The definition of supplement is: “something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.” This is exactly how we want to use them in our daily life. The reason we need to supplement today, is that our food is nutrient deplete (especially processed foods), but even our plant-based foods, because our soil has become so nutrient deplete in the last 50 years!
If the nutrients your body needs to function well, are not in the soil, they will not grow into the food that we eat. This is due to industrial agriculture spending the last century taking from the land, without allowing the soil time to settle and rejuvenate in order for the nutrients to come back into the soil.
For example, in order for me to get the same nutrients from an orange, as what my Grandmother did back in the 1930s and 1940s, I would have to eat 9 oranges for every orange she ate! No one does that and it would be so much fiber, we’d get full long before we could eat 9 in one sitting anyway!
There are some vitamins and minerals we are notoriously deficient in, that you might want to consider adding to your diet to further optimize your health Here are the top supplements I see people deficient in, when working with my clients: Magnesium, Omega 3s, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, keep reading to learn more about each one.
Magnesium (68% of Americans are deficient). Magnesium is used in over 300 cellular functions in the body and is important in helping the body calm. However, if you are living in a state of high stress, your body burns through your Magnesium supply. Deficiency can cause hyperkinetic behaviour, anxiety, irritability, irregular heartbeat.
The adult body contains approximate 20g -30g of magnesium, with half of it locked in your bones. Magnesium deficiency may be a factor that predisposes people to cancer, because magnesium plays a major role in controlling the growth of cells. (Rubin, H “Growth Regulation, Reverse Transformation and Adaptability of 3T3 Cells in Decreased Mi + Concentration, pages 328-332).
A good quality Magnesium supplement taken at bedtime can help your body calm down and get better sleep. Better sleep results in more stress resiliency. Putting Epsom salts in the bath – 1 cup is also a great way to get some Magnesium at bedtime as the skin absorbs it well. Then you can take a supplement in the morning as well. The body will let you know when you’ve had enough, as too much Magnesium results in loose stool. Magnesium Oxide is a laxative, and very effective at getting bowels moving, but otherwise poorly absorbed by the body. I use Magnesium Bisglycinate myself before bed each night.
Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids – These are good for brain health, heart health, eye, skin, nail, joint, hormones and cell health. The body cannot make these, which is why they are called “essential”. We have to get them through our food supply or supplement. The body needs to be in balance between O3 and O6. O6 are in everything and O3 are hard to get. Our diet leaves many people at a ratio of about 18:1 O6: 03, whereas the ideal ratio is only 5:1, and in our hunter/gather days it was 3:1. O3 is the anti-inflammatory EFA and O6 is the inflammatory one. We do need inflammation as it helps the body heal, but we do not need to be in a state of chronic inflammation.
Omega 3s are common in fatty fish, such as Sardines, Anchovies, Wild Salmon and Mackerel and in some plant foods such as Flax seeds and chia seeds. However the body requires extra steps to break down the plant based foods and therefore gets less from them, and we tend not to eating fatty fish 4 times / week, which leaves most of us deficient (80% of us in fact). Here is an interesting fact – when our Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio are balanced at less than 5:1, we reduce our risk of sudden cardiovascular death by 90% (Albert et al). I can actually lab test to determine your ratio and therefore your level of inflammation, so we can bring the body back into balance, but it will also show me if you require more EPA or DHA in your Omega 3 supplement, which is very helpful information to know, so you can choose the right kind of supplement that your body needs!
Vitamin D3– If in Northern US and all of Canada, you are deficient and so is your child. Vitamin D3 is good for immune and brain health, respiratory health, as well as bone and teeth health, and it regulates insulin levels. The average adult needs about 4000 iu (4 drops) / day. I tested myself in Sep 2019 through my doctor and she was shocked that my levels were optimal (between 50 – 80 ng/ml), as she said only her elite athletes were optimal of all the results she had seen as she encouraged them to supplement. She asked me why my levels were optimal and I replied “Because I too, supplement!). When Covid hit, I had more time and was outside for more walks, and lowered my dose to only 2 drops / day and 6 months later I tested again to find my level had dropped to 45, just below the optimal range. So since then I have decided, based on living in Canada, I simply need 4 drops / day regardless of the season and I retested 3 months ago and my levels are back to optimal. I did include an article on Vitamin D back in January 2020, which you can access here to learn more about Vitamin D.
Vitamin C – I also want to add Vitamin C here, as it’s the body’s most powerful antioxidant nutrient, and is an anti-viral, anti-pyretic (lowers fever), anti-toxin and antihistamine, as well as antidepressant and anti-infective vitamin. Lack of it can cause many problems, and this is a vitamin that needs to be taken in divided doses, not just once / day. When I run labs, I see that people are deficient in Vitamin C all the time, simply because they only take it once /day. As it’s water soluble, it can be taken at least twice / day if not more often. If you take too much at once, the body will excrete what it doesn’t need, but if you take it at breakfast, lunch and dinner, you are continuing to give the body what it needs in smaller doses as it needs it. The saying is to “take enough to get the job done”, what that means is to take enough, so you don’t get a sore throat or cough! Like Magnesium your body will tell you when its had too much, with a loose stool. If you’re using it for its antihistamine benefits, which I have done to get my daughter breathing during an asthma attack, I loaded her with 4000mg (4 * 1000mg) as a loading dose, and then gave her 2000mg more every 10 minutes for an hour – and it worked! Her breathing returned to normal, and we didn’t need to head to the clinic. I have been taking anywhere from 4000mg – 6000mg / day during this Pandemic, and I’ve never once had an inkling of a sore throat or cough. I take more in winter and less in summer.
The reality is, vitamins are far safer than any drugs, and should be a starting point in your journey to optimize your health. The Poison Control Center has never had a confirmed report of someone dying from vitamins, and yet 800,000 people die each year in the US from taking drugs in hospitals and using them exactly as prescribed.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor; I do not diagnose and I do not cure! Instead, I help you discover the root cause of what is going on, and then guide the body back into balance. I am not trained in the field of pharmaceutical drugs, and it is highly unlikely that your doctor is trained the field of nutrition and orthomolecular medicine (vitamins as medicine), the person who has some training in both is your pharmacist, so they are the best person to ask about adding vitamins to your regime if you are using pharmaceutical drugs already, in order to ensure no contra-indication. (Prescription medications often cause deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, so this is definitely worth asking your pharmacist about).