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Let’s be frank: Choosing which supplements to take can be pretty overwhelming, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if we’re popping the right capsules for the results we want. Then there’s the matter of how to take them. Do we swallow them on an empty stomach? Is it possible to have too many vitamins? How do we know if we’re taking too few? The list of questions goes on.
Given the confusion, it could be tempting to avoid taking supplements altogether, but that would mean missing out on a whole host of skin and body benefits. So we’re taking the guesswork out of capsule shopping with our guide to the most effective supplement pairings, from the combo that gives you a glowy complexion to the ultimate weight-loss team. If you’ve always wanted to know how to take supplements that see tangible results, the co-founder of Victoria Health, Shabir Daya, has the answers.
For radiant skin: hyaluronic acid + phytoceramide
Try: Fountain The Hyaluronic Molecule (£28) with Life Extension Skin Restoring Phytoceramides (£25)
We all know that hyaluronic acid is the ultimate moisture magnet. Applied topically, it plumps parched pores in seconds, owed to its ability to hold 1000 times its weight in water.
As it turns out, it’s just as kind to your complexion in supplement form, and Shabir recommends ingesting an HA capsule daily if your skin tends to be on the drier side. To boost its glow-giving effects, team it with restorative phytoceramides, which are “tiny lipid molecules that are located between each skin cell, rather like the mortar between bricks.”
Shabir continues: “These ceramides are often lost through cleansing and exposure to harsh weather, which can lead to dehydration.” Sounds familiar right now, doesn’t it? “Using ceramides helps replenish these lipids and, used in conjunction with hyaluronic acid, you end up with skin that is hydrated, moisturised and supple.”
For weight loss: Green Tea + Chromium
This combination works on two levels to boost weight loss. First, the green tea encourages fat burning, as it contains thermogenic catechins, which are powerful antioxidants that raise the metabolic rate within your body. Meanwhile, chromium “regulates sugar levels in the bloodstream, which prevents carb cravings,” meaning you’re eating fewer beige foods and improving your body’s ability to torch fat.
For post-workout recovery: BCAA + whey protein
Try: Reflex Branched Chain Amino Acids (£24) with Neat Nutrition Whey Protein Powder Chocolate (£9)
Protein is known for being a post-workout must, and Shabir recommends pairing a whey protein with branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) to enhance its muscle-repairing powers. While proteins are the building blocks of our body, BCAAs are the building blocks of proteins, and supplementation of these amino acids will stimulate protein synthesis.
Together, whey protein and BCAAs will get post-workout muscles back on the mend much quicker, and the combo has “been found to increase significant lean muscle gains and improve strength and stamina.”
For brain function: ginkgo biloba + glutamine
If you’re struggling to focus at work and want to improve your cognitive function, give your brain a boost with a double dose of stimulating supplements. Pop ginkgo biloba capsules, which are “known for [their] ability to enhance microcirculation to the brain, helping to deliver all the nutrients it needs,” recommends Shabir. Then, add glutamine, “which is converted by the body into glutamic acid; the major fuel source for the brain tissues.” A clever combination, indeed.
For stress reduction: magnolia + vitamins B and C
So many supplements claim to have a soothing effect on a busy mind, but it’s a combination of magnolia with vitamins B and C that Shabir suggests you try.
For starters, he says that “magnolia extract works to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol,” which sees an unhealthy spike whenever you begin to feel the pressure.
Meanwhile, “the reason for recommending B plus C vitamins is because, at times of stress, the adrenals place a huge demand for these vitamins, usually leading to deficiencies,” says Shabir. “Taking these B vitamins alongside magnolia supplements will help the adrenals function properly, and this is important because it is the adrenals that work to modulate stress symptoms.”