Nutritional supplementation can make a dramatic impact on our health and quality of life when…done right.
They can’t replace a healthy, whole foods-based diet, reduced stress, exercise and quality sleep. Nutritional supplements are just what the name suggests; supplementary.
While I always recommend individualized supplement protocols with an integrative health practitioner for best results, there is a foundational set of supplements that can be very helpful for both adults, children and babies.
After years of research, the list of supplements I share here is what my family use to maintain overall health and well-being while ensuring the immune system is well looked after.
All Supplements Are Not Made Equal (& My Fav Brands)
Everyone loves a bargain. Walking through your favourite supermarket or warehouse store, you’ll find lots of things to stock up on. But one thing you should never ever skimp on are supplements.
You’re better off saving your money than buying something cheap.
All the supplement brands I use and recommend are of the cleanest and highest quality that I invest in with my own family. They are void of citric acid, natural flavours, alcohol, bovine, artificial fillers, synthetic materials, derivatives, and preservatives which can do more harm than good.
Also, for allergy sufferers, avoid supplements that contain allergens like dairy and sulphites.
The supplements I use are all vegan, thoroughly tested and recommended by leading practitioners and experts using reputable companies.
Some of my favourite brands are Vimergy, MedLab, Metagenics, Thorne, Spectrum Ceuticals, Bioceuticals, Orthoplex, Biomedica, Nutrition Care as well as others.
Top Foundational Supplements To Boost Immunity & Overall Well-Being
These baseline supplements are a great place to start to take throughout the year. Most of us and our children are deficient in these critical vitamins and minerals. As part of a healthy diet, they can improve immunity and assist in the healing and recovery of health conditions as part of a treatment plan.
Zinc is often considered one of the most effective immune-boosting supplements and is well known to aid recovery from colds and flus. But this mineral does far more and is imperative for overall long-term general health.
Zinc is needed by the body to perform hundreds of important functions, from helping with hormone production, reproduction, proper growth and repair, promoting normal digestion, reducing inflammation and cell damage.
It is one of the most common mineral deficiencies amongst adults and children and deficiencies present in weak immune systems, recurring infections, fussy eating, irritability, hair loss, diarrhoea and loss of appetite. Zinc deficiency can slow a child’s growth and delay them from reaching sexual maturity.
Our family has taken Zinc daily for years, and should an infection strike, we increase our dosage.
Zinc sulfate (as drops) and Zinc Picolinate (as capsules) are great absorbable options for Zinc. Vimergy and Thorne brands are my favourite providers for good quality Zinc supplementation.
Vitamin B12 is needed to help maintain energy levels, boosts mood and help the nervous system to properly function, thereby reducing mood disorders like depression and anxiety and behavioural disorders in children. B12 is also needed for concentration and cognitive processes such as learning, so a deficiency can result in difficulty focusing and an increased risk for attention disorders.
Other benefits include (but are not limited to) maintaining heart health, improved skin and hair, aiding digestion and nutrient absorption, supporting a healthy pregnancy, producing red blood cells and preventing anemia.
Signs of deficiency may include fatigue, low energy levels, mood changes, and a lack of focus.
The B12 supplement I like the most is from Vimergy.
More and more research shows just how important Vitamin D is and how getting enough exposure to sunshine is key – the reason being that the sun provides us with vitamin D. This is important because vitamin D benefits the body in so many ways.
This ‘sunshine vitamin’ impacts not only your bones and skeletal structure by being vital for absorbing calcium and phosphorus, but also improves immune function, blood pressure, mood, brain function and your body’s overall ability to protect against a range of illnesses.
Unfortunately, at least 40-80% of Americans are lacking in this essential vitamin which is one of the biggest deficiencies in Australia. As such, most adults – and children too, even infants and breastfed babies – are now encouraged to supplement with vitamin D.
Be sure to opt for vitamin D3 which normally comes in spray over other forms, as it’s the most effective at improving vitamin D status in the body. The key is to get a good quality vitamin D3. I like Medlab.
EPA and DHA found in oily fish, algae oil and krill oil are the omega-3s your body needs in high quantities to achieve the benefits they offer. Your body doesn’t produce omega-3s on its own, which means they are “essential fatty acids” – you have to consume them.
Suggest that Omega-3s can provide benefits to a wide range of diseases: asthma, ADHD, autoimmune disease, cancer, depression, heart disease, and more. However, most people who eat a standard Western diet are not eating nearly enough Omega- fats.
However, due to contaminating levels of mercury and PCBs in the ocean, it is essential to get the cleanest quality fish oil supplements.
I opt for a plant-based Omega-3 supplement like algae oil to avoid potential toxic exposure.
Instead of buying a highly processed multivitamin that can be hard to absorb and often contains undesirable fillers, I opt for spirulina. A type of blue-green algae that grows in both salt and fresh water and is possibly the most nutrient-dense food on earth.
Spirulina, on the other hand, is often deemed the most nutritionally complete of all foods and has countless uses as a supplement for maintaining good health and preventing diseases. This is because it contains a plentiful supply of many important nutrients and antioxidants, including protein, complex carbohydrates, iron, and vitamins A and K, as well as B complex. It’s also rich in chlorophyll, fatty and nucleic acids, and lipids. Spirulina is Irish in gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA, a compound found in breastmilk that helps develop healthier babies.
I use powdered spirulina to my daily morning smoothies, which my kids enjoy as well. It has a strong taste to start with small doses and build up from there. You can also get spirulina in capsules.
My favourite brand of the cleanest spirulina I know is Vimergy, which is supplied in most countries.
Probiotics are bacteria that line our digestive tract and support our body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. Certain strains of probiotics enhance immune function, whereas others promote health or hormone balance.
When buying probiotic supplements, look out for the genus, species, and strain. The label should also indicate the type of CFUs (colony-forming units) that are present at the time of manufacturing.
Look for brands that offer several species of good bacteria and contain at least 5-10 billion organisms per capsule and has strain diversity, including multiple bacterial strains, such as Bacillus clausii, Bacillus subtilis, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus.
While it’s ideal to get a personalised plan for probiotics, I’ve found a good all spectrum probiotic to be really helpful, and I change these around regularly for diversity.
Enzymedica, Thorne, Metagenics, MedLab and Planet Organic all supply great quality probiotics.
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