3 Nutritionists Reveal The Supplements You Should Be Taking

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From big claims about supercharging energy levels to cast-iron guarantees of a better night’s sleep, supplement manufacturers make some serious promises these days. To sort fact from fiction, we asked three nutritionists which ones they actually recommend for better health…
Photography LAUREN LEE / STOCKSY UNITED

Rob Hobson, Sports Nutritionist, Says…

Blackcurrants Can Aid Recovery

“It may not sound very cool, but blackcurrant powder is an exciting product. One recent study found muscle strength and recovery were increased threefold after the subjects in the study took blackcurrant powder – it’s believed to prime the muscles to cope with the increase in oxidative stress caused by exercise. Studies also suggest it’s anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants. If you’re an endurance athlete, avoid taking blackcurrant powder during the initial stages of your training as it may interfere with adaptations in the muscles – take it in the couple of weeks before a race for the best results.”

Herbs Could Be Worth A Try

“One of the biggest health concerns facing men is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as enlarged prostate. Saw palmetto is a herb that has been researched to reduce prostate size and ease urinary symptoms associated with the condition. If you are struggling with an enlarged prostate, studies show a low-fat, high-fibre diet and daily exercise lowers insulin levels and reduces the growth of prostate primary epithelial cells, so try these too.”

Magnesium & Valerian Can Help With Insomnia

“If you struggle with your sleep, valerian comes highly recommended. A traditional herbal remedy used to temporarily relieve sleep disturbances associated with anxiety, countless studies show significant benefits for improved sleep without unwanted side effects. Magnesium, which activates your parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for relaxation) may also help. Magnesium also regulates melatonin, which guides sleep-wake cycles in the body.”

Visit RobHobson.co.uk & HealthspanElite.co.uk

Owen Woodley, Performance Nutritionist At Nutrition X, Says…

Protein Is Essential For A Strong Body

“If you’re lifting weights, consider investing in a quality protein powder, which provide a convenient way to get protein quickly into the body post-training. The RDA for the general population is 0.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight, but if you exercise regularly, this may not be enough. There are several types of protein powder on the market. Whey is excellent to take immediately after training as it’s quickly absorbed by the body, whereas a casein-based protein powder is a good one to take before bed as it’s a slow-releasing form of protein, suitable for muscle repair while you sleep. Pea protein also contains a high quantity of BCAAs (branch chain amino acids), which are essential for muscle building.”

Vitamin D Is Non-Negotiable

“A balanced and varied diet should provide an adequate amount of nutrients to avoid any deficiencies, but vitamin D is the exception. This is because we get 80-90% of our vitamin D from sunlight exposure, specifically through UVB radiation. However, geographical location can affect UVB exposure, meaning many of us in the UK struggle to make enough vitamin D. A crucial vitamin for overall wellbeing, vitamin D deficiencies have been shown to impair muscle recovery and the immune system, all of which could impair athletic performance. Vitamin D also plays a major role in calcium absorption, making it important in maintaining bone health. Aim for a vitamin D3 supplement with 2,000iU.”

Visit NutritionX.co.uk

Liam Holmes, Founder Of pH Nutrition, Says…

It’s Worth Taking Vitamin B

“A vitamin B deficiency is one I see daily in my clinic. B vitamins are used in so many metabolic processes and they can’t be stored in the body, meaning a deficiency can easily happen. Plus, men are more likely to be deficient in vitamin B12 than women.”

Some Multivitamins Are Better Than Others

“Most multivitamins have very low amounts of the vitamins and minerals they claim to contain, and the way they’re processed by the body can lead to poor absorption rates. It’s fine to take one as an insurance policy, but don’t use it to replace a well-rounded diet. Ideally, look for one that contains ten to 15 ingredients rather than a ‘kitchen sink’ product that contains 30+ ingredients, and ideally one that contains zinc, magnesium, and vitamins D and B. This way, you’ll be getting a higher dose of key nutrients.”

Adaptogens Can Help With Stress

“Stress is good for the body in small amounts, but when it’s chronic, it becomes an issue. Before taking a supplement for stress, try and identify the root cause. Compounds called adaptogens can also help. Think of them like a thermostat for your body – if you are low they bring you up, and if you are too stressed, they’ll balance you out. The best adaptogens are ashwagandha, rhodiola, ginseng, holy basil and cordyceps. You can take them continuously or for short periods when you’re feeling stressed.”

Beta Alanine Decreases Muscle Fatigue

“When it comes to improving athletic performance, there are a few things proven to help. Beta alanine increases your carnosine levels, which can help you buffer the acidic build-up that occurs during exercise. If you can train for longer at a higher intensity, this will help you get stronger. Creatine can also help with power output and building strength, while there’s some evidence to suggest nitrates – found in beetroot juice – can improve performance from both a strength and endurance perspective.”

Antioxidants Can Support Optimum Fertility

“Antioxidants include common vitamins such as vitamins A, C and E, as well as the minerals selenium and manganese. Selenium in particular is crucial for men, as it can support sperm quality and quantity. If fertility is on your radar, get some blood work done to see where your body is lacking – zinc, selenium and omega-3 oils may be worth taking. You should be taking these at least four weeks before trying for a baby.”

Visit PHNutrition.com & Foodspring.co.uk


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