As a health coach, I get a lot of questions about nutritional supplements. Do you need them? Do you not need them? Do they work? Should I use them? How much should I take?
All great questions and very tricky questions to answer indeed.
You see, I am a big believer in supplements, and as a health coach, feel we should always look to quality whole foods as our first and best option for getting the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients we need. However, no matter how healthy we eat, with the foods currently available to us and at the pace we live, it’s become nearly impossible to get the recommended levels of vitamins and minerals the body needs through food alone. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamins and minerals, is set to prevent deficiency, not to improve health, and even small deficiencies can lead to big problems.
Is it ideal to supplement, no. But if you need a support in getting the optimum level of vitamins and minerals that help our bodies function at their best, it’s the way to go.
So, here comes the declaimer. I’m not a doctor, nurse, or even a nutritionist so..., information shared in this post is for educational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose or address medical issues. It’s based on my knowledge of the subject matter and my personal experience. Speaking with your doctor or other healthcare practitioner is highly recommended if you have specific questions regarding supplementation.
So, let’s get after it.
I love supplements.
There, I said it.
However, it’s very important to know what you are taking and why you are taking them. Again, if you are considering any vitamin supplementation (outside of a daily multivitamin), I suggest you check with your doctor and have some basic assessments performed and blood tests taken to find out if your levels of key vitamins or minerals are sufficient. There’s no need to go adding more when you don’t need them!
Armed with that information, incorporate the supplements suggested by your doctor for healthcare practitioner per their direction or at the dosage levels recommended on the product.
If you choose to supplement, you'll be pleased to know vitamin supplementation has so many benefits beyond just general nutrition. Vitamins, along with some specific foods can be helpful in balancing your blood sugar, lowering blood pressure, supporting your energy and mood health, and easing inflammation. Not to mention doing great things for your hair, skin, and nails (if you’re into that sort of thing!)
You could go down a rabbit hole of vitamin supplementation if you're not careful. But I like to stick with the basics for basic things.
Here’s a list of general vitamins and supplements that can help someone just starting out on the journey of what may be possible with vitamins:
A multivitamin with at least 100% daily value of the vitamins and minerals it contains. If your diet is off, this will provide a “baseline” of nutritional supplementation. Even your doctor will be happy with this.
Vitamin D3 – There are so many benefits, and most folks (even kids) are deficient. Boosts mood, supports healthy weight, supports metabolic health.
Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant; make sure it says d-alpha tocopherols and not (dl).
Vitamin C repairs the body’s systems, blood vessels, and is extremely good for your skin. I prefer the chewable version.
B Vitamins and Folic Acid are essential to maintaining energy and cardiovascular benefits. The B-100 Complex is the best bang for your buck. Note: Do not take more than 300-500 mg of B6 as it can cause neurological problems.
Blood Sugar Support
Ceylon Cinnamon plus Biotin and Chromium if you can find it (Amazon). Supports healthy blood sugar and helps with cravings.
Probiotic daily dose up to 4 billion active bacteria including Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, L. salvarius and Bifidobacterium bifidum. You don’t have to do gummies; they have pills and liquids as well.
Magnesium is good for muscle support, can help with anxiety, blood pressure. Also helps with digestive health and sleep. Note: Work your way up to as high a dose as you can tolerate without having loose bowels but no more than 1,000 mg per day. This happens more often with Magnesium Citrate so you may want to use Magnesium Glycinate instead.
Omega-3 supports heart health, eases depression and arthritis and supports weight loss. You want a higher percent of EPA vs. DHA.
Turmeric (with black pepper) has been shown to help with inflammation. (Worked wonders for me!)
Many vitamins and supplements come in different forms now for those that aren’t good with swallowing pills. Your efforts to supplement should be as simple as possible and we surely don't need any choking.
While these supplements play a very specific role and do a good job, taking them all can be a lot, so don’t do it. If you decide to try any of these and your doctor agrees, follow their instructions, or just start slow. Stick with the ones that work for you and follow the directions on the packing. As with all things, listen to your body. It knows best.
And again, these are recommendations only. You should check with your doctor before using ANY supplements or changing your current supplement levels if you have any concerns or a currently on any other prescribed medications or supplements.
Now that we’ve talked about food as the first option, supplementation as the second option from the nutritional perspective, let’s not forget about the most important option. Vitamin “L” for love.
For all those folks that ask me what and how to eat, and what vitamin supplementation would be best, I turn it right back around to them and ask about vitamin “L.” You can eat a boat load of kale or take as many supplements as you want and your body may feel better for it, but if your mood and outlook don’t match your physical health, there’s work to be done. Don’t forget to supplement YOU!
When we need additional income, we supplement with a side hustle. When we need thicker hair, we supplement with hair extensions, (I haven’t yet but, hmm…)
Supplement your health with a walk, drinking water every day, good sleep, whole foods, and personal connection. Did you know that laughter has short and long-term benefits on your health which includes stress relief, organ stimulation, pain relief, and improved immunity?
Taking time for yourself and supplementing your life with things that bring you joy will go a long way toward improving your overall health. And who knows, you may not need those supplements after all!
Looking to improve your life and health through the supplementation of intentions and actions that support your overall well-being? Book a complimentary consultation call to get your dose of vitamin “L" and explore the possibilities.
I encourage you to leave a comment, share this post, and have a great, healthy week!
Take care and be well,