What are supplements, and why do I need them? Can’t I just get what I need from foods?
The supplements you will read about here are compounds that your body needs to function, heal, and perform at its best. In the current modern go-go-go lifestyle, your body uses up its store of vitamins and minerals faster than you can replenish them. When the body starts to have mineral or vitamin deficiencies, then problems can slowly begin to arise and/or become worse.
We can certainly get vitamins and minerals from the food that nature provides us. However, usually those amounts are not enough to overcome the depletion already present in your body. Due to various factors (such as soil nutrient depletion and environmental pollution, among others), even the produce we eat today does not contain the same amount of nutrients it did 100 years ago – or even 50 years ago. Also, the amount of food-like products available for consumption today – although they may proclaim to better your health – don’t contain a stable source of these vitamins and minerals the same way that nature does. Supplements are herbs or plant-based compounds that are concentrated so they can support the clean plant foods you are eating to replenish your body with healing vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and more.
When you want to heal your body, you must support its natural ability to repair itself by flooding it with the minerals it needs to do so. Whether you feel in poor health now or want to prevent issues from arising down the road, these particular supplements will support great health no matter what.
Remember, every BODY is different and will need different levels of certain supplements. You can always begin by taking the recommended dosage on the bottle. If you really want to fast-track your healing, I would recommend working with a practitioner or setting up a consultation with me so that we can dive into your body’s specific needs and tailor a protocol designed to create a healing environment in your body.
Not All Supplements Are Created Equal!
Taking supplements will speed your healing and transformation process – but only if they are from a high-quality source and manufactured in a trusted method. Many supplement companies still use preservatives, harmful chemicals, or toxic casings for their products. There is a wide variety of supplements on the market today – how do you know which ones are trustworthy?
Over the last decade, I have done so much personal research into supplement companies and trying out hundreds of companies. I love sharing what I’ve learned, so that you don’t have to do the legwork that I did (and still do)! See my Resources page to see all the brands that I recommend – and it is continually updated to stay current.
Top 5 Basic Supplements
What should you take? There are so many choices and theories about what the body needs. In my studies and decade of experience, every client I have met with needs almost all of these supplements as part of their protocol. I explain in great detail about supplements, which ones to take, guidelines for dosages and more about how to heal in my comprehensive online course Radical Healing: A Step-By-Step Guide to Reclaiming Your Vibrancy. Here are the top 5 basic supplements I recommend to almost everyone, in order of importance:
Zinc is a crucial mineral that is foundational for the immune system. Your body draws on zinc in order to fight off viruses and pathogens in your body. There are over 300 different enzymes that require zinc for the body to function “normally.” Zinc is needed for making protein and DNA materials. It has a function in taste perception, wound healing, normal fetal development, production of sperm, normal growth, and sexual maturation. When your white blood cells attack a virus, they use zinc as their “bullets.” In order to have a healthy immune system, and to heal from any condition, the body needs zinc!
Zinc is also crucial for maintaining iron levels in the body (as well as vitamin B12). When your body does not have enough zinc and B12 of the correct kind, it cannot hold iron. Most people are iron deficient due to their body fighting a virus or bacteria and burning through their zinc and B12 faster than they can get it.
In all my years of seeing thousands of clients, I have not yet met one person who had perfect levels of zinc. Most of us walk around zinc deficient! When we are deficient in zinc, it can show up as spots or white spots on our nails, grooves in our nails, cracked heels, low immunity (poor health), infertility issues, growth and development problems, impotence, mental slowness, allergies, thinning hair, leaky gut, along with acne and/or rashes, as well as other symptoms.
Your body does not recycle zinc – whatever zinc is used in the body is excreted. This is why it is vital to keep replenishing your zinc!
The zinc I recommend is from the brand Good State, or a mild form that is great for children from Eidon Ionic Minerals. Make sure you have some food in your stomach when you take it, as it can otherwise cause some to feel nauseous or ill.
A tip for kids: if your child has difficulty taking this supplement orally, you can put a drop in the belly button or on the scalp. The body will absorb it this way if not able to be taken orally.
