What Supplements Should I Take

What Supplements Should I Take by Milaonsupplements

For the readers who followed me since the beginning of this blog, they might remember that milaonsupplements.com was a website for supplement reviews.

My curiosity towards supplementation started at a very young age, around 15-16 years old when my fat loss journey began. I asked my mom if she would buy me a bottle of L-carnitine, a well-know and very safe amino acid, which supports weight loss.

Surprisingly, she said yes. Of course, she consulted with the pharmacist before buying the supplement. This is how I got "hooked on supplements." And this is where my website name comes from "mila on supplements."

Minimalism Among Bottles of Supplements

Today, things are quite different for me. I select my dietary supplements very carefully. I read their labels. I am interested in the origin of their source and what quality certificates they hold.

I usually buy established supplement brands, trying to choose the optimal between quality and price. At present, if I decide to include a different dietary supplement than my usual supplements stack, it must serve to a specific goal. 

I need to understand first how a given supplement could help me to improve a particular aspect of my life - be it better sleep, better focus, better endurance, faster post-workout recovery, and so on. I no longer take supplements based on articles written by famous columnists on fitness websites.

Steal my ready made supplement stacks in 8 categories

Although I have significantly reduced the varieties of supplements I take, I am still a big supporter of sports enhancement through quality supplementation. The difference is that at present, I do it smarter, with a different attitude and philosophy towards supplementation.

With this post, I will explain what the main categories of supplements I take are, depending on my goal for a particular period.

Enjoy this post, I wrote it with a great deal of attention and knowledge coming from the many years of experience with dietary supplements for sports performance.

So What Supplements Should I Take For (...)?

For everything? Pal, you know that’s the impossible pill. And you don’t have to make the same mistakes as I did – taking a handful of supplements just in case. Following my minimalist fitness philosophy, I’ve reduced my supplementation to only what’s essential and proven to work (IMO).

When deciding on what supplements to take, there are some essential aspects regarding your lifestyle, which you have to consider.

For example, consider the following:

  • Your diet – are you a vegan, do you eat fish, do you eat milk products, what about fats and essential omegas? Then, do you fall into a group of people at risk of deficiency of particular vitamins, minerals, or essential amino acids?
  • Activity level – how many times per week you exercise, do you sweat a lot? Then what’s your electrolytes consumption per day?
  • Exercising – high-volume, heavy lifting? Then do you have problems with your joints?
  • Protein consumption – where does your source of protein come from? Then, what’s its absorption rate?

And so on. These are just example questions that you have to ask yourself to determine what supplementation you should take. It ranges from person to person, and there isn’t one fit for all solutions.

Even I, after so many years of experimentations with supplements, have to adjust supplement intake and combinations depending on my current goals.

It’s a constant process of trials, errors, and wins. It’s also a balance. There isn’t a pill for quality food, sufficient sleep, and regular exercising. You have to commit to these three activities first, before deciding on what supplements to take.

Okay. I accept that we have agreed on this point. Nutrition, exercising, and sleep come first, supplementation second.

Let’s take a look at my supplementation.

1) Supplements I Take Daily

  • Vitamin D

2000 IU Vitamin D appears to be the lower end of what is recommended or otherwise seen to improve median lifespan secondary to reduced mortality.

This is most likely related to reducing falls in the elderly, but is still a form of "life extension," and one of the only ones in this list shown to be related to improved functionality in the elderly.

