Nutritional Supplements 101: What to Know & What We Need.

Via on May 20, 2013

herbal nutritional supplements

Are supplements necessary or can we get everything we need to support our bodies through food?

The answer is both yes and no. While it is possible to get nearly everything you need from food, it would take an inordinate amount of diligence, time, expense, and dedication to eat perfectly clean in order to fill in nutritional deficiencies and to give the body food-based cleansing that it needs daily to deal with the burdens of life.

Due to a myriad of factors like processed foods, environmental toxins, mental and emotional stressors, long-standing digestive disorders, genetic propensities for weaker body systems, antibiotics and hormones in the meat supply, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and severely-depleted soil, I find that nutritional supplements are very important to advance our health in the most time-efficient manner. They speed up the pace of filling in nutritional deficiencies while also helping the body to pull out the excess chemicals and toxins that impede wellness. Multivitamins, fish oil, probiotics, and greens are the four most important supplements.

1. Multivitamins
If you are not being guided by an individual practitioner, then a food-based, high-quality multivitamin is highly recommended. This will ensure that all of your bases are being covered. Even when the body is short of only one nutrient, it will not function optimally, and other systems will be compromised.

A few of my favorites for quality are New Chapter for Women, New Chapter for Men, and Garden of Life Raw and can be found in health food stores. Orthomolecular’s K-Pax Pro is my favorite health care practitioner multivitamin. It is a good choice for those with lower immune function and chronic fatigue, since it works to boost cellular energy.

2. Fish Oil
The body cannot produce its own omega-3 fatty acids, therefore, we must consume them through our diet. If you are not eating wild fatty fish three times a week, then I would recommend supplementing. Omega-3s are needed for maintaining blood pressure, regulating cholesterol, assisting with nerve transmission and weight loss, and for proper prostaglandin function (which regulates inflammation, pain and swelling). Sufficient omega-3 fatty acids are also thought to play a role in maintaining good cardiovascular health and are essential for healthy egg implantation, prevention of miscarriage, and for fetus development. They have also been linked with helping arthritis, depression, and intestinal inflammation.

My favorites for quality are New Chapter Wholemega, Carlson’s Cod Liver, and Nordic Naturals LDL complex and can be found in health food stores or Orthomolecular’s Orthomega Select DHA or EPA and Green Pasture Cod Liver Oil can be found online.

3. Probiotics
Probiotics are essential to maintain good digestive health. I recommend taking them a few times a year for six weeks at a time, or consistently if you have had digestive problems. They restore order and balance of good bacteria in the gut and crowd out the bad bacteria. They are an essential part of healthy immune function. There is a little known fact that probiotics have the power to improve our moods. This is because we produce more serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for our sense of well-being and satisfaction) in our guts than we do in our brains. This is the reason why many people who have digestive problems are also depressed. Taking a multi-strain probiotic, and not just acidophilus, is important.

My favorites for quality are PB 8 which can be found in health food stores, and Orthomolecular’s Orthobiotic.

4. Greens
Greens are our supplement for cellular cleansing and clean up. Greens supplements provide the type of greens you wouldn’t normally eat, like spirulina, chlorella, barley grass, and wheat grass. They also contain a high dose of food-based antioxidants to clean up environmental damage and toxins (free radicals). Greens will help shift our individual biochemistry faster so we start actually craving the good stuff.

Favorites for quality are Vitamineral Green or Garden of Life Perfect Food (found in health food stores) and Orthomolecular’s Deeper Greens or Premier Research Labs Greens Complex (found online).

Additional Supplement Recommendations (Bonus/Customizations)

I recommend not taking any more than five to seven different kinds of supplements at any given time.

The more we can heal ourselves through diet and lifestyle, the less supplements we need.

Digestive Enzymes
Enzymes help us digest our food faster and easier. They are helpful for poor absorption and to decrease, gas, bloating, and constipation. However, consider them a bandaid to use for the short-term, while figuring out and/or healing the root cause of the digestive upset (yeast, mold, parasites, leaky gut, or food sensititivies). My favorites are Enzymatica Digest Gold or Garden of Life Ω-zyme (health food store) and Orthomolecular’s Digestzyme V or Orthodigestzyme (online).

Constipation
Trifala is a combination of three different Indian fruits which work to moisten and nourish the lining of the intenstines while gently detoxifiying old matter. I suggest Vadik Herbs (online) or Source Naturals (health food store).

Leaky Gut/Intestinal Permeability
Slippery Elm or Marshmallow root (health food store)
Orthomolecular’s Mucosagen or DGL (online)

Pain and Inflammation
Inflammablox by Orthomolecular or Premier Turmeric by Premier Research Labs are my favorites and can be found online.

Insomnia/Restless Sleep
Gaia Herbs Valerian Root (for a racing mind) or Natural Factors Phosphatidylserine (for waking up between one to four a.m. consistently). These can be found at health food stores.

Stress, Anxiety, or Energy Balance Issues
Gaia Herbs Adrenal Support and/or L-theanine (health food store)
Orthomolecular’s Adapten All or Adrene Vive (online)

Vitamin D Deficiency (only if lab work shows you are low)
Orthomolecular vitamin D or Premier Research Lab D can be found online. Take with food, since it is a fat-soluble vitamin.

Blood Sugar/Sugar Cravings
Gymnema Silvestre (health food store)
Orthomolecular’s Glycemic Foundation (online)

Immune Health
Wellness Formula by Source Naturals or New Chapter Lifeshield Immunity by New Chapter (health food store). Orthomolecular’s Mycofend (online)

Note: Please continue to visit and be treated by your healthcare professionals including, and without limitation, your physician. Please be sure to inquire about all nutritional supplements with your physician to make certain there are no contraindications with medications, etc. This supplement list is just a guide and is not acting in the capacity of a doctor, psychologist, or other licensed or registered professional. It is not providing health care or medical services and will not diagnose, treat, or cure in any manner whatsoever, any disease, condition, or other physical or mental ailment of the human body. The information received should not be seen as medical or nursing advice and is certainly not meant to take the place of seeing licensed health professionals. Many of these supplements, but not all, should not be taken when pregnant or breastfeeding. Please check with your doctor.

About Christa Orecchio

Christa Orecchio is a Clinical Nutritionist and Holistic Health Counselor and founder of The Whole Journey. Her nutrition practice is unique in that Christa does not advocate any one specific way of eating. She believes that every individual has distinct dietary needs based upon genetics, lifestyle, gender, blood type, stress levels, how they ate as a child, current state of health and future health goals. Therefore, she focuses on bio-individuality, while imparting a positive and empowering perspective shift around food that results in greater lifelong food flexibility. Christa has been regularly featured as a health expert on TV and in print nationwide. She is the co-author of "The Anti-inflammatory Diet" with Cheryl Tiegs as well as the author of "The Whole Journey Cookbook" and "The Five Tris." She is also the creator of The Whole Journey Product Review site and a TEDx speaker. Christa is the Fox5 San Diego weekly health expert where she speaks about using food as medicine and a mind-body approach to eating and healing. Watch her every Thursday morning at 9:05 am.

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3 Responses to “Nutritional Supplements 101: What to Know & What We Need.”

  1. Ana says:

    Is there any way for vegetarians to get omegas from plant sources?

    • Lindsey Block Lindsey B. says:

      Ana, I love using chia seeds, hulled hemp seeds and flax seeds (ground is easier to assimilate) for omega 3s. I'll put them in smoothies, on my breakfast or in salads.

  2. This is helpful blog .
    Thanks for the interesting share.

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