A lot of you have been asking lately about what supplements I take. The first thing I want to set straight is you do not need supplements. If you’re going live a healthy lifestyle some think you need protein shakes, bars, powders and meal replacements. Although I take supplements, I am not the biggest fan. Supplements are very expensive and relatively unnecessary for the general gym-goer. Real, whole foods will always be better than getting nutrients from a synthetically derived powder. Protein powders, pre workout, and other synthetic products have many added sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose to keep the calories down while making the drink taste good. In small quantities aspartame and sucralose are not a big deal, but consider how often you take these products on a regular basis and what the long term negative effects are of taking these products for a prolonged usage.
When supplements are used properly, they are effective at covering dietary deficiencies and giving you a slight edge toward your fitness related goals. You will get great results without taking supplements as long as your diet is on point. Supplements are just the icing on the cake; you can build an awesome cake without icing; the icing just provides a very small amount of the overall cake mass.
I take a protein supplement and occasionally an amino drink. The primary reason I like a protein supplement is the convenience. It is not always convenient to bring a Tupperware container of chicken around with you (if you know me, then you know I usually do), but you just can’t beat the convenience of a protein shake. Whey protein digests quickly and is easily absorbed, making it a convenient post workout source of protein. I believe whole food is always better than food in powdered form but if you have trouble getting enough protein in your diet or hitting your macro nutrient goals, a protein supplement may be right for you.
I put vitamins into the supplement category but I feel they are essential for everyone, whether they have Crohn’s or not. Everyone should take a multivitamin for maintenance of general health. As I mentioned in Crohn’s related Complications and how to deal with them (Part 1), I am deficient in areas such as B12 and iron. Although I do not absorb vitamins like the average person, I take them in an attempt to cover the deficiencies caused by my disease.
The last thing I want to touch on is creatine. I am a big advocate for creatine usage in healthy adults as there are many beneficial effects. If you have gastrointestinal problems such as Crohn’s, I would stay far away from creatine. Everyone is different but even healthy people have stomach discomfort from creatine. Creatine is very hard on the stomach and may not be right for you. I’ve tried creatine before and ended up in the hospital after 3 days of taking it.
Do your research, read product labels and know exactly what you’re putting into your body. With that being said, my current supplement stack consists of vitamins, whey protein powder and an amino drink. This is what I currently take supplement wise. I am not advising anyone to follow my supplement stack, as everyone is different, and my supplementation is personalized to cover my current deficiencies. Find out through blood work where supplements could assist in covering deficiencies for overall better health and wellbeing.
2 multivitamins-one in the morning, one at night
2 calcium-one in the morning, one at night
6 fish oil capsules – 3 in the morning, 3 at night
4 Vitamin D-2 in the morning, 2 at night
For me, my favourite brand is Optimum Nutrition. They label all ingredients in all of their products so you know exactly what you’re taking. Their 100% Gold Standard Whey protein is my favourite and the best digesting protein I’ve had. Other proteins do not digest well for me and leave me bloated.
Amino Energy by Optimum Nutrition. An amino drink with a mild amount of caffeine derived from green tea. I have issues with coffee as it bothers my stomach, so I get my caffeine from loose leaf green tea and Amino Energy which is easier on my stomach.