The nutrition market is a lucrative one. Produce a vitamin that makes it to the shelves of your local drugstore and you will be rolling in it. Just ask the producers of Centrum or One- A-Day. Income from swiftly packaged, questionable quality, so-called supplements, are a massive market and they are out to get you on their list of consumers. But how do you know which supplements you need? And once you know what you should be taking, which one of the thousands of brands do you select? First and foremost you should find a natural doctor you trust. Have appropriate labs performed to determine in what areas you might be deficient. If there is supplementation treatment to be done for a specific condition, it should be managed by a professional. However there are a few supplements, four in fact, that in my opinion are absolutely essential.
THE FOUR ESSENTIAL SUPPLEMENTS YOU MUST BE TAKING
WHY ARE THEY ESSENTIAL? You have bugs. Oh, yes you do. Millions of them. At least, you should. Don’t worry, they are good bugs. Not bugs exactly but essential bacteria. These bacteria line the intestinal wall and help you digest and absorb your food properly. Some people would argue they are the gateway to all health, particularly if you want to enjoy exceptionally good health. Most of us know probiotics are important for digestion, but recent research has illustrated that probiotics not only have a significant impact on our immune function but also brain health. So why if we already have them do we need to take them? Unfortunately because of the nature of our agriculture practices over the last few decades we have over-farmed and depleted the soils of their original richness. This is a problem because we then produce food deficient of the nutrients they once possessed. Largely lacking in many foods is the naturally occurring, original probiotic content. Your probiotic supplement should contain multiple strains in addition to the standard Acidophilus and Bifidus. In my opinion, shelf-stable probiotics are a problem. A colony of probiotics is NOT stable at room temperature and if you have MADE them stable by some “process” are they as close to our natural probiotic population as possible? I think not. Get a probiotic that calls for refrigeration, please.
DOSAGE: “To maintain microorganism balance, take a probiotic of one to two million CFUs daily or every other day. Probiotics containing 10 million CFUs can be taken daily for up to two weeks, to correct a problem.” – Livestrong
TAKE THIS ONE: PROBIOTIC SUFFICIENCY
WHY IT IS ESSENTIAL? Here we go. Fish oil basics. Our bodies need a ratio of Omega 3,6 and 9 fatty acids to function optimally. These oils are essential for everything from brain function to immunity. Our diets have become grossly out of sync with the perfect ratio required for optimal functioning. There are several basics when it comes to taking a fish oil. Oh ya, and “Oh, but I eat fish 3 times a week” is not good enough anymore. Both because even good fish is lacking the amount of Omega 3’s it used to contain, and if you tried to eat ENOUGH fish to get your omega threes you would be a toxic dump. Not as much CLEAN fish out there as you might think. (Flax Seed Oil doesn’t cut it either- read here) Below are the fish oil musts!
- Dark glass bottle – fish oil goes rancid if you look at it wrong. Dark glass protects the fish oil from turning yucky.
- If you were served a piece of salmon that was fishy smelling you would send it back (I hope). You should NEVER take a fish oil that is smelly. Good fish doesn’t smell. Good fish oil doesn’t either. (And throw your fish oil out if you get the fish burps!) If your fish oil says “Enteric-coated” RUNNNNNN. That is a thick cloak to hide the fact that the fish oil is crap.
- Fish oil should have antioxidants infused at the time of extraction to protect the oil. Fish oil should be bottled at the SITE of retrieval, not shipped in vats and bottled somewhere else. Vats = Rancid oil
- Fish oil should come from a “low on the food chain source”. Ever heard of bioaccumulation? Bioaccumulation is when a fish, that eats a fish, that eats a fish gets to absorb all the nasty heavy metals and toxins of all the fish that he has eaten before him. Mackerel, sardine, and anchovy are excellent “bottom of the chain” fishes for fish oil sources.
DOSAGE: This is tough. There is not a hard and fast rule. We are so much more deficient than we have ever been. The folks over at ZinZinno recommend a blood test to determine your level of deficiency. I think this is brilliant. If you want to know more about that contact me HERE. But if you want a hard and fast number 1400-1700 mg a day is a good starting point. Remember, if you are doing anything other than basic maintenance I suggest you increase your dose, and you really cannot take too much.
WHY ARE THEY ESSENTIAL? The enzyme situation is similar to the probiotic issue. We have raped and pillaged our soils, so they are no longer nutrient-dense. We have also been exposed to airborne and ingested toxins that have resulted in a decrease in the appropriate enzymes that should be available to you as your food lands in the stomach. Also, stress, lack of sleep and processed diets kill off essential enzymes. I suggest taking an enzyme most times you eat but for sure on the bigger or harder to digest meals.
DOSAGE: There is no set rule about this. I often will take one at the beginning of a meal and one-half way through. If you feel that your digestion is sluggish, you can opt for a more intensive enzyme or just more frequent administration.
TAKE THIS ONE: RAINBOW LIGHT ENZYMES
WHY IS IT ESSENTIAL? This is an absolute no-brainer. Every single person on the planet should be taking vitamin D. Okay if you are a surfer in California who eschews sunscreen you might be exempt. But there is almost no research to demonstrate Vitamin D toxicity exists even though Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. D is essential for preventing cancer, improving brain function and increasing immunity.
DOSAGE: Lot’s of differing opinions on this one. Several research studies say 1000 in the summer and 2000IU in the winter for anyone North of San Francisco (less sun). If I feel a patient is deficient, I will put them on 5000 IU. a day for 2-3 months and then retest their levels. Remember that a “normal lab” is about the patient not being “deficient” not about the patient being “optimal”. So a low normal reading can still be a problem.
TAKE THIS ONE: INNATE CHOICE LIQUID D
There are dozens of shelves, of dozens of brands, in dozens of different stores. Much of the supplement offerings in mainstream stores are neither well-tested for content nor quality. Stick to a good quality essential supplement like the ones mentioned above. Once you are consistent with these four must-haves, we can talk about other nutritional needs you might need to supplement. (Remember, supplements are not a cure for a crap diet!)
Are you taking any of these four supplements? If not, I challenge you to try one for the next sixty days. Then consider adding the next one. Work your way up to a consistent practice of supplementation and your body will thank you! Did you know that I do private health and nutrition coaching? Feel free to contact me HERE for information if you are ready to take those first steps! I would love to work with you.
If you liked this post, you would swallow fish oil for these!