What supplements do you actually need?
There are so many health, diet and fitness supplements on the market, that it can be confusing to know which ones we should take. To keep it simple, we will focus on two types: micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and protein. If your body goals are to lose weight or gain lean muscle then you should check out our other health and exercise pages for healthy, safe and sustainable ways to do this.
Do I need micronutrient supplements (vitamins and minerals)?
Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are essential for your health, however, it is difficult to track how much you eat in your diet. There are many different vitamins and minerals, which serve different purposes. They are also present in different quantities and the amounts we need to consume differ. You can learn more about micronutrients here.
If you consistently eat a healthy diet with plenty of different types of fruits and vegetables, then you may not need micronutrient supplements. If your diet is not that healthy, or if you have a medical condition* you may need to take supplements. If you are an athlete, weightlifter or regularly do intense exercise, you may also take them to meet the increased need of micronutrients.
*If you have a medical condition you should seek the advice of a medical professional.
Which micronutrient supplements should I take?
We recommend two types of micronutrient supplements:
Supplements for a specific vitamin or mineral based on your needs. You may need one or more specific vitamins or minerals if:
Multivitamins & minerals which cover all (or almost all) essential vitamins and minerals – if your diet is not that healthy or you have an increased dietary need for micronutrients, you may want to take a supplement which contains all or (almost all) essential vitamins and minerals to really make sure that you are getting enough micronutrients.
When choosing a micronutrient supplement, you need to check which vitamins and minerals it contains and the quantity or % of RDA (recommended daily allowance), NRV (nutrient reference value, or other value depending on the country. Remember that these values are based on the average of the population, so you may need more or less than this. The supplement you choose should contain 100% of this value.
Some supplements may be cheaper if they contain fewer vitamins or minerals. Consuming more than 100% of the RDA is safe (some vitamins and minerals can be dangerous but only when consumed in very high quantities) and any vitamins or minerals that are not needed will be excreted from the body.
If you are weight training, you will need to consume more protein (around 2g per kg of body mass per day) and EAAs (learn more about this here). It is possible to do this in your diet, although some people choose protein supplements as they can be a quick, easy and cost-effective way to consume high quality protein.
Types or protein supplements
The most common type of protein is WHEY PROTEIN. We would generally recommend whey protein, because it usually contains a high amount of protein, BCAAs and ECAAs (such as Leucine) and there is a lot of choice on the market. Remember that these are just supplements and you will still need a good diet and exercise routine to reach your body goals.
The main difference between whey protein supplements is the total protein content and the way they have been processed:
- Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC): Roughly 70 to 80% protein. It usually contains some lactose and has a relatively low amount of fat and carbs.
- Whey Protein Isolate (WPI): It is generally 90% protein, or more. It usually contains less carbs and fat compared to concentrate and can be digested and utilized faster by the body.
- Whey Protein Hydrolysate OR Hydrolyzed (WPH): This is even purer than WPC so it can be used by your body very rapidly.
- Whey Protein Blend: This is a blend of WPC, WPI and WPC.
There are other types of protein you can consider:
Which protein supplement should I choose?
When choosing a protein supplement consider these factors:
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Choose a healthier and easier diet that works for you
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