One of the most common questions I get asked is what kind of supplements I take. So I thought I would give you a full breakdown on what I take and why. BUT - I want to preface this post by saying a few things:
1. My supplement protocol changes based on my needs/ what I am focusing on. When I was just starting my healing journey after being diagnosed with endometriosis and completely overhauling my diet, I supplemented much differently and focused on nourishment and hormonal support. I still do, but no longer take things like Vitex (aka chaste berry) to have a period. I also reevaluate based on how I'm feeling, my stress levels and what my health goals may be.
2. I am not a physician, and I am not here to diagnose or treat disease. As a holistic nutritionist, I can recommend supplements and work with you closely to give suggestions BUT this post is not designed or meant to replace medical advice, OR to give you supplement recommendations. Each and every one of us is unique, and we need unique supplement protocols. Before taking any of the supplements listed here PLEASE consult with your medical professional, nutritionist or naturopath. Its important to do your research before taking things, as they may interact with prescription medications you are already on.
3. I have added little notes next to supplements (or in the descriptions) that are basic, and generally safe for most individuals to take. For example, many people are deficient in vitamin D and magnesium. Vitamin D for example is a vitamin synthesized in the human body through exposure to sunlight, but if you live in a cooler climate like Canada, where we may go without sun exposure for months at a time - supplementing is key, and generally easy for people to do safely.
4. All supplements listed are my personal favourites based on my own personal opinions, research and experience. If you would like personal supplement or nutritional support, you can check out my services page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. If you purchase any supplements through the links provided, I may make a small affiliate commission.
With all that being said, lets get down to the nitty gritty. For me supplementing is the key to feeling my absolute best, and has been instrumental in getting my hormonal health back on track. But for a lot of people, supplementing may just be the recipe for extremely expensive pee. However, heres the thing: the food we eat is not what it was 30+ years ago. GMO's, increased pesticide use, pollution, poor water quality and soil quality, and lifestyle factors such as not eating enough vegetables and fruit, a busy schedule, etc; can all contribute to big nutritional deficiencies. Not to mention ladies (especially), certain prescription medications like the birth control pill can literally strip your body of important vitamins and minerals.
In my opinion, supplementing (and I truly do mean supplementing) a good diet that includes loads of vegetables, fruit, high quality proteins and fats is the key to living a life of glowing health. But its up to you to decide if you think its worth it and adhere to a supplement protocol within your budget. As a nutritionist, I think a whole foods approach is best - but like I mentioned earlier, with the state of our food supply, supplementing means we aren't missing out on anything - no matter how busy we may be. So here is my personal supplement protocol that I use on a daily basis, as well as some things I use when my immune system needs a boost or has been compromised with an illness.
LLV - I take Doterra's Lifelong Vitality Supplements and SWEAR by them. I have even had clients call them their "miracle vitamins", seriously. They are a mix of three different supplements including their Alpha CRS+ (a cellular vitality complex containing botanical extracts that support healthy cell function with important metabolic factors of cellular energy), xEO Mega (an essential oil omega complex with a combination of essential oils, and marine and land sourced omega fatty acids), and Microplex VMz (a food nutrient formula of bioavailable vitamins and minerals that are deficient in our modern diets).
These are seriously insane. I have noticed more energy, clearer skin, stronger hair and nails (faster growth of that mane of hair too), and better sleeps when using them. You can purchase them all together in a one months supply, here. I personally take a full dose (aka a pack lasts a month) during winter months, and a half dose in the summer when I'm having even more raw and fresh fruits and veggies (simply because in Canada, sometimes vegetable and fruit selection sucks in the winter).
I also like their Bone Nutrient Complex, phytoestrogens and the Deep Blue supplement. The bone nutrient blend is a calcium blend, I've stopped taking the phytoestrogens since getting my period back on track, and the Deep Blue supplement I save for menstrual cramps or if I'm sore from the gym - it's loaded with anti-inflammatory herbs and is really supportive with muscle pain.