This is zinc’s best friend – they go hand-in-hand together everywhere in the body. B-12 is essential for a healthy heart, brain, adrenals, and nervous system. It is vital for cell growth and reproduction, contributing to the healthy glow of your skin. It also boosts energy and promotes a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
It is absolutely critical to get the right kind of B12. B12 is a group of B-vitamins called cobalamins: methylcobalamin, adenosylcobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, and cyanocobalamin. Hydroxocobalamin and cyanocobalamin are cheap, lesser forms of B12 that are often used by supplement companies in order to market their products. However, the liver has to use precious stores of methyl groups to break down these forms of B12, which takes away from using those methyl groups to protect the heart. Thus, it is worse to take these cheap forms of B12 than to not take any vitamins at all. Methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin are the most bioavailable forms of B12 – that is, they are able to be absorbed easily by the brain, liver, and nervous system. It is important to have a B12 that contains adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin.
A B12 blood test will not always accurately measure the level of B12 in your body. Currently, medical science can measure the amount of B12 in your blood – but not the level of B12 in your organs or your central nervous system. At this time, the blood test also cannot measure accurately the type of vitamin B12 in your body. A deficiency of the right type of B12 can impair thousands of bodily functions and lead to a plethora of health issues. The B12 levels that show up on test results can’t yet reveal the whole picture of how it is absorbed into areas of the body or if it’s even usable B12.
Anyone suffering from anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s, and any other neurological conditions should especially focus on getting the right type and dosage of B12 to soothe the central nervous system and protect the brain. The right kind of B12 will help strengthen your immune system, protect against viral damage from the viruses mentioned in previous sections, and is critical for your liver’s ability to methylate nutrients and for overall liver health.
The two brands I recommend are Global Healing Center and Vimergy. Kids and adults alike enjoy the taste of this supplement. For best absorption, take 1-2 droppers of B12 in the morning on an empty stomach, holding it for 15 seconds under the tongue. If needed, take another dropper between 11am-3pm (it doesn’t have to be on an empty stomach this time). It is advisable not to have B12 after 3pm – it can then cause difficulty sleeping due to its energy boosting abilities. Start with the recommended dosage on the bottle and slowly increase the dosage as needed, under the care of a practitioner.
Many vegans or people following a plant-based diet rely on nutritional yeast as a B12 supplement. Here’s why I recommend minimizing or omitting nutritional yeast from your diet, and why it’s not a good B12 supplement.
The process of methylation is essentially how the liver “takes out the trash” in your body, or how it gets rid of the toxins it collects. Among other things, a high viral load in the body (which causes all sorts of health conditions) can prevent your liver from methylating properly. This can lead to triggering a positive MTHFR gene mutation test result or being told you have a MTHFR gene mutation. Unfortunately, many medical practitioners are latching on to blaming your “genes” for your health issues. Yes, you may have conditions that may seem to be passed down in your family from one generation to the next – but this does not necessarily mean it is written in your genetic code. The viral load and/or heavy metals that have been passed down to you can cause these similar health issues in a family. Your genes have not mutated, despite what a gene test may tell you. These gene tests are meant to find inflammation in the body, which can be caused by a variety of things. What is truly happening is an issue with the liver, and possibly the intestinal tract.
Your body has been bombarded by chemicals in hygiene and home products, pesticides and other chemicals in food, toxins in the environment, and so much more for a long time. Your liver helps filter out these toxins from causing damage to the rest of the body, but over time it can become overburdened and sluggish. The methylation process in the liver may slow or even stop. I am now seeing newborn babies hours old with sluggish or stagnant livers! The parents of these babies could seem healthy, but their diets, environmental toxins, and more contributed to poor liver health which they passed down to their baby. A low-functioning liver is the first step toward health problems – so supporting your liver with methylfolate is important!
But what if you’re already so healthy? Many people come to me befuddled as to what could cause their health problems when they have a clean diet. Often, one factor is the toxins in their environment. Maybe you work at an office that sprays air freshener from a plug-in every ten minutes. Or perhaps your neighbor just sprayed their lawn with pesticides and the wind carried it into your house. If the liver is not methylating, those toxins will sit in the liver or feed underlying bacteria, causing health problems 2-3 years down the road.
