I remember very vividly how clueless I was a few years ago when I would go to the health section of the grocery store and try and figure out which vitamins and minerals I would need to optimize my health.
Even when I knew the types of products I needed, I’d find so many variations of each product on the shelves I would literally get so annoyed by the whole process because I didn’t want to end up wasting my money on stuff I didn’t need I would just walk out of the store with nothing and tell myself fuck it, I’m young and my health will be fine I’ll worry about this stuff later.
It took a few years before I finally determined what I truly feel are necessary for maximizing longevity, and mitigating potentially major catalysts that would lead to health complications.
All the health supplements I mention in this article are the essentials in my opinion.
I constantly get blood work to assess my health and make sure everything is up to par, and when I stay on top of this supplementation regimen, even when I was hitting my body pretty hard with bodybuilding drugs, everything stayed within very acceptable levels.
Basically, I would’ve been in a far worse position health wise had I not taken these supplements in my honest opinion.
Walking around in a larger than average body (even if it’s pure muscle) will ALWAYS cause your heart and lungs to work harder in order to provide your body with an adequate supply of blood and oxygen to fuel that additional mass.
Hence, I highly suggest getting started on a daily vitamin and mineral regimen to keep your health (mainly cardiovascular) in check.
My Devastating Realization – You Could Be At Risk Even At A Young Age
One of my best friends dropped dead from an undiagnosed blood clot the size of a baseball travelling from his calf to his lungs causing a pulmonary embolism, and then traveling into his brain and killing him almost instantly.
This happened when he was fucking 21 years old and he was a seemingly perfectly healthy kid. The reason this was undiagnosed was because his constant “complaints” about his severely engorged calf were of no concern to all the doctors he saw because he was “too young” to have any health issues.
They literally told him he must have hurt it working out and sent him home. More than one doctor did this too, it wasn’t just one idiot.
I also have many relatives who have experienced strokes and heart attacks, some alive still, some not.
Needless to say I don’t take cardiovascular health lightly anymore, especially as someone with extreme obstructive sleep apnea and as someone who walks around with 30-40 pounds more muscle than the average healthy male should.
Cardiovascular maintenance is paramount in a bodybuilding/fitness lifestyle with the huge amounts of food we eat, the resistance training which causes ventricular hypertrophy, the excess muscle we carry constantly, among all the other things we do that increases our risk factors.
Obviously health as a whole is important, but I have come to realize that having an emphasis on cardiovascular health is the most important of all.
I’m going to outline the exact health supplements I use myself, and explain why I use them, and why they don’t suck like the 99% of crap out there.
Keep in mind too guys, as part of a bodybuilding lifestyle, it is very typical that while we seemingly “eat clean,” our clean meals usually don’t actually contain vegetables or fruits unless they are serving some sort of purpose like leafy greens for appetite suppression during a cut phase, or fruits post-workout for an insulin spike.
I have been very guilty of that, and I’m sure many of you are as well. This is why it is even more important that you get in your vitamins and minerals (that are actually useful).
So, what actually is out there that isn’t a colossal waste of money?
A Greens Supplement That Actually Contains What You Are Missing/Need
First and foremost, I already know you probably don’t eat enough veggies, I know I don’t.
If you do, good on you, but I’m notoriously shitty at regularly eating veggies, and I know a lot of other people that are as well (most people).
Because of this, I always have a greens supplement to replace the nutrients I should be getting.
One serving per day will be sufficient.
My favorite greens supplement is Greens Freak by Pharmafreak.
Delving into why it’s superior in my opinion, first of all, most greens supplements are literally intolerable to drink and literally taste like complete butt hole to put it bluntly.
I don’t have too much of an issue with slamming gross shakes (I’ve been doing it for years), but there’s just something about drinking a shake that tastes gross and then seeing green residue everywhere that makes me gag.
I blame Kratom for that I guess.
Anyways, Greens Freak is bar none the best tasting greens supplement I’ve used, and it definitely has the best nutrient profile bar none.
I mix it in with my vanilla whey protein shakes usually nowadays.
Here is a quick breakdown of Green Freak’s many benefits:
– Most complete superfoods green formula: Contains the major superfoods barley, wheatgrass, spirulina, and chlorella
– Designed for athletes and serious lifters: Greens formula designed specifically for bodybuilding and serious athletes
– High amounts of vitamins and enzymes: Contains barley grass and Hawaiian spirulina to give you high amounts of key vitamins and enzymes
– Powerful detoxifying agents: Contains wheatgrass to help detoxify your body and organs
– Complete immune support: Contains alfalfa grass to offer superior immune support
– Actually tastes good
I always keep some on hand because I know I will more than likely end up slacking in the vegetable department in my diet.
