Supplements can be a double-edged sword. The wrong ones can do more damage than good, but the right ones can massively improve your health, even if you already have a good nutritional diet. Some can be a waste of money, some can create imbalances, some can be too stressful, or even toxic to your body. Be smart about your choices! Here are a few of the TOP 10 nutrients everyone should be taking:
1. Vitamin D3 - Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D functions like a hormone, and every single cell in your body has a receptor for it. Your body makes it from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunlight. It strengthens your bones, teeth, muscles, and is necessary for your immune system. It helps reduce respiratory tract infections, colds and flu. It protects against autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, and especially breast and ovarian cancers. Signs of deficiency is getting sick often, tiredness and fatigue, COPD, bone, back, and muscle pain, depression, impaired wound healing, bone loss, and hair loss. Difficult to get from the diet, vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common. High dose supplementation is best. Best sources: fatty fish like salmon, herring, sardines, egg yolks, and mushrooms.
2. B6 and B12 - B vitamins are water soluble, which means we do not store them, we need to ingest adequate amounts daily. BOTH are essential for regulating our mood, sleep, helpful to fight fatigue and deal with stress better. It helps improve alertness, brain function, and red blood cell formation. Best food sources: B-6 and B-12 are found in many fish, beef, liver, dairy, eggs, and also nutritional yeast and fortified cereals. Other B complex vitamins, like Folate, B3, B2, B5, are also essential to include daily. Be sure to use 'methylated' B vitamins, such as methylcobalamine, NOT cyanocobalamine.
3. Magnesium - This is a very important mineral we use in large quantities. When we are stressed, we use it up more rapidly. Without adequate amounts we can get muscle fatigue, cramps, twitches, mental disorders, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and constipation. Magnesium Is Involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in your body, including neuromuscular contractions, cardiac function, and the regulation of the acid-alkaline balance. It supports the metabolism and utilization of carbohydrates, amino acids and fats for energy. Magnesium also fights depression. It has benefits against Type 2 diabetes, and can lower blood pressure. It has anti-inflammatory benefits, and helps reduce anxiety. There are several types of magnesium and can vary in absorption and function. Magnesium Glycinate is a great bioavailable form, easily crossing the blood/brain barrier. Best Food sources include: quinoa, spinach leaves, almonds, cashews, black beans, edamame, avocado, salmon and tuna.
4. Omega 3 Fatty Acids - These are called 'essential fatty acids' for a reason. It is essential we ingest them, our body does not produce them. They are particularly helpful for the retina, brain, cardiovascular system, pulmonary system, and joint health. Supports healthy mental functions, including positive mood and memory. It strengthens the immune system and supports healthy muscles and joints. It also supports healthy weight loss and overall skin care. They help support cardiovascular health and may prevent cancers as well. Omega 3's are highly anti-inflammatory and help us get more nutrients across the brain-blood barrier. Best food sources: fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, krill, sardines, and cod liver oils, as well as plant sources like Flax seed oil, Perilla oil, chia seeds, and walnuts. I like to include Omega 7 Fatty Acids to help with insulin balance, weight management, and metabolic syndrome.
5. Probiotics - these are 'live' good bacteria and yeast that are very important for healthy digestion and immune system function. They line our intestinal tract creating a protective barrier against harmful micro-organisms. Whenever you take antibiotics it destroys not only the harmful bacteria, but the good bacteria that is necessary. It can take up to 10 years to restore proper flora in the gut. Did you know you cannot overdose on probiotics? In fact, 95-96% of most all probiotics you buy are destroyed in the stomach acid, leaving very little to get into the gut. I use a particular one that is protected and time-released to withstand the acids and open up in the intestine over the next 8-10 hours. This helps with irritable bowel, leaky gut, diarrhea, even skin conditions like eczema, and vaginal health. Best food sources are: Kefir, fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, natto, yogurt, raw cheese, apple cider vinegar.
6. Arginine and K2 - L-Arginine is an amino acid that is essential as a precursor to producing nitric oxide in the body. This strengthens the blood vessels and arterial lining (endothelium). It is also know to reduce inflammation, and improve immune function. High doses are needed in order to produce the much needed nitric oxide. Taking a good dose of arginine before bed can also help naturally increase the Human Growth Hormone needed to strengthen muscles and stay younger and stronger. Vitamin K 2 is helpful in preventing blood clots and bleeding disorders, and helps with nutrient assimilation, growth and development, brain function and dental health. But the most important is helping with calcium metabolism and preventing calcification of the arteries. Best Food sources are: Nato, chicken or beef liver, hard cheeses, egg yolks, grass-fed butter.
