Before attempting to consume any supplements, please consult a doctor first.
I don't usually tell people, or my clients, to take supplements. You can get pretty much everything you need in your diet to allow you to improve performance and your overall health
But these are supplements that can enhance your performance, and you may not get certain ones in your diet, or they are just in very low doses.
Let's start off with my 2 favorites for performance, Creatine and caffeine
Increased training load
Increases training quality
Increases muscular endurance
Increases time to exhaustion (more reps before failing) Increased glycogen storage
Improved cognitive function (brain memory)
Increased lean tissue and performance in vegetarians
Less decline performance in sleep deprived individuals
Creatine, personally, is my favorite supplement because it allows for greater muscle building and make me look leaner. After caffeine it is the most well researched supplement on the market.
Creatine Monohydrate is the only type that you should buy, do not buy any other creatine supplement.
As you can see, it has many benefits. There are a lot of studies done in the elderly which helps them improve their functional performance, and to me that is amazing.
The side effects to creatine is weight gain, due to water retention in the muscles, and you may experience some stomach cramping. People often tell others that creatine is a steroid, it's not. We actually have creatine in our bodies as an energy system called 'phosphocreatine', and when we consume creatine it enhances that energy system.
You should take about 5g daily with a meal, as the insulin response to the meal will draw the creatine into your muscles.
Spares muscle glycogen
Increases muscle fiber excitibility
Reduces reaction time
Increases alertness and improves decision making, especially in sleep deprived individuals
Improves muscular endurance
Improves endurance performance
Increases fat oxidation (not fat loss)
Small increases in metabolism
I love my coffee! Everything that's being said above I have experienced it personally. Most energy drinks and pre-workouts are loaded with caffeine, so if you are ever in need for some extra energy, there is no need to waste your money on supplements. Just have an espresso shot about 45 minutes to an hour prior to working out and you'll do just fine. But not late at night, you won't sleep.
Caffeine increases fat oxidation, which I have mentioned previously. It is enhancing the use of the fat that you consumed in your diet as a fuel. So, if you are the type of person who works 9-5, have a more fat and protein meal with a coffee before work; this will give you greater sustained energy throughout your work day.
Caffeines half life is 4-6 hours so be careful at what time you consume it. If you consume 400ml at 12pm, that means, by 12pm that night, the caffeine will have only left your blood stream. Try to consume caffeine early in the morning to avoid sleepless nights, and if you are the type of person who depends on caffeine, try to take a day or two away from it if you struggle to sleep.
Now, let's move into my two fvorite for health, Vitmain D and Fish Oils
Improves Immune system
Improves bone health via supporting calcium absorption
Reduces depressive symptoms
Potentially improves strength
Potentially improves fat loss
Deficiencies associated with development of CVD, cancer, IBD & AI disorders
As you already know, vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. This means that it absorbs better when consumed with fat. It doesn't need to be consumed daily, but it is very hard to get from the diet.
We get most of our vitamin D from the sun. You should be exposing 18%+ of your skin to direct sunlight. You cannot get it in the shade, through a glass window or when you have sun screen on.
The darker your skin, the harder it is for you to absorb vitamin D. Also, because it's so difficult to get from your diet, if you live in a not so hot climate (Ireland haha) you're more than likely deficient. Please go see your doctor to find out what your levels are and see if you can supplement vitamin D.
May increase strength and size
May improve fat loss
Improvement in depression
No need to supplement fish oils if you're the type of person who eats oily fish more than 2x per week. If you are the type of person that soes not like eating fish, I would strongly recommend going to your doctor to see if it is okay to take them.
People who suffer from Alzheimers and Parkinson's normally have significantly decreased levels of N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids especially DHA in the brain (fish oils are made up of DHA and EPA). So early supplementation with N-3s may significantly benefit in treating or preventing neurodegenerative diseases.
Fish oils can also help with building a strong immune system, it's good for joint health and, interestingly enough, can help decrease HDL cholesterol; which has a stronger effect than taking statins (these are prescribed by doctors for people who have high cholesterol) - Chan et al (2006) <----- that's a study reference you can check out.
So there you go, those are my top 4 supplements that I normally consume on a daily basis to help me improve my health and performance. Everything else I can easily get from my diet, so there is no point in wasting my money.
Once again, please go see your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you are on any sort of medication as these might have negative side affects towards the medication you are on.