Our world is filled with cancerous chemicals, foods that cause dangerous bloodstream inflammation, and our food has less nutrition than it ever has.
Did you know our body needs 47 different vitamins and minerals to not ONLY sustain life, but THRIVE! We all want to feel great, look fit, and have a focused mind. Yet, something seems to be missing even if you work out daily, eat a heart healthy diet, and sleep well.
These are the 3 most common reasons why you need to supplement, and what supplements you should be taking to improve your health.
“I do my best to present the best and most accurate information here, but here’s what I am – a pharmacist and holistic sleep coach. I’m not a doctor or psychologist so use your best judgement when implementing my information.”
**As a way to keep my content fresh and up to date. Some of the links below are affiliated links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize your purchase.
Reason 1: Free Radicals and the need for Antioxidants
Our body’s use energy, a lot of energy! From our muscles, heart, intestines, kidneys, and everything in between, we make and use energy like a car engine. Like a car, combustion can also have its toxins. Our body’s energy production is called Respiration. It’s when we use a molecule of glucose (sugar) along with oxygen and we make ATP (ENERGY). There was a study in Free Radicals in Biology back in the 80’s that identified that 2 to 5 % of electrons are converted to damaging oxygen free radical species.
Free radicals are destructive pinballs. Although short-lived, they are extremely volatile and react aggressively with other molecules. They have the ability to damage and kill other cells, which can lead to disease and cellular aging. This is the heart of chronic illness and organ reserve. Chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes are heavily affected by excess free radicals. Organ reserve is the term that tells us how long our organs have left before they stop working efficiently. You might of heard of biological age and how you want your biological age to be younger than your actual age. Then you may want to look into minimizing free radicals with antioxidants in order to improve your organ reserve.
Antioxidants are found in everyday vitamins and minerals. We are often told by dietitians to taste the rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Did you know common free radical scavengers are also high quality forms of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Iodine, Sulfur containing foods, Bioflavonoids, and Polyphenols. All of which can be found in a high quality multivitamin and fresh farm-raised organic produce.
Reason #2: Systemic Inflammation, the fire burning inside our body
We typically hear about inflammation as the robust immune response that attacks a foreign pathogen on the surface of an injury like a fresh wound or injured joint. The body temperature increases and specialized white blood cells are mobilized to protect. However, when inflammation turns silent, things get ugly. Like a spy in the ranks of your organization, inflammation causes a slow release of dangerous inflammatory cytokines (specialized cell signaling proteins) and inflammation-producing eicosanoids (oxygenated essential fatty acids) that start to destroy tissues throughout the body.
Systemic inflammation is probably one of the greatest discoveries in modern medicine! One of the greatest causes for cardiac disease has been pointed to inflammation. In a study evaluating several cholesterol lowering medication along with fish oil, high dose niacin, and dietary change; fish oil a natural anti-inflammatory showed a 23% reduction in overall death compared to 13% of the popular statin medication. We have now seen correlations of C-reactive protein (CRP, a common lab test used to check for systemic inflammation) as key markers for risk of cardiovascular disease. CRP is produced by the specialized cells that line the arterial walls, and if your labs are elevated, we need to work on cutting down inflammation.
Not only is systemic inflammation key in degenerative diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and multiple sclerosis; it also is a culprit for accelerated ageing.
Inflammation affects all parts of the body, here are a few examples:
- Inflammation of brain tissues increases the production of soluble beta-amyloid protein (a protein closely associated with the deterioration of the brain).
- The same amyloid protein deposits can form in the pancreas, destroying the cells that produce insulin.
- Inflammation is increased by chronically elevated levels of insulin and blood sugar, common to those suffering from condition that breed insulin resistance like diabetes mellitus type 2 and metabolic syndrome.
- Chronic inflammation in the GI-tract can prevent the ability to absorb essential nutrients like Vitamin D (very important for the mobilization of Calcium into the bones)
- Excess body weight and the inability to lose weight can increase inflammation in the blood.
- Inflammation also promotes several types of cancer such as colorectal cancer, esophageal, and several others.
How do we reduce systemic inflammation in the body?