1
Now Foods, Vitamin D-3 High Potency, 2,000 IU, 240 Softgels

Vitamin D-3

  • 2000 IU/softgel
  • 240 softgels/bottle
  • High potency form
  • NOW Foods - quiality brand
2
Solgar, Natural Source Vitamin E, 134 mg (200 IU), 100 Softgels

Vitamin E

  • 200 IU/softgel
  • 100 softgels/bottle
  • High potency form
  • Solgar - quiality brand
3
Bluebonnet Nutrition, Vitamin A, 10,000 IU, 100 Softgels

Vitamin A

  • 10000 IU - take 1 softgel each 5 days
  • 100 softgels/bottle
  • Made from fish liver oil
  • Bluebonnet - quality brand
4
Jarrow Formulas, EPA-DHA Balance, 240 Softgels

EPA + DHA

  • 600 mg EPA+DHA/softgel
  • 240 softgels/bottle
  • Ultra-purified and highly concentrated Omega-3
  • Jarrow Formulas - quality brand
5
Doctor's Best, High Absorption Magnesium 100% Chelated with Albion Minerals, 100 mg, 120 Tablets

Magnesium

  • 100 mg/capsule
  • 120 capsules/bottle
  • High Absorption, 100% Chelated
  • Doctor's Best - quality brand
6
Now Foods, L-OptiZinc, 30 mg, 100 Veg Capsules

L-OptiZinc

  • 30 mg/capsule
  • 100 capsules/bottle
  • Highly bioavailable form
  • Now Foods - quality brand

2) Supplements I Take for Power Output

  • Creatine

For the purpose of enhancing power output, 5 g of creatine is the lowest dose typically recommended. Higher doses can be used if desired.

Creatine is the most well-researched supplement for the purpose of power output and is highly recommended for this goal.

Dymatize Nutrition, Creatine Micronized, Unflavored, 10.6 oz (300 g)

Creatine

  • 5 grams/dosage
  • 60 dosages/pack
  • Micronized creatine monohydrate
  • Dymatize - quiality brand

3) Supplements I Take to Improve Sleep

I will share two of the sleep supplement stacks I use. These are natural supplements that can help with sleep.

"Help with sleep," refers to decreasing the time required to fall asleep (good for insomniacs) and enhancing sleep quality.

a) The first stack is very common, it is suitable for people who take a long time to fall asleep

  • Magnesium - 200 mg with
  • Melatonin - 3 mg, 30 minutes before bed.
1
Doctor's Best, High Absorption Magnesium 100% Chelated with Albion Minerals, 100 mg, 120 Tablets

Magnesium

  • 100 mg/capsule
  • 120 capsules/bottle
  • High Absorption, 100% Chelated
  • Doctor's Best - quality brand
2
Natrol, Melatonin, Time Release, 3 mg, 100 Tablets

Melatonin

  • 3 mg/tablet
  • 100 tablets/bottle
  • Time Release + B-6
  • Natrol - quality brand

b) Sleep support stack with calming and anti-stress effect

This is the stack I use when I have periods of a lot of work, when a great deal of stress is accumulated.

  • Melatonin (time-released), 3-5 mg (start with 1-3 mg), 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • GABA - 500 mg, 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • 5-HTP - 100 - 200 mg, 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • L-OptiZinc - 30 mg, 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Glycine - 1-2 g, 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Magnesium - 200 - 400 mg (element total), 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Vitamin C - 500 mg, 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Magnesium - 200 - 400 mg (element total), after a workout.
  • Glycine - 1-2 g, after a workout.
1
Natrol, Melatonin, Time Release, 3 mg, 100 Tablets

Melatonin

  • 3 mg/tablet
  • 100 tablets/bottle
  • Time Release + B-6
  • Natrol - quality brand
2
Now Foods, GABA, 500 mg, 200 Veg Capsules

GABA

  • 500 mg/capsule
  • 200 capsules/bottle
  • With vitamin B-6
  • Now Foods - quality brand
3
Natrol, 5-HTP, Time Release, Extra Strength, 100 mg, 45 Tablets

5-HTP

  • 100 mg/capsule
  • 45 capsules/bottle
  • Time release, extra strength
  • Natrol - quality brand
4
Now Foods, L-OptiZinc, 30 mg, 100 Veg Capsules

L-OptiZinc

  • 30 mg/capsule
  • 100 capsules/bottle
  • Highly bioavailable form
  • Now Foods - quality brand
5
Now Foods, Glycine, Pure Powder, 1 lb (454 g)