If your doctor tells you that you may have a methylation issue, they may be correct – but it is not due to your genes. Methylation is the conversion and breakdown of important chemicals, chemical compounds, and phytochemicals that your body takes in from the food you eat, the clean water you drink, and the sunshine you absorb. This process is extremely intricate and complicated, beyond what is understood today. If the liver is bogged down with byproduct from a virus, heavy metals, or both – it’s releasing that toxic byproduct into the bloodstream, triggering the gene mutation test.
It is even more crucial for those diagnosed with a MTHFR gene mutation to take a methylfolate supplement, because it will help your body start methylating. For those with this condition or who are very sensitive (such as those diagnosed with autoimmune), my best recommendation is to start slow. You may feel nauseous, achy, or ill; this is not bad – you just triggered lots of detox. If this is the case, decrease the dosage or milligrams. If the intense detox happens from a 1mg capsule, then I recommend taking P5P (also known as Vitamin B6) for a few months to assist the liver with metabolic exchanges. Then the body will be ready to handle methylfolate. If you have been diagnosed with a MTHFR gene mutation, I suggest this resource for further education.
Taking methylfolate as a supplement will help support methylation issues, but it only works if you are also taking a high-quality B12 supplement containing adenosylcobalamin (as discussed above). If the liver is very burdened and the lymphatic system is clogged, you may need to start slow with a 1 mg capsule from Pure Encapsulation morning and night. Finish the bottle before starting on any higher dosages such as the 2.5 mg (great for kids) or the 5mg methylfolate from the Metabolic Maintenance brand, taking the suggested dosage on the bottle.
This vitamin has been lauded for a long time – and for good reason! Vitamin C supports the immune system and fights of bacterial and viral infections. However, it’s not a supplement that you need to take only when you are ill – it’s essential for overall good health. In fact, many people are unknowingly walking around with vitamin C deficiency, which contributes to the onset of almost any disease.
Vitamin C is also anti-inflammatory and cleanses the liver, blood, and lymph. It will help your body effectively detox. Vitamin C also strengthens the adrenal glands, repairs damaged neurotransmitters, and restores the central nervous system.
This vital vitamin also boosts the liver’s immune system, and is used in thousands of chemical functions that the liver performs in your body. Vitamin C can help revive a sluggish liver, break up and dispel fat cells buried in the liver, support the recovery of a stress-burdened liver, and heal scar tissue in the liver’s core. Vitamin C can also help break down nodules, tumors, and cysts.
It is important to remember that the quality of supplements you give to your body matters. Emergen-C from Walgreens is not going to do the job for you. The vitamin C I recommend is C From Nature from Purium, Ester-C from Pure Encapsulations, or Ester-C with Rose Hips from Vimergy. You can also take it in the liquid form Liposomal C from Lipo Naturals (this is easier for kids to take when mixed with fresh-pressed juice). These supplemental forms of vitamin C are high quality forms that are easily able to be absorbed and used by your body. Take the recommended dosage on the bottle and slowly work up over time. If you are very ill, you may need 8,000-10,000 milligrams a day. (Remember to work with a health practitioner!)
Another option is to use amla powder. The amla berry has very concentrated forms of Vitamin C, and is also rich in calcium and iron. The use of amla powder is common in Ayurvedic medicine. Amla powder helps boost the immune system, helps manage diabetes, and is anti-aging. This powder is easy to throw into a smoothie! I like the Terrasoul brand.
You can also use camu-camu powder, which is also rich in Vitamin C. Camu-camu increases energy and is also good for gum, skin, and eye health. It is rich in antioxidants and fabulous for fighting viral infections. Camu-camu is commonly used in South America. Terrasoul is a great brand, but any brand should be okay as long as it is organic.
Want to enhance the vitamin C you are taking? Get some sunlight directly onto your skin for at least 5 minutes. The sun’s rays contain hundreds of vitamins and minerals that can be absorbed through the skin, and strengthens and enhances the nutrients you are consuming. The sun is your healing friend, and getting even a few minutes of sunlight a day is immensely beneficial for your health!
