So if your indoor cycling students eat your fruits and vegetables, expose yourself to adequate sunlight, get plenty of sleep, and stay well hydrated, their body shouldn't really need a supplemental source of vitamins and minerals, right? Wrong.

Here are 5 powerful reasons that you explain to your students about why they need to take a multi-vitamin, no matter how healthy their lifestyle may be.

  • Nutrient depletion in the soil. Modern farming techniques utilize fertilizers that actually deplete the soil of essential nutrients. Agriculture relies on the elements in the soil for absorption of proper amounts of minerals, and when this process is interrupted, the plant does not contain essential minerals and cannot form essential vitamins. And if the plant doesn't have it then you're not going to get it from eating the plant!
  • Your ability to absorb nutrients from food actually decreases as you age. So while growing children should absolutely be taking a multivitamin to support healthy tissue and bone formation, supplementation becomes equally important for the older population. Sure, you could just eat more food, but this introduces a problem with caloric balance. Beware that many medications also interfere with proper nutrient absorption.

  • Commercial harvesting, shipping processes, long term food storage, processing, and addition of preservatives degrades the nutrient content of food. Therefore, unless you're eating a very fresh plant, it is a far different species at consumption than it was when initially harvested. In addition, compounds added to the food during many of these processes, such as MSG, saccharine, nutrasweet, splenda, colorings, and flavors will increase your body's need for nutrients to deal with these damaging synthetic derivatives.
  • Pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals found in the modern food supply are combined with chemicals in water, environmental contamination from elements such as degraded plastic, air pollution from carbon monoxide, lead and mercury. These synergestic elements vastly increase our need for extra vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to combat formation of free radicals and the attack upon our metabolism and immune system.
  • Exercise increases nutrient needs. Are you an athlete or frequent exerciser? The vast amount of extra oxygen and energy used by active individuals will necessitate nutrient consumption that far exceeds the typical RDA of the average population. Consuming just the stated RDA can actually limit your athletic performance.

So now that you have five reasons for your class to take supplements, what are some supplements that I recommend you encourage your students to take?

  • Probiotic or active live culture supplementation with probiotics for digestive health. If probiotic capsules aren”™t an option, then organic, natural yogurt or kefir can assist with getting natural dietary probtotic sources.
  • Vitamin E supplementation can help with omega-3 absorption and is crucial as an antioxidant for very active individuals. Lipoic acid is also a good natural antioxidant if you exercise frequently.
  • Cod liver oil and omega-3 fat capsules can assist with proper hormonal production and cellular health. Flax seed oil or fish oil are two options.
  • Chromium supplementation can help with sugar cravings. Vanadium, biotin, and magnesium are also helpful for glucose control and insulin sensitivity.
  • If your students are completely avoiding dairy, consider recommending a calcium supplement, preferably with magnesium, an important co-factor to help calcium work properly. Chelated calcium is the most bioavailable source, and topical magnesium is a good way to get magnesium. Vitamin D and Boron also important for bone density, calcium sparing effect (Vitamin D, incidentally, is one of my most highly recommended supplements for all individuals).
  • Athletes and growing children usually benefit from a multivitamin, but most major brands have high levels of unnecessary fillers and preservatives. Go for a brand like Impax Enerprime or Hammer Gel Premium Insurance Caps.

Smell your vitamins! Don”™t take them if they smell bad. Also limit use of “sport” supplements, like protein powders, meal replacement powders, and any other processed, packaged, or canned health food. When choosing energy bars, which I do consider as a form of “supplementation”, look for:

  • Primary carb source (at least 3g of fiber or more) from whole grains like brown rice, oats, bran, barley, rye, buckwheat or whole wheat flour.
    • Natural sugars (preferably 15g or less): dried or fresh fruit, fruit juice, purees (fructose), milk (lactose) and honey
    • Lean protein sources such as whey, soy, casein or eggs
    • Monunsaturated fat supplied by nuts and seeds, nut butters, flaxseed
    • Limit ingredients like wheat flakes, rice, white flour, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, dextrose, malitol, malt syrup, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and colors, saturated/trans fats, palm kernel oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil or extra calories from chocolate, caramel, frosting, or icing.
    • Recommend Bumblebar, HammerBar, Biobar, Larabar.
  • Whenever possible, limit pharmaceutical drug intake, in particular antibiotics, anti-ulcers, birth control pills, and estrogen.
  • Season your foods with herbs such as rosemary, ginger, and turmeric, which are powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and detoxifiers. Seasoning with cinnamon can also help to stabilize blood sugar levels.

Please be careful not to “prescribe” any of the supplements described in this article. You can”™t legally do that unless you”™re a registered dietitian or physician. But as long as you”™re not doing so to manage a disease or medical condition, you can make supplement recommendations and give advice — and now you”™re equipped with the knowledge to do so! For more information and resources, please visit, where I”™ve handpicked some of the best supplements that I”™ve found during my experience as a sports nutritionist. Just e-mail me if you have questions about any of these.

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