Supplements-Necessity vs Optimization
By Jay Campbell
July 28th, 2017
” You seem to be talking a lot lately about different vitamin deficiencies and it made me curious, what all vitamins do you take daily? How many pills are we talking?”
~David~ Damn. I got this question, read it a few times and realized I’ve been something of a total hypocrite in the majority of recommendations about supplements. My default fitness answer has always been that you don’t need supplements, they are not necessary, diet is more important, so on and so forth. Reality-I’ve got a pantry at home filled with capsules and powders galore. So I’m not really following my own advice here. And I’ve been working on becoming more cognizant of applying a “skin in the game” mentality, and trying to rid myself of critical discrepancies between what I advise people to do, and what I do myself. So this is me fessing up that I’ve been somewhat full of shit. I sure as hell DO TAKE supplements. I’ve wavered between advising people that they are not necessary, that you can get all your nutrients from an optimized diet, and on an ethical level, I do not want to be perceived as pill pusher. At the same time, having worked with so many clients, and taking a historical and evolutionary perspective to health;
-I DO believe nutrient deficiencies are way more common than mainstream medicine currently acknowledges.
-I believe with confidence that magnesium depletion is a critical issue that has been ignored for decades.
-I believe Vitamin D deficiency and lack of sunlight is a societal wide problem – believe caffeine addiction has likely created nutrient deficiencies that go unrecognized
-I believe insulin is a master hormone, and managing it is critical for longevity
-I believe modern stress levels are overwhelming, and supplementation can be used to improve our body’s stress response
-I believe that depression and anxiety are the results of cascading environmental issues that have compounded
And I believe A LOT of these things can be helped through supplementation. And I take a lot of supplements relative to all of the above. I can make a compelling case that I do not “need” to take supplements, and I’d likely be considered healthy without them. But I’m not taking them because I need them, I’m taking them because I want my body running optimally. I want the flow of oxygen and energy through every one of my cells to be at its greatest functional capacity, and not be inhibited. So I take supplements, for stress, for recovery, convenience, and to fill in for nutrients that I think are probably too scarce in the modern diet to fully ingest in adequate amounts. These supplements do not make feel 10000% better. But compared to when I’ve gone without them, and I have taken nothing for periods of time in order to establish a baseline, I consider the effects to be worthwhile. I notice a difference, and as I like to tell you all often,
“you are your greatest experiment”
If something works for you, and increases mental clarity, physical performance, general recovery, etc, then USE IT.
It might be called the placebo effect, but technically the power of positive thinking is a “placebo” as well, and no one argues against that.
What I Take
1. Whey protein powder-I use this because it’s incredibly convenient, and I like the taste. Whey protein has been proven many times over to increase lean body mass and improve recovery. It also improves health on multiple levels. I always order protein from Truenutrition.com. If you order from them, use code AJAC235 for 5% off
2. Vitamin D, Magnesium, & Vitamin K-At one time I took all of these things separately, but recently I discovered Athlete’s Vitamin, which has them all in a powdered and flavored form that you can mix into a beverage. All three of these are critical for health, and I drink this at dinner to improve the absorption of the nutrients. Jay and Jim also use Bone Up from Jarrow Formulas which is very similar.
3. Ashwagandha-I got turned onto this in 2016 when my sleep was minimal and my stress was heightened. It combats stress, anxiety, fatigue, and has neuroprotective and anti-cancer properties. I was able to go the whole year operating on only 4-5 hours sleep, and I only got briefly sick once. I took Ashwagandha religiously the entire year, consuming -2-5 grams daily. Currently, I’ve been taking RED (as a non caffeinated stimulant), which also has Ashwagandha in it.
4. Curcumin/Turmeric-Back in 2013 I trained myself into injury through squatting and ended up tear some cartilage out of the head my left femur. I also had some bone bruising and damage as well. This took a long time to heal, and it was until late 2014 that I decided to try curcumin. I took 3 grams a day every day, and amazing my hip finally stopped hurting within 3 months. After that I was utterly sold on the stuff. The health benefits are a mile long. I take 2 grams to this day, and my recovery rate from training is as good as when I was 15. Jay and Jim recommend using curcumin at up 6 grams a day when suffering from soft tissue injuries.
5. Creatine-I take up to 10 grams of creatine in my intra workout mix when I train. I never have issues with joint hydration or lacking a pump, and even on my most tired days, I can still reliably work up to a few heavy sets and set PRs. I don’t believe in cycling creatine, I take it year round and enjoy the immense health benefits.
6. Vitamin B-For a long time I abused the living hell out of “pre-workouts”, and my caffeine intake was close a gram a day. Steadily I’ve broken the habit, and now I’ll take a Vitamin B capsule with RED before I go to train. It’s not the same wired feeling as a caffeine high, but it does increase mental alertness, and it seems to me to have something of a mood boosting effect. That completes my daily routine. questions, let me know,