FIFO Supplements: The Essentials

First and foremost I must share with you that I believe it is essential to make sure your nutrition is completely in check. The highest quality supplements in the world will not make up for a poor nutritional/ lifestyle plan. Now I know that all my FIFO Wellness readers are avid health enthusiasts so I can go right on saying that considering the use of supplements to complement an already well established plan maybe a good idea. When used correctly, supplements can help facilitate your FIFO wellness to the next level. FIFO camps can be notorious for providing ‘below par’ foods such as frozen and thawed vegetables, commercial grade animal products, reheated meals and lack of variety.

Below is a list of supplements that I personally use and where you can get ‘em.  Whilst I can vouch for their effectiveness, I never use anything without doing the research first and I encourage you to do the same. Only take what resonates and makes sense to you! Here they are:

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     Omega 3 fish/krill oil: EPA and DHA fatty acids have been linked to promising results in cancer prevention, weight management, reducing inflammation and improving cognitive function. High quality Omega 3’s are fantastic for joint lubrication or anyone with arthritis (1). Whilst on site we only have access to caged poultry and eggs, Grain fed meats and farmed fish. How do I know? ‘Cause it’s cheaper! These lower quality animal products contain unnaturally high levels of Omega 6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory (not good!)  (2). These products will also be cooked in some commercial grade canola or other vegetable oil, further increasing Omega 6 levels. On top of that, all polyunsaturated fatty acids such as the ones found in vegetable oils are highly unstable at high heat. They easily oxidise and become hydrogenated- you know like the crap in Macca’s Quarter pounders. As such I choose to take 2000mg of high quality Krill oil with each meal consisting of animal products. The Krill oil competes for absorption with the Omega 6’s, which helps even out the ratio. When I’m on RnR I don’t supplement with them because I eat plenty of wild caught fish fish, grass-fed meats, chia/ hemp seeds and cook in stable fats such as ghee or grass fed butter :) A side note Krill vs fish oil- you get what you pay for, and I have recently made the switch from fish to Krill oil as I believe in its increased benefits (3). I am using

Bioglan Krill oil.

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     Coconut oil: Everyone’s been raving about the benefits of this tropical fruit in recent years. I am no exception. From being a good source of fatty- acids to an effective antimicrobial and a moisturiser, this hard shelled kinder surprise is boss (4). I love using coconut oil on my skin and as an energy source with my meals whilst on site. No saturated fat is not the enemy- and I have the blood work to prove it. My book ‘FIFO: There’s A Healthier Way’ will help debunk the fallacies surrounding the standard western diet.

Here’s where you can get some.

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     Cod liver oil: is also a source of EPA and DHA as well as pretty much the best available source of vitamin A and D (5). Vitamin D is a steroid hormone and its main function is to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in our bones and aid in cell to cell communication throughout the body. It is also involved in supporting your immune and endocrine (hormone) systems (6). In other words it’s damn important. Now I know what you’re thinking- most of us FIFO workers are out in the sun all day, and getting plenty of blue light (which converts to vit D in the body). However, many of us are completely covered head to toe and as such our bodies do not manufacture enough vitamin D. A reliable brand is Blackmore’s Cod liver oil.  Take as prescribed on the package.

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     Multivitamins: Many argue against the necessity of these but I believe that the benefits greatly outweigh the negatives (if any). They act as an insurance policy for any nutrient you may be lacking. Studies show that multivitamin/mineral supplement use may prevent cancer in individuals with poor or suboptimal nutritional status (7). I believe it is even more important for FIFO workers to supplement with a good quality multivitamin and antioxidant combo as they are typically subjected to hot, stressful environments and at times sub par quality foods. Whilst at work I use a product called Vital Greens which was developed by Australian naturopaths and contains a good whack of vitamins and minerals. It is a little more expensive but hey, it’s only your health. Cheaper brands are available in tablet and capsule form, but I believe you get what you pay for.

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     Digestive enzymes: are proteins found in every plant and animal we consume and are also released by the pancreas. They assist in the digestion of food and make the nutrients more readily available for absorption. Years of food abuse and lifestyle factors can significantly reduce levels of digestive enzymes in our intestine, thus inhibiting absorption, and increasing gas! (8). Whilst racing the clock and leaving the crib hut with half a chicken still hanging out of your mouth, these problems are further exacerbated. I would recommend supplementing at every meal or as advised by the manufacturer. I use Now Foods Super Enzymes.

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     L-glutamine: is a conditionally essential amino acid. It makes up 61% of skeletal muscle and is the most common amino in muscles. Hundreds of studies have been conducted on L-glutamine confirming its benefits on gut health, preserving muscle mass, improving cognitive function and immune system health, and decreasing alcohol and sugar cravings (9).  Many people supplement with this product, myself included with negligible side effects. I would recommend 10–20g daily, preferably on an empty stomach. Any time of day is fine though. Get it here.

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     Good quality probiotic: Probiotics are living organisms which I believe are a critical supplement in today’s modern world. Why? ‘Cause pretty much everything we do is against the grain. We put chlorine in the water (the water I have available on site is reverse osmosis- not good!), sterilise everything, freeze and overcook all our food and have an unhealthy obsession with being clean. What this means is that our intestines are no longer getting the microflora our DNA expects. These little fella’s outnumber our cells 10 to 1! There are 100 Trillion of them. 80% of the feel good hormone serotonin is produced in the guts. If the microbiome isn’t happy, you won’t be. Being in a shitty mood will drag out that next swing guaranteed!  Probiotics have numerous positive effects in the gastrointestinal tract including Treating IBS, mood disorders, recovering from auto- immune diseases, yeast infections to name a few (10). There is a range of good quality probiotics available, and I believe you get what you pay for. I like to swap brands from time to time, as different companies tend to use different strains of bacteria. It makes sense to expose your gut to as much good bacteria as possible. My go-to brand however is Prescript- assist hands down. You pay more, but they cover all bases.


Yours in health and wellness,

Steve


[1] (2008). Omega-3 Fatty Acids Facts - WebMD. Retrieved August 2, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/omega-3-fatty-acids-fact-sheet.

[2] (2015). How too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 is making ... Retrieved August 2, 2015, from

 

http://chriskresser.com/how-too-much-omega-6-and-not-enough-omega-3-is-making-us-sick/.

[3] (2014). Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil: Battle of the Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Retrieved August 2, 2015, from https://www.bulletproofexec.com/video-omega-3s-is-krill-oil-better-than-fish-oil/.

[5] (2013). Cod Liver Oil: Health Benefits, Uses and Risks - Medical ... Retrieved August 2, 2015, from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270071.php.

[6] (2014). The role of vitamin D in your health - Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved August 3, 2015, from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Osteoporosis/hic_The_role_of_vitamin_D_in_your_health.

[7] (2011). What Vitamins and Supplements Can and Can't Do - WebMD. Retrieved August 2, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrition-vitamins-11/help-vitamin-supplement.

[8] (2002). Digestive Enzyme Basics - Enzyme Essentials. Retrieved August 2, 2015, from http://www.enzymeessentials.com/HTML/tour_2.html.

[9] (2006). L-Glutamine Benefits | The Benefits of l-glutamine. Retrieved August 3, 2015, from

 

 

http://www.l-glutaminebenefits.com/.

[10] (2015). Health benefits of taking probiotics - Harvard Health. Retrieved August 3, 2015, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics.