It should come as no surprise that being physically fit is very much related to how well a First Responder performs on the job, but just in case you were in any doubt, a government study on more than 5,500 law enforcement officers across 75 agencies has proven it.
If only being physically fit as a First Responder was that simple, however. Throw long, uncertain shifts, an unhealthy diet and lack of sleep into the mix and boom – you’re going to struggle, big time.
Thank goodness, then, for the world of supplements, allowing First Responders to fill in the gaps required for their health and, as a result, job performance – one capsule at a time.
With so much choice out there, it can seem like a minefield, so we’re here to break down the various vitamins, minerals and other nutritional elements you should be ensuring you’ve got enough of.
Most people – unless they live in all-year sunshine – are deficient in Vitamin D, and even then they may well be lacking due to the universal importance of covering up with sunscreen. Of course, it is vital to protect against skin cancer, but the importance of Vitamin D must not be overlooked, either, with low levels associated with a higher risk of heart attack, diabetes and depression (the latter a very real concern amongst First Responders – read more about that here). A diet lacking in Vitamin D can also negatively impact testosterone output, bone density, muscle function, recovery and energy production, which itself can have a knock-on effect on fitness levels.
Vitamin B – in all its forms – has been proven to both boost mood and help cognitive function – two vital components of a happy, healthy and effective First Responder. It can also help fight fatigue, which is another necessary evil of the job.
Endless studies on the benefits of zinc have suggested a range of advantages, from enhancing the immune system to helping with brain trauma and depression. Firefighters, as just one example, are susceptible to heart disease, as a result of the high levels of smoke and chemicals they are often exposed to, and zinc is a great tool in helping protect the heart.
Zinc is also useful in improving sleep patterns – another absolute must in the day-to-day of a First Responder. You can read more about that here.
A bit of a double-edged sword, this one. Magnesium is not only lost naturally through sweating, but its reduction is further compounded with the use of antiperspirant, meaning those in sweat-inducing professions are likely to be significantly deficient in this mineral, which has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress and improve depression.
So many benefits we don’t really know where to start! Taking a fish oil – or Omega-3 - supplement is integral to our overall health – both physical and mental - including memory, brain function, hormone production, fat burning, muscular improvement and fighting off depression.
BCAAa (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)
An amino sugar that is a major component of cartilage, which helps absorb the shock to your joints.
Another amino acid that helps minimize the breakdown of muscle tissues, as well as improving both brain and gut health.
Vital for muscle contraction and an all-round power boost, this popular supplement for First Responders is responsible for supplying energy to cells and improving overall strength.
A slow-release protein source, perfect for combatting the breakdown of muscle while you sleep.
Probably the most important molecule that you’ve never heard of, this antioxidant helps convert food into energy and is, as such, a vital pre-workout ally.
‘Good bacteria’ that helps keep your gut healthy.
Here at Thin Line Anthem, we’re proud to stock a range of supplements for First Responders. Find out more here!