Nutritional Supplements

Even if your diet in rich in fresh produce there is still a very high chance you are not getting an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals to keep you in top form.

Please note: Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, particularly if you are on any prescription medications.

Below is a list of supplements that I believe can help improve almost anyones general health and well-being when taken in conjunction with a healthy diet.  I do strongly recommend seeing a naturopath and having a blood test done to determine what your individual requirements are.

Vitamins can be overpriced and poor quality if not purchased from a reputable brand. Here are a few good quality and reasonably priced online Supplement Stores I recommend:     i herb         vitacost

1. Omega 3: Omega-3 fatty acids are the brain-boosting, cholesterol-clearing good fats. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. It’s good for your joints, skin, vision, brain, heart, helps lower bad cholesterol levels and even boosts fertility. Recent studies also show a link between a diet high in Omega 3 and better control with weight loss and weight maintenance.

Dosage: Getting a daily dose of DHA (600 to 1000 mg) from supplements is preferable to reap the health benefits. You have a choice of taking a fish oil supplement or one derived from algae or krill, a shrimp-like crustacean. Cold-water fish tend to have the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil contains DHA’s, the ultimate form of fatty acid. Try these: Salmon; Haddock; Trout; Tuna; Mackerel; Sardines; Cod. Nuts and seeds and their oils contain ALA’s which the body converts into DHA’s, so are also a source for omega-3’s: Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil; Pumpkin seeds; Walnuts; Canola oil; Olive oil.

2. Milk Thistle: The liver is a multitasking organ. It filters and purifies the blood, producing bile for proper fat digestion, storing numerous vitamins and minerals, breaking down excess hormones, and removing microbes and parasites from the bloodstream. A healthy liver also provides significant protection from the pollutants, toxins and other harmful chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, common diet and lifestyle choices hinder the liver’s ability to protect us. Processed foods, refined sweeteners, pesticides on produce, artificial hormones in meat, caustic cleaning products, and toxins in body care products all play a role in creating liver dysfunction. Some early symptoms of a sluggish liver can include a weakened immune system, very low energy levels, digestive problems, elevated LDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, cellulite, poor skin and hair, and inability to lose weight.

Milk thistle protects the liver, improves its function, and enhances its ability to regenerate. This herb has been used to successfully treat liver disease, liver cirrhosis, and liver inflammation. Milk thistle also repairs our liver from the harmful effects of alcohol, prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and other toxic substances.

Dosage: How much to take varies by the individual. Generally about 100-200 mg 2-3 times a day is recommended, but even higher doses can be considered safe at times when intense purification of the liver is required.

3. Digestive Enzymes: Digestive Enzymes assist the body to completely breakdown food. The body depends upon enzymes to help purify the blood, break down fats, cleanse the colon, maintain proper cholesterol levels and maintain peak energy levels.

The use of enzymes as a supplement with meals has been popular for some time. As a society we consume a lot of cooked and processed foods that are nutritionally incomplete. This adds to the burden of the pancreas and immune system to replace lost enzymes, robbing the body of energy production, enzyme reserve and function. Enzyme supplementation with meals is a very good preventive measure.

Dosage: Most digestive Enzymes require 1 tablet to be taken before or with each meal. A good general digestive formula, which also helps the body to adjust to its proper weight and works great for weight loss, should contain betain HCI (increases stomach acidity), pancreatin and pancrelipase (digests starches, fats, proteins), papain (digests proteins), pepsin (digests proteins), diatase (digest starches), and Ox Bile (digests fat).

4. Magnesium: Magnesium is required for the proper growth and maintenance of bones. Magnesium is also required for the proper function of nerves, muscles, and many other parts of the body. In the stomach, magnesium helps neutralize stomach acid and moves stools through the intestine. Magnesium assists with the absorption of calcium into the bones. Magnesium is also known in some instances to help relax your nerves and muscles so can be suggested to take before bed to improve sleep quality.

Dosage: Doses less than 350 mg per day are safe for most adults. Spinach, nuts (particularly almonds), pumpkin seeds, beans (particularly black beans), quinoa and barley are magnesium rich foods.

5. Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 helps the body absorb the calcium we do take in. Further studies have shown that higher dosages of vitamin D3 may help prevent a variety of health concerns, from breast cancer and osteoporosis to type 1 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Dosage: For calcium absorption and healthy bones, premenopausal women should take at least 500 IU per day. Postmenopausal and elderly women should increase their dosage to 800 IU per day. To reduce risk of disease, women should take 1,000 IU a day. The body is designed to absorb a sufficient amount of Vitamin D by exposure to sunlight, however, most of us don’t spend enough time in the sun to get the recommended amount of vitamin D. As a result, it is not uncommon for people to have low levels of Vitamin D, and not even realize it. Fish, such as salmon, catfish, mackerel, sardines and tuna, can be a great source of Vitamin D.

6. Calcium: Before the age of 35, a woman needs sufficient calcium to form strong bones. After age 35, calcium slows bone loss that naturally occurs later in life. Aside from calcium’s protective effect on bone mass studies have also shown calcium to help mitigate symptoms of PMS and possibly lower blood pressure.

Dosage: Premenopausal women should take 1,000 milligrams per day. Postmenopausal women should up their intake to 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams per day to maintain bone strength. Ideally, take the calcium in divided doses twice a day (half in the morning and half in the evening). Calcium rich foods are dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese), sardines, sesame seeds, tofu, kale, spinach, cabbage and collard greens.

7. Biotin: Is a B-complex vitamin that supports skin, nerve, digestive tract and metabolic health. Having the right levels of Biotin in your body will assist in giving you luscious hair, stronger nails and clearer skin. Another key benefit its metabolic boosting effect. Biotin is essential for the metabolic process by assisting in the breakdown of amino acids and carbohydrates in the body helping to regulate blood sugar levels in the body.

* Sources: (University of Maryland Medical Center online ), (The Dr Oz Show ), (Mayo Clinic), (Revolution Health), (Natural News), (Herbal Remedies ), (Web MD),  (Global Healing Centre)

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