DISCLAIMER: I’m not a medical professional. Any decisions you make about what supplements you should be taking is between you and your health care provider/nutritionist :-) Also, there are lots of different points of view on supplements. What I choose to take has come from my own research but also my own personal health goals and trial and error and is still being tweaked regularly.
This is not supposed to be an educational resource about supplements so much as it is simply a snapshot into my particular relationship with supplements today. It could prove a jumping off point for your own research or conversations with your own health care provider.
PRIMARY HEALTH GOALS
Other than the overarching goal of always striving to optimize my health, I keep an eye towards other, more specific goals and seek out first and foremost - FOODS that support those goals. From there, I add in supplements that are known to support those goals.
I have 3 key areas of focus that tend to drive all health decisions I make for myself. I’ll define those below and then provide my supplement choices through this lens. I’ll also just add, I am attracted to anything that helps reduce inflammation as that will ladder back up to my 3 key areas too.
BRAIN HEALTH - both cognitive function and mental health stability are of the utmost priority to me. I’d say, #1 for sure. In terms of cognitive function, I seek out ways to improve my cognitive function both TODAY and IN THE FUTURE. Staving off the onset of dementia and alzheimer’s disease in the long-term and helping brain fog to pass in the immediate.
In terms of mental health, with so many responsibilities, constantly putting myself in new growth opportunities and the typical day-to-day stresses of parenthood, marriage and maintaining a home, I have had periods of terrible anxiety and actively seek out methods to keep it at bay.
LIVER HEALTH -The liver is responsible for removing the toxins from our body…and alcohol…and it’s OVERWORKED. In the book, Liver Rescue, the Medical Medium refers to this underappreciated organ as the “miracle peacekeeper”. He states “The liver is our body’s main filter and nutritional storehouse and is essential in dealing with any health problem. Period.” This post is not about the liver, but believe me, he wrote an entire book about it because it’s that important and a full post just about this organ wouldn’t do it justice. I encourage you to research this topic too! I first began to care about my liver though after reading the book emotion code about trapped emotions and there was correlation around trapped energy inside our bodies, often around certain organs and subsequent side effects. It was super fascinating and I highly recommend that book too!
GUT HEALTH - You just cannot have optimal health without a healthy microbiome / good gut health. It is oft referred to as the second brain, it is often where disease begins and I have long felt that I am a “gut-thinker” as in “trust your gut”. I feel through my gut. I believe with a healthier gut, I will have more clarity and health in all areas of my life.
Here is a quote on the value of gut health
“The connection between gut health and mood has been known for some time, as individuals suffering from bowel-disorders such as Celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or leaky gut are more likely than others to also suffer from autoimmune diseases and mental issues such as depression and anxiety. Symptoms related to poor gut health can be as obvious as abdominal pain, bloating after meals, reflux, or flatulence, but also less obvious like headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and immune system weakness.” SOURCE.
Essentially, gut/digestive aids, liver-supporting, cognitive functioning and mood moderators, energy raisers, + cravings cutters are my key drivers in selecting which supplements to take.
A few of the top-of-mind successes that I believe my supplements (likely along with my change in diet and physical fitness) have allowed me to enjoy:
overcoming food cravings (almost entirely. They only come up predictably after I have carbs or alcohol).
overcoming joint pain. I couldn’t do a push up at all 18 months ago because I couldn’t put ANY pressure on my wrists whatsoever. Now, I can barely recall a time in my life where that was an issue. I have not had any joint pain at all in my wrists for over a year.
my hair - which thinned out considerably postpartum due to not just the typical side effect of having a baby but the terrible diet I was eating following that time, has fully come back to it’s normal fullness and after having cut it to my chin last January, It’s past my shoulders again, which indicates a healthy growth rate as well.
I have regular and predictable digestive activity.
I maintain a healthy weight.
I have staved off anxiety for nearly two-years. It recently came back due to a big shift in life-events, which is predictable and yet doesn’t occur nearly as dramatically or frequently as it once did before changing my diet and adding supplements.
Keep in mind, that most supplements have LOTS of benefits. I just list the key reasoning I personally take it. Not ALL it’s health benefits.
Also note: I’ve tried lots more that are not listed because I don’t currently use them. I will likely continue to tweak my mix of supplements over time as well.
So, what am I taking?
