There are supplements that we consider necessary (and safe) for pretty much everyone to take. And then there are supplements that are recommended specifically for one’s own unique health status, condition and well-being. Here we’ll discuss what supplements we take & why.
As a little disclaimer, most of the health supplements we take are professional brands, so you may not be familiar with these line of products because you won’t find them at a health food or drug store. We choose to take professional products because because they are formulated using high quality ingredients that are often better absorbed than your standard drug store supplement. Most professional lines also undergo quality assurance testing to ensure no contaminants are in their products, and contain no binders or fillers. You can find the brands we suggest, among many others, at your local naturopathic doctor’s office.
1. Prenatal vitamin/Multivitamin – A daily multivitamin helps replenish vitamins & minerals lost in non-organic foods, food processing, inhaled & ingested environmental toxins, physical & emotional stress, and many other sources of depletion that we come across on a daily basis. For women, I feel that prenatal vitamin formulas are extra nourishing to the female body and that women should be taking a high quality multi-vitamin & mineral every day of their child bearing years.
2. Adaptogen – Our adrenal glands respond to immediate and long-term stress by releasing hormones to help us cope. Stressors may be perceived or hidden – some examples include sleep deprivation, constant worry, studying for exams, poor eating habits, etc. Over time, these stressors compromise our adrenal glands’ function and our ability to handle stress decreases. Supporting our adrenal glands through supplementation becomes important during these times, and is especially effective when combined with good sleeping habits, healthy eating, relaxation, meditation (can be as simple as deep breathing), and movement. We take these daily.
- Alfred Vogel Vital Energy (found at most health food stores or specialty drug stores, i.e. Shoppers Drug Mart)
- NFH Adrenal SAP
3. Fish oil – Fish oils are nourishing to many cells of our body such as brain, skin, and hair cells. They are also helpful to decrease inflammation in the body, which is often the culprit of many conditions such as joint pain and high cholesterol. Before taking fish oils, it is best to ask your medical or naturopathic doctor if fish oils are safe to take with your medications, and what dose is best for you. It is also important to look for a high quality & sustainable source of fish oil. Look for companies that use small fish such as sardines, anchovies, mackerel & herring. Ascenta is a reputable company with sustainable practices (they’re also from the east coast – Dartmouth, NS!). They also have a ‘Pure Check’ program where you can enter the batch number of your very own bottle of fish oil and check out the level of purity and label claims.
- Ascenta Professional Omega3 + D
- Ascenta NutraSea hp (can be found at most health food stores)
- CanPrev OmegaProTG
4. Probiotic – Probiotics are helpful to boost immunity, improve digestion and absorption of foods, supplements & medications. It may not be necessary for everyone to take a daily probiotic, but it can be helpful in those with irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. If you are allergic to dairy or are lactose intolerant, be sure to look for a probiotic that is not grown on a dairy medium.
- Pure Encapsulations Probiotic 50B (soy & dairy free)
- Cytomatrix Multistrain 11
- Genestra (Seroyal) HMF Forte powder
5. Vitamin D – Many Canadians are vitamin D deficient, and this is made worse during the winter time when our days are shorter and time out in the sun is limited. We supplement this vitamin because of it’s importance in strengthening the immune system and preventing many chronic diseases. Please see Nick’s article for a more elaborate explanation of ‘why’.