Probiotics - I take a powder form of probiotics daily from a brand called Genestra. So far they are my favourite and super easy to take. I also find them very affordable for the quality. They are a refrigerated, powder probiotic that you can add to water or juice. And this particular brand has different strains and strengths that you can purchase. I take the Genestra HMF Powder. It recommends you take it 2-3 times a day with meals, I usually take it 1-2 times a day. You can purchase that at your local health food store or right here.
I take probiotics for a number of reasons, but the biggest is this: the gut-brain connection. Our gut is responsible for so many things, but one of the most interesting is its relationship to our mental wellness. For example, up to 90% of your beautiful bodies serotonin levels are created in the digestive tract. Serotonin is an important component in mood disorders, and often people who have low levels of serotonin may suffer from depression. And while common treatments for depression includes anti-depressant, some doctors are suggesting changing your eating habits and focusing on gut health instead. A really great doctor that speaks on this topic often is Kelly Brogan, and she has a book called A Mind of Your Own which is great.
To further illustrate the importance of your gut, here are ten signs you may be imbalanced: digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation, food allergies or sensitivities, anxiety, depression, mood swings and irritability, skin problems like eczema, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, frequent infections, and poor memory and concentration. It seriously impacts all of that. And probiotics are great for helping to maintain a healthy gut flora. Often times people have an overgrowth of bad bacteria, or have been on antibiotics, OR are just being affected by the antibiotics found in conventional meats - all of this kills the good bacteria as well as the bad. So we have to repopulate with a good probiotic.
I'll be doing a full post on gut health and the microbiome soon, so for now this is just a little overview.
Folic Acid - I recently started taking folic acid, because I want to spend the next 6-12 months preparing my body to start a family. Folic acid is important during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects, as well as other birth defects. But it is also important and helpful in producing and maintaining your bodies cells, and in red blood cell formation. Folic acid supplements have even been linked to reduced risk of hypertension. I however, am taking it to prep my body for a future baby. Folic acid supplements are super affordable, and generally safe. You can get one of my fave brands here, I also like SISU and Now brands as well.
Magnesium - I personally take two different kinds of magnesium, magnesium bis-glycinate by CanPrev and Magnesium Citrate by Natural Calm. Magnesium is super important in nerve and muscle function in the body, and is a mineral that most people are deficient in. Magnesium bis-glycinate is magnesium paired with glycine, an amino acid beneficial for your body. It is considered to be a superior form that is easily absorbable and easier on your stomach - meaning you can get the most out of your magnesium supplement, without any grief for your bowels. I really like this brands magnesium capsules.
Natural Calm makes the magnesium citrate supplement that I love to take. I take 1-2 tsp each night before bed in some warm water (preferably in the raspberry lemon flavour) for its benefits in a really restful sleep, relaxed muscles, and as an added bonus if you suffer from constipation its great for helping you have really easy poops. You can get it here, and you can also find it on my shop page.
MSM - MSM also known as methylsulfonylmethane is a supplement I started taking after breaking my hand in 2015. The reason being is that is incredible supportive in healing and in joint, bone and muscle function, as well as being great for inflammation. It helps support flexibility of the joints, and I find that using it religiously in conjunction with collagen, seriously changes how my hand feels. Its also detoxifying, supportive of hair, skin and nails, and increases energy levels. It's not necessarily a supplement I would recommend for everyone, but I definitely recommend it for anyone healing from an injury, with arthritis, excess inflammation (or inflammatory illnesses), or as a great supplement for hair, skin and nails. I found it instrumental when growing my hair back after chopping it all off and it falling out.
I want to point out that this supplement is regarded as being extremely safe, and there are no allergic reactions reported in medical literature at this time. But, as with any of the supplements listed here PLEASE consult with your medical professional, nutritionist or naturopath.
Collagen - Ah, one of my faves. You may already be taking this one, as it has become a bit of a trend in the health community. And for good reason. Its incredibly healing for your gut and in particular healing leaky gut, for your hair, skin and nails, its incredible for your joints, muscles and ligaments, it helps boost metabolism, its a great source of protein (I tend to use it as my protein powder now since switching to paleo, and finding out I'm sensitive to rice), its high in glycine which is an important amino acid for liver health, and its also supportive of your cardiovascular system, as it is abundant in another amino acid proline which helps your artery walls release fat build up in the bloodstream.
