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The ONLY 6 Supplements You Need For Optimum Health (and Max Workout Results...)

Matt Baker

By Matt Baker

Matt Baker is a top level 3 personal trainer and bio-signature practitioner based in Manchester, UK.  Matt runs the elite personal training and health consultancy M1Health which focuses on… Read more.

Who, what, where, when, why, how.  The 5Ws and an H.  Supplementation is THAT simple.

Of course, when you think of “supplements” we’re sure your mind instantly jumps to the never ending list of protein shakes, creatine, pre-workout,CLA, BCAAs etc. and while some of these may be suited (and essential) to your end goal, they're not the supplements your body really needs for optimum health, and, consequently, max results.

We'll leave it to Matt Baker to explain...

MF Supplements spread

Who needs to supplement?

My belief is everyone. Of course each individual will have certain and specific nutrient requirements and or deficiencies to correct but research would suggest that almost all of the population would benefit from dietary supplementation.

Unless you live in one of the worlds ‘Longevity Blue Zones’ and your lifestyle and diet are that of monk like dedication, consuming a vast variety of natural, organic high quality food; the chances are that you should be consuming equally high quality supplementation to optimise health and physical performance.

Whether you are an athlete looking to better elite physical performance or wishing to optimise body composition and health there are certain supplements that may be more suited to your goal.

In this article I will attempt to cover the absolute basics of what you require to ensure you are starting in the best possible position of health and to ensure no efforts are wasted.

What supplements do you really need?

In my experience and with extensive research I believe that without the following core 5 supplement areas, optimal health and physical condition cannot be attained.

Without addressing essential nutrient demands and deficiencies the body cannot operate at maximal potential both physically and mentally.  If you want to get lean, bigger, faster, stronger or healthier these are your first and essential stepping stones.

Digestive Enzymes

Supplement quality and quantity is irrelevant if we cannot assimilate the nutrients from them. Unless your digestive system is optimal you may just be producing very expensive and nutrient rich waste.

Do you have low HCl?

Here are some of the common symptoms of low HCl:

  • Gas / belching
  • Bloating after eating
  • Lack of appetite for meat
  • Nausea after supplements
  • Brittle fingernails
  • Stomach pain
  • Acne
  • Foul smelling stool
  • Bad breath

There are 2 basic functions of the stomach:

  1. 1. Endochemical - production of gastric fluid that kick starts the digestive process and begins to break food down.

  2. 2. Mechanical - movement of food in the stomach to ensure full breakdown and expose to these digestive enzymes.

Approximately half of western populations suffer with depleted stomach acid (HCl) levels.   Without enough HCl, pepsinogen can’t be converted into pepsin, meaning that you cannot break down the protein in your food.

If you don’t break down the large compounds of food like protein and fibre in the stomach, you will not be getting the valuable nutrients from your diet!

Multi vitamin

In total, 30 elements are needed to make the human body healthy.

As we evolved, we ate foods with nutrients that where readily available to us, that had not been processed or manufactured with chemicals and preservatives that our bodies should not, and cannot process, nor respond well to.

These ‘man-made’ chemicals are the cause of many serious illnesses and excessive body fat storage.

There are 13 essential vitamins alone, some of them are complex vitamins.  Our bodies need all 13 and a wide range of other vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants to maintain peak health and performance.

Food alone will never supply the body with the vitamin, minerals and antioxidants needed. Therefore a quality multi vitamin supplement is one of the 5 essential daily supplements.

Omega 3

Fish Oils

This is the most important supplement to help you lose fat, however the quality and strength of the supplement is very important as it works best in high dosages.

You see, Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that our bodies need to function and remain healthy by:

  • Turning on a fat burning glad in the body
  • It helps keep the thyroid healthy and will increase metabolism
  • Assists the body in becoming more insulin sensitive (better at using sugar)
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Helps brain function

Research shows that you need at least 6g per day for it to have any effect, obviously body fat % and weight need to be taken into consideration but 6g is a good place to start for most people.

There are 2 parts of omega 3 that you need to look for, the EPA and DHA content as many ‘fish oils’ may be 1000mg in strength but contain very low EPA/DHA concentrations which are the active ingredient of the fish oil that you should look for.

With regards to Omega 6 and 9, you wouldn’t need to supplement with these omegas as western diets are very high in these fatty acids and excessive amounts can be pro inflammatory.

Zinc

Studies show that anything up to 98% of the world population are deficient in this important mineral (depending on the country).

It is in the top 5 leading risk factors for disease in the developing world and supplementation has been identified in the ‘Copenhagen Consensus’ as one of the four ‘quick-fix’ to major global problems.

