Over the years my philosophy regarding supplements has changed. I used to think “I eat healthy, I don’t need vitamins”.
That was until I started reading, listening and learning on my own and during my Health Coaching training, plus alongside my Functional Medicine practitioner.
One of the first things my Functional Medicine practitioner did was a test called a Nutra-eval, which is a comprehensive test for identifying nutritional deficiencies. This allowed her and I to work together and objectively to develop a supplement plan for myself. I do think testing, not guessing is a good strategy.
With that said, according to the book Eat Dirt, “our soil today has 85% fewer minerals than it contained 100 years ago”. I think there are few supplements that almost everyone in the general population could benefit from, regardless of testing (although I still believe testing is beneficial!).
Benefits: anti-inflammatory, critical for eye, brain, nervous system and heart health
- A lot of opinions on if this is valuable or not. Quality is important so definitely not worth the money if you don’t pick a reputable brand.
Benefits: bone health, immune function, calcium absorption, lowers inflammation, mood regulation
- D3 is believed to be better absorbed and raise levels when compared to D2
- Without K2, body can’t utilize the vitamin
- Consider increasing dose during months you don’t get exposure to as much Vitamin D from sunshine
Benefits: good for detox, energy, digestion, regulating bowel movements, muscle relaxation, promotes sleep. Most adults are deficient.
- Magnesium glycinate is best tolerated
- Magnesium citrate if suffering from constipation
- Avoid magnesium oxide and stearate
- Watch for diarrhea and back off dose until resolved
- Consider a spray, which is likely best absorbed in most
- Best taken at night to help facilitate a restful sleep
Benefits: energy production, stress management, nervous system function
- Methylated version is likely best absorbed in most: will say words like MTHF, Metafolin and methylcobalamin on back
- Best taken in morning
Benefits: supports digestive and immune health
- I think most people agree on the benefits of a probiotic but everyone has an opinion on what makes a good one.
- Our favorite is a spore based probiotic called Just Thrive (get 15% off with code embrace). Learn more here and here.
- The one we use is best taken with a meal
Fermented Foods (yes, I consider this a supplement)
Benefits: promote growth of healthy gut flora
- We consider this a supplement and make sure to get fermented foods in daily. Learn more here. Kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles and kombucha are our families go to choices!
Benefits: clear out nasal pages before germ colonization can occur; helps with seasonal congestion
- Best used at night and with any exposure to illness + germs
- Not addictive
My kids do a variation of this. In the morning they get fermented sauerkraut and fish or cod oil. Most of the time they also get vitamin D drops and a probiotic with a spoonful of applesauce . At night we ALWAYS clean out their nares with Xlear before bed .”Teeth and nose”, as they say, is our nighttime routine.
To note, I don’t think about supplements as a replacement for eating well. I think of them as insurance to fill in the gaps that our nutrition can’t adequately provide.
Other things to consider:
- Working with a practitioner to get adequate recommendations on dosing and to consider testing.
- Taking breaks. I typically give our bodies a break on vacations and often on the weekend.
- Switching up brands. I do this every so often just to get different variations.
- Always, always, always choose good quality brands. The supplement market is saturated and most of what you can buy at stores are cheap, poorly absorbed, filled with additives and fillers and risk not actually being what is even promoted on the label. I prefer practitioner grade supplements, as they are often more regulated. I have an online dispensary I work with called Fullscript. You can sign up for free and get the supplements shipped directly to your house (often with free shipping). I also have some brands I recommend tagged within the dispensary (navigate to Categories, then Practitioner Categories).
- If possible and available, we also prefer to take food based supplements, as they are as close to the actual food as you can get.
- Check out some of my Favorites here and don’t forget to get on Fullscript to get access to even more of my favs!
This is really a maintenance plan for optimal health. In the winter I often pump up what we do to maximize our immune system. Each year I tend to switch it up some. This was what we did last year and I am planning an updated post soon for what we are going to do this year!
I would also love to be of assistance to you or help direct you to where you can find answers.