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Food supplements

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Best food supplements for general health and sporting performance

Today, there are perhaps enough food supplements on the market to get
all of your nutritional needs through pills, powders and capsules. It
is of course cheaper, and often tastier to get these nutrients through
normal food consumption. The average Joe fills their car with regular
unleaded, whilst a minority chooses premium, knowing that the higher
octane count will keep their spark plugs carbon-deposit free and grant
more mileage. Most people aren’t looking to turn their bodies into
performance machines, but there are at least three nutritional
supplements you should consider taking to reinforce your general health.

1. Fish Oils

Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. They are
considered essential fatty acids as our bodies cannot synthesise them
independently, and are vital for normal metabolism. The benefits were
discovered in the 1970s by researchers studying the Greenland Inuit
Tribe. The Greenland Inuit people consumed large amounts of fat from
fish, but displayed virtually no cardiovascular disease. The high level
of omega-3 fatty acids consumed by the Inuit reduced triglycerides,
heart rate, blood pressure, and atherosclerosis. Not all Omega 3s will
provide you with DHA and EPA. This is because these essential fatty
acids are not present in a lot of Omega 3 products. For example, ground
flax seed is an excellent oil for certain uses and contains omega 3s,
but contains no DHA or EPA.

In short, fish oils support every system in your body, mostly your nervous and cardiovascular system. In particular, fish oils are known to reduce exercise-induced joint tenderness and early morning stiffness associated with arthritis.

2. Multivitamin

A 2002 report published in the journal of the American Medical
Association recommended that all adults take one multivitamin daily.
This is based on the known and suspected benefits of vitamin supplements
in correcting vitamin levels and assisting in the maintenance of
general health.

As the name suggests, multivitamins contain multiple nutrients (vitamins and dietary minerals) needed by the body. These are most beneficial when the nutritional needs of the body are not being met by the diet alone or when dietary demands are high. Whilst one might have adequate levels of vitamin C, they may be deficient in vitamin D3 – a common scenario. Taking a multivitamin is an easy way of ensuring you are getting the necessary range of dietary vitamins and minerals into your body.

3. Glucosamine and chondroitin

These two nutrients are found in cartilage. Cartilage acts as a
cushion between the bones of a joint. Glucosamine and chondroitin can be
thought of as “cartilage food”. Throughout our lives, the joints in our
bodies are subjected to large mechanical forces. Joint pain affects
most people at some point in their lives, you don’t necessarily have to
be an elite sportsman to be a candidate for joint pain. Your work as a
labourer or mechanic, or gardening or jogging interests may lead to
joint pain in your knees, low back or hips.

Taking “cartilage food” can fatten up your “joint cushions” and slow the effects of osteoarthritis and join pain. Glucosamine and chondroitin are not limited to people over 50 years of age, most people from 20 years upwards can benefit from this supplement.

For those people who take their sport or training a little more seriously, below are some other supplements worth considering.

4. Aminoacids (protein)

Athletes can benefit from the use of protein supplements because
intensive physical activity uses up protein resources. Increasing
protein intake assists muscle recovery and faster growth. In addition,
people attempting to lose weight may want to take protein to help them
maintain a good blood sugar level balance. A protein supplement will
help maintain good energy levels and accelerate fat loss, whilst
simultaneously helping reduce a desire to overeat.

There are numerous forms of protein on the market. Below are some of the more commonly known forms:Whey protein: derived from the process of making cheese from milk, contains high levels of all the essential amino acids (protein building blocks) and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), has the highest content of the amino acid, cysteine. Egg-white protein: lactose and dairy free proteinRice and Pea protein: both highly digestible and allergen free forms of protein, ideal for vegetarians and vegans.

5. Magnesium

It has been estimated that magnesium intake has declined by more than half during this century, primarily due to food processing. Magnesium is involved in a wide range a biological functions and is thus an essential mineral in human health. If training for an event, an elite athlete, or simply a very active person, can benefit greatly from taking a magnesium supplement. Magnesium is important for muscle function as it regulates muscle tension and is required for muscle relaxation. It is invaluable for relief of muscular cramps and spasms, and also benefits those suffering fatigue as it is involved in the body’s process of energy production.

6. Electrolytes

Electrolytes are solutions of acids, bases or salts. In oral
rehydration therapy, electrolyte drinks containing sodium and potassium
salts replenish the body’s water and electrolyte levels after
dehydration caused by exercise or excessive alcohol consumption,
vomiting, intoxication or starvation. Athletes exercising in extreme
conditions (for three or more hours continuously eg. marathon or
triathlon) who do not consume electrolytes risk dehydration.
Electrolytes are commonly found in fruit juices, coconut water, sports
drinks, milk, and many fruits and vegetables.

Many of the sports electrolyte drinks on the market have a high sugar content – probably to keep you coming back for more. Endura is a dynamic and advanced electrolyte formula developed for use during strenuous activity or illness. It is a special formula that actually contains electrolyte ratios that parallel those found in muscle cells. Its use by professional athletes has demonstrated the effectiveness in muscle recovery and endurance.


If you’re going to spend money on supplements, ensure they are
high-quality. Many over-the-counter supplements are not readily absorbed
by the body. There are a range of ‘practitioner only’ supplements which
have been shown to provide better results.

Taking too much of a supplement or abusing the recommended dosage may overload your liver and cause damage. Taking certain supplements in combination with other prescribed medications may have detrimental effects to your health. With all supplements be sure to use them only as directed and consult a practitioner for advice before taking.

*DISCLAIMER: This discussion does not provide medical advice. The
information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and
other material contained in this discussion are for informational
purposes only. The purpose of this discussion is to promote broad
consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not
intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis
or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other
qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding
a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health
care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay
in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.

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