Friday, July 3, 2015

Supplements Updated 1/9/2017

     Good afternoon, Fitness Family and Friends! With all of this training and these new goals we are all looking to fuel our bodies with the best nutrition available. To further that effort, I am reposting a piece I did a while back covering supplements; however, I would like to open it up with an addition and an introduction. Kristen Michaelis is a personal friend and she runs an awesome food blog, My wife and I met Kristen years ago when we lived in Dallas. Kristen and I actually met in the college library, we had some mutual friends. She worked with my wife for a while. Now she is running this blog and has published several books. She loves food. Let me clarify, healthy food.
     To introduce my piece on supplementation I want to summarize and link to her Kristen’s piece on a line called Gelatin. Vital Proteins Gelatin hit the top of her list for many reasons, including:

  • High biologic value (BV) animal protein. Important due to the fact that vegan acceptable and plant based proteins are not as high in BV as animal proteins.
  • The higher the BV the more gets absorbed by the cells
  • Made from hormone free animals

     What precisely is gelatin? It’s processed collagen. Something that all animals, including us, make. The animals this product is made from are guaranteed free from chemicals and drugs. They are grass fed. Most likely they are even patted on the head thrice daily. Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but, knowing people who work with animals, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they were.
     At any rate, the link to Kristen’s blog is here. Please let her know where you heard about her. The rest of my piece is below.
     Train hard, eat well, be happy!

     Supplement is defined as that which completes or enhances something else or adds an extra element or amount to something. It seems that we are all so busy that getting a decent meal is nearly impossible. Simplifying our lives would be the ideal, as would getting all of our nutrients and vitamins from our meals; however, a proper meal plan feels like an impossible goal. So, many of us, myself included, often reach for a nutritional shake or a meal replacement or some other kind of supplemental to pick up where we have left off. It has become the norm as almost all adults in America do this.
     There was a time that supplements were limited to just a few brands of multivitamins and an even smaller choice of protein powder mixes, the biggest name of which was Weider. Today's supplementary mix includes vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and a plethora of products in a variety of forms. They come in tablets, capsules, powders, drinks, bars, and even gel packs. There are also prepackaged vitamins that are “specifically designed” for your male or female, age, and athletic needs. Supplements can NOT replace a healthy diet. Here are two resources on that … Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate.
     Keep in mind that some ingredients found in dietary supplements are being added to a increasing number of foods, such as breakfast cereals and drinks. If you are currently supplementing, you could be getting more than you think, which may not be good. Too much vitamin A can cause headaches and liver damage, reduce bone strength, as well as birth defects. Excessively high levels of iron can cause nausea and vomiting and may also damage the liver and other organs, too.
     Be cautious about taking dietary supplements if you are pregnant or nursing. What you take in gets passed on to your nursing child and many of these supplements have not been FDA approved for infants and children. If you are taking supplements, or are interested in doing so, see your doctor. Now. No, go see your doctor now.
     As with anything that you do in relation to your health and health-care, I strongly suggest and urge you to talk to your doctor first. You really need to be certain that what you are thinking about doing is not going to conflict with any medications you are taking or any health issue you may have.
Once you start using supplements, it is a great idea to keep a log of the results. Just as you keep a training record, keep a dietary record to track how you are feeling and reacting to your dietary changes.
What you need to know about the most popular dietary and nutritional supplements on the market. Let's categorize supplements under the following; Vitamins and Minerals, Meal Replacements, Sports Nutrition, Glucosamine and Chondroitin, and Homeopathic Medications.

Vitamins and Minerals

     There is really no harm in taking a daily multivitamin on a daily basis. It safely covers dietary shortfalls. If you are taking a good multivitamin, then you do not need to take an extra B vitamin. You should already be getting enough between your diet and multivitamin.

B vitamins

     B vitamins include thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12. These are said to reduce stress. Still, many of us don't need these supplements. Not much research actually supports this theory of stress reduction.
     The exception to this may be seniors because seniors absorb less of it. Instead of supplements, the diet can be adjusted to include more grains, dark green vegetables, orange juice, and enriched foods. There are some medications that will inhibit the absorption of B vitamins, these individuals will likely need to supplement with B vitamins after talking with their doctors.

Vitamin C

     Vitamin C is often taken in an effort to ward off colds, though there's little proof this works.
Your health-care provider may tell you to take vitamin C if you have a wound that's healing. Otherwise, go for food sources. Rich sources include oranges, peppers, grapefruits, peaches, papayas, pineapples, broccoli, strawberries, tomatoes, and melons.

Vitamins D

     Chances are, you are not getting enough vitamin D for good health. Experts agree that we can safely take in up to 1,000 IUs a day. There is no risk of toxicity is at that level. We can get that with a daily vitamin or safe sun exposure. Just 15 to 20 minutes outside in the sun each day. Too easy!
Check with your dermatologist about guidelines for safe sun exposure.

Meal Replacements

     SlimFast, Ensure, Special K are just three of the many meal replacement drinks and snack bars that are out there. They are all designed to supplement the diet and are nutrient rich.
Weight management? So long as you are including your meal replacements as part of a meal plan that supports your physical needs in relation to a good exercise program, then there should be no problem. There are exercise routines on this blog, feel free to gibe them a try after you do what? Talk to your doctor!

