3 Supplements that work

Fish oil, Vitamin D, Creatine and N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) are some of the most widely researched and accepted supplements.

Reference: Examine.com and the Examine Supplement Guides


3 supplements that work


  1. Fish oil
    • Fish oil is a popular supplement because it provides a variety of health benefits (1)
    • Fish oil is high in Omega 3 fatty acids, which are considered to be the anti-inflammatory fats (1)
    • Omega 6 fats are the pro-inflammatory fats, and are a main constituent of the SAD Diet (Standard American Diet) (1)
      • Eating Omega 3’s can help balance the Omega 6:3 ratio, which is estimated somewhere around 20-25:1 in most Americans
      • Getting the ratio down to somewhere around 3-1:1 can improve healthfish-oil-pills
    • Possible Benefits (Level A evidence)
      • Lowering blood pressure (2)
      • Lowering inflammation (2)
      • Lowering LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) (2)
      • Raising HDL (the “good cholesterol”) (2)
      • Reducing triglycerides (2)
      • Reducing ADHD symptoms in Children (2)
      • As good as pharmaceuticals in reducing depression (2)omega-benefits
    • Dosage
      • Minimum 250 mg/day combined EPA/DHA food and supplement (2)
      • American Heart association recommends 1g/day (2)
      • For acute effects, dosage can be used up to 6 g/day (2)


  1. Vitamin D
    • Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, known as the sunlight vitamin, due to its synthesis occurring in the skin from the sun’s UV waves (2)
    • It has a multitude of benefits to the body including improving mood, considered anti-cancer and can provide long-term protection against cognitive decline and bone deterioration (1,2)
      • For bone health, it should be paired with at least Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin K (1,2)
    • You cannot get enough Vitamin D (specifically D3) from food aloneVitaminD-Sun
    • Benefits
      • Level A Evidence
        • Decrease risk of falls in the elderly (2)
        • Decrease risk of cardiovascular disease (2)
      • Level B Evidence
        • Decrease colorectal cancer risk (2)
        • Decrease bone fracture risk (2)
        • Decrease blood pressure (2)
        • May aid fat loss in persons of higher bodyweight (2)
      • Level C Evidence
        • Decrease all-cause mortality (death) (2)
        • Improvement in insulin secretion and sensitivity (2)
        • Decrease triglycerides (2)
        • May reduce risk of catching the flu (2)
        • Reduces occurrence of asthma attacks in youth (2)
        • Increase in testosterone has been noted in men (2)
        • Decrease symptoms of auto-immune diseases (2)
    • Blood levels
      • It is recommended you get levels tested 2x/year, once during peak summer and once during peak winter
      • You can get your levels checked by asking your Physician for a blood test, or by ordering one online. The most accurate Vitamin D blood test is the 25(OH) Vitamin D test.
      • The Vitamin D Council suggests that a level of 50 ng/ml is the ideal level to aim for. Under 30 ng/ml is deficient, and some say resources say levels should be in the 70-100 ng/ml range. (3)vitamin-d-levels-chart-25-hydroxy-d-optimal-deficient-cancer-excess-ng-mlSource: http://www.mercola.com/article/vitamin-d-resources.htm (5)
    • Dosage
      • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is preferred over D2 (ergocalciferol) due to better utilization in the body (2)
      • To be taken with meals/fats
      • Wearing sunscreen decreases the amount of Vitamin D you get from the sun (you need UVB light to make Vitamin D)
        • Best option is to know your tolerance to the sun and to get at least 10-30 minutes of unprotected sunlight/day during the time 10 AM-2 PM
      • 1,000-2,000 IU D3 is the lowest effective dose range (2)
      • The Vitamin D Council recommends that adults take 5,000 IU/day of vitamin D supplement in order to reach and stay at this level (50 ng/ml) (3).
      • 20-80 IU/kg bodyweight (2)
        • Lower range during periods of high sun exposure
        • Higher range taken during periods of little or no sun exposure

latitude-vitaminDExcept during the summer months, the skin makes little if any vitamin D from the sun at latitudes above 37 degrees north (in the United States, the shaded region in the map) or below 37 degrees south of the equator. People who live in these areas are at relatively greater risk for vitamin D deficiency (4).

  1. Creatine
    • One of the most popular supplements in weight lifters
    • Creatine is the energy source for your cells, extra energy can help you get through intense activity and increase muscle growth (1)
    • A lot of evidence to support safety, performance benefits, muscle growth, liver health, and may be neuroprotective (1)
    • Cheap and can be supplemented indefinitely (1)
    • Benefits
      • Level A Evidence
        • Increasing overall weight due to water retention (2)
        • Increasing hydration status (2)
        • Increase strength from 12-20% and power by 12-26% (2)
        • Increase lean body mass (2)
        • Increase anaerobic cardiovascular capacity (2)
      • Level B Evidence
        • Increase VO2 Max (2)
        • Increase kidney function (2)
        • Increase in testosterone (2)
        • Improve glycemic control (2)
        • Protection against muscle damage (2)
        • Increase muscle endurance (2)
    • Dosage
      • Loading protocol
        • 3 g/kg bodyweight for 5-7 days followed by 5g creatine monohydrate afterwards


  1. Bonus- N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)
    • NAC stands out from the crowd of antioxidants on the supplement store shelf because it’s actually effective when supplemented. NAC is needed to produce the antioxidant enzyme called glutathione, which exerts a general protective effect on the body.
    • NAC can also be supplemented for a variety of cognitive benefits, which include the treatment of drug addiction, reducing irritability and obsession, and protecting against cognitive decline.
    • NAC is also one of the few supplements that might actually remove heavy metals from the body. Though many detoxifying supplements are claimed to have this effect, NAC is one of the few that delivers.


Please consult with your Physician before starting any of the recommended supplements. Also note, the information contained here is not provided to be used in the treatment of any disease.



  1. http://examine.com/insiders/3-supplements-that-absolutely-work/
  2. Examine.com Supplement-Goals Reference Guide
  3. http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/
  4. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/time-for-more-vitamin-d.htm
  5. http://www.mercola.com/article/vitamin-d-resources.htm

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