6 Essential Nutrients and Why Your Body Needs Them:
1) Vitamin A:
Vitamin A is one of the most important vitamins. It plays a vital role in vision, immune system, blood clotting, bone growth and other functions. Vitamin A deficiency causes rickets (softening of bones), blindness, mental retardation and many other diseases.
One must get sufficient amount of vitamin A from diet or supplements. There are two main forms of vitamin A: retinol and beta-carotene. Retinol is better absorbed than beta carotene. Vitamin A is found in green vegetables such as carrots, spinach, kale, broccoli and other leafy greens. Beta carotene is found in tomatoes, orange juice, dark chocolate and other foods. Vitamin A is mainly present in animal products like eggs, milk and meat.
Calcium helps maintain strong bones and teeth. It also prevents osteoporosis which weakens bones over time. Lack of calcium leads to fractures of the hip, spine and fingers.
Too much calcium may cause kidney stones, heart disease and high blood pressure. The recommended daily intake of calcium is 1000 milligrams for children aged 4 or younger, teenagers and women who are pregnant or nursing and 1200 milligrams for men. Foods that contain calcium include milk and other dairy products, sardines, canned salmon, tofu prepared with calcium sulfate, kale, broccoli and collard greens.
Many people do not get the right amount of iron from their diet. Iron is necessary for the transport of oxygen in the body and helps prevent anemia. It is found in lentils, red meat, beans, chickpeas, oatmeal, spinach and other iron-rich foods.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for iron is 8 mg a day for adult men and postmenopausal women, 18 mg a day during pregnancy and up to 27 mg a day during breastfeeding. The upper limit for iron without medical supervision is 45 mg a day.
Proteins are made up of amino acids. It is important to get enough protein to maintain and grow muscle mass, make hormones and enzymes and other functions of the body. Three ounces of chicken contains about 31 grams of protein while a cup of milk contains 8 grams of protein.
Other sources of protein include fish, meat, legumes, nuts, eggs, dairy and grains. The RDA for adults is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Calories are units to measure the energy content of food. The amount of calories depends on the macronutrients and other nutrients in a food item. One gram of fat contains about 9 calories, one gram of protein or carbohydrate contains about 4 calories and one gram of alcohol contains about 7 calories.
The RDA for calories is based on age, gender, height, weight and physical activity level.
Water makes up about 60 to 70 percent of an infant’s body, 75 percent of a toddler’s body and on average 60 percent of an adult’s body. It is necessary to eliminate waste and help regulate bodily functions like blood circulation, digestion and absorption of nutrients. It also helps maintain skin and muscle tone.
A person should drink between six to eight glasses of water a day. Water comes from foods like fruits, vegetables and soup as well as from beverages like juices, milk and tea. Tap water, filtered water and bottled water all count.
Vitamins are organic compounds that help the body break down food, absorb minerals and help cells do their jobs. They also help keep the immune system healthy by fighting off infection. Most vitamins do not provide calories (except B12) and unlike minerals are not necessary for life.
However, vitamins act as catalysts for vital chemical reactions within the body. A few vitamins, like Vitamin C, are poisons in large doses.
The best way to get enough vitamins is through a balanced diet. Fortified breakfast cereal and milk, yogurt, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach, peas and beans are all good sources of Vitamin C. The daily recommended intake (RDA) of Vitamin C for an adult is 60 milligrams (mg).
Other sources include fruit, potatoes and peppers. The RDA for Vitamin D is 15 micrograms (mcg) a day. Sources include milk, cereal, eggs and fish like herring, tuna and salmon. The RDA for Vitamin E is 15 mg a day. Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, wheat germ, spinach and some fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin E. The RDA for Vitamin A is 900 mcg a day. Sources include carrots, tomatoes, milk and some fishes. The RDA for Calcium is 1,000 mg a day. Sources include milk, yogurt, cheese, sesame seeds, blackstrap molasses, bok choy and broccoli. The RDA for Iron is 8 mg a day for adult men and non-pregnant women and 18 mg a day for pregnant women. Good sources of iron include lean meats, fish, beans, potatoes, spinach and other leafy vegetables. The RDA for Thiamin (Vitamin B1) is 1.1 mg a day. Sources include pork, seeds, fortified bread and cereal. The RDA for Niacin (Vitamin B3) is 16 mg a day. Sources include chicken, tuna, salmon, shrimp, lentils and peanuts.
A mineral is an inorganic substance that the body needs in small amounts for healthy functioning. Some minerals, like sodium, potassium and chloride are found in many foods. Other minerals like fluoride, zinc and magnesium are only available through supplements or nutrition drinks.
