With the current situation it can be hard to constantly be bombarded with adverts and information telling you to buy this supplement, or that supplement it can be confusing and stressful to know what and if you should even be taking anything.
This little snippet is going to be me explaining the different most popular supplements that you may see and helping you decide if you want to start taking this supplement or not!
Disclaimer: please speak to a nutritionist/dietitian or doctor if you believe that you are lacking in some nutrients and for any advice on deficiencies and what you should be taking in order to help. This article is for information purposes only and to help aid a decision if you want to take a supplement. I am not affiliated with any company’s/brands mentioned in this article, these are my own opinions on things that I would use/have used and do not gain anything from mentioning them or you clicking on the links.
This is the first part of a three part series, follow the blog for announcements on the next article which will be on creatine and BCAA supplementation and if they are needed!
Vitamins are the usual supplement that you tend to see being advertised anywhere. But what should you be taking and what is actually gonna be helpful?
What are vitamins for?
Vitamins and minerals are needed for a range of bodily functions such as metabolism, genetic control, as well as helping to strengthen the immune system. Having too little or too much of a vitamin/mineral can cause deficiencies if too little or can be toxic in some cases.
|Vitamin||Function||UK guideline for RNI|
|A (retinol, b-carotene)||Aids immune system, vision in dim light and keeps skin and lining of some parts of the body healthy.||0.7mg for men0.6mg for women|
|D (calciferol)||Aids absorption of calcium and phosphorus in bones||10 microgram/day|
|E (tocopherols, tocotrienols)||Maintains healthy skin and eyes and strengthens immune system||3mg for women4mg for men|
|K (phylloquinone, menaquinones)||Helps with blood clotting and helping wounds heal properly||1 microgram per body kg of body weight|
|B1 (Thiamin)||Helps breakdown and release energy from food and keep the nervous system healthy||1mg for men0.8mg for women|
|B2 (riboflavin)||Keeps skin, eyes and nervous system healthy and helps release energy from food||1.3mg for men1.1mg for women|
|B3 (Niacin, nicotinic acid nicotinamide)||Release energy from foods, keep nervous system and skin healthy||16.5mg for men13.2mg for women|
|B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine)||Allows body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates in food as well as helping to for haemoglobin||1.4mg for men1.2mg for women|
|Folic Acid (folate)||Helps the body form healthy red blood cells and reduces the risk of central neural tube defects in unborn babies||200microgramsIf wanting to get pregnant taking this supplement helps to prevent any birth defects (speak to doctor first)|
|B12 (Cobalamin)||Making red blood cells and keeping the nervous system healthy, releasing energy from food and using folic acid.||Adults need 1.5 micrograms a day. Vegans will have supplement|
|B5 (Pantothenic acid)||Helps to release energy from food and many other functions||Should get all that is needed from diet.|
|H (biotin)||Bacteria in the gut make this vitamin so it unknown if we need additional from diet||unknown|
|C (ascorbic acid)||Helps to protect cells and keep them healthy, maintaining healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage, helps with wound healing.||40mg a day for adults|
Most of these vitamins you can get from your diet as long as you eat a balanced diet including meat, fish, vegetables and fruit as well as fortified cereals, yoghurts, spreads and other dairy products. There are some exceptions for some who do need to supplement which are those who are not consuming any animal products or if you are pregnant (refer to table for exact vitamins).
