Depending on whether the client is at home or traveling, executive protection professionals are often on the job 12-18 hours a day. On top of that, we all have our own interests, friends, and often family to take care of. So it’s no wonder that good food and sleep, some of the most important things we need to stay healthy, often end up way too far down the everyday priority list.
Nothing sucks more than being sick while at work or on a road trip. For one thing, clients and managers always expect agents to perform at their absolute best. How can you stay focused on the job and cover your sector when all you can think about is the next bathroom? For another, clients understandably don’t want sick agents anywhere near them or their families.
Dietary supplements won’t replace good food or sufficient sleep. That’s why they’re called supplements, not food. But they can help EP agents thrive in what are sometimes less than optimal conditions.
I started taking supplements in the gym 20 years ago. After I began working in the executive protection industry, I’ve found that some supplements are quite helpful to stay healthy on the road, too. In this blog, I’d like to share my list of supplements that I think contribute to maintaining good health and help me to rarely get sick.
Remember, I’m not you. And keep in mind that you should always consult your physician before engaging in a supplement regime.
One of my main supplements is Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA). A lot of agents will recognize this one from the gym. Without turning this into a science paper, suffice it to say that after creatine, BCAA is one of the most heavily-researched supplements out there, and you can find plenty of articles on its benefits online.
The reason I like BCAA for EP is that it helps when we don’t get to eat properly or consistently, especially while traveling. BCAA helps when your dietary protein intake is low. It helps you maintain, retain and promote muscle growth. It helps with recovery. And it helps prevent fatigue, so we can stay healthy and operationally ready even when sleep is too scarce for our own good.
Personally, I prefer to get my BCAA from “All Day You May” by Rich Piana’s 5% Nutrition. True to its name, you can literally drink this stuff all day. This product comes with the added benefits of joint and liver support, electrolytes, raw coconut-water concentrate and a powerful anti-oxidant for immune system support.
I drink this every day religiously, regardless of where I am. It comes in several great flavors.
Whether on the road or just struggling with a busy life, a lot of what we eat is highly processed. This means our food often lacks the anti-inflammatory ingredients a better diet would provide. Even if we did munch more of the good stuff, it can be hard to get enough anti-inflammatories to really make a difference. Add to this that Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory, and you’ve got a great case for adding a high-quality daily Omega-3 product with high bioavailability. It will do great things for your health and performance.
In my experience, “Flameout” from Biotest Supplements contains just the right amount of DHA/EPA/CLA, in the right ratios, for maximum benefits.
This product helps decrease systemic inflammation. It also increases insulin sensitivity, which gooses the metabolism, helps decrease body fat and can help prevent Type 2 diabetes. It even alleviates muscle soreness and joint pain.
Curcumin is another great way to stay healthy. As with other supplements, the correct dosage is key. And since curcumin has very low bioavailability, you need to get a product that contains piperine, black pepper extract that greatly increases curcumin’s absorption and bioavailability in the body.
Curcumin has lots of benefits. It’s an anti-inflammatory. It helps prevent muscle loss and control your level of cortisol, a stress hormone. It also enhances cardiovascular health and protects your arteries.
Berberine is a plant extract that has been used in China for a long time. With hundreds of studies now behind it, it also has some seriously impressive benefits.
Berberine lowers blood sugar levels on par with some type 2 diabetes drugs. It helps regulate body weight and decrease BMI, great benefits to agents on the road when eating healthy is not always an option. It helps lower cholesterol and is known as a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It has even been found to fight harmful microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi.
Vitamin D is one of the 24 micronutrients critical for human survival. Unfortunately, a lot of us don’t get enough of it in our daily diets.
Most people think of it as the sun-deficiency vitamin, but in reality, it is so much more. Vitamin D helps with increased cognition, bone health, wellbeing (it helps fight depression) and immune health. It also helps lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s mane mushroom is a naturally occurring nootropic, or cognitive enhancer. It and other nootropics are quickly becoming mainstream brain boosters in the supplement industry. The stuff works for me.
Lots of research is being done on lion’s mane. Some of the benefits include enhanced brain function, protection against certain cancers, support for the heart and circulatory system, decreased LDL and increased HDL. It helps prevent blood clots leading to strokes, it benefits the digestive system, and it has anti-inflammatory properties as well.
Probiotics help keep your gut in good health. And a growing mountain of research indicates that a healthy gut is central to our overall health.
I use probiotics mostly when traveling in 2nd or 3rd world countries and usually start taking them a week before the beginning of a trip. Some of the benefits are a boosted immune system, prevention of UTI, and improved digestive function.
I find that probiotics also help fight foodborne illnesses, which can be a real hazard for those of us who travel a lot while working in EP. Probiotics can help reduce the need for Imodium and charcoal, which are still must-have medications in every traveler’s med kit.
It’s your body. Don’t forget to use your head, too.
The supplements in this article are my personal choices. After years of researching and trying literally hundreds of different supplements in my gym and travel routines, I’ve found they work for me.
Remember, I’m an EP guy who cares about this stuff, not a doctor. If you’re going to start experimenting with these or any other supplements, then be sure to check in with your local healthcare provider before you begin.
That said, I firmly believe that correct routines and supplements can be beneficial to our health, and ultimately our careers as EP agents. They can help us work harder and longer, and stay more focused. They can help us shine. And when we’re healthy, we’re far more likely to keep our clients healthy, safe, happy and productive, too.
This blog and the opinions expressed within it are the author’s – and in no way reflect AS Solution’s opinion.