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When Should I Supplement

Vitamins: To supplement or not to supplement…that is the question. Science has determined the physical need for specific vitamins and minerals, in the proper ratios, to support and maintain our bodily functions. Antioxidants include some vitamins and minerals.

Oxidation, or the loss of an electron, that can sometimes produce reactive substances known as free radicals. These cause oxidative stress or damage to the cells. Antioxidants, by their very nature, are capable of stabilizing free radicals before they can react and cause harm. Because oxidation is a naturally occurring process within the body, a balance with antioxidants must exist to maintain health oxidation, or aging at the cellular and sub cellular level.

For decades, fitness pioneer, Jack Lalanne, has advocated supplementing a healthy diet with essential vitamins, minerals and other antioxidants. At a robust 92 years of age, he’s still going strong, but he’s just one data point of information. Many experts agree that the average sedentary person should supplement, even if they follow a “healthy” dietary intake. For active adults, including those exercising, trying to lose weight and fitness enthusiasts, it’s a definite “Yes”!

The next question is how to supplement. Vitamins and minerals have strong, well documented data. Some antioxidant formulations are what I consider “emerging science”. Many of these have been used, in some form, for centuries, but overall don’t have the same level of objective scientific data, yet. I believe that some fruit and vegetable derived compounds and some herbal compounds have merit. Current literature suggests that fruits and vegetables in combination have synergistic effects on antioxidant activities leading to greater reduction in risk of chronic disease, specifically for cancer and heart disease. Keep in mind that any of these, including vitamins, may affect us individually in profoundly different ways. Always use common sense, read and be aware of all listed ingredients, especially if you have any known allergies or reactions to specific things.

Bottom Line Recommendations: Start with a healthy, appropriate diet. This is still one of the best ways to receive these nutrients and foundational to your health and fitness. Consult with your physician, trainer and nutrition expert to determine your specific needs. Most people may stand to benefit both short and long term, by supplementing with a daily multivitamin and mineral product. You may experience even greater benefit by including various antioxidants. Look for products that hold close to the US RDA or the newer DRI (Dietary Reference Index). Remember the context….this is an adjunct to the nutritional value of your healthy diet, not a replacement for bad food choices or cutting calories! Don’t be fooled by “mega doses” of certain ingredients. These levels could be toxic and potentially harmful. The product should have a balance close to the RDA/ DRI recommendations, for most ingredients.

In addition, recent research strongly suggests that significantly higher does of some key vitamins are needed under certain conditions. For example, if you are under stress, working out regularly, exposed to higher levels of toxins, you can benefit greatly from additional supplementation. Ask your trainer or other health professional about your specific needs.

This article was provided by Assured Fitness Personal Training
For more information on Assured Fitness Personal Training, check out their full profile here.
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