I am definitely a person that takes supplements but am also clear that supplements are there to supplement the healthy diet. It is important that you first work on the basics of health before you start taking supplements, and then the supplements are there to help and support you while you are working on your lifestyle modification. This is how you achieve health.
When referring to lifestyle modification, first and foremost, we need to start thinking about things like circadian rhythm, quality of your sleep, stress management, and also diet. Diet is more than simply what you eat. Diet involves the timing of the food that you are eating, how you are chewing your foods and what you are doing before and whilst you are eating. After that, we can begin looking at supplements.
A key supplement, in my opinion, would be vitamin D. Vitamin D alters the microbiome in a positive way and low vitamin D definitely puts you at risk for multiple illnesses likely through a microbiome alteration. There are also vitamin D receptors in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is the sleep center of the brain. Vitamin D is critical in order to enter into a deep sleep state.
My next key supplement would be zinc. Zinc is a very important mineral for the tight junctions (how tightly your cells are packed) of your intestine. Your intestine rejuvenates itself every five days, meaning there is a high turnover of cells. Low zinc puts you at risk for developing an increase in intestinal permeability or leaky gut. This is exactly why we formulated our formula Digestive Pro+ that is packed with zinc and can help you with leaky gut.
Another important component of a supplement regimen, in my opinion, would be a B vitamin complex. B vitamins can be made by the microbiome. This is one of the reasons why bears can hibernate for six months – they have an adequate amount of B complex being made in their guts. Low B complex alters brain chemistry contributing, at least, to conditions including anxiety and depression, also can be an important player in fatigue. Furthermore, B vitamins, especially pantothenic acid, are important for the metabolism of cortisol. Low pantothenic acid definitely will prevent you from mobilizing your cortisol and result in cortisol not being efficiently recycled and making you feel more stressed.
There is also an entire gamut of minerals that are important for how your body functions. Magnesium is deficient in a great deal of people because they tend to eat a diet higher in refined carbohydrates. You get much of your magnesium from green leafy vegetables. In humans the center molecule is iron. Oxygen is carried in the blood by hemoglobin and in that hemoglobin molecule you find iron. Plants, on the other hand, have chlorophyll. Their blood is chlorophyll and their center molecule is magnesium. By eating green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds you are going to have a higher amount of magnesium, but, if you are low in magnesium, you can supplement with a small dose of magnesium at night. Be aware that magnesium can give you diarrhea.
The omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are both really important for brain development and for general health. The brain is really high in DHA. There is a great deal of DHA in human breast milk which is why it is so important for brain development. In the past there has been a big push for omega-3 fatty acids. That has fallen a bit out of favor because it is not possible to simply supplement an unhealthy diet with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are usually seen in cold water, oily fish such as sardines as well as in shellfish. It is important to think of omega-3 in terms of ratio to omega-6. The end product of omega-6 is more of an inflammatory component.
You can reduce your omega-6 by reducing the inflammatory oils, which are usually seen in the vegetable oils, canola oil, sunflower oils, or those types of oils. It is better to consume the parent oils, getting both the omega-3 and the omega-6, from whole foods including nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds and walnuts. Flaxseeds are a good form of fiber, but also the starting point or the parent oil of the omega-3.