Even though we eat organic, local, fresh foods, nutrient gaps can still occur in our diet. Age, health problems, and environment can also be a factor in nutrient deficiencies. Using supplements is a good way to fill in those gaps.
One way I do monitor the nutrient levels in my daily diet is by using the Gold version of Cronometer. Even the free version can help you see gaps in your diet. Try it for a week or two and you'll get a good idea of how balanced your diet may or may not be.
Here are six supplements I consider my daily “must-haves”
- EPA/DHA – if you follow a ketogenic diet did you know that adding in EPA/DHA will significantly boost your weight loss efforts. My doctor recommended an EPA/DHA supplement for both my husband and myself.
- Iron – for many women, myself included, iron is an absolute must. During pregnancy it is important not to become anemic but also during other phases of life. If you have ever experienced low ferritin levels, you will know exactly why. Iron deficiency can kick your feet out from under you and leave you breathless, or in extreme cases, it can lead to a heart attack. Don't let this go unchecked, monitor your levels so you don't end up needing an iron infusion!
- Probiotics – gut health is important for more than just digestion. The gut is part of our immune system, so it's vital that we keep the flora balanced. Yogurt is not the only way to get probiotics and most people choose brands that have little or no probiotics and are full of sugar. While I try to eat plenty of fermented foods with probiotics and prebiotics, I choose to supplement as well. Make sure to read the powerful truth about probiotics.
- Vitamin D3/K2 – without it, I feel quite depressed, yes, it can be obtained from sunlight and no, I don't' spend enough time in the sun. Always take vitamin D in the early part of the day as it may disrupt your sleep when taken at night. As mentioned in “depression could be a vitamin d deficiency” I shared more about the brands we use.
- Astaxanthin – As far as antioxidants go you can't do much better than astaxanthin. This nutrient works best when taken with healthy fats so I take it in the morning with my EPA/DHA and Vitamin D/K2 combo. As far as I'm concerned, this mystery nutrient does not get the attention it deserves.
- NonGMO Vitamin C (preferably a blend containing Rutin, ascorbic acid) – Vitamin C is water soluble, meaning what your body doesn't use within a few hours, it discards. That is why I take vitamin c both at night and in the morning. During times when germs are everywhere I drink it throughout the day as well. Putting vitamin c in my electrolyte drink throughout the winter also helps keep my immune system in superior condition! Sometimes I make gummies out of vitamin C powder.
In my post on Vitamin D and depression, I mentioned the importance of having your vitamin D levels tested at least yearly. Testing is particularly important for those who are susceptible to seasonal affective disorder, otherwise known as the winter blues.
Other supplements I may take throughout the year
When I have anxiety I rely on L-Theanine to calm my nerves and just help me cope.
Another supplement I sometimes take when I can't drink bone broth is Collagen. I keep a Collagen supplement in the form of powdered collagen in my pantry for adding to smoothies and beverages. My mom and I both have used this supplement for several years to keep our joints from squeaking 😉 It is also great for your hair, skin and nails. We keep this on “subscribe and save” on my Amazon Prime account.
Most of my supplements come from my doctor's office, but I also use Life Extension as a trusted brand for my family. Normally, I do a bit of research into a company before I purchase vitamins from them. Whole food and natural ingredients are preferable over synthetic vitamins which may do more harm than good.
At times I have added in a large number of supplements to treat specific conditions, such as EBV. Later, I'll share the protocol I am using for treating Lyme Disease and Mold illness. These are protocols that were prescribed by my own physician. Always check with your own health care provider before adding a supplement as some can have interactions with other medications you may be taking.
Look for “food source” on the bottle. Also, the letters “dl” indicate a synthetic vitamin when looking at the list on the back of the bottle. You'll often see this in the forms of Vitamin E. Words that end in “ide” or “ate” suggest that the product contains synthetics. When in doubt, ask! A pharmacist should know how to identify synthetic vs. natural. Shop from trusted companies and avoid buying grocery store brands.
One final word about supplements, always take them according to directions on the bottle or as directed by your health care provider. Take supplements with a full glass of water and make sure to remain upright for at least ten minutes after swallowing.