Vitamins and Supplements Guide
The definitive list of essential vitamins and supplements. Something every chubby runner needs for energy, strength, and healthy living.
How to Use the Vitamins and Supplements Guide
There’s no shortage of vitamins and supplements out there. Each vitamin claims something different. They range from things like ending baldness to longevity to cellular repair. There’s no magic pill that will accomplish the impossible. Vitamins supplement deficiencies in our diets. They help us to get the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for a healthy life.
You may be looking for a supplement that can help with inflammation. Or maybe you’d like a vitamin to boost your metabolism. Or you may just be looking for some help on how to live healthier.
You’ll find the information you need in this comprehensive vitamins and supplements guide. You’ll learn how to find the best vitamins and supplements for your situation, based on your age, activity level, health and fitness goals, and even budget.
Vitamins are micronutrients the body needs to perform proper functions. If our bodies don’t create the vitamins we need, we can get them from food and supplementation.
This is a group of substances that help with immune function, vision, reproduction, and cellular communication.
According to The National Institute of Health, “Vitamin A is important for vision as an essential component of rhodopsin (a protein that absorbs light in the retinal receptors).”
Vitamin A supports cell growth and differentiation. It plays an important role in the formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.
There are a total of 8 different kinds of Vitamin B. These B-Vitamins help a variety of different enzymes in the body do their jobs. They help release energy in carbohydrates and fat. They assist in the amino acid breakdown. And help to transport oxygen and energy-containing nutrients throughout the body.
Here are the 8 different kinds of B-Vitamins.
B1 is a water-soluble vitamin found naturally in some foods. It’s also sold as a supplement. It plays an integral role in the growth and function of various cells. Only tiny amounts are stored in the liver. Daily consumption of thiamin-rich foods is needed.
Riboflavin is naturally in foods. You can add it to foods. It is also available as a supplement. Gut bacteria produce small amounts of B2, but not enough for daily dietary needs. It is a key component that helps with cellular growth and energy production. B2 also helps to break down fats, steroids, and medications. The body utilizes B2 immediately. The body doesn’t store it. Any excess you just pee out. Too much riboflavin, from supplements, can make your pee bright yellow. Which is kind of a cool party trick.
Niacin is a water-soluble B vitamin in certain foods. You can add it to foods. Or you can get it in supplement form. The two most common forms of niacin in food and supplements are nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. The body can also convert the amino acid tryptophan to nicotinamide. Any excess amounts not used by the body, you pee out. Niacin works as a coenzyme, with more than 400 other enzymes dependent on it for various reactions. Niacin helps to convert nutrients into energy in the body. B3 also creates and repairs DNA, and exerts antioxidant effects.
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
B5 is found in some foods, can be added to foods, or is taken as a supplement. It produces coenzyme A (CoA), essential for fatty acid metabolism. It also helps metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Pantothenic acid is found in a number of different foods. Bacteria in the gut can create some B5. but not enough for the body.
B6 is a water-soluble vitamin in certain foods, you can add it to foods or take it in supplement form. It assists 100 enzymes to perform a variety of functions. It helps with the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. B6 helps to maintain normal levels of homocysteine. And it helps to support brain health and immune function.
Biotin is found naturally in some foods and also in supplements. Biotin plays an important role in assisting enzymes to break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in food. B7 also helps to regulate cellular and gene activity.
B9 (Folate or Folic Acid)
Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9. It is water-soluble and is in many foods. You can take it as a supplement in folic acid form. Folic Acid supplements absorb better than food sources. Folate helps to form DNA and RNA. It helps metabolize proteins. It’s a key player in the breakdown of homocysteine. Folate helps produce healthy red blood cells. It is also vital during periods of rapid growth, like during pregnancy and fetal development.
B12 is found naturally in animal foods. It can be added to foods or supplements. Vitamin B12 is integral to red blood cell and DNA formation. It is also a key player in the function and development of brain cells and nerve cells.
Vitamin B12 binds to the protein we eat. While in the stomach, hydrochloric acid unbinds vitamin B12 into its free form. From there, vitamin B12 combines with a protein for absorption in the small intestine.
Supplements and fortified foods contain B12 in their free form, for easy absorption. There are a wide variety of B12 supplements available. You can buy B12 tablets in dosages way higher than the recommended dietary allowance. For those with massive deficiency, doctors prescribe B12 injections directly into the muscle.
C-Vitamin, or ascorbic acid, dissolves in water and absorbs into the body’s tissues. Your body doesn’t store vitamin c. To get your daily allowance, eat vitamin C-rich foods or take supplements.
Vitamin C is a key player in controlling infections and healing wounds. C is a powerful antioxidant. It can neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. And it’s integral to collagen production. It helps produce many different hormones and chemical messengers found in the brain and nerves.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a fibrous protein in connective tissue found throughout the nervous and immune systems, in bones, cartilage, and blood.
Vitamin D is a nutrient we consume and a hormone the body creates. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus. These are both important for building bone. Studies show that vitamin D can decrease cancer cell growth, control infections, and reduce inflammation, which your skin produces when exposed to sunlight’s ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays.