Glycine

  • 2 gr/dosage
  • 454 gr/pack
  • Free form
  • Now Foods - quality brand
6
Doctor's Best, High Absorption Magnesium 100% Chelated with Albion Minerals, 100 mg, 120 Tablets

Magnesium

  • 100 mg/capsule
  • 120 capsules/bottle
  • High Absorption, 100% Chelated
  • Doctor's Best - quality brand
7
Now Foods, C-500 With Rose Hips, 250 Tablets

Vitamin C

  • 500 mg/tablet
  • 250 tablets/bottle
  • With rose hips
  • Now Foods - quality brand

4) Supplements I Take to Ease Fatigue and Stress Levels

The fatigue and stress supplement stack consists of supplements that are promising in preventing what is known as brain and physical "burnout."

This term means an excessive workload and low-grade stressors over a long period that has been accumulating in our bodies.

This “burnout” causes an exhausted state comparable to fatigue and stress. It is very common for other complications to occur, such as anxiety or depression.

a) This supplements stack helps with acute fatigue and stress symptoms

  • L-Tyrosine

L-Tyrosine is the precursor to catecholamines (adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine), and having a pool of tyrosine in your body can prevent their depletion that occurs during stress.

L-Tyrosine isn't really capable of spiking them to higher, but rather than regulating the normal levels, which is the goal when taking tyrosine.

Thus, 2 g of L-Tyrosine tends to be the lowest recommended dose for L-Tyrosine. Many studies used this amino acid in the 10-12 g range, taken in multiple doses throughout the 'stressful' period.

  • Pelargonium sidoides

900 mg daily (in three doses of 300mg) is the dose of the basic root extract that is able to reduce acute fatigue. 

Only for the fatigue associated with acute bronchitis (and possibly other viral infections, which are less studied), this herb can greatly reduce the fatigue associated with sickness.

California Gold Nutrition, L-Tyrosine, AjiPure, 500 mg, 60 Veggie Capsules

L-Tyrosine

  • 500 mg/capsule
  • 60 capsules/bottle
  • Features AjiPure® L-Tyrosine
  • California Gold - quality brand

b) This supplements stack helps with chronic fatigue and stress symptoms

This is the stack I prefer and I like to use. Years ago, I suffered from chronic fatigue and it was an unpleasant experience. This stack helped a lot along the way to recovery.

  • Ornithine

The dosage of 2-6 g L-ornithine has shown anti-fatigue effects in cases where there is an excessive level of ammonia in the blood.

Ammonia is inherently pro-fatigue, and it is known to be spiked in prolonged exercise and it is suspected that long work hours may predispose persons to higher than average circulating ammonia concentrations.

L-Ornithine is unlikely to have any benefit in persons who do not have elevated ammonia concentrations.

  • Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is one of the most well researched adaptogen compounds and appears to be particularly effective against prolonged stress and fatigue.

It has been implicated in both preventative and rehabilitative uses and has a relatively large body of human evidence to support its effects.

The 288-680 mg range is what is used in human studies, and assumes an extract that is standardized for 3% rosavins and 1% salidroside. The higher dose is recommended for one-time usage, and the lower dose is recommended for daily usage.

1
Doctor's Best, Pure L-Ornithine Powder, Unflavored, 7.1 oz (200 g)

L-Ornithine

  • 2 grams/dosage
  • 200 grams/pack
  • Pure powder l-ornithine HCI
  • Doctor's Best - quality brand
2
Now Foods, Rhodiola, 500 mg, 60 Veg Capsules

Rhodiola Rosea

  • 500 mg/capsule
  • 60 capsules/bottle
  • 3% Rosavins and 1% Salidroside
  • Now Foods - quality brand

5) Supplements I Take to Improve Muscle Recovery

This muscle recovery supplements accelerate the rate of recovery after a workout and include supplements that reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and help with self-perceived readiness for a workout.

The supplements mentioned in this stack is not necessarily muscle builders. However, they do allow more work to be conducted and thus gain more lean muscle mass over time.