FOR LIPID HEALTH
1) Citrus Bergamot 1000mg per day
This serves one purpose, and that is lowering your bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing your good cholesterol (HDL).
In a study done in 2010 (V. Mollace et al. / Fitoterapia 82 (2011) 309-316) they used a dose of 1000 mg per day and saw decreases in total-Cholesterol of 29%, decreases in LDL-Cholesterol of 34% and corresponding increases of 35% in HDL-Cholesterol.
You can read the abstract at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0367326X10002777
Any Citrus Bergamot product that is cost efficient will serve the same purpose.
2) Psyllium Husk 2-3 teaspoons per day (which will give you 10-15g of fibre)
You can adjust the dose depending on how much fibre you get through your diet.
But if you barely eat any Vegetables like myself, then this supplement is great.
High fiber foods typically only provide one source of fiber.
Psyllium Husk powder provides a combination of insoluble and soluble fiber, which will be necessary to maintain optimal digestion, and sweeping bad cholesterol from the digestive tract for greater cardiovascular health.
Digestion is actually a huge factor in muscle growth potential that 99% of people don’t even consider either.
A high intake of fiber when combined with water also promotes satiety, helping you to feel fuller longer, which makes this stuff great for cutting down as well.
I use it for the health benefits mostly though.
For Digestive/Gut Health
1) Psyllium Husk falls into this category as well obviously as it greatly helps regulate bowel movements.
2) Tumeric/Curcumin 1200mg per day
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
In short, it greatly reduces the potential risk of high cholesterol, chronic joint pain, and other chronic inflammation related issues.
I use Cree Nutrition’s Tumeric/Curcumin because it includes 95% Curcuminoids and BioPerine, a substance that can enhance the bioavailability of Curcumin by 2000%
3) Probiotic Duo 1 Serving Per Day
This stuff is a blessing for surviving cheat meals/days with your stomach in tact.
Typically, because I diet pretty hard for long periods of time, I start to get pretty intense cravings that can’t be satisfied by one little treat once per week.
So, I’ve been known to have giant gut wrenching cheat days once and a while where I just eat everything remotely resembling junk food in sight. It’s honestly the only way I can totally get rid of the cravings sometimes.
When your body has adjusted to eating clean for weeks on end, adding in just a greasy burger with fries and an ice cream cone can be enough to send your digestive system into mayhem.
But, try throwing a giant pumpkin pie, a box of glazed donuts, 2 boxes of cookies, some KitKat Chunkies, a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, a pizza, muffins, cake, Fudgeos, brownies, a burger, fries, calamari, a milkshake, a few cheese filled hot dogs, candy, taquitos, and cupcakes at yourself all in one day and then tell me your stomach wouldn’t hurt.
I have had some pretty epic cheat days, and they ALWAYS resulted in me sitting on the toilet about every hour or two until I learned about managing my digestive health.
My body just couldn’t handle the junk; even one meal of it would be enough to throw my digestive system for a loop because it has become so accustomed to certain types of clean food.
So, how this all relates to Probiotics is that taking a Probiotic before a cheat meal can actually facilitate proper digestion, and help you avert having gut wrenching stomach pains all day.
Cree Nutrition’s Probiotic Duo contains an advanced pre and probiotic formula that works by promoting growth of beneficial bacteria and crowding out bad bacteria.
It requires a significantly smaller dosage and starts acting within hours, not days like most prebiotics. This is obviously optimal for me because I need what I’m taking to do its’ job sooner than later.
It promotes proper digestion of dietary fats and complex carbohydrates into beneficial small chain fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, while maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol, glucose and triglycerides.
Obviously I’m not saying get a Probiotic so you can binge eat on shitty food all day, rather, I’m saying I suggest getting one as it will help regulate your gut health and promote proper digestion, which is very important on a day to day basis.
The helping you get through cheat meals thing is just an added bonus.
For Joint Health
1) Tumeric/Curcumin falls into this category as well as it helps relieve joint pain caused by inflammation
2) Krill Oil Omega-3’s 1000mg per day
EPA and DHA are essential fatty acids that the human body can’t make by itself, so it must be ingested from the food we eat, or from supplementation.
They are necessary to ensure proper function of your brain, nervous system, and many other basic bodily functions. They also provide anti-inflammatory benefits, improve mood, regulate insulin sensitivity, improve muscle growth, and encourage better sleep.
