Supplements can be a confusing minefield of false information, half facts and sales pitches which makes it hard to find out what you really should be taking in order to help your Crossfit performance. Here is the second part of our easy, no nonsense Guide to Supplements, find the first part here.
So what's the big deal with fish oils? Why most people and especially those very active (CrossFit) should be taking them on a regular basis.
Well fish oil is one the best sources and cheapest of omega 3 fatty acids! We all heard about them but not everyone understands why are they so important. People on a standard modern diet tend to have an imbalance of fatty acids, meaning that the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 is off. For optimal health and performance the ratio should be 1:1 very often people found it to be as high as 1:6 of Omega 3 to Omega 6.
Omega 3 fatty acids can be divided into 2 categories Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory so apart from reducing over all inflammation in our body they can also improve the way we respond to stress through eicosanoids, which are signalling molecules in our body. Regular fish oil supplementation can help reduce the risks certain cancers including breast cancer, and also can improve your blood lipid profile.
So as you can see there quite a few health benefits to it. Now where does it fit into CrossFit or heavy lifting? Think about your body being much healthier through less inflammation (especially joints) and more efficient in its recovery due to better health of your blood vessels as well as an improved stress response. Faster recovery = more gains, less injuries. It can also help with the DOMS! Effective dosage would be around 4 to 6 grams per day aiming at the higher end if it takes you 3 days to get rid of DOMS.
This is a big one! Vitamin D is fat-soluble nutrient and one the 24 micronutrients essential to human survival. We can find it fatty fish and eggs but the great thing is our body can make it from cholesterol providing that we are exposed to enough UV light coming from the sun. Now as we live in beautiful Northern Ireland you can see that might be a problem. The benefits of Vitamin D include increased cognitive function (counting reps during a WOD), increased immune health, bone health and well-being. It can also reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D also plays a big role in our testosterone production so in order to get those gains make sure to supplement it on a regular basis. In essence it is a powerful Testosterone booster. Recommended dose is very much dependent on where you live and how much sunlight exposure you get. It has been shown that in order for the supplementation to be effective doses of 2,000-5,000 iu's are recommended.
Ok this is another supplement most people heard about but don't really know why they might need to take it or what would be the benefits. Our intestines, especially the large intestine, is home to thousands of billions of bacteria. They play a very important role in our immune health and digestion. Unfortunately due to stress, over use of antibiotics and over relying on nutrient deficient food those bacteria can be negatively affected, opening you to a host of problems like fungal growths, gut inflammation, or gut wall permeability. All those problems will have a very negative effect on your health as well as any efforts on fat loss or gaining muscle.
Think about fuelling up for a WOD or eating for recovery after some heavy lifting. Imagine you cannot digest the food properly, with only a part of the nutrients coming from the food actually getting used and put to purpose. If you think like your digestion is not really that good or you feel constantly bloated and heavy or just want to feel better and get the most out of your food, look into probiotic supplementation.
The most researched group of probiotics is the Lab4 group consisting of
- Lactobacillus acidophilus – strain 1
- Bifidobacterium bifidum Lactobacillus acidophilus – strain 2
- Bifidobacterium animalis (var lactis)
Dosage unfortunately has to be adjusted personally as a blanket prescription wouldn't work for most people, for more information ask Coach Tomek or another qualified Nutritionist.