It is difficult to get enough vitamin D with diet alone. Supplementation is the best way to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D.
It is made up of five molecules. The two most important molecules are vitamin D2 (“ergocalciferol” or pre-vitamin D). The other is Vitamin D3 (“cholecalciferol”).
Vitamin D2 (“Ergocalciferol” or Pre-Vitamin D)
Vitamin D2 is often prescribed to people with low vitamin D levels because it’s more readily available in higher doses. It generally comes from plants, particularly mushrooms and yeast.
Vitamin D3 (“Cholecalciferol”)
Vitamin D3 is produced naturally by the skin when exposed to UV sunlight. It comes primarily from animal sources, such as oily fish, liver, and eggs.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with several forms. Its main role is to act as an antioxidant, scavenging “free radicals” that can damage cells. Vitamin E boosts immune function and prevents clots from forming in arteries. It protects cells from free radical damage as well as slowing free radical production.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes in two forms. Green leafy vegetables like collard greens, kale, and spinach contain the main type of K called phylloquinone. And menaquinones, which are in some animal foods and fermented foods. Bacteria in the body create menaquinones.
K helps to produce proteins needed for blood clotting and bone building. Prothrombin is a vitamin K-dependent protein with direct involvement in blood clotting. Osteocalcin is a protein that uses vitamin K to create healthy bone tissue.
Protein powders are one of the most popular supplements on the market. They fit into a few different forms based on processing; isolate, concentrate, and hydrolysate.
Concentrates production extracts protein from whole food using acids and heat. Protein concentrate is about 60–80% protein, with the remaining 20–40% being carbohydrates and fats.
Think protein concentrate with an additional filtering process that removes fat and carbohydrates. Protein isolate powders contain about 90–95% protein, so it’s a better source for muscular growth.
The purest protein source, hydrolysates intensifies the heating with acid or enzymes breaking the bonds between amino acids. Protein hydrolysates absorb more quickly by your muscles.
Whey is the liquid that separates from the curds during cheesemaking. It’s high in protein. It contains lactose, which is a sugar that some people have a hard time digesting.
Whey concentrate contains milk sugar. Isolate only has small amounts.
Similar to whey, casein is a protein in milk. Casein tends to digest and absorb much more slowly.
During digestion, casein becomes a gel when it combines with stomach acid, slowing the process and delaying the absorption of amino acids into the bloodstream. Which ultimately reduces the rate of muscle protein breakdown.
Eggs are an excellent, whole-food, source of protein. They are easily digestible, decrease hunger, and make you feel fuller longer.
Hemp is rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as several essential amino acids.
Pea protein powder is popular with vegetarians, vegans, and anyone with allergies or sensitivities to dairy or eggs. It’s made from yellow split peas, which are a high-fiber legume with many essential amino acids.
Soy is one of the most common plant-based protein powder supplements on the market. It’s a complete protein, but it is missing a few key amino acids needed for building muscle.
Several studies compare soy protein effects to whey or casein for boosting muscle protein synthesis.
Creatine occurs naturally in muscle cells and helps your muscles produce energy during high-intensity exercise and weight lifting. It’s popular with bodybuilders and athletes as a way to gain muscle, boost strength and improve performance.
Creatine Supplement Varieties
The most common and tested supplement is creatine monohydrate. It’s inexpensive and supported by many notable studies which makes it a great option.
Creatine hydrochloride is becoming more popular with some supplement users due to its reported superior solubility, the possibility of fewer side effects, and lower dosage use.
Creatine ethyl ester may have differing absorption rates than other forms. But in studies, it’s not as effective as the monohydrate form.
Liquid creatine is a ready-to-drink form rather than a powder. Marketers tout its convenience and improved absorption rate. Limited research comparing the two supplements suggests it may actually be less effective than creatine monohydrate.
Pre-workouts are multi-ingredient formulas designed to boost energy and improve athletic performance. They’re typically in powder form mixed into water and consumed before workouts.
There’s not a lot of commonality in ingredients. Pre-workout ingredients include things like amino acids, beta-alanine, caffeine, creatine, and artificial sweeteners. However, the quantities and formulas vary widely depending on the brand and manufacturer.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are one of the most common ingredients in pre-workout formulas, particularly stimulant-free pre-workouts. The term “BCAAs” refers to three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Leucine is the most important of the three BCAAs. It activates the mTOR pathway responsible for muscle protein synthesis. Isoleucine boosts glucose uptake by skeletal muscle cells. Valine inhibits tryptophan metabolism, which augments athletic performance.
BCAAs prevent muscle wasting and reduce muscle soreness, especially during phases of weight loss. BCAA supplements also increase stamina by sparing muscle glycogen during workouts.
Citrulline is a popular ingredient in pre-workout supplements because of its ability to increase nitric oxide levels. As nitric oxide production increases, it improves blood flow which helps nutrients and oxygen to replenish muscle tissue. Ultimately, this helps with greater muscle pumps and increased energy levels.
