68% of American adults take some form of supplement whether that’s a multivitamin or a fiber shake. However, it’s a 30 billion dollar industry creating hundreds of different (and largely unregulated) supplements. Thus, it can be overwhelming to know which supplements are legit and you should actually be taking.
The truth is, there is no singular list of the “best supplements” out there. The best supplements for a 25-year-old female athlete will be different than the best supplements for an 80-year-old man.
That’s why we’ve broken down different desires and people into categories to go over the best supplements for each group. This will give you a general idea of the supplements you need to reach your goals and stay healthy.
For Those Who Want to Build Muscle
Lifting weights, exercising, and eating high-protein diets is the key way to build muscle. However, certain supplements can make this easier for you to do.
Whether you choose whey protein, casein protein, egg white protein, or a plant-based protein powder, this is a great supplement for building muscle. It’s also easier to get in more protein via a supplement; there’s only so much plain chicken breast one person can eat.
Creatine improves athletic performance and makes it easier to build muscle. It makes your workouts both more intense and more effective.
Branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the amino acids leucine, valine, and isoleucine. While all amino acids are important for building muscle, these BCAAs make up 14% of your muscles’ amino acids.
Studies show that supplementing BCAAs into your diet can both help build muscle and reduce the risk of muscle loss.
For Those Who Want to Lose Fat
50% of Americans are actively trying to lose weight. When we say “lose weight” we usually mean lose fat. Diet and exercise are essential for losing fat, but these supplements can help.
Whether you take a caffeine pill or get your boost with a morning cup of coffee, caffeine can stimulate your metabolism, which makes it easier to lose fat. It can also improve the intensity of your workouts, which also helps with fat loss.
This long word refers to fiber found in a particular type of yam. Studies show that using it as a supplement can help you feel fuller for longer periods of time. This means you can eat fewer calories and still feel satisfied, which can help with fat loss.
For Those 50 and Over
As we age, we need different nutrients to maintain our health.
Many health professionals recommend that older folks take a daily multivitamin to ensure they’re getting proper nutrients.
Older folks and seniors are more likely to have calcium deficiencies. Boosting calcium levels via supplements can help with bone health, which is extra important as we age.
As we age, we’re more prone to gastrointestinal problems. Taking a probiotic supplement can help improve digestion and relieve and gastrointestinal distress.
Even if you aren’t looking towards a certain fitness goal, chances are you should be supplementing. In fact, 92% of Americans have some sort of deficiency. Iron, calcium, iodine, and magnesium are all common supplements because of people’s natural deficiency.
Let’s look at some other common supplements that you should consider.
Vitamin B-12 is important for brain health and DNA repair mechanisms. 40% of Americans are deficient in this vitamin. Symptoms of deficiency include:
- Memory loss
- Numbness in the limbs
You can take vitamin B-12 pills or liquid drops to supplement your diet.
Vitamin D and Calcium
We naturally get vitamin D from sunlight. However, considering many jobs are indoors and we don’t spend a lot of time outside, over 75% of Americans are deficient in this vitamin.
Because many people are deficient in vitamin D, they’re also usually deficient in calcium as well because they can’t absorb it properly.
This vitamin helps us absorb calcium, helps prevent certain types of cancer, reduces the risk of depression, and can help prevent weight gain. Calcium is important for bone and nervous system health.
Best Supplements for Each Sex
While most nutrient needs are the same no matter what sex you are, there are some things to keep in mind depending on your sex.
Men are encouraged to take beta-sitosterol. Beta-sitosterol can help reduce the size of the prostate, which is important for prostate health. It can also lower cholesterol levels
Men are also encouraged to supplement with fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Both of these supplements can decrease the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol, both of which are huge problems for men.
Women are also encouraged to supplement their diet with omega-3 fatty acids since it can both reduce the risk of heart disease as well as help manage menopause symptoms.
Women who are pregnant are also encouraged to take folic acid supplements. This vitamin helps reduce the risk of birth defects and is a common ingredient in many prenatal vitamins.
These aren’t the only supplements that differ based on sex, so be sure to ask your doctor which supplements you should be taking.
The best supplements for you might not be the same for someone else. Figure out what you need to add to your diet depending on your age, health, sex, and fitness goals.
While all of these supplements can help with whatever goal you have, be smart. They’re called supplements for a reason. They supplement your diet and exercise routines; they don’t replace them.
So even though you can take a calcium supplement, for example, it’s better to get it naturally with calcium-rich foods. You won’t build muscle sitting around downing creatine, either. You’ll need to lift weights and work out alongside the supplementation.
If you have any other questions about these supplements and how to add them to your everyday life, check out our blog!