Vitamins & Supplements: Do You Need Them?

Nov 19, 2021

Stephanie Bain, Body Alive Owner & Master Trainer

Stephanie is an ERYT-500 YACEP, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor, ACE Certified Health Coach, Food Coach (Holistic Nutrition), Dance Teacher, Certified Dance Fitness Instructor, and Barre Instructor. She has led thousands of classes, as well as many trainings and certifications.

When people come to me for “Food Coaching,” I have to let them know a couple of things, and before you read about how supplements can benefit your life and which ones can be especially beneficial, you need to know what I tell them:

  • Supplements aren’t regulated and can be manufactured in ways that are harmful (fillers, poor quality, and even toxins)
  • Even if a supplement is good for many people, no supplement is good for all people
  • Even “good” supplements can interfere with medications or have side effects with certain conditions and ALL supplements should be discussed with your doctor. For real.
  • Don’t stop taking medication without your doctor’s approval.
  • Children are even more sensitive to supplements and a doctor should always be consulted.
  • My previous designation was “Registered Holistic Nutritionist,” which allowed me to recommend supplements in some places and not in others depending on the state laws, and as I currently am not associated with the organization that accredited me, I do not hold this title. All my statements are from general experience with a strong emphasis on connecting with your doc!

Here we go!

 

Omega 3

In a wild world where we overeat omega-six fats (think processed foods and oils), we tend to eat very few omega-three heart health fats (think fish, certain eggs, etc.) and this balance has been proven to be critical to heart health, mood, cholesterol levels and more! To help maintain balance, eating fish that’s low in mercury is a great addition to your diet, along with an omega-three supplement. Vegan’s can rejoice too- there are plant-based versions! But if there is no dietary restriction, I recommend fish oil from a reputable source (think Thorne, Pure Encapsulations, Barlean’s, Green Pastures). Take these potential mood boosters in the morning with a little food (and the fish burps will never be a reality). Don’t take more than recommended!

 

Probiotics

In Holistic Nutrition, the health of the body (and the mind!) is largely from the health of your gut.  Did you know there are billions of bacteria working in there right now? BILLIONS! These bacteria help to process food, eliminate toxins, and even MAKE vitamins! You want to treat these guys like your best friends. Only trouble is, a diet heavy in bread, packaged products, dairy (don’t worry I love my cheese, but make sure you can tolerate it and buy it organic when possible), unhealthy oils, alcohol (I know, I know, but it’s true) can seriously throw this world of flora out of whack!  You’re obviously best to eat more fresh fruits and veggies and healthy meats but a little boost from a probiotic is a great thing! Don’t be daunted by the word “billions,” on the label and try to switch brands every few months to keep everything fresh. There are a lot of great brands out there, start slow and see how your stomach reacts. I like to take these at night, but some brands need to be taken with food.

 

B Vitamins

B vitamins are essential for energy, mood, and for cellular metabolism. They come in all different numbers (B6, B12, B3, etc.- kinda like bingo!), and are abundant in meats of all kinds, eggs, dairy, green leafy vegetables, and fruits.  If your system is chugging along a little more slowly (constipation, health, or mood issues) it can be a real boost to add B vitamins to your morning (they tend to energize so make sure you really do take them in the morning). Try Pure Encapsulations or Thorne, and Whole Foods, or a similar store brand, or look for a “yeast-free,” B vitamin complex. You may see that the daily percentage is high on your package but don’t fret, this is because B vitamins are water-soluble and what the body doesn’t use will be eliminated easily. Also, your pee will be bright!  Don’t panic, it’s just part of the process of elimination. Try to have these vitamins an hour away from coffee for better absorption.

 

Vitamin D

And who doesn’t love a little sunshine?  The ultimate sunshine vitamin is vitamin D which you can literally get from the sun! Although for some, sun exposure is not optimal or there are issues getting to the sun, or converting the sunshine into vitamin D that you can use so it’s optimal to add a little. Think 1,000 IU a day for an adult in a liquid, capsule, or chewable.  Remember that vitamin D plays a role in many functions and could potentially be linked to a lower cancer risk, and play a role in fighting depression and supporting the thyroid, and it’s also fat-soluble, which means that it accumulates in the body. If taking more than 1,000IU a day it is highly recommended to get regularly checked to make sure your body does not store vitamin D to a toxic level.

 

Vitamin C

Although controversial, vitamin C can be a great addition to your collection and help in cold and flu season. It’s water-soluble so your body easily eliminates it, but it can make you poop so be careful how much you load up on or you could be in for a surprise. For some types, it can also hurt the stomach. Add 1,000mg in times of stress or sickness and stick with 250mg for regular use.

 

Minerals & Magnesium 

In a previous blog, we talked about how our soil is now pretty deficient, and it’s one of the reasons why our food is lacking in minerals. Magnesium, zinc, calcium, and many more minerals are needed for overall health. It’s great to take a mineral supplement that contains all the critical ones (Concentrace is a good example for a brand) but also to add magnesium to promote calm, and overall health. Magnesium will also make you poop so go slow and low until you find your level.

If you get the green light to add omega-three, B vitamins, probiotics, vitamin D, vitamin C, and a mineral blend plus magnesium it is likely that your energy levels and mood will improve, but nothing replaces eating right, sleeping well, and reducing your stress. Let your approved supplements augment good lifestyle habits and you will be amazed at how much your quality of life can improve.

Here’s to your good health!

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