7. Zinc and Copper - Zinc is an antioxidant that may help lower your risk of cancer, age-related macular degeneration and neurological conditions. Also an antioxidant, copper is required for the synthesis of red blood cells and may aid in preventing osteoporosis. It may also help prevent cardiovascular disease. Low copper levels have been linked to high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Also Neuron signaling, Immune function, Collagen production, Arthritis. Best Food sources are: Oysters, lean beef, beans and legumes, especially adzuki and black beans. Pumpkin, squash and sunflower seed kernels are all rich in both zinc and copper.
8. Iodine/Iodide - Iodine is a naturally occurring element necessary for human growth, metabolic and thyroid function. Iodide is the ion state of iodine, occurring when iodine bonds with another element, such as potassium. Potassium iodide can help filter out harmful mercury, fluorides, chlorides and bromides from tissues and cells. An iodine deficiency is linked to arthritis. Emotional disorders, malfunctioning glandular systems and weight gain associated with hormonal imbalance have been linked to an iodine deficiency. It also helps break up mucous when lung problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema are present. Potassium iodide has shown potential in helping improve overall health and well-being, especially if you or someone you know is dealing with thyroid-related problems, hormonal issues or a radiation exposure emergency. Best food sources: Seaweeds! Sea foods, dairy and vegetables may contain small amounts of iodine. Iodized salt.
9. Betaine HCL - Betaine is from the naturally occurring amino acid glycine, which is attached to three methyl groups (also known as trimethylglycine, or TMG). The benefits are numerous. In order to digest food, your stomach must have adequate acid levels. Otherwise the food you eat will not be entirely broken down, which means that you will be unable to absorb all the minerals and nutrients provided by your food. Insufficient acid levels (called Hypochlorhydria) can lead to nutritional deficiencies which, in turn, may put you at an increased risk of developing a variety of health and hormone issues. Betaine hydrochloride is a compound that consists of betaine and hydrochloride and is naturally found in beets. Without enough HCl in your stomach, you will suffer from digestive dysfunction. It assists in the absorption of B12, calcium, iron, minerals and proteins. It is also thought to prevent fungi and bacteria from overproducing by ensuring that you have adequate levels of acid to kill them. People who suffer from candida (yeast overgrowth) often have a low level of stomach acid. (should be avoided in people with gastritis, peptic ulcers). Betaine may also support healthy liver function and liver detoxification. it plays a critical role in fat reduction and the metabolizing of proteins. Best food sources: Wheat bran, quinoa, beets, amaranth, spinach, rye, turkey, beef.
10. Antioxidants and Nrf2 Activation - Consuming foods rich in antioxidants may be good for your heart health and may also help to lower your risk of infections and some forms of cancer. Increase your antioxidant intake by eating more nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits (esp. berries), and vegetables. Oxidative stress has been linked to heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke, respiratory diseases, immune deficiency, emphysema, Parkinson's disease, and other many inflammatory or ischemic conditions. Antioxidants are said to help neutralize free radicals in our bodies, and this is thought to boost overall health. But they only work on a 1:1 ratio - meaning 1 antioxidant neutralizes 1 free radical, which damages the cells. Daily Nrf 2 Activation is an extraordinary new scientific breakthrough in preventive care as it is clinically proven to fight free radicals 1 million to 1. This activates our bodies own ability to increase our natural 'master antioxidants' such as glutathione, catalase, and Super oxide dismutase. This approach is much more effective in cleaning up cellular damage and preventing disease and aging of the body. Please contact me for the only proven source of natural Nrf2 Axctivation.
Since the quality of our foods and nutritional value in many of our foods have declined significantly, it can be important to supplement with high quality, natural vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements and super foods to promote greater health, vitality, and a longer, healthier life.
For more information, please visit my website at UltimateHealing.com. You can also get top professional quality nutrients and supplements in my online dispensary and receive a 10% discount and free shipping on orders over $49.95.
Jane Smolnik is a Doctor of Natural Medicine, Iridologist and Medical Herbalist with over 30 years experience in the natural health field. She has a private practice in Asheville, NC at the WNC Holistic Center, and works with people from all over the country via phone or web conferencing. To reach her call 828-777-JANE (5263) or visit her website at UltimateHealing.com. You can also subscribe to her YouTube channel for more informative videos.