In a perfect world we wouldn’t need to supplement – all our nutrients would come from the food we eat. This isn’t always possible, however, due to factors such as dietary restrictions, cooking methods among others. My diet is vegetarian, and I avoid dairy as much as possible due to it’s impact on my skin, so I’m almost vegan. Many of the supplements I take are recommended for a vegetarian diet. Here’s a short breakdown of everything I’m taking at the moment – my main source of information on supplements is Examine.com, which breaks down the actual research on each:
- Rice protein powder: Protein powder is just a convenient way of getting more protein in. It’s not necessary for building muscle if your diet already contains sufficient protein, however being a vegetarian (almost vegan) I struggle to meet my protein requirements. This is where protein powder comes in. I take a shake post-workout & I use the unflavoured powder for baking.
- L-Glutamine: This is one of the essential amino acids occurring in protein, but my main reason for taking it is that research has shown it assists in maintaining intestinal health.
- Creatine: This is one of the most researched supplements out there. Its main benefit is increasing power output in a strength training program, thus contributing to muscle growth as it releases energy to aid cellular function.
- Maca: There appears to be only anecdotal evidence for the effect of Maca on supporting hormone balance, but it tastes good (kind of a caramel flavour) and has benefits nutritionally in that it is high in many minerals & vitamins including Potassium, Manganese, Vitamin C, Iron & Copper.
- Acetyl L Carnitine: Used primarily as a fat-burner (I haven’t noticed a significant difference since using it to be honest) but has a lot of research supporting its effectiveness in increasing alertness & also alleviating some of the side-effects of aging, including neurological decline & chronic fatigue.
- Siberian Ginseng: This is an adaptogen, which can help reduce the effects of stress on the body.
All of the above go into my post-workout shake. In the evening I take:
- Vitamin C with Zinc: For immunity & skin health
- Vegan Omega 3, containing DHA: Recommended to balance the ratio of Omega 3 & 6 in the body.
- DIM Plus (Diindolylmethane): This balances estrogen in the body -I’ve found it very effective in treating hormonal acne.
- Vitamin B complex: To supplement a vegetarian diet (B12 is only found in animal products).
- Sea Kelp: I take this to get iodine, to support thyroid function, as I don’t eat fish.
- Magnesium: Deficiencies are common in the western diet. Anecdotally it helps with sleep issues as it can relax the muscles.
- Acidophilus: A probiotic to help gut health & digestion
- Iron: Risk of deficiency in a vegetarian diet
- Calcium with Vitamin D: Because I don’t eat meat or dairy products I don’t have enough sources of Calcium in my diet. I noticed a big different in my nails when I started supplementing with Calcium. Vitamin D is basically because we don’t get enough sunshine in the West of Ireland!
I get the DIM Plus & Vegan Omega 3 from iherb.com –
DIM Plus: http://tinyurl.com/jqq5pca – affiliate link!
Vegan Omega 3: http://tinyurl.com/zjw9x49 – affiliate link!
$5 off your first order if using the code DUF784.
The rest I get from either Bulk Powders (25% off your first order when you use this link: http://tinyurl.com/hssgldx ) , MyProtein (25% off your first order with the code PAULA-R7U ) or Holland & Barrett, whichever has the best offers at any particular time.
That’s it! I’d welcome any feedback – is there anything I’m missing, or do you think I’m taking far too much? Let me know in the comments.