By: Emily Oberg
Supplements- a controversial topic that no one can seem to agree on. Some people think they’re useless, others (like me) have just about every kind from A to Z in their kitchen cupboard. There’s an ongoing debate if whether or not supplements are necessary, which ones you need to take and if they even work.
While I do agree with the belief that we should all be eating our vitamins by having a diet full of nutrient-dense foods, we live in a culture where fast food is king and processed foods are more easily available than fresh, healthy foods. So, if you are already eating a balanced diet, you may not need to take any supplements at all, unfortunately, this isn’t the case for the majority of the population. This is why we need to “supplement” our bodies with the vitamins and minerals we aren’t getting from food.
Research shows that supplements will only be absorbed by your body if your body is in need of them. You can find out what your body needs by doing a series of blood tests to see which nutrients you are deficient in and from here, you can better understand what you should be taking and why.
You can also determine which supplements to take by understanding when our bodies start to slow down the production of certain compounds and elements. Take Glutathione for instance, this powerful antioxidant is naturally produced by our bodies and works to protect against oxidative stress (damage) to our mitochondria- the powerhouse of our cells. However, as we age, our bodies start to produce less and less of it. This is an example of when you may want to consider taking the supplement or, changing your lifestyle to increase the natural production of it.
I’m a big fan of liposomal (liquid) vitamins because they are delivered directly into our cells for a speedier, more effective delivery while traditional supplements are often destroyed by the acid in our stomach.
Astaxanthin- A carotenoid found in seafood like shrimp, salmon, lobster and crab. This powerful supplement protects our bodies from oxidative stress and is one of the only antioxidants that doesn’t become pro-oxidized in our bodies. It also acts as an internal sunscreen by reducing UVA damage to our skin and cells.
Zinc- I take it for my skin and to protect myself against getting sick. This mineral has been shown to boost our immune system and decrease the length and severity of a cold. It’s also been said to help with acne by assisting in the healing of wounds.
Daily Cleanse- I’m not usually a fan of “Instagram” health brands like Hum as I find a lot of them to be gimmicky, but I really like this supplement. The Daily Cleanse uses 14 detoxifying ingredients like Chlorella and Spirulina which bind to toxins in our body and aid in clear skin and digestion.
Vitamin C- We could all use some extra support when it comes to our immune system. Not only does it boost the immune system, it also promotes the production of collagen, increases our iron absorption and can help prevent neurological diseases like dementia.
COQ10- Similar to Glutathione, Coenzyme Q10 is another powerful antioxidant that’s naturally produced by our bodies and is key in protecting our cells from oxidative stress. COQ10 is essential in producing ATP and powering our cells. This enzyme declines with age so if you do decide to take it, you may want to wait until your late twenties, early thirties to do so.
Vitamin D3K2- Vitamin D works to support our immune system, regulates mood and helps combat depression. It also increases our absorption of Calcium and is something we all need to function properly. Most of us are deficient in it, so if you aren’t getting out in the sun enough or eating foods high in Vitamin D, your best bet is to take it as a supplement. I take a fat-soluble Vitamin D supplement by Quicksilver Scientifics. Make sure your Vitamin D supplement also has Vitamin K which increases its efficiency.
Digestive enzymes- I take digestive enzymes at the beginning of each meal to ensure what I eat is being broken down properly. I especially recommend taking it with foods like meat, gluten or dairy which can all be hard on our digestive systems.
L-glutamine- An amino acid which functions as an energy source for your intestinal and immune cells. I started taking it for my leaky gut and still take it to support my digestion. It’s also a building block of protein and can assist in muscle recovery post workout.
Vitamin B12- This vitamin benefits just about every system in your body and a B12 deficiency can cause you to feel run down, tired and moody. B12 benefits the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, digestive system as well as your metabolism. B12 also increases cell reproduction so it’s said to be good for your hair, skin and nails as well.
Glutathione- Mentioned before, this antioxidant is produced by our liver and encourages liver function, helping our bodies to get rid of toxins and waste. Glutathione also supports immune function, bowel health, cardiovascular health, cognitive health, as well as eye health.
Resveratrol- Another powerful antioxidant which protects our cells from environmental damage. One of the reasons why wine is good for you is because of its high content of Resveratrol, which is produced in the skins of red grapes. Studies have shown that it can also help to slow down cognitive decline as well as aging in general.
Curcumin- I’ve been taking curumin for the past year for its ability to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a strange thing that happens in the body when we eat the wrong foods, have too much stress, are exposed to harmful chemicals, or have an infection or injury. Inflammation can lead to disease, autoimmune disorders and other symptoms that none of us want to deal with. I like Metacurcumin by RevGenetics because it’s a potent, liquid form which absorbs faster.
Probiotic- Perhaps the most controversial supplement of them all. Some people think we need them, others think that populating our gut with billions of different bacteria is absurd. Science shows that when we ingest certain types of “good” bacteria in probiotics, we are able to treat and prevent illness while also keeping the harmful bacteria in our gut in check. I like to take a probiotic once a day and notice that my digestion is better when I do so. Right now I’m taking MegaSporeBiotic by MicroBiome Labs.