Think about how healthy we would be in the body, mind and spirit if we were optimally nourished. Unfortunately, in the US, we are more sick, tired and malnourished than ever before due to soil depletion, processed an d fast-foods, stress, pharmaceutical drugs, toxins, pollution, pasteurization, homogenation, microwaves, etc, etc, etc…you get the picture. We are so busy that we feel we can’t take a moment to breath! There’s always something to do, somewhere to go, people to call, email to catch up on, school work to be done, meeting to attend, kids to take care of and houses to clean. We are expected to do it all with a smile on our face and just keep pushing through. We need to slow down and nourish our bodies and minds for our sake and for the sake of future generations. We need to care…about ourselves, our families, our communities and our planet.
To maintain optimal health, our cells, tissues and organs must have adequate nutrient reserves. Typically, stress, toxins and trauma deplete vitamin and mineral stores, which we all experience at one time or another. Ideally, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients should come from chemical-free, fresh, organic foods. This was possible 60 years ago when all foods were grown in fertile soils, were unrefined & unprocessed and contained all of the nutrients that mother nature intended. Unfortunately, today the soil and foods grown in the soil are typically loaded with toxic chemicals and their nutritional value is drastically decreased by convenient and nutrient-destroying practices. Today, the nutrient value of commercial fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds has decreased as a result of decades of soil mismanagement. Therefore, the addition of high-quality supplements can be vitally imporant to “fill in the gaps.” Taking a supplement does not replace eating for health; supplements are a complement to a healthy lifestyle. Supplements can be used for preventative purposes, correcting deficiences and therapeutically as remedies for previously diagnosed health conditions.
Tips on Taking Supplements:
1- Always consult with your Doctor before taking a supplement as it’s possible it will interact with any medications you may be taking. You can also determine certain deficiencies by getting blood tests done (Vitamin D, Iron, etc).
2- Seek evaluation by a nutrition professional to help determine quality (safety, absorbtion, USP certification, purity, strength, disintegration), non-biased clinical trials, co-factors, dose and duration. Nutrition Consultants are very helpful in this area because we have done all of the research for you and can recommend good quality, reputable companies/products.
3- Conduct your own empirical trials. Use a supplement for 30-90 days consistently, at the dose recommended by a health professional. During this time, note foods, activities, supplement usage, lifestyle practices and symptoms worsening or improving.
4- Supplements should be hypoallergenic, free of artificial colors or flavors and have documentation of safety & purity.
5- Generally, take vitamins and minerals with or right after meals, so the digestive system will be activated and fully engage with supplements. Vitamins and minerals do not work independently of co-factors, which are other nutrients that work synergistically. Some supplements, such as probiotics, are typically taken on an empty stomach.
6- Divide daily doses if more than one dose is required. Take with breakfast, lunch and dinner to spread out the doses.
7- Take supplements regularly. Don’t skip several days or change your dosage as your body becomes accustomed to the increase in nutrition and adjusts metabolism accordingly. Changing that confuses the body and contributes to peaks and valleys in energy, mood and performance.
8- Before taking any supplements, calculate how much you are consuming in your diet and try to consume more to meet your specific requirements!! Whole foods always come first. However, if for example you don’t eat dairy and have a hard time getting adequate calcium from plant foods, then you would determine how much you consume in your diet and supplement accordingly. If you conclude that you get 500mg of calcium per day in your diet, then you would only need to take a supplement containing 300-500mg per day. We don’t want to overdo vitamins and minerals as overdoing one vitamin creates a deficiency in another. Example- too much copper depletes zinc (copper overload). Also, overdoing vitamins can be toxic. The fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body, and can therefore have the potential for toxicity, such as vitamin A and D.
9- If you feel nauseated or experience headaches or GI distress upon taking a supplement, it should be discontinued immediately.
Multi-vitamins/minerals that are reputable:
Whole-food supplements are best absorbed:
-Innate Response (my personal favorite!)
Hypoallergenic professional brands:
-Pure Encapsulations (I really like this brand also)
High quality retail brands:
-Right Foods/ Mega Food