to Buy: GNC, Superpharm
What you need to know: A daily multivitamin will cover all your bases. Filling the nutritional gaps in your diet. Maybe you don't like fish, or don’t usually eat veggies like beetroot, and broccoli. Multivitamins provide you with the daily recommended amount of the most essential vitamins and minerals such as Folic Acid, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Iodine and many others.
If you already have a relatively balanced diet, filled with dark green leafy veggies, red meat, a wide variety of legumes, and fruits, a multi vitamin may not be necessary. But if you are missing these key vitamins you’ll almost immediately see a boost in energy levels, controlled appetite and cravings, healthier skin, hair and nails.
Popular Brands: Nature Made Fish Oils (they have a gummy version too), Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil, GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil, Pure Fish Oil (as in PURE FISH OIL… the actual liquid)
Where to Buy: GNC, Superpharm, or my fave place Body Glow , Caura branch, as for the Pure version there are a couple vendors in Central Market that sometimes have for sale.
What you need to know: There’s a long list of benefits when it come to fish oils, the omega-3 rich supplement is great for healthy skin, hair, and nails, lowers cholesterol, lowers appetite, and enables weight loss as it activates the enzymes that promote fat burning in cells. It even fights depression and helps to alleviate joint pain.
Wondering if you should be taking Fish Oils? the answer is YES!
However, if you’re taking anti-coagulant drugs or have blood coagulation problems, then you should avoid fish oil supplements since omega-3s can affect blood clotting.
Popular Brands: Nature Made - Iron, FloraVital Iron & Herbs, GNC Women’s Iron Complete.
Where to Buy: GNC, Superpharm, Body Glow.
What you need to know: Ladies, if you feel constantly weak, and fatigued, without any clear reason, you might be feeling the effects of an iron deficiency.
Every month your body is losing a lot of this much needed iron mineral, pay attention to your body, especially if you have a heavier than normal flow.
It’s super important to keep track of your cycle and take note of how your body feels from week to week. (read our previous post on using menstruation to your training advantage here.)
Those of us who consume a lot of red meat (say, a serving every day) you might be getting enough iron to skip this supplement. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are also great sources of iron.
NB. Iron deficiencies like anemia should be diagnosed and managed by an M.D. (do not self diagnose, if you give yourself too much iron, it puts an added strain on the kidneys to break it down)
Popular Brands: GNC Biotin, Finest Nutrition Biotin,
Where to Buy: GNC, Superpharm
What you need to know: Biotin is a very popular supplement, and a go to for both men and women dealing with thinning hair, brittle nails, or skin rashes.
Some adult women experience a biotin deficiency due to pregnancy, long term tube feeding, or rapid weight loss and can definitely benefit from using a supplement.
For stronger, thicker hair, and stronger nails, its worth giving bit a try.
NB. Many multi-vitamins have biotin in them already, so be sure you’re reading your labels.
Popular Products: Any fermented foods e.g. Yoghurt & Kefir
Where to Buy: Try a bigger supermarket for more options like JTA or Massy.
What you need to know: Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that are found naturally in the human body and good for your health, especially the digestive system, as they support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection and aid in maintaining a strong, healthy immune system.
NB: Ladies, probiotics are awesome to help prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections.
“Historically, we had plenty of probiotics in our diets from eating fresh foods from good soil and by fermenting our foods to keep them from spoiling.
However, because of refrigeration and dangerous agricultural practices like soaking our foods with chlorine, our food contains little to no probiotics today, and most foods actually contain dangerous antibiotics that kill off the good bacteria in our bodies.” (source)
While you can take probiotics as a supplement (especially after taking antibiotics), the best and most natural sources for “good bacteria” are fermented foods - yoghurt, pickles, kefir - which is now available locally here.
Ok, so I know its a lot to take in, so how about you bookmark this post so you can always refer to it later.
There are supplement options for everyone, for instance, I prefer liquids over tablets, it's just a lot easier for me to take. There are also powders, if you're into that, and even products with various supplements included.
Up to you really.
At the end of the day, the objective is finding a routine you can maintain, and makes you feel your best. And we're here to help you with that. Our team at the studio can help you find that happy place. So don't feel shy about reaching out!
Fine Print: Make sure you consult a doctor before taking any type of supplement. Some supplements can have side effects and can interfere with your daily medication. Supplements should never be taken as a replacement for diet and exercise. These supplements work better only when the body is getting the right food and daily exercise.
Do not forget to share your feedback and fitness goals with us.