The RDA for minerals is based on age and gender.
A list of minerals and the RDA for them can be found here:
Sodium: 1500 mg (men), 1300 mg (women)
Potassium: 4700 mg (men), 3600 mg (women)
Chloride: 2500 mg (men), 2000 mg (women)
Fluoride: 3.0 – Mthylated (men and women) 1.5 – Dimethylated (women)
Zinc: 15 mg (men), 12 mg (women)
Magnesium: 420 mg (men and women)
Iron: 8 mg (men), 18 mg (women)
Iodine: 150 mcg (all adults)
Manganese: 2.3 mg (men), 1.8 mg (women)
Copper: 2 mg (men), 1.3 mg (women)
Molybdenum: 45 mcg (men), 55 mcg (women)
Chromium: 120 – 200 mcg (men), 120 – 180 mcg (women)
Selenium: 70 – 160 mcg (all adults)
Zinc: 15 mg (men), 12 mg (women)
Boron: 2 mg (men), 2 mg (women)
Arginine: 10 g (men), 6 g (women)
Glycine: 5 g (men), 3 g (women)
Proline: 5 g (men), 3 g (women)
Aloe Vera Juice (Aloe barbadensis Miller)
Boswellia serrata (Frankincense) Gum And Olibanum Resin Complex (Boswellia carteri )
Bromelain (Ananasa comosus)
Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)
Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus aculeatus)
Capers (Capparis spinosa)
Chaparral (Larrea tridentata)
Chlorella (Chlorella pyrenoidosa)
Chocolate (Theobroma cacao)
Coleus (Coleus forskohlii)
Conessine (Aristolochia serpentaria)
Corn Silk (Zea mays)
Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale)
Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia)
Epimedium (Epimedium sagitattum)
Fo Ti (Polygonum multiflorum)
Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)
Ginseng (Panax ginseng)
Green tea (Camelia sinensis)
Hops (Humulus lupulus)
Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) standardized for 20% Teline
Indian Tobacco (Lobelia inflata)
Licorice (Glycyrrihiza glabra)
Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) standardized to 85% Silymarin.
Nettle (Urtica dioica) standardized to 2.5% Uronlcic Acid.
Pau D’Arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa)
Psyllium (Plvsllium psyllium)
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) standardized to 4% Flavonoids
Red Yeast Rice (Monascus purpurogallinatus)
Rehmannia (Rehmania leschenaultii)
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) standardized to 85% Serotonin
St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) standardized to 0.3% Hypericin
Slippery Elm (ulmus fulva)
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Uva Ursi (Arctostaphylos uva ursi)
Vitamin B Complex: Thiamin (B1) Riboflavin (B2) Niacin (B3) Pantothenic Acid (B5) Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (B6) Biotin (B7) Folic Acid (B9) Cobalamin (B12)
Vitamin E Acetate
Vitamin H (Biotin)
Amino Blend: L-Arginine Hydrochloride L-Citrulline DL-Malic Acid L-Aspartic Acid L-Leucine L-Lysine Acetate L-Tyrosine
what does it do?
The ingredients in this product are all proven to do the following:
Also known as the “master antioxidant” and plays a part in 200 enzyme systems in the human body, helps protect DNA from oxidative damage. Glutathione is crucial in helping the body properly detoxify. Glutathione helps prevent liver damage from Tylenol and other drugs, and alcohol.
It also protects the lungs from pollution damage.
Magnesium is involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions, and is required for proper vitamin D activation. Magnesium deficiency is very common, even in developed countries. It’s also very rarely evaluated in the standard medical work-up.
The most common reason for a magnesium deficiency is diarrhea, which is fairly common with antibiotics.
This is a powerful antioxidant that helps break down mucus in the body. It’s also used to detoxify the liver, specifically helping with acetominophen (Tylenol) overdose.
One of the 17 essential trace minerals needed for human life. Without it, you die. It’s an antioxidant and is important for the proper functioning of the thyroid.
Another trace mineral, though not a required nutrient. It helps prevent oxidative stress in the body.
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that prevents apoptosis (cell death) in the epithelium (the thin layer of cells that line all of your organs). It is also a very powerful antioxidant, which protect the body from free radicals (an oxygen molecule with an unpaired electron. Free radicals can steal an electron from a molecule in your body, such as a DNA strand, creating a weak spot in the strand that not only compromises the strength of the strand itself but creates instability that can lead to cancer).
An amino acid that is used to create nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide allows blood vessels to relax, causing them to widen. This allows more blood to flow through the organ, in this case the lungs and genitals.
