One common question I get asked time and time again from friends and clients is which supplement is most important for fat loss and do I really need to supplement if I eat a healthy diet full of protein, fruits and vegetables?
Firstly, it must be understood that supplements are named so due to that fact that they are designed to ‘supplement’ not replace a nutritious diet. This means that you cannot expect a supplement to work effectively if you have not first managed factors such as total calorie intake and macronutrients (i.e you definitely cannot out-supplement a poor diet).
Although the following supplements will assist most of the general population to improve their body composition, the focus should always be primarily on structured eating and a well-designed fat loss training program.
Do you really need to supplement if you follow a healthy diet?
In today’s society, even with a diet full of whole foods, there are still nutrients that we probably lack. This is due to commercial farming methods of animals, fruits, and veg, increased pollution, and poor soil quality which in turn reduces the levels of vitamins and minerals in our food.
Magnesium is a mineral that affects over 300 processes in the body and a deficiency can lead to an array of problems such as poor sleep, metabolic problems and stress.
- Magnesium reduces the effects of cortisol by boosting the hormone DHEA
- Magnesium reduces inflammation by boosting the immune system
- Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system. If taken before bed, can improve sleep quality which will enhance recovery
- Magnesium increases insulin sensitivity which is the key hormone involved in fat loss
FISH OIL (OMEGA 3)
Fish oil is an extremely anabolic supplement and is used by the body for many different health benefits. Since this article is strictly focused on fat loss, we will focus on those.
- High intake of Omega 3s has been studied to show improvements in body composition by turning on fat burning genes in the body and turning off fat storing ones.
- Omega 3s work to increase testosterone-cortisol ratio in the body which helps fight stress
- Fish oil has potent anti-inflammatory effects on the body as inflammation is associated with fat gain and obesity.
Research shows that if you have low vitamin D, you will be more likely to be overweight and have less muscle mass.
- Low Vitamin D levels lead to fat storage and increased inflammation in the body
- Low Vitamin D levels influence insulin sensitivity in the body which increases risk of not only gaining weight but also risk of diabetes.
- Research shows that men with adequate levels of vitamin D have higher levels of testosterone
- Zinc is critical for optimal hormone production, increasing healthy levels of testosterone and growth hormone, which help promote the development of muscle mass
- Zinc also helps increase the muscle sensitivity to insulin
- Zinc has super antioxidant effects, protecting the body against free radical damage which causes inflammation
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