These are another important substance that can be supplemented if needs be, important with the overall healthy functioning of the body. These are in-organic substances that are required in small amounts. In the table below you will see all the different minerals that the body needs with the UK RNI and their functions.
|Magnesium||Essential for all human tissues, especially bone. Helps with activation of enzymes and nerve and muscle function||300mg for men270mg for women|
|Sodium||Regulating body water content and electrolyte balance as well as helping absorption of some nutrients and water within the gut.||2.4g of sodium (found in salt, no more than 6g of salt per day)|
|Potassium||Essential for water and electrolyte balance and normal functioning of cells.||3,500mg for adults|
|Iron||Essential for formation of haemoglobin in red blood cells. Also used in enzyme reactions and plays an important role in the immune system.||8.7mg for men and postmenopasusal women 14.8mg for premenopausal women|
|Zinc||Catalyst for a wide range of reactions as well as a major function in human metabolism (protein, carb, lipid and energy metabolism)||9.5mg for men7mg for women|
|Iodine||Essential for thyroid hormones which are regulators of metabolic rate and of physical and mental development.||0.14mg|
|Fluoride||Mineralisation of bones and teeth. Helps prevent tooth decay.||Found in toothpaste or in some water if added|
|Copper||Used to produce red and white blood cells and helps to utilise iro. Important for growth, brain development, immune system and strong bones in infants.||1.2mg for adults|
|Selenium||Component for important antioxidant enzymes and helps to protect the body against oxidative damage.||0.075mg for men0.06mg for women|
|Manganese||Bone formation and for energy metabolism.||Should be able to get all needs from diet.|
|Calcium||Maintain healthy bones and teeth and regulation of metabolic processes.||700mg of calcium|
|Phosphorous||Bone health and tooth structure as well as structure for cell membranes||550mg for adults|
|Chromium.||Needed for carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.||25micrograms for adults.|
All of these vitamins and minerals are essential for everyday function. If you believe you are deficient or needing to take a supplement in order to improve overall vitamin and mineral intake then please consult with a doctor or a dietitian beforehand. If eating a varied diet you should be able to get all nutrients. However, for women who are still having periods it may be useful to start an iron supplementation as women in the UK tend to be lacking in sufficient iron levels.
Best supplements to take
So now you know a little about the essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need, but what about the best supplements to help reach those needs if lacking? My main answer would be through your diet. Yes this sounds a little repeated but the bioavailability – meaning how easily it is for your body to use this substance – isn’t as strong in the manufactured version of some of these vitamins and minerals in their natural state! However that doesn’t mean that supplements are redundant! Below is a list of some multi-vitamins and minerals that you can take to help reach those needs! – I researched these myself and picked them based on ingredients and price point, please consult with your doctor/dietitian as they may recommend something different (go with that recommendation!). I Picked these based on the premise that I would take them for myself or recommend for my partner, both 23 (male and female).
£6.99 Radience multivitamin with iron from Holland £ Barrett https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/product/holland-barrett-radiance-multi-vitamins-and-iron-one-a-day-tablets-60002935?skuid=002931 – Has high amounts for vitamins and also includes 100% of daily need of iron for women. Still has wiggle room to use in conjunction with diet.
£11.13- Alpha men multivitamin from myprotein https://www.myprotein.com/sports-nutrition/alpha-men-multivitamin-tablets/10530421.html – very high amounts of vitamins and minerals. Good for athletes/ very high labour jobs.. Too high values for women and has no iron.
£11.42 – Multivitamin Blend from myprotein https://www.myprotein.com/sports-nutrition/multivitamin-blend/10529755.html – powder form, good for those who don’t want to take a tablet., all vits at 50% so good for adding to diets for an extra boost.
£5.50 – Boots complete woman (30 tablets) https://www.boots.com/boots-complete-woman-30-tablets-10169491 – has high levels of all vitamins, contains active form of vit D.
£8.50 – boots multivitamins with iron (6 month supply)
https://www.boots.com/boots-multivitamins-with-iron-180-tablets-10240992 – has 100% of recomended values, good for those who need high needs.
Protein seems to be all the range these days, with foods such as pastas, breakfast cereals and other items with protein labelled everywhere. But how much protein is really needed and how much should you be taking? And what is it even needed for?
Protein is an essential nutrient that your body needs for growth, it can also help with satiety as well as helping to speed up the metabolism due to it being harder to digest compared to fat and carbohydrates. It is essential to have enough protein for the body to perform everyday functions and to be able to repair and build new cells.
