5 Essential Supplements for a Well-Balanced Life (And a Few Honorable Mentions)
Updated: 5 days ago
If you've ever wandered down the supplement aisle or walked into a supplement shop, you know how overwhelming the experience can be. Whether you're seeking something specific or aiming to improve your overall health, the myriad of options can be confusing. There are so many different brands and so many different percentages of nutrients within each supplement. It can be overwhelming, confusing, and quickly becomes a road block to improving your health. I've been there too, and I've navigated through the maze of formulas, blends, and brands. It always felt like a gamble because I never knew if I could trust the label.
Fast forward to today, I am a Certified Holistic Health Coach with the unique experience of working in a health food store where studying supplements and their quality for our customers was part of my daily routine. Combining my insights from this experience with my holistic health education, I've charted a clear path. In this article, I want to talk to you about the top five supplements that, in my opinion, every person should consider to improve their overall health and wellness. I'll also list a few honorable mentions.
Please note that due to our unique bio-individuality, some individuals may be sensitive to specific supplements, so always discuss new additions to your health routine with your physician. This article is based on my personal journey and education and should not be considered as medical advice.
1. Vitamin D3: Nature's Happy Pill
Vitamin D3 is a vital component of our overall health and well-being. It strengthens our bones, aids in muscle recovery, and even alleviates feelings of depression. I like to think of Vitamin D as "Nature's Happy Pill."
In December 2020, I was struggling with my health and visited my doctor out of desperation. I mentioned not only physical struggles but also a dip in my mental health. She checked my Vitamin D levels, and I was, indeed, Vitamin D deficient. Living in Central Illinois during winter, with limited sunlight, contributed to this deficiency. This revelation prompted me to explore the significance of Vitamin D. Shockingly, the majority of Americans are also Vitamin D deficient, and the CDC reports that these numbers are increasing annually. If you're grappling with newfound depression or anxiety, I recommend getting your blood tested before jumping to prescription medications. Vitamin D supports serotonin production, boosts the immune system, and aids in muscle recovery, making it an essential daily nutrient. As we nestle into the coming winter months, it is essential as Northerners that we are getting the proper amount of nutrients we need that may be affected by the sun’s absence. Here is what I have been using for the last several years to supplement my Vitamin D3 intake.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acid: The Brain's Best Friend
Omega-3 fatty acids are true game-changers. For most of my life, I struggled to find an Omega-3 supplement that didn't give me fishy burps or heartburn. That was until I discovered Barlean's. It turns out that you shouldn't experience fishy burps if your fish oil supplement is processed with high-quality ingredients. I'm not here to promote a specific product, but trust me when I say that Barlean's Seriously Delicious line is worth considering. They also offer animal-cruelty free options for vegans who often lack fatty acids. Omega-3s are like fuel for your brain. Research indicates that fatty acids play a crucial role in brain health and longevity, with some studies even suggesting that increased fatty acid intake can reduce symptoms in dementia patients. In the holistic health world, Omega-3s are considered the "bulletproof vest" for Alzheimer's and dementia. Since I started taking Omega-3s daily, I've felt noticeably more alert, almost like a 10% boost in my cognitive function. It wakes me up better than a cup of coffee ever could.
3. Probiotics & Digestive Enzymes: Your Gut's Best Friends
Gut health is a complex topic, but I'll give you a shortcut. The digestive system and our brain are closely linked. If one is out of balance, it affects the other. The majority of Americans have imbalanced gut flora due to poor diets, medications, antibiotics, and stress. Probiotics play a crucial role in restoring our gut bacteria, helping us break down food, absorb nutrients, and maintain overall health. Even if you eat the cleanest, healthiest diet, it won't matter if your body can't properly digest and absorb the nutrients. When it comes to probiotics, opt for refrigerated ones, as studies show that many non-refrigerated probiotics on big-box store shelves often lack living probiotics. Yes, probiotics must be alive to work! While fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, and kimchi can aid gut health, they might not be sufficient if your gut flora is depleted. Invest in a high-quality refrigerated probiotic and start feeling like your best self again – and, yes, it will even help regulate your digestive system.
