These fatty acids are essential for our RV, but I wouldn’t recommend supplementing them in your diet.
Compiling a list of top supplements is a little tricky…
The reason why is because some people may need particular ones that won’t make this list. Some others may be able to get those nutrients from foods they eat and finally, some people may not need supplements at all.
Another reason why this is tricky, is because food can be used as a supplement to the diet as well. So for me, I tend to think green juice is a supplement that can help with a high raw, primarily plant based diet. Some people just assume that if I say “supplement” that it has to be in a jar, bottle or capsule – this is not always the case.
So what I recommend is getting your blood tested and then using this as a tool to help determine what supplements (or foods as supplement) you need.
For the purposes of this article, I’m going to talk about the products you can find in a bottle, capsule or jar… not every day foods that could be used as supplements. The products that I talk about (or nutrients) are ones that I’ve seen most people benefit from – or have the widest application range.
Let’s get started…
1. Vitamin D
Some people call Vitamin D a vitamin and others a hormone. Regardless of what it is, it’s showing up to be very promising in terms of supporting the immune system by fighting infection as well as its use in the prevention of cancers.
You can take Vitamin D in both D2 and D3 forms. The D2 is vegan, but about 60% as effective as D3.
Many people have low vitamin D levels, even if they’ve been out in the sun for significant amounts of time. This is confirmed through blood testing.
My level was low at 22 a while back and I raised it by taking D3 on a regular basis.
Usage: It’s fairly well known now that the daily recommendation is more than 400 IU – which was previously established. Some say 1000 IU and some even say more than 4000 IU is needed – all the way up to 20,000-50,000 IU under medical supervision.
The best way to determine what works best for you is to get a 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test, look at your levels and determine a plan of action to either maintain or raise your levels.
2. HCL – Betaine Hydrochloric Acid
This supplement is not for everyone, but for those who need it, it will work wonders.
As you age, the production of HCL – a digestive acid – decreases. This makes it more difficult to break down your food for great assimilation. HCL helps in the denaturing of proteins so they can be more easily broken down into amino acids and it also helps release minerals from food matter.
HCL, single-handedly, has helped my mom’s digestion as well as thousands upon thousands of others.
Usage: HCL is a little tricky, because for those who don’t need it it could actually create too much digestive fire. So if you suffer from digestive unrest, heartburn or leaky gut issues – you may want to try HCL in small doses (increasing as needed) to determine how much you should take.
3. Ionic Minerals
Minerals distribute electricity in the body, help balance system pH and are the raw materials for many of your body’s fluids, organs and systems. Minerals are also very important for kidney and adrenal function – so since we’re all stressed to some degree or another, we need to feed our adrenals well.
To say they’re essential is an understatement.
The body prefers minerals in ionic form, so a supplement that contains these types of organic minerals is best.
Usage: Take daily in supplement form, juices, or high mineral rich foods. Mix it up if you like, since each food or supplement may contain different amounts of each trace mineral.
4. B-12 or B-Complex
Many of you know that many people (plant based eaters or not) are deficient in vitamin B-12. This B vitamin is essential for neurological function. B-Complex vitamins are essential for just about everything including cardiovascular health, adrenal health, digestion, gut health, healthy hair and skin and more.
Plant based eaters tend to be low in some B-Complex vitamins like B-12 and others, while people who eat animal products tend to be low in folate (B-9) – which is generally very high in plant based eaters.
Basically, what it comes down to is making sure that you get the right amount of B-Complex – whether it’s in supplement or food based form.
Usage: You can try a few things to get your B-Complex. Food based sources like pasture raised, organic meats and eggs, whole grains and nutritional yeast are a good place to start. (Obviously, if you don’t eat animals or animal products, you’d skip the first two!)
If these aren’t enough, you can supplement with a B-Complex formula that works for you.
For B-12 specifically, I use B-12 Patches – which you can find here.
5. Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids or EFAs are important for mood enhancement, brain function, reduction of inflammation and healthy cells.
EFAs can be found in plants, nuts, algae and animal products like fish, eggs and naturally pastured meats.
Regardless of where you get it from, you need to be aware that you’re either getting enough from your food or supplementing to get the amount you need.
It’s up to you which source you want to use. Each has it’s pluses and minuses.
EFAs from fish, krill or other marine animals are already converted into long-chain fatty acids, which make them more easy to assimilate. On the negative side, these are more likely to be contaminated by heavy metals or other environmental toxins. (Many good companies screen for at least heavy metals.)
EFAs from plants and algae do not tend to be in long-chain form, so the body needs to convert them. Some people do fine with this conversion, others don’t. So this is a potential negative.
Your best bet is to give one kind that you feel is appropriate a shot and test your levels with a medical practitioner or nutritionist and see where you’re at.
Usage: Like I said, some people work well with plant based EFA supplements, other people don’t. Some of the best sources are krill, fish, algae, sacha inchi oil, chia, hemp oil and walnuts.
Too much of a good thing can thin your blood, so don’t under or overdo EFAs.
6. Digestive Enzymes
Just like HCL is important for digestion, so are digestive enzymes. Enzymes are catalysts for chemical reactions and in the case of digestive enzymes they help break down macronutrients and other organic materials into nutrients our body can assimilate and use.
As you age, your body slows the production and release of digestive enzymes and it can be helpful to supplement with these to aid the digestive process.
Usage: Take one or two capsules just before or during a meal. I like this brand here.
Like I said in the beginning, this is not by any means a complete list of supplements that I feel are necessary for any individual. Some may need more in their particular case, others may need one or two and some may not need any.
The best way to determine what supplements you may or may not need is to get your blood tested and develop a plan based on the results and any other symptoms you are experiencing. This way you can take only products you need and get the best, targeted results (it also will save you money!)
Also, it’s important to note that even if you feel good right now, this may not be a 100% assurance that everything is running smoothly and you don’t have any deficiencies. This is why preventative blood testing is so important.
I want to know your thoughts: What supplements have changed your life? Which supplements do you take daily?