- Decrease your dietary intake of red meats (especially from grain and soy-fed livestock), eggs (mainly from caged chickens), and dairy (from grain and soy-fed livestock)
- Decrease the intake of high glycemic foods like pastries, bread, soda, juices, candy, deserts, and even artificial sweeteners
- Increase the intake of fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, or cod), raw nuts and grains rich in healthy fats
- Foods found in the Mediterranean diet have amazing anti-inflammatory properties such as olive oil, citrus bioflavonoids, fruits and berries, resveratrol found in red wine or grapes, Curcumin, Green Tea, and nuts
- Alpha Lipoic Acid is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It has shown to lower systemic inflammation in the gut and help absorb more nutrients
- Supplementing with high quality cold-pressed fish oil or flaxseed oil can also reduce systemic inflammation
Here are a few examples of high quality brands that have high quality ingredients. You can sign up to my dispensary in order to have access to these supplements. Here are the anti-inflammatory supplements I recommend to my clients.
Omega – 3’s
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Reason #3: Our food has very little nutrition
Since 1936, the United States has known that our topsoil (the soil that is needed to grow crops) has been losing valuable vitamins and minerals. Top soil provides the crops with the ability to absorb multiple minerals and vitamins to improve nutrient content for the person’s ingesting it. By 1992, the US and Canadian agriculture society’s reported that their soil had lost 85% of their mineral content. This has led to a new term of starvation called multiple micronutrient depletion. The loss of valuable minerals in our food like calcium, magnesium, chromium, selenium, copper, zinc, and many others are responsible for many issues in our health.
Soil depletion was well understood by our ancient ancestors. They would migrate every few years to new areas or helped to replenish soils with organic waste. However, with the age of industrial farming, not only does our topsoil erode by wind and water, but it erodes by over cultivating and overgrazing. With the addition of NPK (Nitrate, phosphate, and potassium) fertilizer, the problem of poor nutrient dense crops has only worsen. For example, the NPK fertilizer:
- Increases a higher crop yield (makes a bigger crop)
- Increases the DEPLETION of vital micronutrients and trace elements that are important for biological functions
- Decreases the ability for plants to absorb vital micronutrients and trace elements
- Decreases the soil pH (making it more acidic)
- Acidic soil kills off beneficial fungi and bacteria that would help the plant absorb nutrients from the soil
- Decreases selenium (a powerful antioxidant beneficial to the immune system and thyroid health)
- Malnourishes the plant, thus making the plant susceptible to attacks by insects, opportunistic bacterial or fungi, and weed overgrowth.
What about Certified Organic Crops
Packaging that states “certified organic crops” ban ingredients like artificial sweeteners, food colorings, and most additives. However, we still get exposed to many of the toxins from the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. However, with the replenishment of organic matter back to the soil. We can encourage the growth of fungus, nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and other beneficial micro-organisms. The positive growth of this environment helps to transfer more nutrients to the plant and yield a more nutrient dense crop. A nutrient dense crop contains more vitamins, minerals, and trace elements that are beneficial for the biological reactions that help sustain a healthy body and mind.
Benefits of Organic Foods
It’s no doubt that organic foods contain more nutrients than non-organic foods. What we have seen in research is that organic crops are:
- Higher in vitamin C, iron, natural sugars, magnesium, and phosphorus
- Lower in harmful nitrates than conventional crops
- Lower in pesticides and other toxins
- Higher in flavonoids and other antioxidants (potent anti-inflammatories)
If you are unable to eat organic every day, than always try eat organic when it comes to the dirty dozen. In addition, the clean 15 are typically lower in pesticides than other non-organic crops. With the Clean 15 produce, I typically wash them in a vinegar mixture. In addition, I will also try to peel of the first coat if I’m eating an onion or cabbage in order to reduce the amount of pesticides, dirt, or harmful mold.
Unless you are able to eat a well balanced diet from farm fresh organic produce (ideally from local farms) that are nutrient dense and packed with vitamins. You may still need a high quality multivitamin. Our body needs over 40 different vitamins and minerals to sustain optimal health. We commonly see these minerals at suboptimal levels when we run laboratory test. Even though these levels are within reference ranges, people are still having symptoms of chronic disease. This is because having sub optimally low levels of vitamins and minerals in the blood can still place you at risk for chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. This is exactly why I recommend certain supplements to avoid these suboptimal levels.
