I always advocate ‘food first’ for health, because nutrition is the foundation of everything related to physical and emotional wellness.
Supplements are an adjunct to a healthy diet, not a replacement – hence the word ‘supplement’.
You cannot eat unhealthily, take supplements and then expect results. The same way you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.
Not all supplements are created equal
You need to be selective, choose supplements that provide you with maximum benefit, that are aligned with your beliefs and kind to our planet.
Not all supplements are created equal, and that can be rather confusing with so many options on the shelves these days.
Choose liposomal supplements for increased absorption
Go for liposomal supplements wherever you can. Liposomal technology makes use of liposomes (microscopic spherical ‘sacs’ made up of a double ring of fatty-acid molecules, namely phosphatidylcholine molecules). Liposomes encapsulate the active ingredients within the supplement, and deliver these directly into the the body’s cells and tissues by preventing breakdown by the stomach acids and enabling a slower release into the bloodstream.
This process helps increase your body’s absorption of the supplement, making the supplement more ‘bioavailable’. For this reason, liposomal supplements are of particular benefit for anyone who has a compromised gut, as the substance is transported more effectively into the body.
Buy from companies that are GMP compliant for peace of mind
GMP stands for ‘Good Manufacturing Practice’ and is a great system that ensures that supplements produced are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards.
Most of us only need a handful of key essential nutrients. Then, based on your body chemistry, health status and goals – you may need to add more. These are the supplements I feel we should all be taking right now:
- Vitamin D
Here’s an outline of the above supplements along with recommended dosage guidelines:
The Sunshine Vitamin
There is no other vitamin like vitamin D when it comes to its importance for your health. Every cell in your body uses it to function properly so you cannot do without it. Sunshine and food are your primary sources but this is dependent on where you live and food alone if often not enough to give you your RDA.
How to take: Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so taking it with your other fat-soluble vitamins (A and K2) will make it bioavailable. Otherwise take along with healthy fatty foods. Have your vitamin D levels tested by a health practitioner, I suggest an integrative practitioner. Your optimum range should be around 60 and 80 ng/mL, and supplement dosage should be around 2,000 and 6,000 IU per day, depending on your needs.
A Powerful Adaptogen
Now more than ever we need to take extra care of our central nervous system, with anxiety, burnout, depression, insomnia running rampant. This natural herb works wonders.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that is a natural and powerful tool to help relieve stress and anxiety through its ability to depress the central nervous system by withanolides, which include lactones and alkaloids, the natural phytochemicals in the ashwagandha plant.
How to take: Be selective when choosing your ashwagandha product. Check labels for the active ingredients -withanolides – and check the levels, you are wanting a minimum of 5%. Know your source, a product that is trustworthy and tested. Choose a product that indicates it bioavailability and how active it remains in the system. 300mg of ashwagandha daily is the recommended minimum dosage. I love Natroceutics Ashwagandha Bioactive with a Shoden™.
The Master Mineral
Magnesium is an essential mineral for the body yet scarily around 80% of the population are deficient. It is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions including the brain neurotransmitters, and therefore deficiency, to name a few, can materialise in poor sleep, anxiety and brain fog. Bad diet is the main cause of magnesium deficiency.
How to take: It is good to take magnesium in the evening before bed as it promotes calming, relaxation and better sleep. Recommended dosage is 350 mg per day. I currently take Natroceutics Magnesium Complex and Natroceutics Ashwagandha Bioactive before bed – the best sleep combo.
An Essential Fat
Don’t deprive your body of healthy fats. Omega fats are essential for the optimal functioning of your body, from your heart to bones and brain health but don’t overtake on omega-6’s and 9’s (often found in processed or refined vegetable oils) which can cause inflammation, rather focus on omega-3s of which there is often an imbalance.
Know that your brain is made up of 60% fat, so it needs omega-3 to prevent symptoms like fatigue, fogginess and mood issues like depression.
Natural sources of omega-3 are mostly from seafood like sardines and salmon or from flax but in my experience, most people are not getting their RDA and supplementation is important.
How to take: Your are looking for omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA supplementation but many supplements often contain little EPA and DHA. Select those that contain look for FFA (free fatty acids), TG, rTG (triglycerides and reformed triglycerides), and PLs (phospholipids), rather than EE (ethyl esters) for better absorption. Check for purity and those that contain a good totox score for freshness as omega-3 supplements are prone to going rancid. Recommended dosage is 2250 mg EPA / 750 mg DHA per day.
World’s Most Nutrient-Dense Food
Spirulina is blue-green algae which has been around for billions of years and considered the superfood of the sea, and for our health too. The level of its nutritional power is measured by it’s nutrient content of high plant protein, bioactive vitamins B12, K1 and K2, +90 minerals and trace elements and it’s easily absorbed and digestible. It is a nutrient supplement that I feel is a necessity today.
How to take: I love Marcus Rohrer Spirulina – I’ve been taking it for the past 12 years and take 10 tablets a day. The recommended dosage is 3 grams per day.
An Anti-inflammatory Facilitator
As inflammation is the root cause of every chronic health problem today, it is important to support a healthy inflammatory response in the body. Used for 1000’s of years because of it’s medicinal benefits, turmeric contains an active natural compound, curcumin, which has powerful natural anti-inflammatory properties.
People often ask me if there is only one supplement I should take what should it be – I always say curcumin. It is the most researched extract worth over 15 000 clinical papers demonstrating its effectiveness in multiple modalities.
How to take: If you are taking it as a spice, know that it is hard to absorb. You would need to take 3 tablespoons of turmeric powder to get the therapeutic benefits of curcumin so supplementing may be easier. Be aware though that some companies add piperine powder to make it more bioavailable but it can be gut irritant for some people. Through my research and experience BCM-95 is a highly-absorbable curcumin extract, 7 times more absorbable than standard curcumin and it remains in the bloodstream for longer. This is my choice when looking at curcumin supplements. The RDA is 2 grams per day but that can go up to 10 grams per day when dealing with higher levels of inflammation. My current go-tos are Natroceutics Curcumin Complex and Natroceutics Curcumin Fortified.
The Building Block for a Healthy Body
Methylation, a biochemical process in your body, is used in every cell in our body to keep it alive, healthy, energised and detoxified. Vitamin B’s are food for methylation and so a good b-complex supplement is valuable to your health. If you feeling flat, have a highly stressed and wired lifestyle, are mainly plant based, or drink a lot of coffee you may be deficient and this means you will feel generally flat and perhaps even show signs of mood imbalances, hormonal dysregulation a lack of general vitality. It is essential to check your blood work for check your B12 levels.
How to take: Look for a methylated B vitamin complex. The recommended dosage is 400 to 800 mcg methylfolate (B9), 1,000 mcg methylcobalamin (B12) per day. I also like Better you B12 Boost spray especially if you following a vegan diet.
An Essential Protein
Collagen is made up of 3 amino acids – glycine, proline, and hyroxyproline – it is produced in our body to help with bone, skin, blood vessel and connective tissue like ligaments and tendons.
Traditionally we would consume adequate levels of collagen eating nose to tail and in broths. We no longer eat this way so I do believe that a good quality supplement is key.
How to take: Be selective with your collagen supplements. Powdered collagens are great because they are easy to add to water or a smoothie. Look for brands that derive their collagen from grass-fed and pasture-raised protein sources or use marine collagen, for the purest, toxin-free form. I personally use Great Lakes Collagen. Recommended dosage is 8 grams per day.
As we are all individuals, not created equal in health, my recommendation is always to work with an integrative or functional medicine practitioner to know what your body needs. The above is my guideline, based on my knowledge and experience, but you may need more or less to suit your health requirements.