World leading strength coach Charles Poliquin found that:

Even a mild zinc deficiency can result in decreased lean body mass (more fat & less muscle) and low serum testosterone

He continues to explain how low levels alter the sense of taste leading one to crave saltier, sweeter foods.

Zinc is a component in more than 300 enzymes (International Zinc Association 2010) and influences the hormonal activity of the body. It enhances the immune system helping the body fight illness and infection and has been proven to reduce both symptoms and duration of the common cold and halt diarrhoea.

The reason why we have become so deficient is through a lack of this mineral in our diet. It is not that our diet has altered course away from foods rich in zinc but the fact that modern farming, transportation and processing that drastically diminishes zinc content in foods.

Phytates found in crops such as corn are proven to inhibit what little zinc we get in our diet thus increasing the severity of deficiencies.

ZIMG

From extensive research zinc deficiencies have been found to lead to:

  • Decreased sperm output
  • Testicular shrinkage
  • Testosterone reduction
  • Slow muscle growth
  • Hindered immune function
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Slow wound healing

Magnesium

One major study concluded that close to 75% of our diets are lacking adequate magnesium levels.

Some of the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include:

Magnesium
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Fear
  • Insomnia
  • Reduced attention span
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion

These conditions are a lot like those of those diagnosed with anxiety disorder.

Magnesium drastically aids sleep quality and aids recovery, (especially if training in the evening). It has a relaxing effect on the brain and nervous system and should be taken in the evening.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D is essential for life and optimal health and is one of the only vitamins that can be synthesized by the body – when exposed to sunlight.

Research tells us that in the northern hemisphere we do not get proper exposure especially in the UK for adequate UV light to ensure vitamin d levels are where they need to be. In fact, one study suggests the over 1 billion worldwide are deficient in vitamin d, considerably higher in populations in colder / darker countries!

The benefits of Vitamin D include:

  • Lean body mass – increased fat infiltration into muscle
  • Bone health
  • Strength and force production
  • Treatment of Skin disorders
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Cardio vascular, brain and reproductive health
  • Mood elevation – happy when we are in the sun

Where should you get these supplements?

Superior quality

The quality of the product is very important, if you buy an off the shelf product from a leading supermarket, for example, you will probably have to take half the tub in one go just to get the required dosage and that is hoping the product has the adequate bio availability and is in the right from for correct absorption.

It is like having a burger from a fast food van compared to a Michelin star Kobe steak burger, both are burgers but the quality is very different. In short, you get what you pay for, never scrimp.

You buy cheap, you buy twice.

When should you supplement?

Timing is everything when it comes to supplements and you should always plan ahead.  Below is what may be recommended:

  • Multi vitamin – dosage dependant – daily mid meal x2 per day
  • Zinc – daily - Morning and evening pre-meal
  • Magnesium – tri dosage – late afternoon, evening and pre-bed (increasing dosages).
  • Omega 3 –daily – throughout day – mid meal
  • D3 – x2 per week in a boulders dose
  • Digestive enzymes – pre or mid meal depending on product

How much should you take?

Below would be a rough guide to estimate adequate levels of dosages – presuming stores are adequate and no serious deficiencies.  

RDA Orange
  • Multi-vitamin and digestive enzymes – very brand specific due to wide variety – remember RDA is merely for the absence of disease – not for optimal health and digestive enzymes more complex too.
  • Omega 3 – suggested 1g per % of body fat
  • Zinc – 45mgs daily
  • Magnesium – 125mgs minimum
  • D3 – 70,000 – 100,000 iu per week (in 2 dosages)

Why are these supplements so important?

Europe has 72% less nutrients in the soil than 100 years ago as the result of modern farming methods – World health summit.

Then food is transported, treated, stored and then cooked. Basically we aren’t getting enough or the variety of nutrients from our food alone hence the need for dietary supplements.

Basically, without correct dietary supplementation your efforts in and also out of the gym will not be maximised. We as humans were designed to be active, physically robust healthy beings, without the correct core nutrients in the correct amounts optimal physical and mental performance simply cannot be achieved.

And that protein shake you’ve been guzzling won’t be having the maximum impact…

Matt Baker

About Matt

Matt Baker is a top level 3 personal trainer and bio-signature practitioner based in Manchester, UK.

Matt runs the elite personal training and health consultancy M1Health which focuses on improving health and vitality along with rapid body transformation through nutrition consultation, exercise prescription, supplementation protocol and lifestyle advice.

He has also trained some of the UKs best known celebs including Michelle Keegan and Kym Marsh.

You can connect with Matt via Twitter but for everything else visit: http://www.m1health.co.uk/


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