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6 Best Supplements for Exercise

Dear Dr.Kim

I started a new exercise program this January, am feeling very good, and am wondering if there is anything I should be taking for support?

M.T. Victoria



Dear M.T.

The benefits of your exercise program will be enhanced by optimal nutrition and some key supplements can add support. Your nutrition should combine an adequate amount of protein with colourful carbohydrates. Typically, protein recommendations are set at 0.8-2.0 g/kg based on your ideal body weight and 1.6 g/kg is a good target for active people. Some good choices are fish, turkey, chicken, hemp, egg, beans, Greek yogurt and lentils. Enjoy a variety of richly coloured vegetables and fruits to provide a good base of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. Phytonutrients (plant-derived nutrients) such as antioxidants act as natural anti-inflammatories supporting muscle repair and recovery.

Supporting supplements to consider:

  1. Sources include whey (dairy), rice, hemp, pea, and soy. Muscle and a large part of your immune system (responsible for muscle repair) are based on protein. As stated above, for optimal results from your exercise program and to avoid injury make sure your protein intake is adequate.
  2. These can be sourced from flax oil, fish or algae. Omegas 3s are commonly deficient in a standard diet yet they are essential to consume. Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory helping you recover from exercise.
  3. An amino acid (the building blocks of protein) is essential to cellular repair and can help muscle recovery and immune health.
  4. B vitamins are involved in almost every reaction in the body and are important for supporting energy production. The B’s are depleted by stress, caffeine, sugar and some prescriptions like the birth control pill.
  5. Good quality  This is good insurance that your micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) needs are being met. One simple way to screen for a good quality multi-vitamin is to look at the amount of B-vitamins it contains. You want levels to be in the 15-20mg and above range; some lower end multi-vitamins will contain only 1-5 mg of the B-vitamins.
  6. Magnesium is involved in muscle relaxation and is depleted by stress (and so it can be common to find people in a deficient status). Magnesium can be particularly helpful if your muscles are tight, to maintain hydration and deepen sleep.

I hope these tips help you fortify your fitness program!!

“Health from the inside out.”


Dr. Kimberly McQueen BSc, ND is a Naturopathic Physician in Victoria, BC. In addition to her clinic work she has been a consultant to the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence, Camosun College, Rugby Canada and Rowing Canada. P:778.433.4935