I receive numerous emails every day inquiring about supplements- which to take, which not to take, which helped me and which did not help me heal. I am not a doctor but I have tried hundreds of supplements from hundreds of different doctors. There is no miracle supplement but there are a few basics that I’ve learned throughout the years that I’m happy to share with you. For more detailed information and before you start any of the below supplements, please consult with your Integrative M.D, who can tailor a supplement program for your individual needs and prescribe pharmaceutical-grade (high quality) supplements. I cannot stress enough how important it is to purchase HIGH quality supplements and NOT cheap supplements from any random store, health food store, online website, etc.
Here are my favorite brands for supplements (who I trust):
- NOW Foods
- Gaia Herbs
- Garden of Life
- Pure Encapsulations
- Xymogen Exclusive Patented
- Klaire Labs
- Cardiovascular Research Ltd.
- Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics
The problem with supplements is that there isn’t regulation on them so it’s hard for many of us to tell what is good and what is cheap junk bottled up to look fancy! You must always check the labels to make sure they are free of gluten, dairy, soy or any other allergens that you may be sensitive to. Don’t hesitate to call the company to ask them if you aren’t sure- it’s not worth you getting sick over!
Yes, good quality brands of supplements are more expensive and believe me, as a chick living in Manhattan, I’d rather spend that money on a new fancy bag or shiny shoes but your long-term health is worth this investment. Believe me. I’ve worked with Dr. Jeffrey Morrison of The Morrison Center in NYC and Dr. Susan Blum of The Blum Center in Westchester, NY who are two amazing Integrative M.D.’s that have helped heal me the past few years.
Many of my clients find that they cannot get everything they need through their food, even if they have a well-balanced diet. If you eat pounds of kale every day- you probably still aren’t getting enough of what you need since it’s been depleted of vitamins and nutrients due to modern farming practices and environmental issues. Plus, it’s not just about WHAT you eat- it’s about HOW you absorb what you eat. For me personally, I went through years of eating SO many healthy vegetables and lean proteins along with healthy fats but NOT absorbing anything because of my gut. It took years to repair and re-build my gut and having Leaky Gut was something that affected my entire body. I wasn’t absorbing any of the vitamins or minerals in my foods or supplements! All of our bodies are incredibly different, so I may need 10,000 IU’s of vitamin D while you only need 1,000 IU’s. Or I may need 500 mg of magnesium while you need 1,500 mg. Get the picture?
You MUST get your blood work done by an Integrative M.D. Do not rely on the tests drawn by a conventional doctor because they are not extensive enough. An Integrative M.D. will test for things Western medicine is not aware of. I feel like everywhere we turn from T.V. to magazines- we are told that milk is good, meat is bad, sugar is the devil, kale is cool, white potatoes are bad, peanuts aren’t Paleo, etc. and so on..do me a favor and please listen to YOUR BODY and not to all of these ads and articles. They will just confuse you even more. One day I read about eating 6 small meals made people loose weight while the next day a study is released about how 3 meals a day and no snacks is the way to go. Confusing? I think SO!
Your Integrative M.D. will help you analyze your body and blood work to see where and why you are deficient- instead of blindly putting you on a prescription drug that you don’t need! They will also offer nutritional advice and support along with supplements to help you get the most out of your food. I see my Integrative M.D. every 2 months for a follow up to see how everything is going. Years ago I found out that I was deficient in Iron and B12; even though I was taking the proper dosage, my body did not absorb the brands of supplements I was taking (cheap supplements) – which is why it pays to spend the extra money to purchase a quality brand. Recently my iron and B-12 have become normal but now I’m taking supplements for CQ10 and Vitamin D. Interesting, isn’t it? Our bodies are always changing, which is why it’s SO important to get check ups every few months instead of a yearly check up with a Western (conventional) general practitioner M.D. Make sense?
Good. Let’s move on.
There was a point in my life when I was on 40 supplements (3 times a day) to heal my gut and my immune system and my adrenals and my thyroid)! It was overwhelming and crazy but I got through it. I am a bit more complicated than most people, so you probably won’t need 40 supplements- lucky, you! But I needed LOTS of supplement support.
Traveling with vitamins can be tough but I purchase tiny Ziploc bags and carry along my Omega 3’s, Glutamine powder (heals gut lining), B12, Vitamin D, probiotics, magnesium (for constipation when traveling/flying), organic green powders such as Barlean’s and Amazing Grass, adrenal herbs such as Ashwagandha and other thyroid herbs).
Here are a few (not the entire list) of basic supplements that I take. Again, please consult with your Integrative M.D. before starting any of the below supplements.
- Vitamin D: I take 10,000 IU’s of Vitamin D every day because my Vitamin D was very low. It’s a fat soluble vitamin which means that taking too much can be toxic- generally 1,000-2,000 IU’s per day is ideal. A high quality Vitamin D is super important so check the label for ‘gamma’ and not just alpha. Consult your doctor for your exact dosage.
- Probiotics: I take numerous probiotics. Right now I am taking Jarrow Probiotics (Jarrow is only taken for my IGA deficiency). I take at least 25 billion of CFU’s (colony forming units) each day. I recommend taking a probiotic that has at least bifidobacterium and lactobacillus and at least 20 billion CFU’s.
- Omega 3’s: I love Barlean’s Fish Oils and Flax Oils as well as their supplements. Life’s DHA and Dr. Ohirra’s Essential Living Oils are vegan if you are looking for a non-animal alternative. Also, it’s important to note that B vitamins and zinc help your Omega 3 absorption.
- Magnesium: Helps keep things moving – if you know what I mean. This is also great for relaxing muscles and works well when taking at night.
- PharmaNAC: Helps produce glutathione in your body, which I need to detox toxins out of my body. Glutathione is the most important antioxidant that’s found in every cell of our bodies but it’s highest concentrations are in the liver. It helps clean up heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic and cadmium and aids in protecting the body from pesticides, solvents and plastic residues such as BPA’s. It mops up all the harmful free radicals inside your body.
- Glutamine: An essential amino acid that helps heal the lining of your gut, which will allow you to then be able to absorb the nutrients in your food and heal.
- B12: You may not know that B12 is only found in animal products so if you are vegan or don’t eat any animal products you will need to work with your doctor on finding a healthy way to keep your B12 regulated by taking a quality B12 vitamin along with Nutritional Yeast. B12 is naturally produced by microorganisms in soil and water so when animals eat and drink water, they take in these B12- producing microorganisms. Therefore, if you are vegan, you will need to find a way to get B12 into your diet via nasal spray, injection or supplementation. Make sure your B12 is methylcobalamin because this is the form of B12 that is best absorbed in your body.
Again, none of the above will do anything if your gut is not healthy and you aren’t absorbing anything so please be sure to test for Leaky Gut and other gut absorption tests with your Integrative M.D. before starting any of the above supplements.
It is essential to work with a nutritionist and an Integrative M.D. because I am sharing general information that is not intended to be medical advice. This information is only given for informational purposes.