Thursday, August 27, 2015

Supplemental thoughts

Something I actually get quizzed on quite a bit after my misadventures and recovery from my layoff is what kind of supplements I use. Let's get it out of the way first and foremost, this isn't a medical suggestion, I'm not a doctor (I don't even play one on TV) and screwing this stuff up can be detrimental to your health. So do your own research (always) and talk to your doctor before you go hog wild on some of this stuff.

So many supplements, but how much of it is quality stuff?
With that out of the way, the first thing is finding a brand you can trust. All supplements aren't created equal unfortunately, so the multivitamin from your grocery store might not be the same quality as what you get from somewhere like Thorne. It's not always a case of you get what you pay for, but there are a LOT of questionable quality pills on the market, so again... Research research research before you decide to buy. Personally, there are three companies I feel pretty safe saying I'd be using their products. This isn't exhaustive or even comprehensive, just some I like.

My personal favorite
Thorne Research / Exos - This is what I use for pretty much everything. Exos (formerly ThorneFX) even has a scheduled delivery you can setup online, (they even discount it if you commit) so you can set and forget and still not run out of product. I'll be honest, I chose Thorne out of the three companies listed because that's what my doctor uses and recommends. With similarly good reviews, I thought it was the safe play to use them.

Some of the best reviews online!
Pure Encapsulations - This is the one company I listed that I've never actually used. However, they were the first brand I came up with on my own searches. Do some googling "best quality supplements" and reviews on Pure Encapsulations and you'll likely come to the same conclusion. They have their own sports segment and everything looks to be top notch. The only thing I have against them is their website... it looks very infomercial'ish.

Simple and efficient
Now - Generally the cheapest of these companies and with a "minimalistic" style, Now nonetheless has an excellent reputation for quality products. This is the only brand of the ones listed that I can find locally in Knoxville. The products I have used have been excellent in my opinion.

So, what do I take?

Multivitamins. Capsules over pills and a morning/night mix. I think that for athletes (and especially the endurance variety) it's just a good catch all for most of us to be taking. Yes, you should be getting everything in your diet, but it's easy to let something fall through the cracks and for the most part you're pretty safe from oversupplementing to a dangerous level with a multi.

Iron. I think there is probably more low iron/ferritin in endurance athletes than most of us know about, but Iron is one of those things you shouldn't / can't guess wrong IMO. After multiple blood panels I've been set to taking two iron pills daily because I just can't seem to keep good ferritin levels while training without it. Iron sucks getting used to... headaches and constipation are fun symptoms to deal with until the body acclimates. Too much Iron is very bad as well, so again... know what you're getting into!

Vitamin D. Another thing that a lot of people seem to be lacking is "vitamin" D. I believe you want this in liquid form and start with a few drops during winter and possibly during summer as well if you are like me and avoid the sun like a vampire.

Zinc and Magnesium. I used to take ZMA's (a mix) before bed, but recently have split them up and am dosing magnesium regularly but zinc only after tough workouts. That has a lot to do with my personal levels, but I also have come to think that it's probably best overall to split them up.

Melatonin. Personally I think I sleep much better taking melatonin than when I skip it, so I use it. It's the only thing I've listed that I've continued to use since I was in high school, so I guess it has won me over.

And that's pretty much it. I take BCAA's and some protein powder post workouts, and sometimes cycle Beta-Alanine before races, but none of those are really in the same category.

That's what I take, and it has been working well keeping me healthy. Of course once again, your specific needs could be quite different, so I encourage you to do your own research and talk with somebody a bit more qualified!

Thanks for reading, I've been slammed at work this week so hopefully all this came together (after multiple stop/starts in the text.) in a coherent way! Regardless, I appreciate you slogging through it!

- Christopher Morelock

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see this post, I feel like I should be taking a supplement, but never knew what to be taking, so I never took anything. I am not one to just start taking a supplement because its popular.