Choose the right supplements!

In this post, I would like to give you some guidance about which supplements you should take as a crossfitter.  First, I would like to point out that I am not a medical doctor, and hence cannot promise you anything else than good advice based on years of researching and trying supplements.  I have a passion for natural supplements, which developed while I was treated for digestive-related problems with supplementation and diet.

Now, my opinion is that you should aim to get your vitamins and minerals intake from foods.  There are some essentials nutrients that are difficult to obtain from the diet in adequate amounts.  That is why supplementation are beneficial to achieve optimal health.  If you eat a paleo diet, with lots of vegetables, some fruits, good saturated fats, and adequate amount of proteins from animal sources, your are on the good path.  If you eat grains, dairy, and processed foods, you will inevitably have some nutrients deficiencies, mostly in minerals, since it produces a net acid load and promotes bone de-mineralization.  This is why in North America, milk is fortified with calcium!?

When it comes to supplementation, I strongly recommend everyone to take cod liver oil.  It contains the omega-3 essential fatty acids that are necessary to build brain cells and ensure proper blood-clotting, as well as being recognized to reduce systemic inflammation.  Moreover, cod liver oil is the best food source of vitamin D.  Vitamin D is mostly produced by the body during sun exposure.  Thirty minutes of sun exposure of the hands and face is sufficient for your daily intake.  However, in Canada, we don’t get sufficient sun exposure for half of the year; clinical studies show that most Canadian are deficient in vitamin D.  Fish, liver, and egg yolk are the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D.  Vitamin A, which is required for assimilation of protein, minerals and water-soluble vitamins, as well as acting as antioxidant hence protecting the body against free-radical damage and diseases like cancer, is also found in cod liver oil in appreciable amounts.  Finally, cod liver oil also contains vitamin E, which is another powerful antioxidant, as well as ensuring proper immune function, as well as skin regeneration.  Hence, one teaspoon to one tablespoon of cod liver oil per day will give you a good head start.  If you are serious about getting a good supplement, I would advice to get fermented cod liver oil.  The only company that makes it is Green Pastures, and you can buy it in Victoria at Planet Organic or Health Essentials.

Next, magnesium is one of the most important nutrient to overall health. Over 300 enzymes need it, including enzymes required to synthesize DNA, RNA and proteins. Magnesium also plays an important role in bone and cell membranes.  Magnesium deficiency produces symptoms like muscle cramps, heart arrhythmias, tremor, headaches and acid reflux, and it’s associated with CVD, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, migraines, PMS, asthma, hypothyroidism…  Intense sweating contributes to magnesium loss, which means that crossfitters should replenish their magnesium load after working out.   The most well-absorbed forms of magnesium is bisglycinate, malate and taurate; these are the ones you want to buy if you don’t want to waste your money.

Lastly, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and is key for building a strong immune system.  As crossfitters, we often tax our immune system with gruelling workouts.  Vitamin C also helps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye diseases, and skin wrangling.  Vitamin C is not well absorbed by the body, so your convenient inexpensive bottle from the drug mart is probable ineffective.  You want to buy vitamin C in the ascorbate form, that come along bioflavonoids which will enhance absorption.

In summary, I suggest that crossfitters, and everyone in general, supplement with cod liver oil, magnesium. and vitamin C.  As for your multivitamins, unless you are considering a high-quality brand, you can throw these in the garbage!  Most brands of multivitamins contain too little concentration of each vitamins and minerals in the cheapest forms that are usually not well absorbed by the body.  It is a waste of money!  Some brands though offer quality ingredients in potent quantity, and in this case, it is a valuable tool to optimize your health.  You can ask me personally about specific brands.  Otherwise, you better be specific about your supplementation and get the desired results!


Coaches Notes:

  • Grab 2 friends and rock out the AMRAP
  • Partner 1 sets the pace at each station with a 250M row
  • Partner 2 completes as many db push jerks as possible in the time it takes P1 to row 250M.  Partner 3 completes box jumps in the same fashion
  • Rotate through the stations throughout the 12 minutes
  • On the push press, really focus on stability overhead and keeping the core engaged as it will be more challenging with the instability overhead
  • Think of there being egg shells on the box during your box jumps.  Use your quads to soften the landing on the box.


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