When it comes to taking supplements, the list of options can be overwhelming to say the least.
For a daily supplement protocol, there are some key products that I recommend.
Here are my top picks for health supporting supplements:
Omega-3s are a type of essential fat. They’re super important in all our of body and are amazing at reducing inflammation. They are arguably the most important nutrients for brain health though which is why I love it!
If you take away the water weight, your brain is 60% fat. And 25% of this fat are omega-3s; in particular the omega-3 called “DHA” (docosahexaenoic acid).
Omega-3s have many functions in the brain, for example they help nerve cells insulate their electrical signals, stabilize their membranes, and reduce inflammation.
People who regularly eat and/or have higher blood levels of omega-3s are less likely to be depressed. And several studies have shown that when people with mood swings, depression, or anxiety start taking omega-3 supplements, some of their symptoms improve.
Wondering what’s enough Omega?
You can get the recommended amount of omega-3s, including DHA, from eating two servings of fatty fish each week.
Simple! Have a wild salmon steak and a shimp stir fry one week. Then have some smoked mackerel and baked cod another week.
But if you’re not into fish or don’t consume it on the regular, taking a supplement is a great alternative.
Depending on your diet, even as little as 0.5 grams (500 mg) of fish oil each day is enough for most people to get the minimum recommended levels. Many fish oil supplements come in 1 g (1,000 mg) doses, and that may be just fine on a daily basis (check your labels to make sure).
PRO TIP: Omega-3s are critical for baby’s brain development. Getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy can help improve baby’s intelligence and reduce the risk of behavioural problems. If you’re pregnant, making sure you’re taking a higher daily dose of Omega 3’s is key (~3g/day with food).
For more information, check out my blog post I did on Omega 3’s here.
Vitamin D is another vitally important brain nutrient. Vitamin D is both neuroprotective (protects nerve cells) and neurotrophic (help nerve cells grow). And there are vitamin D receptors in areas of the brain involved with depression.
In adults, low blood levels of vitamin D have been associated with multiple sclerosis, depression, and cognitive impairment, including Parkinson’s Disease.
How can I get enough vitamin D?
Your skin makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to the sun. There are many factors that can affect how much sunshine you need to make enough vitamin D, for example location, season, clouds, clothing, etc.. However, you don’t necessarily want to trade a vitamin D deficiency for potential skin cancer concerns.
Vitamin D is naturally found in a few foods such as fatty fish, liver, and egg yolks. It is also added to certain foods such as milk, some orange juices, breakfast cereals, and yogurt; so check your labels to find out if yours have it.
When it comes to vitamin D, supplementation may be a good way to go.
Ideally, your health care provider would test your blood for levels of vitamin D and recommend a certain amount. However, if you don’t have a blood test, the safest way to take the vitamin D supplements is to use them as directed on the label. A daily dose of 1,000IU in the summer and 2,000IU in the winter is a good start. And never take more than 10,000IU/day, unless specifically told to by your health care provider.
For more information, check out my blog post I did on Vitamin D here.
B Vitamins are essential for many different processes in the body but are especially crucial for keeping your metabolism running smoothly, making sure you get maximum energy from food, supporting brain health, and helping you adapt to stress. While there are many individual vitamins classified as “B vitamins”, each having a unique role in the body, an easy way to ensure you are getting a good balance of what you need is to take a B complex.
The B vitamins work together and sometimes work with enzymes. When it comes to brain health, they’re great antioxidants and help the neurons (nerve cells) maintain their structure and function, helping the brain to produce energy (which your brain needs a lot of). B vitamins are also necessary for production of essential neurochemicals as well.
How to get enough B vitamins?
You can get B vitamins, except B12, from plants. Leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables are great sources. And by eating animal products (who ate those plants), you are also getting some B vitamins. Not to mention that some foods have B vitamins added to them, so check your labels.
Vitamin B12 is found in meat, fish, eggs, and algae.
B vitamins can be found individually or in supplements as a complex (B complex). Some of those complexes may not include vitamin B12, so again, check your labels. You may need to take B12 supplements separately, especially if you avoid animal products.
These are the good bacteria that live all along your digestive tract. They help to ensure the bad bacteria stay at optimal levels, support digestion, keep the immune system healthy (70% of your immune system is actually located in your gut), and support hormone production in the body.
Probiotics are what turn milk into yogurt, and cabbage into sauerkraut. They’re great for your gut health and ultimately key for immunity and therefore total wellness.
They’re also great for boosting moods. Several studies show that after a few weeks of ingesting probiotic foods or supplements, healthy people’s negative thoughts and sad moods reduce. Several other studies show that taking probiotic supplements helped improve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress in otherwise healthy people. In one study, people diagnosed with depression took probiotic supplements and their symptoms improved as well.
The use of antibiotics wipes out your good bacteria and other lifestyle factors such as stress and poor diet lead to less than optimal levels of good bacteria – most people are severely deficient in probiotics. If your digestion is not optimal (think gas, bloating, IBS), you seem to get every illness that’s going around, or you just don’t feel the level of vitality you would like to feel you likely need probiotics.
What’s enough probiotics?
You can determine if you need probiotics on your bowel movements. You should consider supplementing with probiotics if you’re more constipated, have recently taken probiotics, have any gas or bloating, or even struggling with any skin irritations like eczema.
For more information, check out my blog post on Probiotics here.
You can also read up on their effect on gut health that I wrote about here.
Digestive enzymes help to break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats from all the food you eat and turn it into energy and raw materials to be used in all of the body’s processes – they are extremely important!
The body has the ability to make enzymes to break down all of the food necessary to keep that body healthy. In addition, most foods in their raw form (think fruits and vegetables) have enzymes naturally occurring within them to assist in the process.
The problem occurs when the body is overloaded with too much food and food that doesn’t contain its own natural enzymes (over-processed food, lots of cooked food). This is when digestion and metabolism start to slow down because the body cannot keep up with making enough enzymes.
Taking digestive enzymes as a supplement can assist the body in breaking down food while you are improving your diet and lifestyle to eventually bring the body’s own production of enzymes back into balance.
There isn’t a specific recommend amount of digestive enzymes that you need. It’s dependent on how your digestive system is operating. If you’re struggling with you digestive system and get gas, bloating, or even acid reflux, taking a digestive enzymes with your main meals can be very helpful.
I recommend you find a full spectrum digestive enzyme if you are looking to try one that includes enzymes for all macronutrients: protease, amylase, lipase. You can even often find a multi based enzyme that also has lactase and other enzymes like cellulase for a full coverage.
For more information, check out the blog post I did on Digestive Enzymes here.
If you walked down the supplement isle (or isles) of the health food store, you could easily buy a supplement to each of your health complaints. But then compliance becomes very low and visible positive effects not observed. Usually in my practice if I’m recommending products they’re for a specific treatment plan that isn’t usually long term (eg: parasite killers).
But the supplements discussed in this post are always in my personal cupboard (and fridge) that I like to take pretty regularly: Omega 3’s, Vitamin D, B Complex, Probiotic, and a digestive enzyme.
I’m supporting my brain, digestive system, and metabolism.
One of the serivces I offer to my clients is that I test the supplement products they have in their cupboards to determine if they’re beneficial to them or not and at what dose they should be taking all through muscle testing.
If you’re interested in finding out more, book in your free 30 min consultation here:
Feel like you need a body reset, check out my 10-day Detox. I send out the top 3 products needed for a good overall detox: probiotic, digestive enzyme, and lemon essential oil to help detoxify the body!
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