According to the CDC, 92% of the U.S. population has vitamin deficiency. The standard American diet is filled with processed/fast foods. Even if our diet was primarily fresh, the soil quality of farmland across the globe is now severely deficient in nutrients. Quality supplements can help us restore our micronutrient levels. Consider vitamin deficiency testing and a consultation with an expert practitioner to be sure you are getting, and absorbing, what your body needs.
You may remember a well-known study from 2013 that claimed four out of five herbal supplements sold at major retailers did NOT contain what was advertised or were supposedly tainted with contaminants. In 2022, that study was determined to be a fraud. According to Science, the fraudulent paper allowed the author of the study to launch a lucrative business for supplement companies to test whether the bottles really contained what was printed on the label. BEYOND frustrating. Consumers just don’t know what or who to believe anymore!
Some vitamins increase absorption, and others compete with each other for absorption. Absorption is your body’s process of drawing nutrients across the wall of the small intestine and into the bloodstream. Other supplements need to be broken down by the body into smaller parts (metabolized.) Also, food can either help increase absorption or get in the way. So, if you’re spending money on good, quality, supplements, make sure you are absorbing them!
Vitamins don’t provide energy, like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, but they are essential compounds that help the body grow and function optimally. There are 13 essential vitamins required for the body to work properly: Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B12, and folate.
Essential Minerals – also known as macro-minerals, that we need in larger amounts. They are considered essential because the body cannot produce them, and without them, we can become seriously ill. Most of us are deficient, especially in magnesium. The five major minerals in your body (also classified as electrolytes) include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Trace Minerals – also known as micro-minerals, that we need in much smaller amounts. They include iron, zinc, copper, iodine, selenium, sulfur, and boron. Trace minerals can be toxic to the body when taken in higher dosages.
Macronutrients are nutrients that the body uses in relatively large amounts and needs to receive daily. There are three: proteins, carbs, and fats. Macronutrients provide our body with calories (energy) and the building blocks of cellular growth, immune function, and overall repair.
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. Vitamins are water-soluble or fat-soluble, minerals are essential (macro-minerals) or trace (micro-minerals). Five micronutrients—vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc—play roles in maintaining immune function. Minerals help to release energy from the macronutrients we eat. The best micronutrient foods include green leafy veggies, colorful fruits and veggies, beans and legumes, grass-fed, pasture-raised beef, and wild seafood products.
Epinutrients are potent epigenetic regulators (i.e., they control how our genes are expressed). This epigenetic regulation is thought to be at the root of the anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-cancer properties and benefits of whole foods (foods in their original form). They are one of the reasons our food has such powerful effects on our health.
Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) do not dissolve in water and are best absorbed when consumed alongside a source of fat. They are stored in our liver and fatty tissues for future use.
Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and make up most vitamins. They’re not easily stored in our body and get flushed out with urine when consumed in excess. Since these vitamins are not stored in our body, it’s important to get enough of them from food.
Adaptogens are plant-based herbs helping the body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical, or biological. These herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions, optimizing the body’s stress response, working by way of the body’s hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the main stress response center. Stress is often at the root of many chronic illnesses.
Probiotics contain live microorganisms (bacteria) that can enhance your gut health. More of these good bacteria survive your digestive tract if you take before a meal, but consistency is probably more important, reaping more benefits if you take probiotics at the same time each day. Some suggest taking at night before bed for maximum efficiency. Science has evolved to show probiotics may be too generic as we each have a unique microbiome. Taking the same probiotic is just feeding the same bacteria overloading that strain, and not improving diversity. Eating a diverse selection of fermented foods is an ideal way to get probiotics. Probiotics are essential to gut health if taking antibiotics.
Prebiotics are types of fiber (found in fruit, vegetables, and legumes) that feed the friendly bacteria in the digestive system. If you eat a varied diet, you’ll get plenty of prebiotics from the foods you eat without needing supplements.
Herbal Supplements sometimes called botanicals — are a type of supplement containing one or more herbs and come in all forms: swallowed as pills, powders, or tinctures; brewed (as tea); or applied to the skin as lotions or creams. Buy only from companies that have certification on the label. Be sure to consult a practitioner knowledgeable in herbals, especially if you are taking medications because there are known side effects with some herbals. For example, people with any disease that attacks the autoimmune system, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or MS, should not take Echinacea in any situation; Gingko biloba shouldn’t be taken with blood thinners; and St. John’s Wort has been linked to high blood pressure.
Tinctures are liquid extracts made from herbs. Because they are taken directly under the tongue (sublingually), they enter the bloodstream more quickly and directly than by any other means. They are taken by a dropperful, which is the amount of liquid that fills the dropper when the bulb is squeezed and released. Although some herbs will have an immediate effect, others are more building in nature and may take several weeks of continual use before best results are seen (similar to a multi-vitamin), which is why it’s important to remain consistent and not miss a dose.
Peptides are tiny proteins made up of short chains of amino acids. They signal the cells in your body to perform in specific ways. With different peptides affecting different cells and functions, as therapies, they can be highly tailored and targeted to treat a wide variety of health, anti-aging, and wellness conditions. Peptides work synergistically and can be used with many other therapies to increase the effectiveness of antibiotics, antiviral and antiparasitic medications, IV nutrient therapies, hormone therapies, detoxification therapies, herbal remedies, and even other peptides.
Digestive Enzymes The food you eat requires specific pancreatic enzymes to be broken down and absorbed. Some people have enzyme deficiency due to genetics, health conditions, digestive disorders, or poor diet. Proper digestion also releases vitamins and minerals that are bound to carbs, proteins, and fats. The release of these bound nutrients is essential for their absorption. Carbs, proteins, and fats must be fully broken down to be absorbed for growth, repair, maintenance, and powering your entire body. The food you eat is only as good as what you digest and absorb!
Always consult with your physician before starting any supplements.