Curebiome Naturopathic

5 Supplements You Need To Know About

Fish oilThere are nutrients that we can all benefit from especially if we bump up the dosage to therapeutic levels. Here are five nutrients that you should absolutely know about and most can benefit from (of course talk with your doctor and make sure they are appropriate for you as an individual). These supplements are a good multivitamin, EPA/DHA (aka Fish Oil), Vitamin D, Probiotic and N-Acetyl Cysteine. These all have broad actions and benefits in the body, help repair deficiencies and boost function in many areas. Let’s dive in.

Multivitamin

Whats in it?

A good multi contains the basic vitamins and minerals (listed below). The difference between a multivitamin that is OK vs really helpful depends on the form and amounts of nutrients. Not all forms are absorbed easily or provide the same benefits. Someone with a common genetic mutation (MTHFR) benefits more from the “L-5 MTHF” form of folate vs the usual “folic acid”. This can go for many of the nutrients, ones to focus on are in bold.

Vitamins/Minerals and average dose

A (mixed carotenoids and/or retinol) 5000 iu

Calcium 200 mg

C (ascorbic acid or ascorbate) 500 iu Selenium 200mcg

Selenium 200mcg

D3 (cholecalciferol) 600iu Magnesium (citrate, malate or glycinate) 200mg

Magnesium (citrate, malate or glycinate) 200mg

E (mixed tocopherols) 100 iu Zinc 15mg

Zinc (sulfate or picolinate) 15mg

B1 (thiamine) 25mg

Chromium 200mcg

B2 (riboflavin) 25mg

Boron 1mg

B3 (niacin) 25mg

Iodine (potassium iodide) 100mcg

B5 (pantothenic acid) 25mg

Vanadium 1mcg

B6 (pyridoxine) 15mg

Copper 2mg

B12 (methyl or hydroxy-cobalamin) 1000mcg

Manganese .5mg

Folate (L-5 MTHF or folate) 400mcg

Molybdenum 35mcg

Biotin 10mg

Potassium 900mg

 

How can it help me?

Regardless of how good your diet is you probably don’t track every nutrient in every piece of food, it’s likely there are some nutrient gaps day to day. A multi is a great way to cover yourself with the basic nutrients. They contain nutrients shown to improve immune, cell, mood, brain and digestive function they can prevent birth defects, and much more. We’re not always deficient enough to show obvious or life-threatening symptoms, but we could be functioning a few percentage points less. How can you tell the difference between your body functioning at 80 or 90% vs 95 or 100%? I sure can’t tell except in the few rare experiences where I was deficient enough to have a complete symptom turnaround in less than a day with supplementation. A good multivitamin improves function on a cellular level. That translates to feeling sharper and preventing diseases or problems from deficiencies down the road.

How to choose a good one?

Look for:

Optimal forms: (noted above in parentheses)

Optimal dose: for a good multi this tends to be 4-6 capsules a day because you just can’t fit in high enough doses to make the big difference below that.

“Other ingredients”: should be minimal or non-existent. Things you specifically want to avoid: shellac, magnesium stearate, hydrogenated (soy) oils, titanium dioxide and artificial colors and anything you’re not sure about what it is.

Looking for an awesome multi? Find one that meets the minimal criteria of vitamins and minerals with some bonus nutrients. Possible add ins like CoQ10, EGCG, curcumin and Alpha Lipoic Acid are great nutrients that improve cellular and mitochondrial function.

Note: Some multis also have herbs in them, I recommend caution and researching each herb to know if it can cause any undesired side effects and decide whether it’s beneficial to you or not.

Top 3 picks

Pure Encapsulations: Polyphenol nutrients 

ITI: Multiplex 1 without Iron 

Klaire Multivitamin Complex

Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA)

Whats in it?

Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These are two essential fatty acids that we make but our body really just can’t make enough on it’s own. We can get EPA and DHA from fish, algae like spirulina, grass-fed meats, and to a lesser extent eggs and some from veggies and plants.

How can it help me?

Everyone has heard that fish is healthy, and the benefits come from the Omega 3’s. Omega 3’s benefits cardiovascular health, cell function, mental function, decrease inflammation and increase mood and energy. There’s a laundry list of how omega 3’s can benefit you.

How to choose a good one?

Rule 1) Fish oil – pharmaceutically/molecularly distilled. This keeps metals and contaminants at the lowest level possible.

Rule 2) It says how much EPA and DHA per dose on the bottle. Ideally you want to get 1 gram or more (combined) of DHA and EPA per day. You can factor in with how much good fish (like wild caught salmon, anchovies or sardines) you eat a week.

Rule 3) Not rancid: if it smells fishy, or unpleasant at all it’s a bad sign.

You can find good forms in both liquid and capsule.

Top 3 picks

Nordic Naturals ProOmega capsules

Pure EPA/DHA 

Now Ultra Omega 3 

Vitamin D3

Whats in it?

Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol. Naturally made in our body with the help of sunlight.

How can it help me?

Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common in anyone who works indoors. Correcting this deficiency can improve immune function, bone strength, inflammation, allergies, depression and more.

How to choose a good one?

Just make sure it’s Vitamin D3, which is the form our body can actually use. You can take it to a bonus by finding a supplement that includes and balances Vitamin D with Vitamin A and K2.

Top 3 picks

ARG Vitamin D3 complete

Biotics Bio-D-Mulsion 

Now Foods Vitamin D3

Probiotic

What’s in it?

Live beneficial bacteria usually different strains of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. These are the same bacteria that live in a healthy gut.

How can it help me?

1) Improve digestion: Bacteria support the breakdown of food and increase nutrient availability.

