If you’ve been into a health food store lately and chances are you have, the shelves are overwhelmingly filled with hundreds of different supplements.
This can cause a great deal of frustration and anxiety if the store doesn’t have a well educated staff to direct you towards what your are looking for. What’s worse, is when you don’t know what you should be taking because then, you’ll receive all kinds of opinions and information from many different sources.
I’m going to simplify things with you and say, if you’re not working with a Naturopath, Registered Nutritionist/Nutritionist or other health care provider who has recommended you specific supplements, the below list will work for just about everyone. These are the supplements that I believe, everyone should be on. I have made this decision based on research and the typical Canadian (North American) diet.
Magnesium: is an incredible mineral. It’s the 8th most abundant element in the universe but many of us our deficient. Magnesium is required for over 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies. It helps build bones, relax and calm the mind, provide stress relief to your body, relax muscles, activate B vitamins and so much more! Look for a magnesium bisglycinate supplement. Glycine is an amino acid that is bonded with magnesium. This helps the magnesium get through the stomach acid and absorbed in the intestines. It’s also easy in the GI tract and won’t cause any quick trips to the bathroom.
Omega 3: Omega 3 is a type of beneficial fat that reduces inflammation. Omega 3s can help support our digestive system, our eyes, our brain, our skin, our mood, our joints and our hormones. This nutrient needs to come from animal sources or an algae source. The reason for this is, Omega 3s from flax and other plant sources are not actually in an Omega 3 form. Our bodies have to convert it and do so very, very poorly. It’s best to consume a fish oil source of Omega 3 such as anchovies, sardines and mackerel. Most supplements will be from these types of fish. The reason is, these fish are small and so, will have much, much less heavy metals and toxins in them. Look for a company that is using sustainable harvesting, multiple levels of testing and has a certified product. This brand is fantastic!
Probiotics: are beneficial bacteria that help us digest our food, produce neurotransmitters and vitamins and protect our immune system. They help reduce gas and bloating, keep yeast counts in our gut in check and reduce inflammation. Did you know our bodies have more bacteria in our digestive tract than we do cells in our bodies? This is why probiotics have such a huge impact on our health. When looking for a probiotic look for the number of different strains used, how many bacteria are in each dose, the type of formula, the guaranteed potency and the delivery system (enteric coated). Check out this company here.
Vitamin D: is so much more than just a vitamin. First of all, most Canadians are deficient in Vitamin D. We live in a climate with cold, dark winters where we are covered up head to toe. When the sunlight hits our skin, our bodies (through a series of reactions) turn cholesterol into Vitamin D. When our skin is covered up either with winter clothes or sunscreen, we do not make any vitamin D. There are also not many foods naturally rich in Vitamin D, another reason why supplementation is important. The current recommended intake for Vitamin D is quite low in my opinion. There is lots of research out there that indicates supplementation with 2000, 3000 even 4000 IU of Vitamin D daily is safe. Vitamin D also acts as a hormone in our body in different signalling pathways. There’s research supporting immune health, cancer risk, bone health and osteoporosis as well as depression. When looking for a Vitamin D supplement, remember Vitamin D is fat soluble. This means it needs fat to be absorbed. The best supplements will have the Vitamin D in olive or coconut oil. A liquid is best as it’s highly absorbed. It’s available in flavours like orange or lemon or unflavoured.