If you already lead a healthy lifestyle plus a relatively balanced diet, you probably don't need to supplement. The problem is that many people, although aware of this, are subjected to intense and extensive work schedules or life rhythms where it is virtually impossible to adhere to a "healthy" routine.
For some time now, an infinite number of brands of mixtures and products have been promoted on the market to supplement the deficiencies that gradually become apparent when the diet is unbalanced or when symptoms appear as a result of stress, lack of exercise and/or lack of sleep.
Today I present to you some supplements that could actually, or at least would assist you in adjusting certain imbalances. I have already talked about some of them in previous videos, but today I focus on the possible alterations that arise as a result of an intense rhythm of life, especially in the work aspect.
Where Do Imbalances Arise?
Basically, in offices where there are long hours of sitting, no physical activity and insufficient sun exposure, and limited or no access to healthy food.
On the other hand, there are people who are constantly on the move, have no access to a space where they can take a break and eat in peace and quiet, and have no access to healthy food.
These two types of work alone can lead to nutritional deficiencies in vitamin D3 and other nutrients, physical exhaustion, loss of muscle mass, postural degradation, as well as mental overload, anxiety and even chronic fatigue.
Which Supplements and With What Purpose
Probiotics and digestive enzymes
Every day studies are published in which new plants have been experimented with whose compositions contain additional spectra to minerals or vitamins that have been consumed individually. We now know that in order to better absorb any nutrient, vitamin or mineral, a healthy intestinal flora is needed, and it is probiotics as well as digestive enzymes that ensure this.
Natural digestive enzymes are proteins that the body produces to break down food and facilitate digestion. As soon as we consume a food, saliva begins to break it down as enzymes are released and activated in the mouth and at other points in the digestive process.
The pancreas is really the enzyme "powerhouse" of digestion. It produces the most important digestive enzymes, which are those that break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Sometimes people confuse enzymes with probiotics. Both affect digestion, but in different ways. Probiotics are living organisms that make up the good bacteria in the gut, they help keep the digestive tract healthy, so they support the work of enzymes. Unlike enzymes, probiotics do not have the ability to break down or digest food components.
The pace of modern life means another aspect of supplementation is the use of adaptogens or active ingredients from certain plants and mushrooms that can influence the way the body deals with stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
Ashwagandha is one of my favourite supplements. You must take it regularly for about 8 weeks before you feel benefits such as reduced stress, increased athletic performance, improved sleep quality, improved memory and some mental disorders such as depression. To learn more about this adaptogen click on the link below which takes you to the article that goes into more depth on the qualities of this plant. LINK
Unknown Benefits of Some Popular Supplements
Vitamin D3+K2: strengthens your immune system, promotes cognitive health, is involved in bone formation and the circulatory system.
Sometimes known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D3 supports the action of serotonin, dopamine and other important brain neurotransmitters. It is involved in the healthy regulation of thousands of human genes and is crucial for a strong immune system.
After being produced in the skin as vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), it is converted by the liver and kidney into a hormone (calcitriol) that has receptors in virtually all of its tissues. D3 is so important for brain function that its receptors are distributed throughout the brain. This potent hormone also helps regulate the heart, gut, liver, pancreas, and other organ systems.
Vitamin K2 is much more active than vitamin K1. K2 activates brain proteins that promote the development, survival and electrical conductive function of neurons.
Vitamin K2 prevents excess calcium from being deposited in heart valves, large arteries and other places in the body. Instead, vitamin K2 directs calcium to the bones, teeth and nails where it is needed. Vitamin K2 is also essential for the clotting processes necessary for wound healing.
Creatine monohydrate: strength, energy, fat loss (up to 1-2%) during weight training are properties creatine is known for. It happens that creatine can conduct more water to the muscles providing them with more energy for performance. Another benefit is that creatine alleviates the weakness you feel the next day from lack of sleep by helping you stay focused.
The human brain relies on the ATP phosphocreatine system, which is involved in the relationship between neurons and glia cells. Here, this phosphocreatine system helps regulate mood, produce dopamine, and improve symptoms of depression.