2) Improve immune function, decrease inflammation: Bacteria help train and regulate a major part of the immune system, this means you’re less likely to react to normal foods and more likely to react to pathogenic bacteria.

3) Prevent infection: Crowd out bad bacteria, no room for bad ones when you’ve got so many good ones there already.

4) Help excrete toxins: Certain strains of “bad” bacteria can prevent the excretion of chemicals. Prevent this by supplementing your good bacteria.

5) Help support healthy weight (find out more here)

How to choose a good one?

1) Multiple strains: preferably 5 or more different strains of different Lactobacillus and or Bifidobacteria.

2) High dose: generally you want to take at least 20 billion CFU (colony forming units) per day, you can’t really do that with a capsule that only has 10 million CFUs.

3) Powder or capsule based on personal preference.

Note: In general it’s recommended to refrigerate all probiotics as it improves the shelf life and potency.

Top 3 picks

1) Klaire therbiotic complete

2) Innate response Flora 20-14

3) NOW foods Probiotic 10

N-Acetyl Cysteine

What’s in it?

N-Acetyl Cysteine is a specific form of one of the non-essential amino acids.

How can it help me?

Research shows NAC can increase cellular levels of glutathione, our major antioxidant. Glutathione helps protect from, process and excrete environmental chemical toxins. We can’t avoid everything that isn’t healthy for us (think air pollution while driving in traffic) but we can make sure our body has the raw materials to manage any exposures.

How to choose a good one?

Specifically want the N-Acetyl form, it shouldn’t cost too much and you want 400-500mg per capsule. Standard dosage is up to 1500mg per day.

Top 3 picks

No major difference between brands with this one, go with what’s available and affordable!

The Microbiome 101

microbiome, gut bacteria

microbiome, gut bacteria

Maybe you’ve been hearing this word flying around, and you’re wondering what it is or what it has to do you with. “Microbiome” is a term that came out of the Human Microbiome Project, a major research initiative started by the National Institutes of Health. The purpose was to understand the how changes in the microbiome affect human health. But what exactly is it?

The microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that inhabit every surface, nook and cranny that we have. Microorganisms include bacteria, fungi, viruses and other teeny tinies that live on and in us. These microbes inhabit our skin, mouth, lungs, genitals, and most important our gut.

As the initiative went on and study results came back it was clear that there is a lot more microbes than human to us. It’s estimated that for every 1 human gene there are 100 microbial genes. Many have gone to calling us a super-organism because of this, and for good reason.

So what does this mean for us? Most important is the discovery that we rely on our collective microbiome every day. Functions like digesting food and making neurotransmitters that affect mood and mental function. It also trains the immune system and fends off infectious diseases. There are many other benefits and plenty yet to be discovered.

One of the biggest things that comes from this research is that we can’t go on with killing microbes indiscriminately. Whether in the environment or our bodies with antibiotics. Disruption of the microbiome is a major contributor to health problems that we face in developed countries. These same health problems are often nonexistent in undeveloped countries. Diabetes, obesity, allergies and autoimmune diseases all have connections to a mistreated microbiome.

New connections are made every day with one thing clear, our microbiome works for us in countless ways when it’s healthy. If an imbalance in our microbiome occurs we risk problems like diabetes, autoimmune diseases, obesity and infections like the cold, flu or worse.

  • So what are the best ways to nurture our microbiomes?
    • Diet is the king, and one of the biggest factors in microbiome health. Diet creates a positive shift in hours to days. It increases the number of beneficial microbes and decreases the harmful (less beneficial) ones.
      • A good diet for your microbes contains plenty of fiber especially insoluble fiber – found in garlic, onions, jerusalem artichokes and many others. Some of these insoluble fibers are prebiotics which means they feed our good microbes.
    • Probiotics are also important. Probiotics are the actual microbe that is beneficial usually in a capsule form. You can find natural probiotics in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi and others.
      • An easy way is to pick up a quality probiotic supplement which “seeds” good microbes, and works especially well with diet.
    • Get outside. There is a completely different composition of microbes found in indoor air compared to a forest or beach. Spending time in nature gives you a dose of fresh air that’s good for your microbiome too!
  • What are the most common ways we disrupt and harm our microbiome?
    • Antibiotics are the a major culprit, and we’re talking specifically about
      • Unnecessary prescriptions,
        • Avoid these by asking your doctor if antibiotics are completely necessary or if the infection/condition will likely clear up on it’s own. If you need them take them, but antibiotics have no positive impact on viral infections like the flu or cold so make sure you need them.
      • Hand sanitizers, and
        • Avoid these by getting antibiotic free soaps and avoid using soaps you’re unsure about.
      • Agricultural antibiotics used to encourage weight gain in livestock.
        • Buy your foods, meats especially, organic whenever possible.
    • Poor diet
      • Diets that tend to push the microbiome the wrong way are high in processed foods like sugars, refined flour pastas or breads, and low in fiber.
    • C-sections
      • It might seem strange but newborns are seeded with bacteria as they pass through the birth canal. These bacteria are specially adapted to babies first food, milk. Emergency C-sections save lives, but elective C-sections are unethical and set a child up for a rough start.

Review

  • The microbiome is our collection of microbes that bring us many benefits and protect us from numerous diseases.
  • This microbiome outnumbers our human genes 100 to 1 and our human cells 10 to 1.
  • It functions to help us digest foods, train our immune system, discourage infections, and much more.
  • We can encourage a healthy microbiome by
  • Eating plenty of veggies, fiber and fermented foods in place of sugar and other refined foods.
  • Taking probiotics
  • Getting outside
  • Taking antibiotics only when necessary
  • Avoid hidden antibiotics in soaps and in many non-organic meats

Resources

  1. Great video on the microbiome basics

Test your microbiome here