Many people agree that you don’t need supplements to live a healthy life.
If you follow the right diet, do plenty of physical exercise, get decent sleep and avoid stress, you will prevent serious health problems while gaining muscle and losing fat.
But using the right supplements can absolutely take your health and fitness to the next level and speed up your results.
Here’s a list of fitness supplements you might want to consider taking. And the ones you might want to avoid.
Supplements You Should Use
Fish oil has plenty of positive evidence behind it.
Most importantly, it helps your heart. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and reduce the risk of death for people who have had a heart attack. Fish oil also offers anti-inflammatory benefits that reduce arthritis pain.
If these health benefits aren’t appealing enough, consider this:
Research shows fish oil boosts how much fat you burn while exercising. This study even proved that three weeks of fish oil supplementation slashed body fat by two pounds.
Research shows that less than 3 percent of Americans get enough fiber. But good levels of dietary fiber are associated with all kinds of health benefits like reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, several cancers, and—of course—constipation.
The best way to get fiber is to eat plenty of whole grains, fruits, and veggies every day. But for the moments you can’t, keep a fiber supplement close at hand.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Inside your gastrointestinal tract, you have more bacteria than you have cells in your whole body. And while not all bacteria are good for you, there are also plenty of good bacteria essential for health, digestion, and your immune system.
Many of us, however, don’t have enough good bacteria in our gut due to poor diets, stress, and even past illnesses. For those who don’t eat fermented foods all the time, try supplementing with probiotics and prebiotics, which feed the good bacteria.
Most of what we think we’re deficient in is exaggerated—except for magnesium. Our diets tend to be low in magnesium despite the large role it plays in our bodies.
Magnesium supplementation can lower blood pressure, reduce depression, enhance exercise performance, improve sleep quality, and protect against Type 2 diabetes. And if you have a deficiency, adding magnesium to your diet can increase testosterone too.
You probably already know about this one, but if want to add more muscle, I recommend you to get some kind of protein powder.
Everyone knows protein is needed for muscle growth, so I won’t get into much detail here.
Plenty of studies show that protein supplementation accelerates your muscle growth more than working out without it and that it is the essential macronutrient for building muscles.
In my opinion, eating chicken breast or a tuna salad is better for you than a protein. But nothing beats the convenience of a ready to drink protein shake.
The Not So Good Supplements
Fat burners don’t actually burn fat.
They suppress hunger, elevate your metabolism, and raise your body temperature so you burn more calories. They also commonly include ingredients like caffeine, carnitine, green tea, conjugated linoleic acid, and capsicum.
The evidence with fat burners, however, is dicey. Some research found a slight reduction in body fat while others cite dangerous side effects and urge caution. (Fat burning supplements are regulated as “foods” by the FDA, not “drugs,” and can contain hidden ingredients.)
Pre-workouts are safe, just as long as you don’t take too much.
Research shows that too much pre-workout can have several adverse effects like “cardiac arrhythmia, blood pressure increases, and potential effects on lipids and blood glucose.”
Are they work the risk? No one really knows for sure yet. In my opinion, if you’re looking for a quick boost of energy before your workouts, stick with the standard cup of coffee or black tea—it will give you enough energy without the risk of heart attack.