Lemon balm is a wonderful healing herb that soothes nerves, particularly digestive nerves. Sensitivity in the gut is common, leading to lots of discomfort and just as many health conditions. A stomach that is very sensitive for no reason is often due to sensitive nerves in the stomach.
Lemon balm is also high in minerals such as boron, manganese, copper, selenium, chromium, molybdenum, iron, and silica, making it a high contributor to most functions in the body. This herb also monitors your stores of B12 and helps keep your body from using it up too quickly. Lemon balm is also a powerhouse of anti-viral, anti-parasitic, and anti-bacterial properties and detoxes the liver, spleen, and kidneys. Lemon balm also strengthens lymphocytes, which empowers your immune system. It also reduces bladder inflammation and can give a better night’s sleep when taken before bed. (Note: lemon balm does not make you sleepy – it relaxes the nerves so that you are able to sleep. You can take lemon balm at any time of day.)
This herb is a fantastic supplement for all, but particularly for kids who are hyperactive or have anxiety. I recommend the alcohol-free tincture from Herb Pharm for children, taking the recommended dosage on the bottle.
Lemon balm is available as an alcohol-free tincture from Herb Pharm for adults as well.
Tips For Taking Supplements
- Here are some great practices for taking supplements to make them the most beneficial for your body.
- Make sure you are under the care of a practitioner as you begin a supplement regimen. It is important to monitor results, reactions, and dosages. If you would like to request an appointment with me, please fill out this form.
- Make sure you know if any prescription or over-the-counter medications will react to certain supplements (you can educate yourself about this via your prescription’s insert you receive when you pick up a medication, or via the label or website of the medication). For the most part, these supplements are safe for everyone, but it is highly recommended that you are aware of what to avoid when taking any medication.
- Ideally, take 2-3 supplements at a time, then wait 3-5 minutes before taking more. For example, if you were going to take the supplements discussed above, you could take zinc and lemon balm together in a cup of fresh pressed juice. After 3-5 minutes, you could take the Vitamin C and methylfolate capsules.
- You can put the tinctures in water or fresh-pressed juice. Some tinctures have a strong taste, so children and adults alike can swallow them easier when added to fresh-pressed juice. (By this I mean juice straight from fruit or veggies, not store-bought if possible as those juices tend to have flavorings, dyes, and other harmful additives. If you are unable to make fresh-pressed juice at home, Lakewood Organics has a great pure pineapple juice!)
Important Note: The cells in your body will not receive any nutrients, vitamins or minerals without sugar involved. If you go on a complete anti-fruit, anti-sugar, no carb diet, your cells will not be able to receive all the vitamins and minerals you are supplementing with – you might as well throw them in the trash. When you go on a no carb diet, your body is running on old sugar reserves from your brain and your liver – and they will run out fast, if there are any reserves at all. When you eat fruit, the sugar from the fruit bonds to the vitamins and nutrients and your cells open up to receive all of these as the sugar travels through the bloodstream. To maximize your supplementation, be sure to also be eating fruit or take supplements with fresh pressed fruit juice! My kids love theirs in a cup of freshly squeezed oranges or pure pineapple juice from Lakewood Organics. Read more about why getting the right kind of sugar is crucial for your health.
- For children, if swallowing capsules is not possible (which is the case in the majority of young children), open up the capsule and mix it into some organic applesauce or puree.
- Consistently take supplements at the same time of day. This will help your body regulate their uses better. The more consistent you are with your supplements, the faster you can see results.
- Make a chart if needed. This can help children and adults alike keep track of their supplements and also serve as a reminder to take them!
- It is safe to take these supplements long-term, especially zinc as your body does not replenish zinc by itself. Again, working with a practitioner is highly recommended.
The right kinds of supplements are an important piece to healing any condition and for staying in vibrant health. Remember, every BODY is different, and depending on your needs you may need more of one of these supplements and less of another (etc). I strongly recommend working with a practitioner to add these to your daily routine. Healing IS possible! Being strong and healthy is possible! All that is needed is to stop giving your body what it doesn’t need and start giving your body what it does need – and supplements help you do just that.
*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. At no cost to you, I may earn a small commission from the sale of these products. This assists my work in supporting others on their healing journey to health.