Everyone has a different opinion about supplements. People tend to go one of two ways: conservative or liberal. Conservatives think that we can get all the nutrients we need from our diet, and liberals think that supplements can make up for a bad diet.
In regards to supplements, I encourage you to be a moderate.
While I’m a big advocate of getting nutrients from your food, sometimes it just isn’t possible due to two main factors.
1. Our soil has gone downhill
The quality of modern day soil has changed – it is now extremely depleted due to industrial farming. As a result, many of our fruits and vegetables are not as nutrient dense as they were when grandma and grandpa were eating them. This also means the animals you are eating are not as nutrient rich, as the grain or grass they are eating is also affected by industrial farming and depleted soils.
Statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and World Health Organization (WHO) have recorded a drop in nutrient density in our food supply within the last fifty years. This loss of nutrients is so great that in our modern world, it is imperative to supplement your diet to achieve optimum health.
2. It’s a busy world.
In our busy lives, can we really be 100% sure that we are eating all of our vitamins, minerals, and probiotics daily? I know I can’t.
Even with a perfect diet of real, whole foods, it is still almost impossible to get all the nutrients you need in today’s toxic and stress-filled world. For example, did you know if you weren’t raised eating grass-fed meat or raw milk that you are deficient in vitamin K2?
Yes, our ancestors were able to get all of their nutrients from their food, but they received far greater amounts of micro-nutrients in every mouthful of food they ate, than is found in the food we consume today.
I always try my best to get as many of the nutrients I need from my food, and I encourage you to do the same. But this is not always possible; that’s why I like to look at supplements as insurance that I am always covered.
With that said, here are the five crucial supplements and vitamins that I recommend everyone take daily:
Magnesium is a cofactor in over three hundred reactions in the body, and is necessary for temperature regulations, hormonal balance, detoxification in the liver, formation of bones and teeth, and transmission of nerve pulses. However, it’s estimated that around 80% of people are deficient in this crucial mineral! If you are deficient in magnesium, symptoms include anxiety, constipation, an inability to sleep, tension, muscle cramps, fatigue, and much more.
Better yet, did you know that magnesium is the best treatment for PMS?! In fact, it removes symptoms so dramatically that some scientists believe that magnesium deficiency is the cause of PMS. (1)
Magnesium boosts progesterone by improving the healthy of your corpus luteum. It also regulates cortisol and reduces inflammation.
For women (and men!) magnesium is crucial.
Forms: Citrate, malate, glycinate, threonate, or orotate. Citrate works best for those prone to constipation.
Time Taken: Bedtime
2.Vitamin D + K2
About 80% of the population is deficient in Vitamin D, due to a shift from farming to office jobs, combined with a lack of sun in many places during the winter. Even if you live in a place with plenty of sunshine, you should be taking Vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for hormonal and metabolic function, and is something you don’t want to be deficient in.
When choosing your Vitamin D, make sure to buy D3. Most doctors prescribe D2 but it is not as effective. You want to take at least 5,000 IU – 10,000 IU a day (depending on how deficient you are) for 6 months. After this, you can lower your dose to 2,000 IU a day for monthly maintenance.
K2 is a is a fat soluble vitamin involved in calcium metabolism. Excess calcium is deposited in arteries, leading to calcification and decreased vascular function. This is why vitamin K2 could play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Bonus is that K2 has been found to reduce bone loss.
Dose: D3 – 5,000-10,000 i.u’s daily
K2- 2,000 mcg daily
Forms: D3 combined with K2, or you can take D3 and K2 in separate pills
Time Taken: Morning. D3 and K2 should always be taken together.
3. Methyl B12 and Methyl Folate
If you are a vegan or vegetarian I urge you to take vitamin B12 daily. If you are an omnivore, I still recommend you take this, as most people are deficient in B12. B12 can protect against dementia, increase immune function, maintain nerves, and regenerate cells. It’s necessary for maintaining methylation reactions that repair DNA and prevent cancer.
Dose: 800 mcg Folate, and 500 mcg B12
Forms: Capsule or lozenge
Time taken: Daily with food
4. High Grade Probiotic
Your gut is responsible for much more than just digesting your lunch. Your gut, and the 100 trillion bacteria that call it home, are responsible for your overall mental and physical wellbeing. Hippocrates said 2,000 years ago that “all disease begins in the gut”, and modern scientists are just now realizing how true this statement is.
For optimum health you should maintain an 85-to-15 percent ratio of good bacteria to bad. Once the bad bacteria rises above 15 percent, the immune system begins to slow down and sets off a chain reaction that promotes disease, digestion problems, and interferes with nutrient absorption.
Eating processed foods, plus the overuse of antibiotics, are the two biggest culprits for the poor gut health that is sweeping developed nations today.
To keep your gut healthy and thriving with healthy bacteria, you should take a high-grade probiotic daily, with at least 25 billion living organisms. Opt for even higher if you can. When purchasing your probiotic remember they are not regulated by the FDA, so you must make sure to buy a brand that is trusted.
Dose: Minimum 25 billion organisms per serving.
Form: Capsule or powder
Time Taken: At least 30 minutes before or after a meal. Do not take within 30 minutes of a hot beverage as the heat will kill the organisms.
In addition to taking a daily probiotic, you should also aim to eat two to three servings of fermented foods a day.
Examples of fermented foods are:
- Yogurt (unsweetened and organic)
- Kefir – this is a drinkable like yogurt originating from Turkey. You can find it in most grocery stores these days, or you can make your own by ordering a kefir starter kit online. Kefir makes a perfect addition to smoothies.
- Water kefir
Also, don’t forget your prebiotics. Prebiotic foods help feed your good bacteria. You should aim to eat as many prebiotic foods as you can.
Examples of prebiotic rich foods are :
- Raw chicory root
- Raw garlic
- Under-ripe bananas
- Raw dandelion greens
- Raw and cooked onions
- Raw Jerusalem artichokes
- Raw leeks
- Raw asparagus
5. Fish Oil (or Algal Oil for vegans)-
In order to keep your omega 3 to omega 6 levels ideal (you want a 1:1 ratio) and to promote optimum cardiovascular health, hormonal health, and to prevent disease, as well as promote a healthy and happy mind, fish oil is crucial. It also lowers cholesterol, improves insulin sensitivity, and prevents blood clots. It’s natures best anti-inflammatory, and helps balance hormones.
You should take 1,000-2,000 mg. a day, and the EPA to DHA ratio should be 300/200mg.
Dose: 1,000-2,000 mg
Forms: Capsule or liquid
Time taken: daily with food
Recommended brand: OmegaGenics EPA-DHA
This is your ultimate insurance ticket. It is important you are getting a high quality one. I personally take Vibrant Health’s Green Vibrance, as it also includes 25 billion probiotics, meaning I don’t have to hassle with taking an additional probiotic. And please don’t assume that because you are taking a multivitamin you don’t have to take the other supplements I’ve listed above. You see, multivitamins are great in that they provide an array of vitamins, but most of them do not have 100% of your daily requirement of D3, magnesium, and B12.
Dose: 1 tablet or 1 packet
Forms: Capsule or powder
Time taken: daily with food
Think of these supplements as part of your diet, and buy the best quality ones you can. Remember, you get what you pay for; cheap supplements are usually poorly absorbed by the body, and the dosages are not always as high as they claim. They are also often filled with additives and coloring, and just result in expensive urine!
When buying your supplements, I encourage you to seek guidance from a health care practitioner to select the products that are right for you. While these are the general supplements I recommend everyone take, some people will need further supplementation.
Health Coach Jenna