In an ideal world, we would get all of our nutrients, minerals and vitamins from whole-food sources… just like our ancestors did. Today, some people think that it is possible to obtain optimal health and heal nutrient deficiencies without supplementation. I am not one of those people. When it comes to supplementation, here are my thoughts:
- We live in a drastically more toxic world than our ancestors and our bodies are highly stressed with chemicals and fast-paced lifestyles. Supplements can help our bodies handle this toxic burden.
- Most of us don’t eat a whole food diet. Even if we are eating a very healthy diet, chances are we are still taking in dietary factors that harm the body like oxidized fats, excess polyunsaturated fats, and refined sugar.
- When it comes to supplements, quality is more important that quantity. A few well-chosen supplements can go a lot farther than a handful of randomly selected pills. And yes, higher quality supplements do require more of a financial investment.
- We are all unique. There is no one-size-fits all when it comes to supplements. My recommendations here are generally beneficial for many people. But we need to listen to our bodies when we supplement. You can do this easy Food Sensitivities test to see if a supplement agrees with your or stresses your body. I also recommend finding a nutritional therapist in your area, as a practitioner will be able to ask your body exactly what supplements you need.
- Some supplements can be very useful as a band-aid or a bridge to help heal disease and nutrient deficiencies. Other supplements may be beneficial to take for one’s entire life.
Vitamin Boost: Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Although this product sounds admittedly revolting, the powerful superfood has been considered a sacred and healing food for centuries. It provides both EPA and DHA (omega-3 anti-inflammatory fatty acids) as well as vitamins A and D. The omega-3 fatty acids and the fat soluble vitamins make this an extremely potent supplement that boosts immunity and reduces inflammation. I used to get sick all. the time. Then I started taking fermented cod liver oil (FCLO). I rarely get colds any more! Take a double dose at the first sign of a cold and it will probably nip it in the bud.
I recommend the cinnamon flavor of Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil, since this is the most palatable. Take about 1/2 teaspoon per day, with meals. To mask the *distinctive* flavor, here’s how to take it:
- Hold your breath
- Swallow the cod liver oil
- Keep holding your breath and chase with a sip of water
- Now breathe!
Blood Sugar Support: Adrenal Glandular
Adrenal glandular supplements, like Cytozyme AD, can be very helpful as a band-aid in blood sugar problems and adrenal fatigue. I recommend using glandular supplements under the supervision of a natural/ holistic practitioner – someone who can help you determine the proper dose for your situation.
Glandular therapy is a time-honored treatment for hormonal disorders. Healers from almost every culture advocated the ingestion of certain animal glands and organs as a targeted therapy for numerous issues. The proteins, polypeptides and enzymes in the glands survive the digestive tract intact and act specifically on the targeted organ. For example, thyroid glandulars support thyroid function and adrenal glandulars support adrenal function.
Mineral Support: Magnesium
Most people are deficient in magnesium. Additionally, our requirements for magnesium increase when we are under stress, since stress eats through our magnesium stores. Also important, magnesium is a safe and effective band-aid for constipation. Remember, constipation is a symptom of poor digestion and a slow metabolism and not a root problem. But it is necessary to bandaid constipation while correcting digestion and metabolism through dietary changes.
I recommend Natural Calm Unflavored Magnesium and I take it every evening. Magnesium is excellently absorbed through the skin, and transdermal magnesium therapy can be more effective than consuming the mineral orally. Spray magnesium oil onto your skin and rub it in. Some find that it is irritating and itchy, especially if applied to sensitive areas such as the inside of elbows or the backs of the knee.
Mineral Support: Iodine
Iodine is necessary for the synthesis of thyroid hormones (but it should not be taken if you have autoimmune thyroid disease). It is also a preventative agent in breast cancer. I recommend an supplement that contains both iodine and iodide, like Lugol’s or Iodoral.
Female Hormone Balance: Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex) and/or Maca
Chaste Tree Berry helps your body produce more progesterone, the antagonistic hormone to estrogen. This is a very good thing, because estrogen dominance– producing too much estrogen or the inability to eliminate estrogen from the body– leads to all sorts of miserable hormonal issues like PMS, PCOS, and menopausal symptoms.
Maca also helps the body regain balance from estrogen dominance and it has great success in supporting overall hormone balance. But when it comes to this supplement, it is very important to slowly increase the dose.
Of course, supplements for estrogen dominance are only part of the picture and they will not entirely solve your hormonal issues. Read my ebook Quit PMS for more information on correcting estrogen dominance and more details on the dosing of these two supplements.
Digestion Support: Betaine HCL with Pepsin
Low stomach acid causes a cascade of digestive issues like heartburn, bloating, hair loss and constipation. I’ve written extensively on the importance of adequate stomach acidity and how to use Betaine HCL supplements for optimal digestion in my post, Heal Low Stomach Acid Naturally.
Digestion Support: Fermented Foods
Foods can play the role of a supplement, especially in the case of naturally fermented foods. The fermentation process activates beneficial enzymes and a fluffy of healthy probiotics that help balance gut flora.
Some probiotic-rich fermented foods include:
- Homemade yogurt or a high-quality store bought yogurt
- Beet Kvass
- Naturally fermented vegetables, such as traditional sauerkraut
Detox Support: MSM
MSM powder provides a bioavaiable source of sulfur, a key component in glutathione production. Glutathione is one of the most important antioxidants in the body and plays integral roles in the detoxification of toxins. For more details on this supplement, I recommend Dr. Mercola’s article on MSM. I suggest gradually increasing your dose of MSM, since mild detoxification symptoms can occur.
MSM occurs naturally in foods, but we can still be deficient if we eat a balanced diet. But there is one option to significantly increase your MSM intake without special supplementation… raw milk has the highest MSM content of any food!
Metabolic Support: Sea Salt
Salt? A supplement? Yes! I discuss the metabolic and hormonal benefits of sea salt here. Sometimes your body is craving more salt than your food provides and In that case, listen to your cravings and liberally salt your foods to taste. It is also a good practice to add a pinch of sea salt to your water.
Fatty Acid Support: Coconut Oil
Here is another food as a supplement option. Coconut oil is available in capsules but (unless you really can’t tolerate the taste of coconut) it is preferable to use coconut oil as a food. Since coconut oil is heat-stable, it is perfect for cooking, baking and sauteing. Coconut oil is a potent metabolic booster, a natural anti-fungal agent and more.
Do you take supplements on a regular basis? Do you take any of the ones above or different ones?