Supplements aren’t elixirs. So if you’re scarfing down more Bugels than BCAAs, no pill, powder, or capsule can magically make your body think otherwise. However, when used to complement a healthy lifestyle and strict training routine, supplements are well worth the price of admission.
Two of the most well-known supps are creatine and whey protein, which are (or should be) go-tos for serious gym dwellers no matter what your fitness goals are (the former provides power, strength, and overall muscle growth while the latter is a fast-digesting muscle builder). Thing is, we’re pretty obsessive relentless in promoting their benefits here at M&F, so we’ve decided to give them a paid night off to make room for five other essential supps.
For a hand on what those should be, we asked pharmacist Sherry Torkos, certified fitness instructor, and author of more than a dozen books, including The Canadian Encyclopedia for Natural Medicine.
Even if your diet’s super clean, like the-last-time-you-ate-a-donut-was-during-the-Clinton-years kind of clean, you still might not be getting enough nutrients to sustain muscle growth. Torkos credits things like stress, exposure to pollutants, and consuming fruits or veggies that have been prematurely picked or doused with pesticides as potential causes for vitamin deficiencies. A quality multi can bridge that gap. “Some multivitamins are garbage; you don’t want one that contains lots of dyes, chemicals, and fillers, “ Torkos warns. “That can affect the way the supplement is absorbed and utilized by the body. For optimum absorption, go with a natural-sourced multivitamin.”
Other benefits to multis: They’ve been shown to cut cancer risk in men over 50 years old and are linked to improved brain function and fat loss. As for which multivitamin you should take, that depends on your age, gender, and how active you are. “If you’re a 50-year-old guy, your nutritional requirements will differ from … a pregnant woman, or a younger guy who’s a triathlete,” she tells us. To find the one that’s right for you and your needs, Torkos suggests consulting a trustworthy doctor or pharmacists.