While I try hard to get as many nutrients from food as I can, I am a big believer in supplementation for optimal health and wellbeing when meeting requirements isn’t possible through diet alone. I’m often asked questions on my supplement routine, as well as brand recommendations and dosages, so I wanted to share that with all you. Keep reading for my routine and a detailed explanation of what each supplement is beneficial for. Click on the links for my favourite brands.
My routine does change from time to time depending on my goals and how I am feeling. Currently my goals are to ensure I’m meeting all of my nutritional requirements while supporting my anti-inflammatory diet, to decrease inflammation and stress, increase energy, balance hormones, and just to generally feel my best.
I should also add a little disclaimer in that these are the supplements I personally find are the most important for me based on my diet, lifestyle, and goals. These supplements have been recommended to me by health professionals and I am simply sharing what I take, without recommending you follow my routine. Please make sure you consult with a health professional and do your research when choosing what supplements are best for you. For example I know a lot of people supplement with omega-3, probiotics, collagen, etc. These are all important nutrients however I am conscious of meeting my requirements of these from food so I don’t currently need to supplement with them. Everyone’s individual needs differ however.
My Daily Supplement Summery
Click on the beige links below for the brands I use:
Vitamin D3 – 6 drops/day (6,000 IU)
Vitamin K2 – 100 mcg/day
Adrenal-Pro – 2 capsules, twice a day
Women’s Multivitamin – 2/day
CoQ10 – 400 mg/day
DIM – 1/day
Iodine – 3 drops, twice a week
Trace Minerals – 10 drops/day in 1 L of water
Magnesium Glycinate – 400 mg before bed
Vitamin D3 – 6 drops/day (6,000 IU) – Click here for the brand I use
Vitamin D is essential to absorb calcium and phosphorus needed to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. It is also important for immune system function and has been recently linked to cancer prevention.
As a Canadian it is almost impossible to meet vitamin D requirements without supplements, especially in the Winter. I learned this the hard way. My vitamin D was extremely low 4 years ago and since then I have been taking 6,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day in the fall and winter months. I don’t need as much in the summer since I spend so much time outdoors. Doctors have actually stopped testing for vitamin D and instead suggest everyone take a vitamin D supplement of at least 1,000 IU/ day.
When choosing a vitamin supplement make sure it is vitamin D3. D3 is the bioactive form of vitamin D that our body naturally produces when it is exposed to sunlight. While both are beneficial for your health, vitamin D3 is far better absorbed and utilized by the body.
Vitamin K2 (which I talk about next) is important to take with vitamin D3 to help prevent hypercalcemia, which is one of the concerns of higher vitamin D intake.
Vitamin K2 – 1/day (100 mcg/day) – Click here for the brand I use
Vitamin K2 has been recently studied extensively for its connection with reducing inflammation in the body. Unlike vitamin K1 which is found in green vegetables, vitamin K2 is produced by bacteria in our gut and can be found in fermented foods. Unfortunately most of this is passed out in our stools. Vitamin K1 can convert to K2 however the amount produced might not always be sufficient enough.
Vitamin K2 also works synergistically with a number of other nutrients to aid in their function, including calcium and vitamin D. K2 is vital for transporting calcium to where the body needs it and helps prevent hypercalcification of the arteries and other organs.
Vitamin K2 deficiency leaves you vulnerable to a number of chronic diseases, including osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, brain disease, and improper calcification leading to kidney stones or heel spurs.
Adrenal-Pro – 2 capsules, twice a day – Click here for the brand I use
This adrenal support supplement includes several compounds called adaptogens that I was taking separately before including Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and Siberian Ginseng. I stumbled upon this supplement at my local health food store and figure it would be easier to combine everything in one convenient capsule.
Adaptogens are herbs that have the properties to help increase the bodies internal resistance to stress. These herbs have been used for centuries to help improve mental and physical performance during periods of physical stress. Adaptogens help to increase physical and mental performance after periods of physical and/or mental exertion, increasing energy, reducing stress and fatigue and providing an improved sense of well being.
I believe my body was going through a period of adrenal fatigue and this supplement is great for helping support the adrenal glands, which are responsible for producing the stress hormone cortisol. Adrenal fatigue happens when the adrenal glands are exhausted and unable to produce adequate quantities of hormones, primarily cortisol, due to chronic stress or infections.
This supplement contains other beneficial ingredients that also help decrease stress and increase energy including B vitamins, Schisandra, L-Tyrosine and Astragulus.
Women’s Multivitamin – 2/day – Click here for the brand I use
I find a good multivitamin is beneficial just to make sure I am covering all of my nutritional bases. Even though I try to buy organic when possible, our food and soil just isn’t what it used to be in terms of nutritional value. I also question whether or not I absorb all of my nutrients from food while dealing with IBS.
