3-Up: Nutritional Supplements

Written by Dr. Prathap Addageethala

For the last 6 years, Examine.com has been on a mission to give you the latest, greatest, and most updated information regarding supplements, health buzz, and of course science (you won’t find Vani Hari-style info there). Long story short, I trust the information they have available. Oh, and they’re a Canadian company which automatically makes them awesome IMHO.

They not so recently sent out information to their subscribers regarding the top 3 best supplements for you, backed by research. In other words, believe the hype surrounding these supplements. On the flip side, they also identified the 3 biggest underachievers of the same types of ‘wonder-supplements.’ So, in order to present that information to you, I’ve included a few more details on what each supplement is purported to do, and why they either excel or fall flat.

Fish Oils

(Lists procured from Examine.com — check them out for additional details on a wide variety of health related information. I definitely recommend becoming an Insider/Member/Subscriber to their health bulletins, chock full of good, free information, if you’re so inclined.)

Why it’s good:

Simply put, fish oils are the body’s Swiss army knives. Our body needs two types of essential fatty acids (EFA), Omega-3 and Omega-6, which the body itself does not create, manufacture, or synthesize on its own. The information about Omega-3, and Omega-6 fatty acids is not very well understood to the average consumer, despite a plethora of product advertising. Everything from eggs to fruit juices are advertising being “enhanced” with these magical molecules.

Vitamin D

While the average human diet is fairly rich in Omega-6 fatty acids, fish oils can really help strike a balance and stabilize the ratio of these EFAs by increasing the Omega-3 levels in the body. On record, research shows that fish oils drastically reduce triglycerides (fats) in the body, which is extremely heart protective. Research also indicates that fish oils can reduce severe depression and reduce joint pain.

Why it’s good:

Vitamin D is one of a handful of fat-soluble vitamins. It helps us absorb other nutrients and minerals (Magnesium, Iron, Phosphate, Zinc) from our gut, and promotes bone health by being a major factor in the absorption of Calcium (specifically through a cascade of chemical reactions in the liver and kidneys). Calcitriol — the biologically active form of Vitamin D — acts as a hormone to regulate blood Calcium and Phosphate levels, and can also have cognitive and mood improving effects.


Supplementation is generally safe and effective. The body can also synthesize Vitamin D from a reaction with sunlight. People who are photophobic, hide from the sun, or live in chronically cloudy locales (I’m looking at you Seattle and London), are recommended to add a Vitamin D supplement to their lives.

Why it’s good:

This one is my favourite. Cheap, natural, effective, fast absorbing, with loads of research on its value nutritionally, cognitively, and for athletic enhancement. That’s why creatine is a staple among serious gym-goers and those on muscle-building missions. What’s even more impressive is how easily it can begin to work in your body.

Energy travels through our body in many forms. One way the body unleashes usable energy is by making and breaking chemical bonds. Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP), a molecule with two phosphate groups, is a common starting point for energy production, because it can easily add a third phosphate group and morph into its high energy cousin Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). Through various chemical processes, ATP can lose its third phosphate and release a bolt of energy (I don’t know why, but I always think of Street Fighter II’s Ryu letting loose a HADOOUKEN!). In the muscle and brain, where energy demands are higher, creatine offers its services by becoming a sort of phosphate ferry — also known as phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine hands off a phosphate to ADP, creating more ATP, and speeding up the process of energy production.

Basically, without creatine as the middleman, ADP would have to go all the way to the source of phosphates, turn into ATP, and go all the way back to where the ATP is needed. Throw our helpful buddy creatine in there, and it does all the running around, keeping the energy producing molecules right where they need to be — in those energy-guzzling areas like the muscles and brain.

Depiction of when ATP loses a Phosphate and let’s loose a bolt of energy! Thanks Capcom!

(Source Material http://bit.ly/1FKINAx)

Originally published at https://medium.com on February 16, 2019.



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