Written by: Courtney W.
When it comes to supplements not all are created equal and you want to make sure that what you are putting in your body is going to support and not harm your body!
Here are my top 5 keys to look for when shopping for supplements
- Potency Guarantee on Everything:Make sure that you see a potency guarantee stamp – not just for fish oil – but for all supplements you consume (including protein powders and recovery drinks) so that you know that what is in the bottle is exactly what you are getting and putting into your body – no more, no less, no hidden ingredients! Unless you see a potency stamp, it’s not guaranteed!
- Pharmaceutical Grade:Most supplements are tested at food grade standards, which if you know anything about this type of standard, it isn’t super duper stringent. Next up from this, is the organic standard of testing, but this can also be a grey area (but that’s for a whole other discussion). Above both food grade and organic grade is pharmaceutical grade testing standards. I look for this on my supplements because this means that what you are getting (although it’s not a pharmaceutical) will be guaranteed to break down and enter into your cells (where you want them to go) within 20 minutes. This is key to make sure that you are actually absorbing what you are taking in and absorbing it at the cellular level – where health begins!
- Third Party Testing:It’s so important for a supplement company to show me clinical data! BUT what impresses me far beyond this and what I look for is third party testing. This confirms that a company’s claims are in fact true because here you have third-party, unbiased resources validating it! Some of my go-to third party reliable resources are produced by NSF, Consumer Labs and NutriSearch.ca – you can check them out online and look up reports for some of your favorite brands!
- Avoid The One A Day:When it comes to any multivitamin and mineral formula, I avoid one-a-day pills. I know this is SUPER convenient for so many of us, but the reality is you can’t get nearly the same amount of nutrients that our body needs to thrive in just one pill.* Just like you can’t get all the food you need for a day in one sitting! So while it may
be a bit more of a ‘hassle’ to take more than one pill a day, your body will thank you!
- Beyond Just the RDA:You may be familiar with RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) levels.
Where did RDAs come from?
During World War II, the FDA created RDA levels as a way to address nutrient deficiency in soldiers. While these levels have been updated (although not since 1968)* they are basically the levels we need to stave off disease (like scurvy) but NOT what we need to thrive in optimal health. This is why it’s so key for any of us to ensure we are going above the RDA because with all the stress, modern day hustle and bustle, and lack of nutrients in our food supply, we need to get OPTIMAL levels not “just enough” so we can THRIVE not just survive!
What’s MY Supplement Regime?
I showed you the list of foods I love. Now, here’s a list of supplements I use that follow the 5 keys I outlined above. Such a great complement to my diet!
- Multi-vitamin: High quality pharmaceutical grade multi vitamin/antioxidants and multi mineral. I take mine separate to ensure my body is getting everything it needs and really bridges the nutrient gap.
- Calcium: So crucial for strong bones, nails, hair and teeth. You want to make sure your calcium supplement not only has Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D to ensure the calcium enters into the bones, but I always look for Vitamin K as well. This is going to prevent any calcification of minerals from hardening along your arterial walls!
- Fish Oil: Fish based omega 3s high in DHA to support cognitive function. Don’t forget you also want there to be a good balance of EPA to support other areas (cardiovascular, inflammation for example). Plus every cell in our body is coated in a layer of fat – omega 3s ensures we are getting the right fat in our body to coat cells. Be sure to get a fish oil that guarantees all heavy metals toxins have been removed, no iffs, ands, or butts! You don’t want any traces of this to go to you!
- Probiotics: Health begins in your gut so keeping a good balance of healthy bacteria is key to ensuring your immune system is functioning optimally
- Glucosamine & Curcumin: This is so important for joint and cartilage health and to repair, rebuild and reduce inflammation after training or race day
The Big Question, what brand should I use?
Since SO many ask, “Courtney, what brand do you take?!?! Where can I get it?!?!” here it goes! There are lots of great brands out – so if you love the brand you are taking see how it compares to the 5 keys above and see how it tests in third party reviews (such as NSF and Consumer Labs).
I personally use USANA Health Science’s nutritionals for my training supplement regime and it’s what I recommend to most of my clients. I choose this brand because it has all the qualities I need in a supplement from my top 5 list and more, so I can really trust that what I’m putting into my body will really support it optimally.
So, there you have it folks!
I hope this perspective on healthy foods for optimal nutrition and why supplementation is key for all of us is valuable and helpful!.
Wishing you a healthy, happy & super successful race season!!