Why do I need to supplement? is a question I am asked all the time. I wanted to start off with a little education on why we need to supplement before diving into the basic supplements that I recommend everyone be on.
This background will help you understand why your food isn’t enough even if it does contain the necessary nutrients.
1. Soil Depletion
When plants are grown repeatedly on the same land the soil loses vitamins, minerals and microbes faster than can be replaced. Over time there are fewer nutrients to grow.
2. Produce that isn’t local
Living in Canada it is very hard to only eat local fruits & veggies all year. Most of the fruits and veggies in grocery stores are not harvested when fresh. They are picked weeks before being eaten and ripen while travelling on trucks and sitting on shelves. Fruits and veggies gain many of their nutrients during the ripening phase.
3. Toxin Exposure
Everyday we are exposed to countless toxins – from plastics, to household cleaners, stress and even food toxins. Our body needs nutrients to deal with these toxins so as you can imagine we are utilizing a lot of nutrients just to get through a stressful day before you account for food toxins and chemical exposure.
As we age we produce less hydrochloric acid in our stomachs and digestive enzyme production goes down as well. This results in us being unable to break down our food as well and absorb nutrients.
When we exercise our bodies require more nutrients for energy production and recovery.
Here are 3 of the supplements that I recommend everyone take on a daily basis. I would consider them to be non-negotiable.
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is essential for the maintenance of our health and immune systems. It also moderates inflammation and assists in calcium metabolism and bone formation. Studies have shown that deficiency can lead to a number of health problems and contribute to chronic disorders, including high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression, obesity, and diabetes. Our main source of Vitamin D is from the sun - for those of us living in the north this is difficult to get in the winter.
What type: The best form to take is Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K
This is a big one – and really could be a future guest blog post all on it’s own!!
Probiotics are bacteria that line your digestive tract and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. Your body contains about the same number of gut bacteria molecules as it does cells for the rest of your body, so it’s no wonder your gut is so important to your health.
Probiotics benefits have been proven effective in supporting immune function, reducing inflammation, promoting healthy digestion, as well as maintaining beautiful skin.
Today, however, because of refrigeration and agricultural practices like soaking our foods with chlorine, much of our food contains little to no probiotics in the name of sanitation.
What type: You want to be taking at least 15 billion CFU daily - you also want multi-strains in one pill as they are more effective than single strain because the bacteria work synergistically together.
After taking antibiotics, if you feel yourself getting sick I would recommend switching to a higher dose. There are also formulations for specific health issues.
Fish oil is a concentrated source of omega-3 fats. Fish oil contains two very important polyunsaturated fatty acids – DHA (docosahexaeonic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Our body cannot make them, they are essential which means we need to get them from food or supplementation.
Omega3 fatty acids are essential to our health an well being, they are important to every cell in our body and most of us are lacking. More of an issue is that most of us have an imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. A healthy ratio is around 2 omega-6: 1 omega-3, in reality most people have a ratio of about 20:1. The deficiency of omega-3 really comes from the overconsumption of foods high in omega-6 – fried foods, packaged foods, fast food – those foods that contain vegetable oils like canola, sunflower, corn and soybean. Consuming too much omega-6 fatty acids decreases your body’s ability to metabolize the healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids is really a daily essential to ensure that adequate amounts are consumed. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for cardiovascular health, brain health, mood, skin, joints and more.
What type: Ensure fish oil with EPA and DHA