What is the definition of supplements?
The word, by definition, is "a thing added to something else in order to complete or enhance it." Therefore supplements have to be treated in this respect. Don't assume that because you're taking vitamins, mineral and macronutrients from a supplement that you can neglect your actual diet.
There are so many supplements saturating the market. There are also many people jumping at the chance to endorse any supplement company that reaches out to them. Not to mention that quality supplements are not an easy thing to come by.
But aren’t they just all the same?
No. Simply put, supplements differ in quality, bioavailability, sustainability and function.
A supplement is NOT an excuse to ditch a healthy diet and lifestyle. It is NOT a staple necessary in a diet and it is NOT a miracle worker.
Do they actually help?
Yes. But there is a catch. You need to be making sure you have your diet, exercise and lifestyle aligned to your goals. Supplements are what they sound like, they supplement what you’re doing. The other catch is that you need to be taking supplements properly with knowledge of the effects and dosages. Lastly, there are products in nice shiny packets that promise results which are simply just marketing schemes. The moral of the story is to know your products before you invest in them.
What do I Recommend?
As a vegan there are 2, well probably 3, actually make that 4, actually there are a few staple supplements that I take regularly. I take supplements for both my athletic performance and my physical and mental health.
1. Clean Vegan Protein
Protein is, as per the protein blog, the building blocks for many bodily functions. Sculling copious protein shakes day in day out is what a lot of people do and what people think is going to get them muscly and jacked. Besides wasting your money using this technique, you aren’t going to achieve much.
Protein is, at the end of the day, a supplement used if you are not getting enough protein in your diet, don’t have time to eat a proper whole food meal or an ingredient to cook with. Simply put, it is a supplement of convenience. However not all proteins supplements are created equal. The quality of a protein supplement can vary from something you wouldn’t even pour down your drain to something that deserves a position in the trophy cabinet. Now, it is confusing when faced with a wall of protein supplements I get it.
What do I look for then? Lots. First and foremost, batch tested protein supplements means that you can get the lab test from the tub you’re going to purchase and it’ll give you a precise break down of what is inside. A lot of companies use fillers and terrible quality ingredients to make a cheaper to manufacture product whilst risking the health of their consumers. I recommend Bodyscience as they can promise quality and they deliver on it every time.
Vegan protein needs to also combine a range of different protein source to help make it more of a complete protein source, and more bioavailable for your body to absorb. Again, Bodyscience clean vegan protein range delivers very quality protein through researching how and which ingredients interact with the body to provide a quality product.
2. BCEAA Ultra
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) have been a staple in recovery stacks for many years, but there is a limitation to their benefits. BCEAA Ultra goes beyond the limitations of taking BCAAs alone by including all nine Essential Amino Acids, bringing greater anabolic power to the table.
First, what are BCAA's? There are 20 different amino acids that make up the thousands of different proteins in the human body. 9 of the 20 are considered essential amino acids, meaning they cannot be made by your body and must be obtained through your diet. Of the 9 essential amino acids, 3 are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine and valine.
BCEAA ultra is a unique all-in-one BCAA and EAA elite amino formula which brings together all the 9 essential amino acids, giving you greater lean muscle recovery and development. Loaded with BCAAs & EAAs plus added nutrients to promote strength and endurance, BCEAA Ultra will help you recover faster from even the most punishing training sessions.
In one study, people who consumed a drink with 5.6 grams of BCAAs after their resistance workout had a 22% greater increase in muscle protein synthesis compared to those who consumed a placebo drink. Similarly, studies suggest that while BCAAs can increase muscle protein synthesis, they can’t do so maximally without the other essential amino acids - which is why the BCEAA ultra is so good!
Creatine is a compound formed in protein metabolism and present in living tissue. It is involved in the supply of energy for muscular contraction.
Creatine is a substance that is found naturally within our bodies and forms part of the substance that is used as the predominant source of energy during the first 5-15 seconds of maximal intensity exercise. Although found throughout the body, the majority of creatine is stored within the skeletal muscle. Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP) is a key energy source that is used by the body to produce energy. Creatine or creatine phosphate plays an essential role in the restoration of this energy source (ATP).
Because creatine is only found in small amounts in various foods we consume, supplementing with creatine can be of great benefit for a variety of athletes. Simple creatine supplementation can significantly increase our muscle creatine stores. With creatine playing a vital role in the production of energy during the first 10 seconds of exercise, this supplementation can result in enhanced gains in both strength and power.
By supplementing with creatine, you can increase the amount of creatine within the muscle causing cell volumisation and enhanced energy production. When combined with resistance training, creatine can produce many advantageous physiological benefits. Creatine supplementation is a simple and effective way to reap increases in both strength and muscle mass.
Recent studies have demonstrated that taking creatine orally; can increase phosphocreatine levels within the muscle fibres. By increasing the levels of available phosphocreatine in the muscle, you can increase the levels of ATP, Rush, Tullson, and Terjung (1998). This allows skeletal muscle to maintain a high level of explosive power during short duration high intensity exercise, Balsom et.al. (1995). Not only were phosphocreatine levels increased, but Balsom et.al. (1995) also found that lactic acid levels were reduced with creatine supplementation. Because of this it has been suggested that oral creatine supplementation speeds up the breakdown of phosphocreatine, thereby accelerating the production of ATP.
Creatine monohydrate is also a micronized creatine product. What this means for you is that the creatine particle size is smaller than standard creatine formulas. Ultimately, Micronized Creatine Monohydrate can result in quicker digestion, faster utilisation and more rapid gains in muscle, strength and power performance.
Bodyscience’s Creatine Monohydrate is a 100% pure, pharmaceutical grade creatine supplement. There are no fillers, no additional ingredients, just pure creatine for enhanced, quality gains in muscle size and strength.
4. Clean Tea
Is your gut a little off? Rebalance and restore your digestion, gut health and inner wellness with this powerful combination of tummy-boosting ingredients: Kombucha Tea, Apple Cider Vinegar, Prebiotics, Probiotics, Digestive Enzymes and Antioxidants. Enjoy daily to have you feeling better from the inside out. Available in 2 deliciously refreshing flavours: Super Berry and Lemon Ginger.
Many aspects of modern life such as high stress levels, too little sleep, eating processed and high-sugar foods, a work-hard-play-hard lifestyle and even taking antibiotics can wreak havoc on our gut microbiome. Because 60-80% of our immune system is located in our gut, poor gut health has been linked to hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, eczema, rosacea, and other chronic health problems.
There’s never been a more comprehensive all-in-one daily gut nourishing supplement like Clean Tea TX100 before. Kombucha tea is loaded with live and active cultures, apple cider vinegar helps alkalise your insides, probiotics support inner balance, prebiotics feed the friendly bacteria in your gut and digestive enzymes play a vital role in digestion.
Show your gut the love it needs and take daily to give your tummy a little helping hand. When you’re balanced on the inside, everything else works a little bit better.
I stand by supplements for helping me achieve that little bit more from my life, workouts and study. I am however very picky when it comes to what I recommend and what I use. At the end of the day you shouldn’t by something going into your body based of its price and promises. Do your own research and understand how certain things interact with your body.
Lastly, focus on quality products, that are tried and tested.