The Short Scoop on Supplements – Part II

The Short Scoop on Supplements – Part II

In the last article, I covered the types of supplements available and listed some important questions you should ask yourself when making a decision on whether to start a supplement or how to choose supplements that are safe and cost-effective.  In this article, let us take a look at a few common supplements that many athletes inquire about or take on a regular basis without knowing their purpose. 1. Magnesium This is an important mineral and electrolyte for athletes. Magnesium has many roles, including bone metabolism, immune system health, muscle contraction, and carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It is not common to have magnesium levels tested as part of routine blood work unless we work with a functional medicine doctor or specifically request this lab to be drawn. However, it has been suggested that the majority of us are deficient in this micronutrient. Two common reasons for deficiency are that there is simply an inadequate intake of its food sources, and secondly, the soils in which the foods are grown are lacking in the mineral.  I do not recommend supplementing without first having a dietary assessment done by a dietitian who also considers your physical activity levels.  A dietitian will know the right dosage for you, the best absorbable forms, and can give you further guidance on nutrition to optimize your magnesium intake. Note that good food sources of magnesium include dark leafy greens, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, almonds, beans, and whole grains. 2. Vitamin D Commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin”, the process to synthesize vitamin D in the body is quite complex. Its roles in the body are...