  • Citrulline Malate

Citrulline (malate) has been noted to reduce soreness when measured two days after a workout by 40%, and this is despite increasing the amount of work that could be conducted during the testing session.

The dose of 8 g citrulline malate appears to be able to enhance recovery rates (both during a workout and the next few days after a workout).

  • L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine-L-Tartrate has repeatedly been demonstrated to reduce soreness and biomarkers of muscle damage when taken prior to a power workout (sprinting or weightlifting).

Forms such as GPLC or ALCAR should still be effective, too. Take 2-4 grams per day.

  • HMB

3 g of the HMB (B-Hydroxy-B Methybutyrate) as a free acid, taken 15-30 minutes before a workout can reduce the amount of muscle damage measured over the next few days and improve perceived readiness to again work out.

1
Primaforce, Citrulline Malate, Unflavored, 200 g

Citrulline Malate

  • 2 gr/dosage
  • 200 gr/pack
  • Potent arginine precursor
  • Primaforce - quality brand
2
ALLMAX Nutrition, L-Carnitine + Tartrate, 120 Capsules

L-Carnitine

  • 735 mg/capsule
  • 120 caosules/bottle
  • L-Carnitine-L-Tartarate
  • ALLMAX - quality brand
3
Now Foods, Sports, HMB Powder, 3.2 oz (90 g)

HMB

  • 1 gr/dosage
  • 90 gr/bottle
  • High absorption powder
  • Now Foods - quality brand

6) Supplements I Take When Having Huge Blocks of Mental Work

The supplements in the memory and focus supplement stacks are known to reduce the rate of cognitive aging.

These supplements are well-proven to have memory-enhancing and cognitive enhancing properties that are specific to a state of cognitive decline. The stacks under this category are beneficial to improve long-term memory formation.

Take the supplements as described below:

  • Blueberries powder - 5 g; 500 – 1,000 mg of anthocyanins (the active compound in blueberries), or eat 60 – 120 g of fresh blueberries a day.
  • Add Bacopa monnieri (150 mg of bacosides), taken with food, once a day.
  • Add a cholinergic supplement - CDP-choline 250 - 500 mg, twice a day, for a total daily dose of 500 – 1,000 mg.
1
Nature's Answer, Bacopa, 500 mg, 90 Vegetarian Capsules

Bacopa Monnieri

  • 500 mg/capsule
  • 90 capsules/bottle
  • Standardized for 20% bacosides
  • Nature's Answer - quality brand
2
Jarrow Formulas, Citicoline, CDP Choline, 250 mg, 60 Capsules

CDP-Choline

  • 250 mg/capsule
  • 60 caosules/bottle
  • Cognizin Citicoline
  • Jarrow Formulas - quality brand

7) Supplements I Take When I Am in a Fat Loss Phase

This fat loss supplements stack is suitable for people who can well tolerate stimulants and thermogenic supplements.

Maintain this supplement protocol for a week, then include the following supplements:

1
ALLMAX Nutrition, Caffeine , 200 mg, 100 Tablets

Caffeine

  • 200 mg/tablet
  • 100 tablets/bottle
  • Caffeine Anhydrous
  • ALLMAX - quiality brand
2
Primaforce, SYNEBURN, 10 mg, 180 Vegetarian Capsules

Synephrine

  • 10 mg/capsule
  • 180 capsules/bottle
  • Advantra Z bitter orange extract
  • Primaforce - quality brand
3
Nature's Answer, White Willow with Feverfew, 500 mg, 60 Vegetarian Capsules

White WIllow Extract

  • 500 mg/capsule
  • 60 capsules/bottle
  • Standardized for 15% Salicin
  • Nature's Answer - quality brand
4
Primaforce, Yohimbine HCl, 2.5 mg, 90 Vegetarian Capsules

Yohimbine

  • 2.5 mg/capsule
  • 180 capsules/bottle
  • Yohimbine HCl
  • Primaforce - quality brand
5
Advance Physician Formulas, Forskolin, Coleus Forskohlii Extract, 100 mg, 60 Capsules

Forskolin

  • 100 mg/capsule
  • 60 capsules/bottle
  • Standardized to 10% forskolin
  • Advance Physician Formulas - quality brand

8) Supplements I Take Pre-Workout

These are the supplements I usually take pre-workout. This supplement stack is designed for the purpose of enhancing physical performance associated with prolonged muscular performance (e.g. sports, circuit training, martial arts) and supplements that give some strength and power-enhancing properties (e.g. sprints, weight lifting).

