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The Wild West of Supplements

Before we get into things, let’s look into the supplement industry first so we can capture how big the industry is and how it’s filled with brilliant marketing and useless products.

To date, the supplement industry is worth 32+ million dollars. There is a plethora of different supplements that promise you the earth but only actually, give you a lighter pocket. Ranging from things like fat burners, multivitamins, probiotics, amino acids, glutamine to pre- workout. A lot of them are just gimmicks and fads. However, there are a few out there that have been shown to be of great benefit.

Those are the only ones I’m going to cover in this article.


Creatine is one of the most researched supplements on the market. There are a number of different types of creatine. The only one you need to look out for is Creatine Monohydrate. This is the only creatine that’s been tried and tested. So for the sake of saving you some money and more importantly time stick to Creatine Monohydrate.

Benefits To Using Creatine

Before giving you the benefits I just want to debunk the few misconceptions of creatine. You won’t get cramps, damage your kidneys or cause dehydration. The other mistake guys make is loading up on creatine. There is absolutely no need in loading up, it won’t benefit you in any way. In fact, all you’ll get is massive water retention and an empty pocket.

Creatine is a naturally occurring substrate. It’s not a steroid.

Creatine has shown to help improve power and strength during a weight training session. Which in turn will help you build and develop more muscle

Creatine has been shown to help with low depressive mood. Which could help with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

Creatine has been shown to improve brain and cognitive function. Giving you a productive brain boost

5 grams per day is the recommended dosage for creatine.

Fish Oil

Fish oil is one of the most beneficial supplements we can use to help improve our health. In fact, fish oils have actually been considered a nutraceutical. Pharmaceuticals were trying to take these off the shelves and have them patterned so only pharmaceutical companies could sell them because they’re so beneficial to our health.

Fortunately, it wasn’t passed and they’re still available to us in local shops and online.

Benefits To Using Fish Oils

Anti Inflammatory. Fish oils O3 (Omega 3) have been shown to help improve inflammation around the body caused by poor health and poor dietary habits.

Improvement in depression. Due to the EPA and DHA content within the fish oil this has been shown to help improve mood state and mental wellbeing in those who suffer from depression and low mood.

It can help facilitate weight loss. Because of the healthy properties, fish oils contain it can help towards fat loss through fat oxidation ( your body using fat as an energy source)

Fish oils might help with strength and size gains. By having a good fish oil can help with protein synthesis which in turn will help you build more strength and size.

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Vitamin D

With over 50% of the population deficient in vitamin D, it’s one of the most observed deficiencies in the western world. We absorb a lot of vitamin D from the sun. We synthesis only 15 minutes of direct sunlight at any one time. Any more than 15 minutes we then start to damage the skin. So we advise only applying sunblock or skin cream after the first 15 minutes of direct sunlight.

You can obtain vitamin D from food but only in small doses, not enough to make a significant impact. You can also take an oral supplement, spray or get injections from your GP.

Benefits of Taking Vitamin D

Vitamin D can improve our immune function. Vitamin D is a pro hormone which can help fend off seasonal colds and flu

Vitamin D can help with bone density and is advised in the elderly to help with brittle bones. Vitamin D helps with Calcium absorption which is essential for bone health and density

Vitamin D helps reduce depressive symptoms. DISCLAIMER: It’s unsure why and what the optimal dosage is, as more research needs to be carried out. We advise that if you do feel depressed then to speak to your medical practitioner or GP and not treat such symptoms with vitamin D

Vitamin D might help promote strength gains as well as potentially improving fat loss

2500-4000 IU per day is a good starting point for most.


Caffeine can be found in a lot of products. Sports drinks, pre-workouts, recreational drinks like Monster, Redbull and other types of drinks.

The most popular caffeine choice is coffee. It’s probably the most accessible type of caffeine as well.

The Benefits To Caffeine

Caffeine can improve endurance performance. Drinking a caffeine based drink 60 minutes before an endurance event can help with performance. One thing we would like to add that it can also cause digestive stress and gastric emptying. So be aware of your tolerance and reaction to caffeine

Caffeine can improve anaerobic performance. Drinking a caffeine based drink can also help with fast explosive exercises for up to 90 seconds

Caffeine can improve reaction speed as well as concentration

Caffeine might also help increase strength. Our advice would be to take a creatine supplement as well as a caffeine based supplement together to help maximise your performance if strength is your goal

Dosage if taken in capsule form 2-6mg per kg of body weight

So far I’ve mentioned the top four supplements you can take that will have the biggest impact on your health and fitness.

There are so many others out there which with clever marketing will have you believe is the silver bullet to all your problems and health issues.

Other than the ones I’ve listed there aren’t any others that will give you the same benefits. But I’m sure companies who use clever marketing techniques will argue with that.

If you want to save yourself some money and get some great results. Use the supplements recommended in conjunction with a healthy diet with plenty of daily exercise.

There are other supplements out there that will give you some smaller but noticeable benefits in terms of working out performance but in terms of health, there are no significant benefits.

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What Other Supplements AreThere?

Here is a brief list of a couple other supplements that might be worth considering if you want to maximize your potential and performance within the gym.

Beta Alanine

A supplement that could be used in high-intensity workouts that exceeds 90+ seconds.

Cherry Active

This has been shown to help with after effects of training DOMS. It’s also been shown to help with sleep

L- Citrulline

This has been shown to help with weight training. Reducing fatigue allowing the potential for more reps within a given amount of sets.

The Final Say on Supplements

So there you have it. A simple and easy breakdown of what supplements to look out for, what they do in terms of benefitting your health and what dosages to take.

The dosages we recommend are based on the RDA (recommended daily amount) not our recommended suggestions. We always advise you speak with a consultant or GP before taking any form of supplements to reduce and adverse effects.

So while the industry is worth billions you’ll notice a lot of that money is pumped back into marketing, packaging and advertising. The products that work won’t change.

The effects they have on the body might change when we start to dig deeper into the effects and more tests are done but to date and as I’m writing this the only supplements you need to focus on are the ones I’ve recommended.

You might also be thinking “Wait he hasn’t mentioned whey protein” and you’re right I haven’t and that’s because whey protein is a food, not a supplement.

If you would like more up to date research and reviews keeping up with the latest information then you can check out

They are a company I hold in high regard in terms of getting useful, up to date information.

You can also buy their evidence-based supplement stack. This stack gives you information to over 100+ supplements and the effects they have on the body.

This has literally saved me hundreds of pounds.

About the Author

A nutritionist for the last five years. I’ve worked with pro athletes in the USA, worked with pro. MMA fighters in the UK as well  as bikini models and the general public. My main expertise is to coach and guide people to help them improve their quality of life through a healthier and more active lifestyle. Basically coaching them to life and not fall into the dieting vortex and end up spinning their wheels. Connect with Stephen through his Facebook.