An amino acid that is used to create arginine in the body. It’s also a precursor for nitric oxide.
An amino acid used to enhance nitric oxide production in the body.
Theobromine is the primary alkaloid in cacao. It’s similar to caffeine, but doesn’t have any of the negative effects (mainly stimulant effects) and instead is a vasodilator like arginine.
Theobromine has a long history of use in herbal medicine as a remedy for many conditions, from asthma to malaria.
A mild stimulant that works by increasing norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. It also works as a fat loss agent by decreasing lipid (fat) synthesis and increasing fatty acid breakdown.
It is very similar to Ephedrine, which was derived from the same plant. Recently, supplements that contain ephedrine have been taken off the market due to reports of deaths from people taking too much. There doesn’t seem to be any such reports with synephrine, which has a lower safety threshold.
How to take it
For fat loss, take two capsules upon waking up and one capsule 4 hours later. For muscle gain, take 2-4 capsules upon waking up and another 2-4 capsules 4 hours later. Another option is to cycle it, which means taking 3 weeks on and 1 week off.
Although I didn’t have any problems with this, others may experience the jitters or experience an energy crash after its effects wear off. If you are susceptible to these symptoms, try spreading your dosage throughout the day rather than taking all of the pills at once.
Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. These are the most common side effects. If they persist, you should seek medical attention.
If you have high blood pressure, heart problems or any other preexisting medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking this.
Serious Side Effects
Anxiety, restlessness and tremor. If you experience tremor, stop taking this immediately and seek medical attention.
Where to Buy
Amazon or your local supplement store.
If you have the money, this is a great product to take for energy, focus and fat loss. I highly recommend it.
Rise and Swell – Optimal Fitness Supplement
Rise and Swell is a mixture of fat loss, muscle gain and overall well-being supplement. It was created by the company Onnit and was released to rave reviews.
The main active ingredient in this product is maca, which is a plant root extract that has been historically used by cultures living in the mountains of Peru. I have personally taken this ingredient on its own in the past with good results. It is a great overall health supplement and works well when taken daily.
Other than maca, the main ingredients in this product are b-vitamins, vitamin C, ashwagandha and rhodiola. Most of us are deficient in these vitamins and minerals anyway, so taking a pill that covers all of your bases in one dose is pretty convenient.
The effects of this supplement are subtle, but become more noticeable after a week or two of use. I had much more energy throughout the day and felt less anxious in stressful situations. My libido was also increased.
This is a great product that can be used by itself or as a subtle extra edge when used in conjunction with other supplements or even food. It’s also great for beginners because it covers all of the basics and will have benefits for almost everyone.
How to take it
Take one pill with water upon waking up and another with lunch.
There aren’t any negative side effects. If you have an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients, consult a doctor immediately.
Where to Buy
Onnit is a great company that makes tons of cool fitness and health related products. The best thing about it is that it’s owned by a guy in Austin, Texas who is as ripped as the celebrities that promote his products. Most of their stuff can be bought directly from the Onnit webstore or Amazon.
Rise and Swell Product Review: This is a great all-in-one supplement designed to increase well-being, energy and focus while helping you drop fat. It contains maca, which is an ingredient that I am very fond of which enhances overall well-being. If you are looking for a daily health supplement, then this is a great choice.
Block Fat Formation
Boost Energy and Improve Mental Acuity
Increase Training Intensity
Improve Sleep Quality
Increase Muscle Hardness and Fullness
Increase Testosterone Levels
Increase Overall Mood and Well-Being
9.5/10 Pros Contains the powerful fat loss, muscle building ingredient, maca. It also contains other natural ingredients that all work synergistically together to help you improve everything from your energy levels to your test levels.
Cheap and affordable.
Increases testosterone levels and improves general well-being.
Boosts energy levels and increases training intensity.
Helps you sleep better which in turn helps you feel rested and recover better from your workouts. Cons There are no real cons other than it only being available directly through the Onnit website. Since it’s so cheap and does so many things, this really isn’t a big deal.
The Bottom Line
This is one of the best supplements for men as it increases testosterone levels, helps you lose fat and gain muscle, gives you more energy and is very affordable. I highly recommend that all men take this every day.
4. Alpha Fuel 365
Alpha Fuel 365 is a product by EPIQ Nutrition and is a great pre-workout supplement.
It contains a powerful combination of ingredients that have been time-tested to deliver results.
This is the type of pre-workout supplement you want to take if you’re looking for something with a bit of an edge. This isn’t for the beginner who is just getting into working out.
