Below is a list of the current supplements that I take and/or recommend, based on the most recent information available to me, as well as my experience with my own training as well as my clients. This post is regularly updated to reflect my latest opinions on important supplements.
I curate my clients' supplement regimens based on a number of personal factors, but this list is a good general idea of the products i'm a fan of and take or have taken myself, and generally recommend for most fitness enthusiasts.
Disclaimer: This content is for entertainment and educational purposes only, and I do not make any warranties to its accuracy, applicability, or completeness.The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or legal advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information presented here.I disclaim all liability to any party for direct, indirect, implied, punitive, special, incidental, or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from its use.
UPDATED AS OF: 2/1/24
1. Whey Protein
I use whey protein to supplement my protein intake, particularly in my post-training meal, as well as any time I am on the go and don't have time to get an adequate animal protein-based meal in.I prefer 1st Phorm Phormula-1 Natural, as it's high quality and doesn't contain many of the less-desirable fillers and artificial sweeteners that other brands do.
2. Fish Oil
Most of us don't eat enough fish. Deficiency in Omega 3's EPA and DHA carry the same health risk as consuming trans fats. That's pretty significant. Among longevity itself, consuming a proper amount of fish oil through high quality sources has an enormous list of benefits, including cognitive function and mood regulation, joint lubrication, and is even known to increase muscular hypertrophy. Almost everybody should be taking EPA/DHA in the form of fish oil! You want to get about 4g of combined EPA/DHA per day. I use 1 tablespoon of Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil every day.
3. Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine is a no-brainer. At efficacious doses, it has a clear positive impact on contractile potential of muscle. Creatine works by pulling water into muscle cells, therefore allowing the muscle to store more ATP, leading to you being able to squeeze out more reps. It's one of the most well-studied supplements out there, with one of the highest safety profiles and proof of effectiveness. Don't fall for designer creatines, you just need monohydrate. You can use it pre, intra, or post-workout. Take it every single day, even on rest days, for the best results. I use 5g of 1st Phorm Creatine Monohydrate per day.
A LOT can be said about NAC and it's cascade of benefits. Primarily, people take it to support production of glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant in the body. I have a prescription for injectable glutathione, which might be a more direct way of getting it, but if that isn't you, then NAC is the way to go. NAC also supports liver and kidney function, helps regulate mood, reduces lung inflammation, can reduce A1C, and improve the health of other various organs by eliminating free radical damage. I recommend taking 1-2 capsules (500mg-1000mg) Jarrow NAC per day.
5. Essential Amino Acids (EAA's)
The body has increased need for essential amino acids during and following training, and if you're training intensely, having a scoop of EAA's in your intraworkout drink is a massive advantage over plain water.
Studies suggest that exercise combined with EAA supplements may improve muscle repair and muscle growth, especially in athletes. In another study, the supplements may have helped athletes recover from muscle fatigue after exercise faster and during a 12-week strength training program, leucine specifically improved strength drastically. Other studies suggest that essential amino acids may build up muscles during periods of reduced physical activity. According to research, taking essential amino acids regularly may even extend the lifespan and support immune function.
I put one scoop of 1st Phorm EAA's into my intraworkout drink.
6. Glucose Disposal Agent (GDA)
I write relatively frequently about insulin, glucose, and it's role in fitness. It's important to maintain insulin sensitivity, and the best thing that you can do to supplement a diet and training that are geared toward insulin sensitivity is to use high quality supplements to aid in shuttling glucose out of the bloodstream and into muscles where it belongs. Specifically, you want a supplement that contains both Berberine HCI and R-Alpha Lipoic Acid. This GDA from 1st Phorm is something i've used for years, as it contains efficacious doses of both of these things (in only 1 pill, which is a half a serving), as well as a couple of other herbs that have shown promise in improving fasted blood glucose.
I take 1-2 capsules of 1st Phorm GDA with meals 2-3x per day. I recommend you start with one meal to give your GI system a chance to adapt to the berberine, as it can cause some distress when you're first starting out.
Most of us aren't getting nearly enough direct sunlight on our skin to produce as much D3 as we need, so supplementing is the best strategy for most people. Adequate vitamin D3 levels help improve mood and overall mental well-being. A review of 25 studies concluded vitamin D supplementation could reduce negative emotions, especially for people with major depressive disorder or a vitamin D deficiency.
Why do we take it with K2? In some words, Vitamin D3 increases calcium absorption. Vitamin K2 assists in redirecting that absorbed calcium to the bones. Otherwise, there’s a risk of calcium kidney stones formation, atherosclerosis, etc. I don't know about you, but I want my calcium in my bones, not my arteries.
I take two Jarrow K-Right pills per day, one with my first meal of the day, and one with my last one.
8. Greens Powder
While you should be getting as much nutrition from fruits and vegetables as possible, the reality is that most of us don't get enough. This can be especially true for people who are trying to meet a specific caloric demand and don't have a lot of stomach space for less calorically dense foods, like veggies. Either way, I see a greens supplement as a sort of "backup" or insurance policy. I take it because I definitely feel a big energy boost when I drink it first thing in the morning before my morning cardio, but I also have the peace of mind of knowing i'm at least getting a good amount of nutrients in despite my actual veggie intake not being optimal that day. So, two scoops in the morning of 1st Phorm Opti-Greens does the trick for me.