When it comes to supplements, it would be wise to stay away from the cheapest brands like the ones you can find at Costco, Walmart, Rite Aid, and Kmart to name a few. The supplement industry, which is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, is a grey market where you truly get what you pay for. If you choose convenience, you might just be peeing out expensive urine.
To ensure you are getting exactly what is on the label, go with a trusted functional medicine brand that is third-party tested and takes extra measures to ensure authenticity and high quality manufacturing such as Pure Encapsulations, Thorne Research, Orthomolecular, and Integrative Therapeutics.
So what supplements should we be taking? Let’s take a look at the top 12 supplements prescribed by functional medicine and alternative medicine practitioners (in no particular order):
* digestive enzymes (improves breakdown of food)
* magnesium (parasympathetic nervous system stimulator = calming, relaxing, laxative)
* vitamin D3 (imperative for immune function, hormone regulation, metabolism)
* activated B complex (essential in metabolism/cellular energy production)
* probiotics (populates gut with beneficial bacteria)
* glutamine (supports gut healing process and healthy immune system)
* adrenal adaptogens (enhances body’s ability to adapt to stress, nourishes adrenals, prevents fatigue)
* pre-natal vitamin (supports healthy pregnancy)
* n-acetyl-cysteine (precursor to glutathione, an important player in liver detoxification)
* curcumin (potent natural anti-inflammatory, detox and immune support)
* activated multi-vitamin (daily vitamin and mineral complex in most active and readily usable form)
* omega 3 (anti-inflammatory and enhances cardiovascular, joint, and brain health)
Digestive enzymes? Why would that make the top 12? Remember, it’s not what you eat, it’s what’s your cells see. It doesn’t do you any good if you have the best diet in the world but your digestion is weak and you can’t assimilate the nutrients.
As we get older, digestion goes down, we produce less stomach acid, and we become less capable of breaking down large proteins, especially from meat. Additionally, if we live very stressful lives and do a poor job managing it, we compromise our body’s ability to breakdown food. When we are in a sympathetic dominant nervous system state, such as when we are stressed, digestion slows and this can lead to indigestion, bloating, and putrification of food in the gut.