Sports Nutrition Supplements

     This category has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. When I was a competitive swimmer and distance runner looking to stay lean and light, the market was dominated by Weider. The stuff tasted bad, at best. Either that, or it was the Rocky Balboa thing, a dozen raw eggs.
     Today, there are so many to choose from. Creatine, amino acids, protein formulas, fat burners, pills, powders, formulas, and drinks. There are fat loss and weight gainers and energy boosters and carbohydrate shots for fast glycogen during endurance events. Chances are, you want to know mostly about the meal and protein drinks and mixes.
     These products do help, when used properly. It takes time. As before, you are not going to see massive or drastic changes in couple of weeks. Patience, Grasshopper.
     Protein drinks are going to be effective within the first half hour after exercising. Also, once each hour. You could also just eat a good protein based meal at the same times, within a half hour of exercising and about every hour or two during the day. Your body cannot absorb more than 8-10 grams of protein per hour. That means, the 34 gram protein shake you just made and are chugging down, well, 24 grams of that protein is going to just go through your huts and wind up in the toilet. The big take away here is protein, be it whey, egg, beef, milk, whatever, protein within 30 minutes of your workout is going to provide the nutrients your body needs to rebuild from all of that tearing down you just did.
     Creatine monohydrate is also very popular. It pumps fluid into the muscle cells. This helps with the volume of the cell, it gets bigger. This also helps flush out fatigue compounds, lactic acid, thus enabling high intensity, short burst activity. This is not so much an endurance-type supplement. You make this naturally. You get it dietarily from beef and pork. If you want to, supplements are sold over-the-counter. These usually have a loading dose and then maintenance dose thereafter. One more point on this, if you already eat meat you will not notice as drastic a change as a vegetarian would.
     Caffeine and stimulants similar to it are also found in some supplements. Be very careful about this. Too much of this can cause, and has caused, serious issues. A cup or two of coffee about 30 minutes prior to your activity can sharpen your edge. You can keep using your caffeine source during your event to keep up the buzz.


     According to experts, calcium is one of the most often lacking minerals in our diets. Taking a supplement may sound like an easy answer; however, experts recommend that we get our calcium from our diet. We need to be eating calcium rich foods like yogurt, dark leafy greens, soybeans, beans, fish, and raisins.
     If you have not been diagnosed as lactose-intolerant, some cheeses are also a good choice. This will provide both calcium and protein as well as some necessary fats. Yes, some fats are necessary, but that will be in a different article.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

     It is currently inconclusive if taking this combination does anything to help prevent joint damage or to repair the cartilage.
     Kaiser Permanente rheumatologist Eduardo Baetti states that only about 40% of his patients had taken this combination four times a day for four to eight weeks. The doses were 1,500 mg of glucosamine and 1,200 mg chondroitin sulphate. In addition, most of these patients were also taking pain relievers.

Homeopathic Medicines

     These are not technically dietary supplements, but are nonetheless a popular category. Homeopathic medicine is a medical philosophy dating back to the late 18th century. It's supposed to be a self-healing response. The theory is that if a certain substance causes symptoms in a healthy body, a minute amount of the same substance may cure the symptoms.
     This practice may have a negative effective with medications you are currently taking, so, say it with me, talk to your doctor first. Thank you. Some professionals see this as nothing more than a placebo effect.

Tips for Choosing Dietary Supplements

     There are some rules of thumb for choosing dietary and nutritional supplements. First, look for trusted brands that have been around for some time.

-- Read the labels carefully to be sure of what is found in the product.
-- Read the claims carefully. If they look too good to be true, they probably are.

     There is no possible way that you are going to pack on 20 pounds of muscle in one week or 40 pounds of muscle in one month, not without steroids, at least.
     You could check the studies companies site documenting the effectiveness of products by reading the journals International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism or Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise for studies on dietary supplements.
     Of course, always talk to your doctor about your goals. Your doctor may be able to make a recommendation for you.
     Whatever you choose to supplement your diet with, do not, and let me say that again, DO NOT over do it. Having too much of some vitamins can be dangerous. We touched on this earlier.

NOTE: The maximum rate that whey protein can be absorbed is about 8-10 grams per hour. Little Miss Muffet drank a 50 gram whey protein shake. Since Miss Muffet can absorb only 10 grams every hour. The next time she goes to the can, she is going to crap out a lot of protein.
     What your high protein, muscle growth, fat loss, diet plan would look like is a protein and fruit, vegetable meal about every hour or two. You can certainly grab a protein based snack like brrf jerky, a half or a quarter of a chicken breast, some pork, or a protein shake. What have you.
     My protein mix is 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1-2 cups of fresh or frozen fruit, whole milk, 2-3 cups of ice and water … I dump this into my blender and run it until it's smooth. If you prefer it a little sweeter, then you can add a touch of sugar or a few drops of vanilla extract. Occasionally, I will add half a scoop of whey protein as that will sweeten the mix, even though I know that the rate of protein absorption is going to make me drink this stuff slowly.

     Let me know what will help you! See you next week. Be healthy, be happy!

Federal Government Information Sources on Dietary Supplements


The National Institutes of Health supports research on dietary supplements.
  • Office of Dietary Supplements
    The Office of Dietary Supplements provides accurate and up-to-date scientific information about dietary supplements.
  • National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicineexternal link disclaimer
    National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Clearinghouse: 1-888-644-6226
  • National Library of Medicineexternal link disclaimer
    Medline Plusexternal link disclaimer
  • NIH Health Informationexternal link disclaimer


The Food and Drug Administrationexternal link disclaimer issues rules and regulations and provides oversight of dietary supplement labeling, marketing, and safety.


The Federal Trade Commissionexternal link disclaimer polices health and safety claims made in advertising for dietary supplements.



The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides an encyclopedia of health topics, personal health tools, and health newsexternal link disclaimer.

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