When choosing a multivitamin I look for something that is derived from food instead of manmade chemicals. I also prefer to use a multi that is specifically for women so that I know I am getting everything I need, since men and women differ in certain nutrient requirements.
I recently found out that I have the MTHFR gene mutation which inhibits my body from converting folic acid and vitamin B12 to their active forms, methyl folate and methlycobalamine. This requires me to supplement with these active forms. Thankfully this particular multivitamin contains the active forms of both in the amounts I need per day.
CoQ10 – 400 mg/day – Click here for the brand I use
Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is a compound that helps generate energy in your cells. It is produces naturally in the body but this is decreased with age. Research has showed that several health conditions are linked to low levels of CoQ10 including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and brain disorders.
Studies have also shown that CoQ10 has many health benefits including promoting heart health, improve male and female fertility, can help reduce oxidative damage to the skin from UV rays (ie it might help keep your skin looking younger), can help with exercise performance, can reduce headaches, and might help prevent diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, brain disorders and lung related diseases.
DIM – 1/day – Click here for the brand I use
Diinolylmethane or DIM is a supplement used to balance estrogen dominance. It is a natural plant-based chemical found in many cruciferous vegetables. 1 capsule of DIM is equivalent to 8 lbs of cruciferous vegetables. DIM works to create a healthy balance of estrogen and testosterone in your body.
DIM supplements are also often used for breast, uterine and colorectal cancer prevention. It can also help with PMS and menopause symptoms, decrease inflammation, help with weight loss and helps treat acne.
Iodine – 3 drops, twice a week – Click here for the brand I use
Iodine is an essential nutrient needed by the body. The thyroid gland needs iodine to produce hormones. If it does not have enough iodine the thyroid gland has to work harder and can cause it to enlarge, also known as a goiter.
Iodine is especially important for women of reproductive age as a deficiency can lead to infertility. Iodine deficiency can also lead to an autoimmune disease of the thyroid and may increase the risk of getting thyroid cancer. Some researchers think that iodine deficiency might also increase the risk of other cancers such as prostate, breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer.
There are very few food sources of iodine and for that reason it was added to table salt many years ago to prevent deficiencies. Sea vegetables such as kelp and dulce are rich sources of iodine. Unfortunately as much as I have tried I am not a big fan of either, and I only use pink Himalayan salt which does not contain iodine.
There is also a concern for high cruciferous vegetable intake affect the thyroid glad. When eaten raw, the digestion of cruciferous vegetables in the intestines releases goitrogens, which can increase the need for iodine.
For these reasons I supplement with Iodine just to be safe, but thankfully only a small amount is needed. I take 3 drops twice a week mixed in a little water because the taste is not very pleasant. You can also rub it on your skin if you prefer, but be prepared as it will leave a yellow tinge behind.
Trace Minerals – 10 drops/day in 1 L of water – Click here for the brand I use
I have been very conscious lately of making sure my electrolyte balance is in check. Since I follow a low carb and high fat diet my body loses more electrolytes including potassium, sodium, chloride, and magnesium so it’s extra important I monitor my trace minerals. We use reverse osmosis at home so our water doesn’t contain any of these minerals unlike well water (p.s city water is even worse!).
Electrolytes are important to maintain cell function and water balance. They also regulate nerve and muscle function, balance blood acidity and pressure, and help rebuild damaged tissue.
I put 10 drops of these trace minerals in every L of water I drink and sprinkle a little pink Himalayan salt and “no salt (potassium)”. This ensures proper hydration, as without electrolyte balance you can become dehydrated no matter how much water you drink, as you will essentially just pee it out.
Do you get muscle cramps when working out or at night? Chances are it’s due to an electrolyte imbalance!
Magnesium Glycinate – 400 mg before bed – Click here for the brand I use
Magnesium is an essential nutrient for regulating many body processes, including muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. This mineral also supports the making of protein, bone, and DNA. It can also help to reduce hot flashes in menopausal women.
Magnesium helps to relax muscles and your mind which is just what I need before bed to help me sleep. As a macro-mineral the body requires magnesium in large amounts. Studies have shown that many people are deficient in this nutrient because it is difficult to get enough from food alone.
There are many forms of magnesium all for different purposes. Magnesium Glycinate has a higher absorption rate than other forms of magnesium, and it is easier on the digestive system.
Brands Matter – Choose Quality Over Price
It’s important to keep in mind that not all supplements brands are created equally. When choosing supplements it’s important to make sure they are high quality, do not contain too many fillers, are non-GMO, and are derived from a food source as much as possible. This ensures maximum absorption and bioavailability.
Unfortunately many inexpensive brands are manmade from synthetic compounds. My general rule is not buying supplements that have a tv commercial or are generic drug store brands. Instead I buy trusted natural brands I’ve used before or that my naturopath and chiropractor recommends.
What’s your supplement routine? Leave me a comment below!
Naturally, Krissy – xo