Most individuals don’t eat enough fish (or the right kind) to get the amount of Omega-3’s they need each day to achieve these benefits though, so using a high quality supplement becomes necessary to reap the health benefits of it.
I used to take Fish Oil until I found out that Krill oil is a superior source of EPA and DHA because the polyunsaturated fats are packaged as phospholipids, which can be used immediately by your body.
The EPA and DHA in fish oil, on the other hand, are typically packaged as triglycerides and have to undergo additional processing in order to make them bioavailable. Krill oil is also more stable because it includes astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that protects the fragile fats from oxidizing.
Also, it is well known that the global fish populations are much more susceptible to mercury heavy metal poisoning.
Krill lie very near the bottom of the food chain and feed primarily on microscopic phytoplankton such as algae. Krill are harvested near Antarctica, far from pollution of mercury and other toxins that fish oil products may contain.
Taking too much EPA and DHA can be detrimental since they do cause some blood thinning, and the delicate oils can be inflammatory since they break down so easily, but taking adequate amounts, around 1 gram a day of krill oil will keep your body functioning at 100%.
I use Cree Nutrition’s Krill Oil because it contains 500mg Krill oil per soft gel, meaning I only have to take 2 per day (2 x 500mg = 1000mg/1gram) which is great because I already have to take a lot of pills from other health supplements so the less pills to take the better.
Also, Krill Oil is commonly labeled as “Krill Oil” by companies to sell more of it, when in reality it barely contains any Krill Oil in the actual contents, and it is mostly just much cheaper fish oil.
Watch out for this when you buy Krill Oil if you use a different company.
1) Krill Oil Omega-3’s falls into this category as well as it is scientifically proven to improve cardiovascular health by improving cholesterol levels, increasing good cholesterol, and lowering C-reactive protein levels in the blood
2) Tumeric/Curcumin falls into this category as well as it helps prevent the buildup of plaque in arteries, preventing the onset of atherosclerosis leading to blocked arteries, a stroke, or a heart attack
3) Coenzyme Q10 100mg per day
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is made naturally in the body, but a deficiency in it can lead to heart failure, chest pain, and high blood pressure.
CoQ10 maintains a healthy level of bad cholesterol (LDL), supports optimal functioning of the heart muscle and supports the health of vessel walls, all of which play an essential role in longevity, and cardiovascular health in general.
CoQ10 may play a role in reducing the number and severity of migraine headaches you get (if you get them).
I use Doctor's Best High Absorption Coq10 w/ BioPerine simply because it’s the cheapest option I could find, and the BioPerine helps improve the bioavailability of the CoQ10.
1) Quality Multivitamin
A quality Multivitamin is literally the bare minimum you should be taking if you don't want to get any of the other stuff.
I use Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men because it is the only Multivitamin that I’ve ever used that I actually noticed a difference in my energy levels after I started taking it.
It’s pretty extensive for a basic Multivitamin that goes way beyond what other companies are doing with their Multivitamin products.
It has over 75 ingredients, of which 22 are vitamins and essential minerals in actually useful dosages, and has a lot more vitamin D than most competitors.
Honestly, most multi’s usually do their job to an extent so you’d probably be fine using another brand; I just found this one did the best job of the ones I’ve personally tried, and has an impressive nutritional profile, so I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.
*Optional* Liver Health
By far the best liver support supplement on earth in my opinion, I decided to throw this into the article for those who may be fond of abusing their livers.
Whether it be via frequent alcohol consumption, Accutane use, oral steroid use, or any other medium of introducing something toxic to your liver, I will always suggest taking TUDCA to keep your liver functioning efficiently.
All the other stuff like milk thistle, Liv.52, etc. won’t compare in any capacity to the effectiveness of TUDCA.
TUDCA will literally chop several hundred off of your AST and ALT liver enzyme lab results in a matter of weeks, bringing your liver back to where it should be.
Nutricost TUDCA was the cheapest when I last ordered it, and has the best overall user reviews so I typically go with this one.
As you guys can see, it doesn’t take every vitamin in the store to get what you need, and it certainly does not include taking Vitamins A through Z.
I keep it simple, and take what is necessary, and nothing more.
The combination of heavy lifting, performance enhancers, and eating tons of food is so damn harsh on the digestive system, lipids, heart and joints/tendons/ligaments that creating a consistent health supplementation plan like the one I outlined above is absolutely necessary.
I don’t take supplements based on their proposed benefits, rather, I take the ones I mentioned in particular because I have seen the most data on them proving that they are the most effective at aiding the human body in their respective categories.
I hope you guys found this article informative and start taking your health more seriously if you aren’t already.
The sooner you start taking it seriously the better.