Protein seems to be a bit more complicated in terms of needs as each and every person has individual needs based on activity and body mass. Most average people do reach all of their needs daily, so supplements may not be needed, however if struggling to hit your daily protein goal supplements are a useful tool that can help you reach these goals. For your individual needs please consult a nutritionist or dietitian.
For the average person 0.75g of protein per 1kg of body is recommended for those in the UK this should give sufficient protein. The daily average for those in the uk is 88g for men and 64g for women which is actually higher than the RNI (55.5g for men and 45g for women) however there are many factors that can cause a person to need more protein than the RNI.
If I want to increase my protein intake, what should I do?
The best way for you to increase your protein intake is by eating whole foods and getting protein from protein rich sources. Adding more plant based protein sources such as chickpeas, tofu, and seitan is one way to increase your protein intake but also keeping it sustainable.
Making sure that you are not consuming too much processed meats is incredibly important as long term over consumption can cause a range of health difficulties. Below is a table of some good protein sources and how much protein they give per 100g.
|Protein source||protein /100g|
|Nuts and seeds||33g|
If you already feel you are eating a lot but still not meeting your goals, a protein powder can be helpful in helping to boost your intake. Be warned, eating too much protein can cause diarrhea or bloating, so making sure that you are still feeling comfortable is essential.
What protein powder should I buy?
I have tried many protein powders in my day, and I tend to go for ones from myprotein as they have a wide range of flavours and types of proteins at reasonable prices.
This is the most popular type of protein and probably one that you will see most often when looking at protein powders. Whey protein is made from cow’s milk, so is not suitable for those who are vegan or have issues with consuming dairy. This is the fastest absorbing protein.
This is made from the water-insoluble proteins from milk and is very slow at breaking down. Because of the slow breakdown it is good to use if dieting because it will keep you feeling fuller for longer. This is also used for bodybuilders as an overnight blend as its slow release.
This is made from soya beans and one of the few plant based proteins that contains all essential amino acids.
This protein is made from yellow split peas and is a good protein source and useful for those who are wanting to stay away from animal products.
Again another plant based protein source which is good for those who want to stay away from animal products. This is made from ground up hemp seeds and is also rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which is an essential nutrient that needs to be supplemented for vegans.
There are many types of protein powders and the only way to find out what one to buy is to test them out and see which protein you prefer. Most of these proteins will create a very thick milkshake like shake but there are some companies that offer protein powders which are more juice like (myprotein has a clear whey protein which I love as it’s more like juice).
Protein powders and snacks I recommend
My protein clear whey isolate (my fave is peach tea flavour) – £21.99
My Protein Impact whey protein (I use natural vanilla so I can add to different things, but they have about 40 flavours) – £19.99 for 1kg.
My Protein Diet impact whey (good for those who don’t want to have a high calorie protein shake ) -£22.99 for 1kg
My Protein layered protein bar (chocolate sundae is my fave) – £24.99 for a box of 12
My Protein baked protein cookie (I eat this with 200g of skyr plain yoghurt after dinner for amazing snack) – £16.99 for a box of 13
Top tips for protein or vitamin supplementation
- Consult with a doctor/dietitian before adding or taking away anything from your diet.
- Look at a food first approach and focus on adding variety to your diet instead of going straight to supplements.
- Each person has different needs and any guidelines are that, guidelines.
- There is no need to supplement if you don’t want/need to and you shouldn’t feel like you have too.
- Just because something says “protein” on it doesn’t automatically mean its healthy, same for ‘vegan’
- CONSULT A DOCTOR/ DIETITIAN/REGISTERED NUTRITIONIST IF WANTING TO SUPPLEMENT ANYTHING IN DIET.
I hope this was useful to you and helps with any questions or queries that you have! Please message me if you would like clarification (I cannot give you personalised dietary advice).
Much love my babes,