This is a great product for experienced lifters and athletes who are really pushing themselves.
How to take it
One scoop before your workout. It can be taken on an empty stomach or with food.
Keep away from children. Not for people under the age of 18. Do not take this if you have a medical condition.
Do not exceed the recommended dose. Do not take if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Where to buy
Alpha Fuel 365 can be bought directly from their website or from Amazon.
This is a great product for experienced weightlifters and athletes as it is not only a great pre-workout but also an excellent intra-workout and post-workout product. It gives you tons of energy to help you power through grueling workouts.
The Bottom Line Alpha Fuel 365 is a powerful pre-workout that is going to give you the energy you need to blast through your workouts. It can help you get the most out of your training which in turn should lead to greater muscle gain and fat loss. It also contains ingredients that can help speed up your recovery times.
It’s definitely worth trying out.
5. Muscle Pharm Assault
Muscle Pharm Assault is a pre-workout supplement made by one of the leading sports nutrition companies that has been around for years.
It contains a powerful mix of ingredients that should provide you with tons of energy, improved mental focus and red blood cell production.
One of the main selling points of this particular supplement is the addition of creatine which has been shown to improve physical performance. It can give you the extra rep or extra speed you need to get through your training.
How to take it
For the best results, mix one scoop with 8oz of water 20-30 minutes before your workout. For even better results, take a second scoop before your workout.
Muscle Pharm Assault does contain a small amount of caffeine so keep this in mind if you are sensitive to it. Do not consume more than two scoops in a 24 hour period and do not take it if you have heart problems or hypertension.
Where to buy
It is available for sale on the MusclePharm website and at Amazon.
While this product does get good reviews from people who take it, it seems to have some mixed reviews from experts. Some have questioned the inclusion of creatine in this pre-workout as they believe it would be more effective on its own. They also point out that you should cycle creatine so you’re not taking it every day.
The Bottom Line While this is a solid product, it’s not the best one on this list in my opinion. If you’re going to buy it, I would recommend getting the smaller container just to try it out first to see if it’s effective for you.
6. Pro Supps PS Assault
Pro Supps PS Assault is a pre-workout supplement that contains a powerful mix of ingredients to give you the energy you need to push through tough workouts.
It helps increase your energy and strength so you can grow all your muscles evenly. You’ll have laser focus and experience a massive increase in your endurance so you can crush your workouts every time.
How to take it
Mix one scoop with water 20-30 minutes before you workout. Do not take if you are sensitive to caffeine or pregnant or breastfeeding.
This supplement does contain a small amount of caffeine so keep this in mind if you are sensitive to it. Pro Supps PS Assault also contains beta alanine which can cause some people to experience a skin tingling sensation that’s usually not harmful but can be annoying for some. Some people have also reported breaking out in sweats and get very dehydrated while taking it.
Where to buy
You can buy Pro Supps PS Assault at their website or at Amazon.
Most reviews for this product are very positive, with people saying it gives them a huge energy boost without any crashing or jitters. It has also been praised for its ability to improve endurance and strength.
The Bottom Line
If you need a serious energy boost and want to take your workouts to the next level then this is a great choice. The downside is that it might cause some people to have an allergic reaction and it can have some side effects for certain people.
Should You Be Using a Pre-Workout Supplement?
Using a pre-workout supplement can give you the extra energy and endurance you need to get through your workouts. They can also help boost your focus so you stay motivated and want to work harder.
While using a pre-workout supplement is not mandatory, they can really help take your fitness goals to the next level.
I have tried several different pre-workout supplements and have listed what I believe are the best ones on the market right now. Decide which one sounds like it would be the best fit for you and give it a try.
Sources & references used in this article:
6 Essential Nutrients and Common Nutrient Deficiencies by CA Mengarelli – emedihealth.com
Essential fatty acids in health and chronic disease by AP Simopoulos – The American journal of clinical nutrition, 1999 – academic.oup.com
Fish oils: The essential nutrients by HR Larsen – life, 2000 – Citeseer
Essential nutrients: Food or supplements?: where should the emphasis be? by AH Lichtenstein, RM Russell – Jama, 2005 – jamanetwork.com
Subsidies of essential nutrients from aquatic environments correlate with immune function in terrestrial consumers by KA Fritz, LJ Kirschman, SD McCay… – Freshwater …, 2017 – journals.uchicago.edu
Supplemental conditionally essential nutrients in cardiovascular disease therapy by BS Kendler – Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 2006 – journals.lww.com
Drug Muggers: Which Medications are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrients–and Natural Ways to Restore Them by S Cohen – 2011 – books.google.com