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!

7 tips to sleep like a rock and feel like new

The difference between mediocre sleep and great sleep

hacking sleep, tips for sleep, better sleep

hacking sleep, tips for sleep, better sleep

Sleep is amazing but don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the research, there’s a huge difference between missing just an hour of  sleep and sleeping like a pro for 7-9 hours. The biggest thing we see is how getting the right amount of sleep actually reduces your risk of dying from any cause. I don’t know about you but there aren’t many things out there that have this effect, so I pay attention when I hear that. Beyond that improving your sleep benefits lots of different diseases like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mental health, digestive complaints and more. This means that poor sleep is definitely one of the contributing factors of the health crisis today.

I’m all for preventing disease, but it isn’t always enough to get me to try something. What puts it over the top is whether I’m going to be real and noticeable benefits, and good news there are plenty of benefits. There is a mountain of research around sleep improving overall function of the body and especially mental function. In fact there’s a well supported theory that mental health disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, anxiety, etc) are not “diseases” but symptoms of sleep disorders. Mounds of research shows that you’re proven to be smarter with a full nights sleep than if you are an hour or two short or didn’t have restorative deep sleep. There are brain benefits in attention, memory, decision making, reaction time, and lots more. Whether you’re playing sports or just trying to be on top of your game at work or school, sleep is clearly a major factor.

This begs the question of what is good sleep, and how much do we actually need. First off let’s start with this concept – everyone is an individual and each individual has slightly different needs. Needs vary in length of sleep, best time to go to sleep (slightly), and behaviors that impact sleep (good or bad). Let start with sleep length, if you are an adult you are going to function best in the range of 7.5 hours to 9 hours of sleep per night. Outside of getting into an intense sleep study to figure out your best length, it’s pretty easy to play around with your alarm clock and figure out what feels best for you.

Next we need to focus on consistency; this means what time you go to bed and wake up AND that you do it a similar way most nights. If I miss out on a couple hours of sleep tonight it creates a sleep debt that usually lasts about 3 days. That means I have to either make up that sleep or I have to get good sleep for the next 3 days to reset my ideal mental state. This alone makes it not worth it staying out late on a weekend when I have a big meeting on Monday. Yet another reason many of us hate Mondays?

So how do we get optimal sleep in length and quality? We realize that sleeping a restless 9 hours isn’t nearly as good as sleeping a deep and restorative 6 or 7 hours so we have to make some changes in our life. Good news most are easy, check out below.

7 ways to Hack Your Sleep

Blot out the light!

light inhibits melatonin

Light inhibits melatonin

There’s a lot of research that shows that light, especially blue light, suppresses melatonin-the sleep hormone. This means we need to dim the lights about an hour before bed, avoid using bright screened mobile devices and computers, and eliminate all light in the bedroom so it’s close to pitch black.

Silence and mask sounds

If you’ve ever been kept up by a noisy neighbor, dog or party you know sounds can disturb your sleep. The worst part is you might not realize that the neighbors dog is barking around 3 am every night and that’s why you are waking up tired. The best solution I’ve found for this is any white noise machine or app, this masks any sounds and decreases the likelihood that you’ll be startled even subconsciously from deep sleep.

Get comfycomfy-bed

This is common sense, but I have to say it. If your mattress is uncomfortable, your sleep is suffering. You want to wake up refreshed and without any aches or pains, and you probably know if your mattress is too old or doesn’t work for you. Find a knowledgeable mattress guy and have him help you select the right one for you.

Wind down

When I was a kid I used to stay up late playing video games or watching action movies, and then I would try to go straight to bed after. Bad idea, I was exhausted but completely wired on the excitement I had just come from. Now I make it a point to never watch action movies or play video games after 7pm. I even take it to the next level, about an hour before bed I start to unwind by journaling or writing out 10 good things that happened that day and then read light fiction for 30-40 minutes. I also brush my teeth and wash my face before this so I’m not stimulating myself before laying down. That way when I climb into bed I’m relaxed and usually drift off within 15 minutes. Before I started this routine I would usually lay in bed at least 30 minutes before falling asleep.

Be coolroom_icehotel_jukkasjarvi_2012

I lived in Phoenix for awhile, and one of my apartments had really bad Air Conditioning. I could never get to sleep because it was so hot in the summer. Which brings up the point that even research shows us that most people sleep better at a temperature of 68 degrees, so keep it cool in your bedroom.

Consistency

We are creatures of habit, and our body knows what time we usually eat lunch and go to sleep. If you’re going to sleep at 8 one night, 9 the next and 11 the next then back to 8 your body has no idea what’s going on. Be consistent with what time you lay down and what time you wake up in the morning, this lets our body get into the rhythm which only helps you in the long run.

Eat dinner for better sleepgetty_rf_photo_of_three_different_portions

Sometimes I have a special dinner with family and friends, and the food is really good and there’s plenty of it so I end up eating more than I normally do. What tends to happen is when I go to bed my stomach is still really full, and I’m uncomfortable. I could live with that except shortly after I lay down I start to notice I’m having heartburn. Go figure, I overfilled my stomach then took away the assistance of gravity to keep everything in there. Big surprise that on nights like that I don’t sleep well. Keep your dinner on the light end and you’ll sleep easy.

There are plenty of ways to make an impact, but I challenge you to take just one of these tips and put them in action consistently for a few days. You can probably figure out which ones are most likely to help you, so what’s stopping you. Get smarter, be better and sleep well!

Resources

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/

http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

Sleep and mortality: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3882397/

Sleep and brain function: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/pdf/NDT-3-553.pdf

Sleep and appetite: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0010062

Sleep debt: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2869.2003.00337.x/full