I personally started using it for my hair and skin, but have been using it now to support healing my gut health. As it is full of amino acids its great for repairing muscles , skin tissue and healing the body. I use a brand called Organika. Its a Canadian company which I love and you can get it here.
My fave way to have collagen is in a bulletproof coffee. Here is my basic recipe: 1-2 cups coffee, 1-2 tbsp collagen, 1 tbsp brain octane, 1 tsp ghee. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender, like a vitamix (my personal choice), and blend on high for 30 seconds. It gets SUPER frothy and it tastes like a latte. I will also sometimes add about 1 tbsp of the french vanilla Nutpods flavour.
Vitamin D - This one is a biggie. I tend to suffer from SAD or seasonal affective disorder in the winter months (thanks Canadian winters), so I started supplementing with Vitamin D each year. I tend to only use this from October-May. In the spring and summer months, I just get my body out into the sun for at least 15 minutes a day, and my body and cells do the rest. But in the winter, I help her out. I usually take 4-6 drops which equates to 4000-5000iu a day, each day. I use CanPrev's Vitamin D drops in MCT oil (I actually add 1-2 drops of lime EO to the bottle for a little lime flavour). I prefer taking it in liquid form, as I find it more effective and absorbable. Its also easier to take, especially when you are already on a bunch of different supplements. I usually do those drops under the tongue right before bed. You can get them here.
Vitamin D is actually super important for our overall health, in particular our bones and teeth. Without vitamin D our body will not be able to properly absorb calcium which leads to bone disorders such as osteoporosis and rickets in children. In recent years, researchers have also linked vitamin D deficiency to breast and colon cancers, heart disease, depression and weight gain. AND a group of scientists called the Vitamin D Council have also found that vitamin D is important in treating things like autoimmune disease, cancer (supportive in treatment), chronic pain, depression, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, the flu, neuromuscular disorders and osteoporosis. They are currently working on creating clinical trials for these.
B12 - I take a liquid form of B12 as well, by Now Brand. I have to say I really don't like the flavour, but definitely notice a difference in my energy when I don't take it. I just find the flavour a little sweet, so next time I'm going to try a different brand. BUT I take B12 for its help in maintaining energy levels. Its like a boost to my already high energy personality. However, there are a number of reasons to supplement with it, including: its benefits in memory, it lowers the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, boosts mood, assists in nervous system functioning, important for heart health, really the list goes on.
Its also one of those vitamins that if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you have to be mindful about supplementing. This is because it is primarily found in animal proteins, and very difficult to obtain from plant based sources alone. There is B12 in both nutritional yeast and sea algae like chlorella and spirulina, but not in the amounts you find in animal proteins. So if you are vegan, consider supplementing or adding these foods into your daily rotation.
L-glutamine - I just recently started taking this, as one of my friends who has sensitivities to gluten and dairy (hello me too!) was recommended this from her naturopath for digestive system support. It seriously makes a HUGE difference after consuming these foods, and I find it helps tone down the inflammation much quicker. L-glutamine is actually an amino acid our body uses in large amounts, and it is important in a variety of bodily functions like: digestive functioning and muscle healing and growth. Its been found to support individuals healing leaky gut, improves athletic performance, and is assistive in blood sugar regulation. It's also been found to boost metabolism and reduce sugar cravings. I take l-glutamine from this company called Pierce Nutrition, and just add a heaping teaspoon to water 1-2 times a day.
I also encourage taking it after a workout, and I will also have some whenever I'm experiencing some digestive distress. I get it at my local health food store, I couldn't find a link online for you.
I also take these, which I consider supplements, but for the purpose of this guide, will not be going into depth about them:
Adaptogens - maca, ashwaghanda, mushrooms
Immune Support: zinc, bee propolis, OnGuard, charcoal (more so for extreme cases), herbs/tinctures such as St. Francis blends (specifically Deep Immune), and essential oils like OnGuard, melaleuca or tea tree oil, oregano oil and frankincense
Sleep : doterra's Serenity blend, Natural Calm as above
So this is my current supplement regimen, and it does change from time to time. Its all dependent on what my body is going through and asking for. If you have any questions, reach out! I love to talk to you guys.