3 Supplements You Probably Should Be Using
3 Supplements You Probably Should Be Using

There’s a reason the supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar industry - people love supplements and their desire for supplements is always increasing. Hence, the escalating number of new brands that are constantly popping up each week.

Here at Tiger Fitness, we’re inundated with questions like:

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  • “What supplements should I take?”
  • “What are the best new supplements?”
  • “Am I missing anything in my supplement stack?”

There’s endless iterations of these very same questions, but they’re all variations on the same theme - what supplements should you be taking but aren’t.

Sure, you know all the “standard” supplements like creatine, fish oil, pre-workouts, and protein powders, but what are some other important supplements that could enhance your quality of life that you might be missing out on?

That’s where we come in. Ahead, we’ve got 3 supplements that you should be using if you already aren’t using them.

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3 Supplements You Should Be Using

Magnesium

You were probably expecting to see some kind of new “super stim” or other compound that would generate slabs of new muscle in only a few days time. Well, sorry to disappoint, but there’s a reason tops this list - it’s an essential mineral for the human body. One involved in more than 300 different enzymatic processes including everything from DNA synthesis and replication to blood sugar regulation.

Magnesium also happens to be one of the largest deficiencies among the population. Now, do you see why it’s #1 on this list?

Magnesium deficiencies can lead to muscle cramps, headaches, migraines, nausea, metabolic syndrome, lethargy, and even heart attacks. [1][2] Basically, everything bad in life you don’t want to happen to you will if you’re chronically deficient in magnesium.

Athletes especially are at risk of magnesium deficiency due to the increased demand the body has for it as a result of the intense training athletes perform on a daily basis.

Magnesium citrate offers the best balance of cost and effectiveness. It offers a decently high bioavailability without the outrageous cost of other forms of magnesium. Aim to take around 400mg/day to ensure your magnesium needs are covered and as an added bonus, take it before bed, which can improve your sleep.

Vitamin D

Commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that plays a critical role in bone health and development as well as muscle function and the immune system. The reason it’s called the “sunshine vitamin” is that your body will naturally create the vitamin D it needs when your skin is adequately exposed to direct sunlight.

However, people are spending less and less time outdoors playing and working and increasing amounts of time shut indoors, or if they are outside, they’re covered up or caked in sunscreen which negatively impacts vitamin D synthesis. This has culminated in a widespread vitamin D deficiency among the masses, which can set you up for.

Deficiencies in vitamin D can lead to muscle weakness, brittle bones, reduced testosterone production, and cognitive impairment. [3][4][5] To rectify your D deficiency, you could start spending more time outdoors (30-40 minutes at least) and invest in a high quality vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplement. You’ll see both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 supplements at the store, but choose the vitamin D3 one as it offers superior bioavailability in the body.

The recommended daily intake (RDI) for people ages 9-70 is 600 IU/day with an Upper Level Intake of 4,000 IU per day. If you live in areas where it’s overcast a lot (i.e. up north) or spend virtually all your time indoors, aim to get 3-4,000 IU per day from your D3 supplement.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha definitely isn’t new; it’s been used for centuries as a staple of Ayurvedic medicine for all sorts of things, but recently it’s gotten a “rebirth” of sorts in the mainstream for its plethora of health and performance benefits.

Ashwagandha is best know as an adaptogen, a compound that improves the body’s stress response. As you know, chronic stress increases cortisol levels in the body, which can adversely impact muscle growth, sleep, testosterone production, and recovery. Moreover, chronic stress also encourages your body to store fat rather than burn it. In other words, you don’t want to be stressed all the time, and thankfully, ashwagandha is incredibly effective at reducing stress levels. [6]

But that’s not all.

Additional research shows supplementing with the old world herb enhances strength, performance, muscle growth, and body composition (reduces body fat). [7][8] On top of that, ashwagandha can also improve cognitive function and thyroid function. [9][10]

Research is still being conducted to pinpoint exactly how ashwagandha exerts all of its benefits for the body, but one this is certain - this stuff works, and it works really good.

Doses used in research range anywhere between 300-600mg per day. When looking for an ashwagandha extract, stick to the KSM-66 Ashwagandha. It’s the industry leading form of extract with the most research backing its efficacy and shown time and again to be effective.

Takeaway

People tend to over-complicate supplementation. It’s not there to be a panacea for everything that ails you. It’s meant to fill in the gaps for what might be missing from your diet and enhance your performance, recovery, and well-being.

Without proper diet, training, and rest, supplements won’t do much of anything. These three supplements will shore up any shortcomings you might have and propel you towards better health, function, and mood.

References
1) Gröber U, Schmidt J, Kisters K. Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients. 2015;7(9):8199-8226. doi:10.3390/nu7095388.
2) Volpe SL. Magnesium and the Athlete. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2015;14(4):279-283. doi:10.1249/JSR.0000000000000178.
3) Kulie T, Groff A, Redmer J, Hounshell J, Schrager S. Vitamin D: An Evidence-Based Review. J Am Board Fam Med . 2009;22(6):698-706. doi:10.3122/jabfm.2009.06.090037
4) Wehr E, Pilz S, Boehm BO, Marz W, Obermayer-Pietsch B. Association of vitamin D status with serum androgen levels in men. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2010;73(2):243-248. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2265.2009.03777.x.
5) Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H, et al. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Horm Metab Res = Horm und Stoffwechselforsch = Horm Metab. 2011;43(3):223-225. doi:10.1055/s-0030-1269854.
6) Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. (2012). Indian journal of psychological medicine, 34(3), 255.
7) Wankhede, S., Langade, D., Joshi, K., Sinha, S. R., & Bhattacharyya, S. Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. (2015). Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 43.
8) Wankhede, S., Langade, D., Joshi, K., Sinha, S. R., & Bhattacharyya, S. (2015). Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 1-11.
9) Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Bose, S. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions (2017). Journal of Dietary Supplements, 1-14. Chicago
10) Sharma, A. K., Basu, I., & Singh, S. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. (2017).The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.