Spirulina: gut health is one of the benefits conferred to Spirulina, which, according to a study in laboratory animals, may help preserve intestinal function during ageing. Many characteristics of older people are beginning to be detected in people who spend extended hours sitting at a desk and/or lead a sedentary lifestyle. Spirulina has prebiotic properties, i.e. it provides nourishment for healthy bacteria in the gut.
Spirulina has an energising effect, possibly thanks to its iodine content, it can help boost your metabolism and make your body more efficient at burning calories throughout the day.
On a mental health level, spirulina has been found to contain tryptophan, an amino acid that increases the hormone serotonin in the brain and can help prevent or control some mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, among others.
Turmeric: Curcumin, the polyphenol derived from turmeric, has been shown to reverse the detrimental brain changes induced by chronic stress, according to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine. Curcumin also stimulates the formation of new brain cells and their connections, two processes that can prevent or mitigate symptoms of depression.
Curcumin also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Rich in phytonutrients, turmeric helps the body neutralise free radicals from pollution and UVB rays, protecting cells from oxidative damage.
Furthermore, turmeric can help control metabolic syndrome, which is a set of specific risk factors for cardiovascular disease (abdominal obesity, hypertension, high fasting glucose, high triglyceride levels and low good cholesterol). Metabolic syndrome greatly increases the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke or all three.
Other areas where turmeric may have a positive effect is in terms of inflammation, degenerative eye diseases and post-exercise pain or the other extreme: muscle aches after long hours of desk work. (study)
Cocoa flavanols: According to an article in the Harvard University Journal of Health, cocoa flavanols have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, prevent blood clots and fight cell damage.
From laboratory animal studies, we know that flavanols facilitate brain cell connections and survival and protect brain cells from toxins or the negative effects of inflammation.
Astaxanthin: is a natural pigment that comes mainly from the algae haematococcus pluvialis. It provides benefits at the brain level and its neuroprotective properties may be a consequence of its ability to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
Astaxanthin supplementation along with topical application has been shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, blemishes, as well as improve skin texture and moisture.
At the ocular level, astaxanthin helps protect retinal cells from oxidative damage and also helps reduce symptoms of eye fatigue when supplemented with other nutrients such as lutein, cyanidin-3-glucoside and DHA. (study).
In terms of cognitive function, several studies show that astaxanthin exerts a neuroprotective effect as it is specifically absorbed into the blood and can cross the blood-brain barrier in laboratory animal tests, suggesting its efficacy in preventing various disorders caused by reactive oxygen species in brain nerve cells. Astaxanthin may therefore act effectively against cognitive impairment.
Medicinal mushrooms, in this particular case Cordyceps: the main components of cordyceps have a wide range of medicinal actions in humans, including:
Blood glucose regulation
Improving blood flow and consequently supporting heart health
Improving kidney function
Stimulating energy production (ATP)
Cordyceps also stimulates the enzyme 5-Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase or 5-AMPK which helps boost muscle recovery and fat metabolism.
Electrolytes (potassium, magnesium): Even if you are not exercising and sweating profusely, the body needs to maintain an adequate electrolyte balance. What often happens is that the ready meals you buy contain high concentrations of sodium and after consuming them and spending many hours working at a desk, some people experience fluid retention, especially in the legs.
Under these circumstances it is advisable to consume foods rich in potassium to balance the proportion of sodium and cellular potassium.
Magnesium plays important roles in the body, such as supporting muscle and nerve function, as well as energy production.
Low magnesium levels do not usually cause symptoms. However, chronically low levels can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis.
In general, you will not need to supplement with magnesium if your diet contains nuts, seeds, legumes, green leafy vegetables, milk, and yoghurt. Even water (tap, mineral or bottled) can provide magnesium.
Supplementation is never a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet. My suggestion to you is that as much as you can, try to eat as healthily as possible and only use supplements that really make up for deficiencies in your diet.