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Chances are, you may benefit from at least minor supplementation with nutrients that may not be feasible—or readily available—to consume otherwise. This one change can help you thrive when it comes to optimal health and wellness.

But the reality is you may avoid taking supplements at all cost. And that’s likely because you’ve heard a laundry list of myths that have deterred you from taking action.

Below, I’ve compiled top myths regarding supplementation so you can see what’s fake and what’s not:

Myth #1: Creatine supplements are bad for you.

Reality: Creatine, an amino acid in your muscle cells and brain, serves as an energy boost. Some people increase creatine by eating red meat. This will give your body a decent amount of creatine. Others go a step further and take creatine-based supplements before working out for added bursts of energy and to build muscle. By all means, creatine is meant for your good. If you’re training at high intensity and working on your muscles, try it out. Of course, avoid creatine-based supplements if you have renal (kidney) issues. Otherwise, go for it.

Myth #2: Protein supplements make you gain weight overnight.

Reality: Putting on weight with protein is a process and requires years of hard training and taking protein supplements. It won’t happen overnight. Think of it this way: If you eat a greasy burger and fries one night, you’re not going to wreck your body weight if it is an isolated incident. If it happens every day, then eventually you will. The same logic applies here.

Myth #3: Supplements as pills will damage your liver.

Reality: Taking supplements responsibly won’t ruin your liver. Granted, high amounts of many substances can damage your liver. Supplements, in general, are probably one of the lowest on the list of risks. On that note, if supplements in pill form worry you, try powder-based forms.

Myth #4: People who take supplements have something to prove.

Reality: Many people start taking supplements for reasons related to improved fitness and lowering body fat. Common supplements within this category include: fish oil, carnitine tartrate, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), MCT oil and exogenous ketones.

Notice I said lowering body fat and not weight. Body fat and weight are different. Technically, someone could have a healthy weight but high body fat; it’s rare, though. Essentially, the lower an individual’s visceral and subcutaneous body fat, the healthier the individual tends to be.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that men’s body fat stay between 10 to 22 percent; and women’s body fat stay between 20 to 32 percent. If you fall within an ideal body fat range, still make time for exercise, specifically high-intensity interval training, or HIIT—20 to 75 percent of which should be used for training and cardio. Click here to learn more about HIIT. Also, consider adding in supplementation, such as omega-3 fatty acids, quality protein powder, carnitine, chelated magnesium and a multivitamin.

Move more

If you want to reduce overall body fat for improved health, start with exercise and add in supplements. Here are some overarching guidelines to get started:

Exercise doesn’t have to include the gym. Take a fun class or get outside and walk, hike, jog, bike, climb, swim, sprint or box. Find something you enjoy that challenges you physically and increases your heart rate. Avoid being sedentary.

Exercise does take time, as do other hobbies. You’re going to fill your day with activities. Go ahead and make one of those a workout. If you can’t add in exercise to your already crammed schedule, swap exercise for something else, like that last hour of Netflix.

Exercise doesn’t have to be lengthy to be effective. HIIT can be fundamental to fat loss and won’t take up an hour of your day.

Exercise with supplements before and after. You may want to time your supplements for increased efficacy. For example: Fish oil, carnitine, CLA, MCTs and caffeine may all be more beneficial before working out, whereas creatine, protein and other vitamins and minerals may be more rapidly and easily absorbed after working out.

Of course, remember to get sufficient sleep and don’t overwork your body. Rest days are still a good idea. Come stop by Nutrition World to learn more. Our friendly, educated staff will be happy to assist you.  

Adam Chauncey is a wellness consultant at Nutrition World, which opened in 1979 with the priority of offering Chattanooga’s best selection of health products that meet high standards for quality.