These supplements verge to prolong the time to fatigue.

  • Beta-Alanine

3000 mg daily is one of the lower doses that is shown to confer beneficial effects to physical exercise. The time range of 60-240 seconds appears to be where beta-alanine routinely outperformed placebo.

One meta-analysis concluded that, in the 60-240s range, beta-alanine can contribute to a 1.3+/-1.0% improvement in performance.

  • Nitrate - Beet Root's dosage: 500 mg

Nitrate appears to be associated with improvements in prolonged anaerobic exercise tests and prolonged exercise such as 5km jogs or bicycle runs. The benefit appears to be due to an increase in nitric oxide.

  • Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

15 g BCAA prior to physical exercise in athletes seems to be able to promote physical endurance secondary to reducing fatigue. This occurs in prolonged physical exercise of 30-60 minutes or more.

This may be one of the few instances where BCAA supplementation has a place over protein supplements, as the inclusion of tryptophan is thought to be adverse to performance in the same people who benefit from BCAAs.

1
Primaforce, Beta-Alanine, Unflavored, 200 g

Beta-Alanine

  • 2 gr/dosage
  • 200 gr/pack
  • Tested for purity and potency
  • Primaforce - quality brand
2
Solaray, Beet, 605 mg, 100 VegCaps

Beet Root

  • 600 mg/capsule
  • 100 caosules/bottle
  • Nitrate source
  • Solaray - quality brand
3
Scivation, Xtend, The Original 7 G BCAA, Lemon-Lime Squeeze, 14.8 oz (420 g)

BCAAs

  • 14 gr/dosage
  • 30 dosages/bottle
  • With Electrolytes and Citrulline Malate
  • Scivation - quality brand

Geez, Mila, Should I Take All of the Above Supplements to Thrive?

Nope. No one needs so many supplements to take a day (though I'm not sure about professional athletes).

I also don't take all of the above supplements daily. I choose which supplements to take and when, depending on my workout periodization protocol, workload, and stress levels.

My daily stack base includes the supplements I described at the beginning under "supplements I take daily." Then, I will build up my stack according to the goal I have at a given time.

General Tips to Follow When Selecting a Supplement

  1. Don't play low, pay extra for quality and trusted brands.
  2. Use the most bioavailable form (avoid supplements under the form of oxides and carbonates).
  3. Start with the lowest recommended dosage (be careful with stimulants and pre-workout supplements).
  4. Be minimalistic - combine supplements where possible or substitude their usage (for example, if you drink a lot of coffee/energy drinks, don't take additional caffeine).
  5. Avoid taking supplements together, where absorption conflict may occur (for me, this is caffeine and creatine - I don't take them together).
  6. Please pay attention to some supplements which dissolve only under particular conditions (for example, Vitamin D needs fats to be absorbed by our bodies).
General Tips to Follow When Selecting a Supplement

Wrapping It Up

You may have noticed that I didn't include protein powder in my lists of supplements. This is because I'm not too fond of drinking protein. Most of the protein products taste awful, they are waaay tooo sweeet for my taste, and most of the time, protein powders make me sick.

I prefer to eat my food. I am not claiming that drinking powdered food is terrible, it's just how I like to keep my nutrition - clean, simple, with less processed products.

If anyone is interested in any other "what supplements should I take for...(e.g., muscle building)," let me know in the comments below, subscribe to my newsletter, and I will send you an update once I include the additional info in this blog post.

Until then.

- Mila aka "Jomo is my Mojo"

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