Almost daily I’m asked questions regarding nutrition and supplements. What should I take? What will help for … arthritis, weight loss, fibromyalgia, memory, sleeping, immune system, digestion, joint pain, etc.? As you may have figured out, there IS NOT a magic pill that cures everything. With that said, however, I have noticed that there are a few specific supplements that can improve your health significantly (when taken consistently). Maybe you’re looking for something to help with a particular symptom, or maybe you’re just looking for some more day-to-day energy without sucking back another cup of Joe. Whatever the reason, the following Top 3 supplements are sure to benefit you.
First, let me cover some of my most frequently asked questions about supplements.
“I eat well, do I still need supplements?” Supplements are not meant to replace a good, diet and clean, organic foods. But, even the best of eaters though can benefit from supplementation and here is why: Chances are you still have mental stress, environmental stress, and probably didn’t eat well your entire life. These things inhibit your body’s ability to metabolize and absorb nutrients. So getting a helping hand from highly absorbable supplements can give you an extra boost you don’t even realize you’re missing.
“How do I know if the supplements are good quality?” Huge question everyone should be asking. This could be a very long answer yet I will keep it short. Buy vitamins that are “whole food” supplements. Get them from a reputable health food store or health care professional. In general stay away from the big grocery store and retail chains. Many of these supplements are synthetic and can be toxic.
“How do I know what to take?” This list will be a good starting point. Beyond that two things should happen. First, you (yes you) should start learning more about nutrition so you can better understand what to take. Second, consult with a health care professional who supports and is familiar with nutritional counseling.
#1 – EFA’s (essential fatty acids). Often referred to as fish oils although they can be found in plants as well. These are crucial. EFA’s are what your body uses to defend itself against inflammation. This is why so many health claims are made by people taking them. A high-quality EFA can boost mood and brain function, prevent heart disease, improve skin health, lower cholesterol and can even help decrease body fat.
This anti-inflammatory powerhouse is touted for its omega-3 fatty acids. Quality is a top priority with EFA’s. Don’t be afraid to spend a little more to get the best quality.
#2 – Vitamin D. Rarely will the experts disagree about this one. It plays a role in more than 80% of all the bio-chemical reactions in your body. So you need a constant supply of it. The good news is that you can make it for free! Just get some natural sunlight for twenty minutes daily.(without sunscreen). Vitamin D plays a huge role in your immune system, especially its ability to respond quickly. It can help prevent cancer, boost brain function, prevent osteoporosis, protect heart health and much more. FYI: Florida residents have some of the highest rates of vit D deficiencies in our country.
#3 – Probiotics- Probably the least known of these three and yet just as important. A “pro-biotic” helps build and restore your guts natural flora and bacteria. 80% of your immune system starts in your intestinal tract. So it’s critical to create a strong digestive system. Antacids and other digestive drugs sales are now at an all time high. And it’s no surprise relative to the amount of anti-biotics, processed foods and other drugs people are consuming. Anti-biotics kill off your natural flora and bacteria causing your immune system to weaken. Even if you never take harsh drugs like anti-biotics, years of alcohol, coffee, stress and processed foods can wreak havoc on your digestive system. A daily pro-biotic would go a long way. Consistency is key. Taking a pro-biotic here and there won’t likely give you the benefit that you’re looking for.
If you only take these three supplements and nothing else, you would very likely experience a profound improvement in your health.
BONUS: The dreaded “flu season” or what I call “fear season” has arrived. To help boost your immune system take the top 3 mentioned above and add: Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin E.