Research shows that citrulline malate enhances the anti-catabolic effects of BCAA supplements.
Sometimes citrulline is substituted with arginine, beetroot, or agmatine sulfate as a means to boost nitric oxide levels. When done correctly, these substitutes can increase blood flow and circulation. However, citrulline tends to be more effective in doing so.
Many studies show that the optimal dosage of citrulline (malate) is between 4 – 8 grams taken before a workout. You can get citrulline in other pre-workout supplements but they typically only contain around 1 – 2 grams of citrulline.
A non-essential amino acid, beta-alanine is produced naturally within the body.
Beta-alanine helps produce carnosine, which plays a key role in muscle endurance during high-intensity exercise.
Your muscles contain carnosine. Increased levels of carnosine helps the muscles to perform for longer periods before they become fatigued. Carnosine helps to regulate acid buildup in the muscles, which is the main cause of fatigue in the muscles.
Beta-alanine is one of the main ingredients carnosine, so supplementing beta-alanine boosts the production of carnosine which then improves sports performance.
Betaine anhydrous, or trimethylglycine, is an amino acid derivative sourced in beetroot. The body also naturally produces betaine, as it’s an essential regulator of amino acid levels and cellular fluids.
It also affects several physiological processes from balancing blood pressure, improving neurotransmitter function, and DNA replication.
Studies show that using betaine may provide several benefits, including improving composition of the body, boosting power output, and increasing muscular endurance.
When supplementing betaine, effective dosage is between 2,400 and 4,000 mg as a pre-workout.
As a pre-workout ingredient, taurine has many benefits for athletes, runners, and bodybuilders. Taurine is a potent brain booster that reduces brain cell inflammation and oxidative stress.
Taurine boosts blood flow to skeletal muscle tissue. Heightened blood flow to muscle tissue may enhance muscle growth and recovery after a long run or an exhausting workout. Taurine supplements have shown improved performance in some endurance athletes.
As a supplement, taurine is generally recognized as safe since it’s created naturally in the body and found in many foods, like poultry and beef.
Vitamins and Supplements for Weight Management
Supplements and Vitamins for Appetite Control
Appetite suppressants curb hunger cravings and help accelerate metabolism.
Keep You Feeling Full
Many appetite-suppressing products are rich in fibers like glucomannan, which take longer to move through your digestive system. Since an empty stomach usually triggers the hunger response, staying full will decrease your appetite.
Hormones like leptin and peptide YY also play an essential role in the hunger response, so increasing their levels in the body will help you eat less.
Increase Available Energy
Since our bodies get energy from the nutrients in food, maintaining optimal energy levels can decrease the need to eat. Thermogenic hunger suppressants often use vital minerals like B vitamins to create energy by burning fat. As energy increases, more fat is burned. As more fat is burned, more weight is lost.
Mitigate Emotional Eating
Eating often serves as an unhealthy coping mechanism. Who among us hasn’t dug into a tub of ice cream or drank a little too much after a painful breakup?
Fortunately, boosting your mood can prevent the urge to use food as a crutch. Many appetite suppressants contain caffeine and B vitamins, which have been documented to raise your energy and serotonin levels.
Capsimax Powder (piperine, capsicum, and niacin (vitamin B3))
Vitamins and Supplements to Burn Fat
Vitamins and Supplements to Boost Energy
Best Supplements and Vitamins for Men
Best Supplements and Vitamins for Women
Vitamins and Supplements for Inflammation
According to WebMD, inflammation occurs when your white blood cells and the substances they produce protect you from infection from outside invaders. In other words, inflammation can be either short (acute) or long-lasting (chronic). Acute inflammation goes away within hours or days. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can last for years or even decades.
Long-term inflammation is caused by poor diet and lifestyle habits like poor sleep, smoking, and lack of physical activity. This chronic inflammation may increase your risk of health issues like heart disease.
Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for good health. It may help decrease the inflammation associated with diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.
Spirulina is a strain of blue-green algae with strong antioxidant qualities. Studies show it reduces inflammation. It also promotes healthy aging and may strengthen the immune system.
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble nutrient that may have some powerful anti-inflammatory properties and plays a key role in immune health.
Garlic, like ginger and fatty fish, is a common food that’s rich in anti-inflammatory compounds.
It is especially high in allicin, a potent anti-inflammatory agent that may also help strengthen the immune system to ward off disease-causing pathogens.
Curcumin is a compound in spice turmeric. It is commonly used in Indian cuisine and known for its bright orange-yellow color. It provides several impressive health benefits like decreased inflammation for diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer.
Ginger root is used in cooking and has a history of use in eastern medicine. It’s also a homeopathic remedy to treat indigestion, nausea, and morning sickness during pregnancy.
Green tea is used in traditional medicine and is also rich in compounds that may provide many health benefits. These compounds include epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), caffeine, and chlorogenic acid. One huge benefit is that it’s perfect as an anti-inflammatory.