Nutricional supplements can provide great health benefits – from bone reinforcement and heart protection, to an increase in muscle mass. The question remains, however, whether ones use of these supplements is indeed as effective and correct, as they hope it to be. This article will break down seven of the most popular supplements and discover how one could use their full potential to the max.
Magnesium is the most common mineral in our bodies. It takes part in more than 600 enzymatic reactions in the human system and is, at the same time, the one mineral that most people do not have quite enough off. A normal diet (lower food quality, bad lifestyle, stress, high sugar intake etc.) is nearly never enough to assure a sufficient magnesium intake. This mineral is essential for the transfer of neural signals, hormonal regulation, sugar level regulation, heart functions, and detox. A lack of magnesium often manifests as chronic fatigue, insomnia, depression, muscle cramps, and the feeling (syndrome) of overtraining. This is because the amount of magnesium one needs increases with the difficulty and amount of exercise done.
To say that one should “take magnesium supplements” is not enough! This is because there are numerous forms of every thinkable supplement on the market – all with a varyinglevel of quality. The amounts of magnesium ones organism can absorb and use from these vary quite a bit. The most famous and commonly used form is magnesium oxide which might be comparatively cheap, but whose absorption is limited to only about 4%. In the past this form of magnesium was used as a laxative. Other well-known form of magnesium is magnesium citrate which can be absorbed much better than its cheaper counterpart, but can cause digestive troubles if taken in bigger amounts. The best form isthus magnesium bisglycinate which is form a of magnesium that is bound to amino acid glycine –this form being also known as the “chelate bond.” Magnesium bisglycinate has not only the best absorption abilities but can also be bought with added vitamin B6 which only strengthens its utility.
The best way to use magnesium is: 400 to 800mg of magnesium bisglycinate with added vitamin B6 – ideally taken before sleep or in combination with high quality zinc.
Zinc plays an important role in the functionality of our immune system and is an essential micronutrient that stimulates the use of more than 100 other enzymes. Approximately 25% of the population suffers the effects of zinc deficiency which is caused – as is the case with magnesium – by lower food quality, as well as the limited consumption of foods that contain zinc overall. On the other hand, zinc can also become toxic if used in a higher than recommended amount. High amounts of zinc can also lead to copper absorption disorder which often results in its deficit.
Similarly to magnesium the form in which we take zinc is also important – the best form again possibly being the zinc bisglycinate. The best natural source of zinc are oysters.
The best way to use zinc is: 15-30mg of zinc bisglycinate taken before sleep or together with magnesium and vitamin B6.
Calcium has a big effect on the health and toughness of bones. It is also important for the correct function of muscles, heart, and nerves. Although most people with a well-balanced diet do take in enough calcium, there are also such groups of people, who might be more susceptible to calcium deficiency. These are for example vegans, lactose-intolerant people, who consume less dairy products, people with specific digestive problems, or those suffering from osteoporosis.
When taking higher amounts of calcium, its absorption might be contested by magnesium. This is why taking a high amount of both calcium and magnesium might lead to a very bad (minimal) absorption of both. For the correct absorption of calcium, it is important to include vitamin D. For the best possible result when taking calcium – and reducing the danger of kidney stone formation – it is recommended to take calcium in smaller amount when eating throughout the day.
The best way to use calcium is: 1000 mg of calcium divided into two smaller portions. Take 500 mg with breakfast and 500 mg later the same day with another meal.
Also known as the “sun vitamin” D3 is created when ones skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D3 is a strong antioxidant which works against inflammation, helps with the maintenance of teeth and bones as well as the healthy function of muscles, and takes part in the process of cells division. Some sources even list vitamin D3 as incredibly important when talking about cancer prevention.
People who live in sunny places do not generally suffer any vitamin D3 deficiencies. In some countries however, where winters are cold and virtually devoid of sun – as is the case in the Czech Republic - nearly 70% of the population is reported to suffer from a vitamin D3 deficiency. In such cases it is incredibly important to take vitamin D3 supplements.
The best way to use vitamin D3 is: 1000- 4000 I.U. taken with high fat foods. The best option seems to be the largest meal of the day.
even states that adding 3000I.U of vitamin 3D to your diet may raise the male testosterone levels.
Iron is another crucial mineral. It plays an important role in the creation of red blood vessels which are responsible for the transport of oxygen. A prevailing iron deficiency leads to anaemia. Interestingly, most of the people suffering from iron deficiencies are female.
Taking iron supplements can have negative effects on the absorption of other minerals which is why it is best to take iron in isolation – and without eating anything prior. In the case of digestive problems, it is recommended to be taken together with food. You should not drink milk or coffee afterwards though, as calcium and caffeine worsen its absorption. Conversely, vitamin C is helps iron to be absorbed much faster and easier. The best source of natural iron is animal protein.
The best way to use iron is: 45 mg daily – taken with water before breakfast, at least an hour apart from taking any other minerals or supplements.
Probiotics are microorganisms that are naturally found in the human body. Because of our hectic way of life and the food we consume, however, our systems are nowadays less likely to support the existence of probiotic bacteria. One of such dietary problems is the limited intake of fiber (basically the “food” of brobiotics) which enables them to survive within our system.
Aggressive stomach acids can even kill probiotic bacteria, which is why the ideal time for taking brobiotic supplements is exactly when the stomach acidity is at its lowest. Different types of bacteria vary in how resilient they are to different acids – and many studies contradict each other when giving the ideal time for their consumption. The two best options are: taking them 30 minutes before, or while having a meal. You can certainly try both of them – and decide based on your personal preference. The most important aspect is to abide by the recommended daily amount of fiber one should consume per day.
The best way to use probiotics is: 5-25 billion CFU daily (ideally a combination of different probiotic strains)
Omega 3 represents unsaturated fatty acids. They have a number of health benefits, including helping general body regeneration, inflammation prevention, improved insulin sensitivity etc.
Unfortunately a general middle-European diet does not feature enough fish and is thus quite poor in Omega 3 while at the same time being rich in Omega 6 – due to the higher consumption of fats, oils, and nuts. The biggest problem is thus its lack in comparison with precisely the Omega 6. The desired balance can be restored by taking Omega 3 supplements – for example by consuming fish oil containing EPA and DHA
The best way to use Omega 3 is: 500-2000 mg EPA + DHA daily, divided into multiple portions and taken together with food.