4. Magnesium: The Multi-Purpose Mineral
I debated whether to include magnesium in the top five, but after some reflection, I decided it was the right choice. Magnesium is a wonder mineral for the brain, muscle recovery, stress reduction, and sleep improvement. Personally, I had a unique experience with magnesium when I first started taking it for stress – it gave me vivid, terrifying nightmares. This highlights the concept of bio-individuality in health. My body struggled to absorb magnesium through my digestive tract, but there are alternative methods to get your magnesium intake. I now use a magnesium body wash that instantly helps me relax. Magnesium is available in various forms: powder to drink, lotions, sprays, and even dissolvable tablets. There's a format to suit every preference.
5. Methylated B12: Nervous System's Best Friend
B12 is relatively new to my personal health journey. While I used to take a B-Complex, further research led me to focus specifically on B12. Methylated B12 is remarkable for nervous system repair and memory enhancement. Recent studies have shown that dementia patients often share a Vitamin B12 deficiency, and reintroducing B12 into their routines can potentially reverse memory loss. B12 is vital for metabolism and energy levels. There are many easy-to-digest forms of B12 supplements available, often in dissolvable tablet form.
While these five supplements top my list, I'd like to list a few honorable mentions.
Turmeric root is an astonishing and potent herb used for centuries for its natural remedies. It's excellent for reducing inflammation, making it a notable supplement.
Another honorable mention is ginger root, known for aiding digestion and reducing inflammation. Adding ginger tea to my morning routine has eliminated my morning nausea.
This next one is for my ladies with a hormonal imbalance. If you’re struggling with your menses, bloating, cystic acne, mood swings, or ovulatory cramping, this is the supplement to try.
I have been taking Maca Root in various forms for years. It was actually recommended to me by a friend when I was in college, as I started to break out with terribly painful cystic acne when my period would come around. I took capsules for about two years and it greatly improved my hormonal balance and acne. I now take it in a liquid form, but it is often available in capsules and powder for drinks as well.
As far and skin, hair, and nail health goes there is nothing I can recommend more than the Garden of Life Organic Plant Collagen Builder. Collagen is key to maintaining your longevity and should be considered a part of your "skin routine". It has transformed my overall hair health and my nails are stronger than they’ve ever been while using this supplement.
Lastly, I would recommend zinc, as it supports the immune and respiratory systems and contributes to longevity. Whenever I feel a cold coming on, I pop a zinc tablet and I swear it boosts my immune system and fights off whatever infection was coming my way!
In our journey toward holistic wellness, these essential supplements offer a helping hand to our well-being. By embracing the power of Vitamin D, Omega-3s, probiotics, magnesium, and methylated B12, we take steps toward a healthier and more balanced life. Remember that our bodies are unique, and supplement choices should be personalized. While these five supplements form a solid foundation, don't forget to explore honorable mentions like turmeric, ginger, and zinc, each with their own remarkable benefits. As we navigate the vast world of supplements, let's always stay mindful of our individual needs and consult our healthcare providers for guidance. Together, we embark on a journey to better health, one supplement at a time.
Of course, there's a plethora of supplements available, and the necessity varies by region and individual needs. Remember, at the end of the day, what might work for one person won’t work for another. This is due to our bio-individuality. Always consult with your healthcare provider when introducing new supplements to your routine.
If you’re interested in learning more about habit building or living a holistic lifestyle feel free to reach out to me. I am a Certified Holistic Health Coach and would love to team up with you to help you make your Health Goals a reality! In my coaching practice we design a plan that is unique to you and to your bio-individuality. Together we can help you find your creative wellness and start you on your journey to healing!
That’s all for now, see you next time!
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Vi is a certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. The opinions and thoughts of this post in no way represent IIN or its affiliate programs. VHARMON's opinions and suggestions are not to be taken as medical advice. You should always discuss any health issues with your doctor. Stock Images provided by Canva.