Supplements that I use and recommend
High Quality Multivitamin
A high quality multivitamin is insurance for your body. Just in case you miss a couple of nutrients, you can make them with taking a high quality multivitamin. For myself, I take the supplement below as well as my whole family. With multivitamins, you get what you pay for. The multivitamins that advertise taking one pill daily lack high quality ingredients that absorb effectively through the intestines and also lack phytonutrients that are needed to reduce free radicals and inflammation. For all my sleep clients, along with sleep hygiene, I make sure they are using a high quality multivitamin, such as the Alpha Base by Orthomolecular. Other brands that I recommend are the multivitamins from VitaminShoppe or GNC. They typically have good multivitamins with a regular dose being about 2 to 4 capsules daily.
High Quality Multivitamin
This is non-negotiable in my house. Unless you get 20 minutes of full body exposure EVERY day, then maybe you can skip on this. I would still recommend taking a high quality multivitamin so your body can easily convert skin vitamin D to active Vitamin D for use.
More information on Vitamin D
We typically hear of Vitamin D has the magic vitamin for strong and healthy bones. However with all the emerging research, we have seen that vitamin D is so much more for our health. Vitamin D plays a key role in calcium balance, cell membrane, gene expression, cell life, cardiac health, immune function, and neurological support.
Vitamin D receptors, which are tiny little receivers that are attached to our cells to accept vitamin D, are all over our body. Vitamin D reacts with over 2,000 genes in our cells. When you think about it, your health and well-being depend heavily on developing a healthy relation with the sun.Our skin is ready to metabolize active vitamin D to work for us. Here are some benefits on Vitamin D3:
- Improves fertility
- Safeguards pregnancy
- Reduce chronic inflammation (which will help reduce chronic illness)
- Helps to control weight
- Protects against infection agents
- Helps to prevent strokes and neurological disorders, including dementia
- Bolsters our immune response
- Boosts mental cognition
- Modulates heart function
- Supports muscle strength
A Systemic Anti-inflammatory Supplement
With conventionally grown foods given a high inflammatory diet (grains like processed soy and corn), we need to have a way to balance the scale with anti-inflammatories. Phytonutrients in food is one way, but at times we need supplementation. Liposomal turmeric (a form of Turmeric that is better absorbed in the body) and omega-3’s are great options in order to tilt the scales of reducing systemic inflammation. Below are my 2 recommended brands of each.
Lastly and certainly not least, Magnesium is a mineral that is involved with over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and brain. In addition, our foods have been greatly depleted of magnesium so much that most doctors will recommend magnesium supplementation if you are having issues sleeping. You can click here to find out why sleeping is so important for your health. The most common type of magnesium is magnesium oxide, this is often times cheaper and poorly absorbed. I NEVER recommend magnesium oxide. The top 2 types of magnesium I recommend are magnesium glycinate or magnesium threonate and here is why.
We need our magnesium to absorb once it is available in our intestines. From here it goes directly in the blood stream to start working. The glycinate group is a chelated form that guides the magnesium element directly in the blood stream. Also, it has a nice calming effect to help with your wind down routine. I would recommend starting with Magnesium glycinate 100 mg at night, and work up to 300 to 500 mg nightly. The lower the better. If you have the urge to have a bowel movement, just take 1 less capsule the next night.
Chelated like magnesium glycinate, the L-threonate carries the magnesium molecule in the bloodstream AND brings it directly to the central nervous system. This allows the magnesium molecule to interact with the brain to have direct effect to the areas that need it. I usually recommend this for migraines, depression, anxiety, insomnia, or brain fog.
The Importance of a Qualified Consultant?
Identifying nutritional deficiencies through a detailed questionnaire is just one thing I help with clients that have trouble with insomnia. I also look into diet modification to help sleep issues, lifestyle changes to feel great and identifying other health issues that could interfere with sleep. As a pharmacist and sleep consultant, I am able to take a deep dive in your medication history, health history, and your behavior to find the quickest most effective plan to getting you to sleep well.
If you would like to schedule a call with me, click on this LINK! Just fill out the information and find the best time that works for us and I will contact you.