Supplementation for Health

A varied, balanced diet should be sufficient to ensure requisite vitamin and mineral intake but, when in certain instances, this can be slightly compromised by either a calorie deficit or a natural deficiency, it might be worth considering supplementation. 

Research into supplements can be overwhelming, exhausting, and if you read enough, you can end up believing you need a supplement for everything.

We've put together a list for you of the most commonly used and asked about supplements, with what they do, why you might need them, and how much you need. 

The below could help you achieve your nutritional requirements, optimise your nutrition for your goal and improve performance. 

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Whey Protein Powder

  • It's not really a supplement, as it's derived from dairy. It's more of a 'performance food'.
  • Beneficial for fat loss, muscle gain, performance and optimal health.
  • Why does protein matter?
    • Helps weight loss through increased satiety and TEF (thermic effect of food)
    • Essential for muscle gain & muscle retention
    • Supports training adaptation and recovery 
    • Necessary for a healthy immune system 
    • Healthy hair & skin
  • How do I get it?
    • Through the food we eat, although it can sometimes be challenging to hit requirements, particularly if you are vegetarian or vegan.
    • Using protein powders can help supplement intake when it can't be reached through food alone.
  • Should I supplement/How much do I need?
    • Your protein requirements depend on your goal
    • Optimal health 1.2-1.6g/kg (of body weight per day)
    • Endurance 1.2-1.7g/kg
    • Weight loss & body composition 1.8-2g/kg
    • Muscle gain 1.8-2.7g/kg
    • You can use protein powder to supplement your intake as much as needed.

Vitamin D

  • Beneficial in all areas, particularly optimal health.
  • Why does it matter?
    • Supporting your immune system
    • Improving bone health via supporting calcium absorption
    • Reducing depressive symptoms
    • Potentially improves strength & fat loss
    • Symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness and achey joint.
  • How do I get it?
    • Vitamin D is mainly obtained from the sun, with very small amounts found in food.
    • It's very difficult to get enough from a healthy, varied diet or sun exposure (particularly in the UK).
  • Should I Supplement?
    • Probably yes, especially during the winter months.
    • Supplement with Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
    • The best way is to get your levels tested and then supplement accordingly, but this could be anywhere between 1000-4000IUs per day.
  • Although I would always encourage a food first approach, Vitamin D is one of those that is definitely worth supplementing with.

Omega 3/Fish Oils

  • Beneficial in all areas, particularly optimal health.
  • Why Does It Matter?
    • Cardiovascular benefits
    • Reduces inflammation
    • May increase strength & size gains
    • May improve fat loss
  • How Do I Get it?
    • Oily fish 
  • Should I Supplement/How Much Do I Need?
    • Daily dose-dependent on oily fish intake
    • A dose equivalent to EPA & DHA
    • The dose is goal & individual dependent 
    • 300-1800mg/day
    • Vegetarian sources exist - algae oil

Built for you


  • This is beneficial if micronutrient requirements aren't being met by your diet. Eg. when working towards a calorie deficit or when food variety is reduced.
  • Why Does It Matter?
    • Sufficient intake of vitamins and minerals is vital for optimal health. 
  • How Do I Get it?
    • From a varied, balanced diet and a colourful plate!
  • Should I Supplement/How Much Do I Need?
    • It's best to get them from food so only supplement when necessary 
    • Supplement when in a calorie deficit or if there is poor diet quality 
    • Opt for a good quality multivitamin and supplement as per packet recommendations 

Remember, as with all of the above, supplementation and diet is personal to you, your goals, and your lifestyle.

We spoke in 'Understanding Nutrition for Your Goal' about how to implement healthy habits, so if this list has made you realise you may be lacking in a specific area, making small changes within your diet is a great place to start. Then, introducing supplements to support your training will ensure your body is at an optimum performance level to achieve your goals.

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