Woman’s multi- I rely upon this to get an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals. I began taking the RITUAL multi back a few months back and love it. I determined that a few of the ingredients in that one multi- allowed me to stop paying for a bottle of each separately on a monthly basis. So, ultimately, the Ritual subscription saved me about $60/per month. (not sponsored. just my experience).
Magneseium - a “master mineral” affects our brain, bones and muscles. It’s important for good sleep, blood pressure and moods. It relieves muscle cramps, cuts chocolate cravings and prevents constipation.
Astaxanthin - many whole-body benefits (cognitive function, skin, ageing, eyes, reduce inflammation, and more)
Curcumin/Turmeric - reduce inflammation
K2 MK4 - for blood sugar, reduce signs of aging and
Omega 3’s + DHA - improved cardiovascular function,
B12 - improve mood, improves/protects nerve cells
Alpha lipoic acid - improves cognitive function/boosts memory
Digestive Function/Metabolism/blood sugar & Insulin control
PGX (“the wonder fiber”) - taken before each meal
Alpha lipoic acid - antioxidant, improves cognitive function,
Digestive Enzymes - before each meal
Collagen - consists of essential amino acids, we require about 15g per day to support healthy metabolism and collagen production.
Bifido - One of the most important probiotics but also good for reducing sugar cravings and boosting energy.
Probiotics - I change up all the time
L-Glutamine - great for your gut but also anti-inflammatory and kills cravings
L-Carnitine - metabolism booster (i take it first thing upon waking)
CoQ10 - helps us use carbohydrates for energy preventing crashes that lead to sugar cravings.
L-Glutamine (the calming amino acid as it’s known for reducing anxiety as well as sugar and alcohol cravings).
Fish oil - of course it’s well known for it’s brain boosting abilities but I also take it for low moods
Vitamin D - Hi. I live in Ohio in the Winter.
Gaba -good for helping with anxiety
PROTEINS AND PERFORMANCE
Collagen: I keep Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides on hand and put them in my smoothies, bulletproof coffee, or even mix with water and drink (it’s utterly tasteless).
Daily smoothies: I’ve tried (and liked) many different protein powders but I love vanilla and strawberry (and in 3rd place, chocolate!) Shakeology. I tend to have this as a meal replacement. I pretty much turn to this for how many boxes I get to check out of it: superfoods, protein, phytonutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, pre- and probiotics, fiber, adaptogens, vitamins, and minerals.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I sell Shakeology as a beachbody coach but I wouldn’t take and/or sell anything that I wasn’t educated in and personally a fan of.
So there are MANY more I’m curious about, that I’ve read about, that I think I may want to take, but I can’t really speak to those just yet. After listening to THIS PODCAST EPISODE I am definitely feeling like I’m ready to get on board with CBD in some form or another too but I’ve yet to try it.
Much has been absorbed across a ton of reading and research over the last 18 months, but these books also played a role in prompting me to ask my doctor or research various supplements further. I also did all on a trial basis and have adjusted
Organization of my supplements
It’s not glamorous but it totally works…for me.
So, I put all of my capsule/tablet supplements in a cupboard in my kitchen (all bottles go into one basket, so I don’t have to pull them out individually, but all together).
Either at night or in the morning (whenever I’m packing my and Penny’s lunches), I pull this out along with 3 snack size baggies. (to eliminate waste, I reuse the same 3 baggies day after day unless I lose one).
Most of the supplements I take are to be taken multiple times per day (many, with meals) and a few only once daily. So, when a new supplement comes in the mail, I either add those pills to the counterpart running low or, if it’s new, I add it to the basket and before doing so, take a sharpie and write the dosage on the top of the lid. This allows me to quickly and easily see the dosage when I am separating and packing my supplements each day.
I write a B, L, and D on the outside of each bag to indicate which meal I’ll be taking which supplements.
Then, one by one, I make 3 piles. The ones I am taking at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. CoQ10 for example is with each meal, so I take 3 out and put one in each pile. But Astaxanthin is only 1x per day and you’re supposed to take it with fat. I almost always have fats in my breakfast meal (which I bring to eat at work), so I put that one in the “B” baggie. A few supplements, PGX and Digestive Enzymes are meant to be consumed prior to the meal so I keep a baggie full of those in my desk drawer and don’t bother packing those.