Day 12: Supplements 2

Breakfast: Coffee
Dinner: Beef stirfry; coconut milk; omelette

Exercise: Sprints

Well, after eating grains for the first time in a couple of weeks my bowels were not happy with me. They wanted to get rid of all the crap I had sent their way, so I spent a good 30 minutes in the toilet as soon as I got to work.

I was too lazy to make lunch when I got home last night. Work was quite busy, and the only place that makes a decent lunch closed by the time I could get out. So I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch today. It wasn’t that difficult tbh, but I won’t be doing it regularly. I guess I was also feeling a bit guilty after my grain shame last night.

When I got home I had a stirfry. Unsurprisingly I was hungry a couple of hours later so I had an omelette too.  And half a can of coconut milk.

The supplements I discussed a few days ago are predominantly sport/performance supplements. I take other supplements that are important regardless of physical activity.

Omega 3

Omega 3 might be the single most important supplement. Omega 3 is made up of EPA, DHA and ALA, but EPA and DHA are the most important. Unless you’re an Inuit eating wild fish for every meal, you should supplement with some kind of fish oil. How much? Having equal amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 is ideal. We generally have too much omega 6 because we eat foods high in omega 6, like vegetable oils, and grain based foods. Sure, you want to get as much as possible of your omega 3 intake from your diet, and oily fish, omega 3 enriched eggs and uncooked olive oil are good options (seeds aren’t because we can’t convert ALA into EPA and DHA), but most people will need a high quality omega 3 supplement to get the rest. I take one of Nordic Naturals’ Omega 3 supplements.

There’s a whole debate around omega 3 vs fish oil vs krill oil. It goes over my head. I know I need more omega 3 and I know that Nordic Naturals are well respected. That’s enough for me. The only other product I was thinking of taking would be an omega 3 supplement made from algae. This has the advantage of being a renewable source. I’d prefer to eat wild salmon than have it processed for supplements.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the only supplement that can rival omega 3. I first came across vitamin D in this article from the Financial Times magazine. It’s a vitamin but it acts more like a hormone. For example, you could be getting a ton of calcium from your diet, but if you don’t have enough vitamin D, your body probably isn’t absorbing it.

Our bodies create vitamin D when the UVB rays in sunlight hit the cholesterol in our skin. If you don’t live in a sunny climate you probably need to take a vitamin D supplement. Fortunately vitamin D is dirt cheap. You can get a year’s supply of vitamin D for £10. Vitamin D is fat soluble so you want to take it with fats. Apparently it’s absorbed better if it’s in liquid form too. I use Nature’s Answer because it ticks both of these boxes.

There’s no consensus on how much vitamin D we should get every day. 20 mins of warm sunshine is supposed to be create enough vitamin D for a week. This is where blood tests are useful, because there is a consensus about how much vitamin D you should have in your blood. The talking heads say 100-150 nmol/l. I’m at 50 odd so I need to supplement.

There’s loads more that could be said but why not read Poliquin’s 25 reasons for ensuring you’re getting enough vitamin D. Even if you don’t read the whole articles, at least read the list of 25.

Probiotics

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from the Paleo community is how important your intestines (gut) are to your health. This post is long enough as it is so I’ll explain probiotics later. Briefly, your gut is where most digestion occurs. In other words, this is where your body extracts nutrition from food. If your gut isn’t working properly the stuff you want doesn’t get through, and the stuff you don’t want does get through. The best thing you can do is to avoid foods that damage your gut (principally grains). A decent probiotic helps. The yoghurts that Gok Wan advertises don’t. I use Prescript Assist.

Even if you eat a perfect diet (whatever that is) you’ll prob need to supplement with at least one of these.