Have you ever been to a GNC or a Vitamin Shoppe and just ended up staring blankly at the walls of endless bottles? You don’t even really know what you are looking for and you leave 300 dollars later feeling like you somehow didn’t get what you needed.
In addition to a good diet, supplements can help regulate appetite, hormone balance, energy, and inflammation. Like with most things fitness, however, there is too much information in this system, leading to analysis paralysis.
We have all been there, but here’s some food for thought based on my positive experience with certain supplements. I have had the fortune of both eastern and western medicine advice over the years and have been just as confused in GNC. I don’t have it all figured out but do have some recommendations.*
Why do you need supplements?
Do you even need to supplement your diet, if your nutrition is good enough?
Good question. In theory, possibly not. But a supplement regime is exactly what it is – not a substitute, but a supplement. Most people do not get their complete nutritional needs from food. As get older, we also absorb less nutrients from food. And some of the medications we may be taking can actually further lessen or inhibit the absorption.
Many of the suggested supplements here are actually produced in the body, but as time goes by, we produce less and less naturally.
This is definitely a conversation you should have with your doctor. What I am recommending is a list of considerations – not every supplement may be right or even safe for you. With that caveat, let’s proceed!
Where do you start?
It’s hard to know where to start -and what brands are good versus sketchy. It’s also tough to understand WHEN to take these supplements. The basic rule of thumb is that supplements focused on immunity and energy should be taken earlier in the day, as should probiotics. Others, like fish oil, are better taken in the evening as the body is winding down to repair itself.
You want to make sure to also be aware of which supplements are water soluble versus fat soluble. It can be a tricky business if you want to take supplements when you first wake up but aren’t a rise at morning breakfast person, or on some kind of fasting program. However, I have found that using a non-fast-breaking keto creamer with coffee really helps take out of the occasion, because you are getting some fat and then able to take supplements without having to eat a full meal (try, for example, the picnik unsweetened collagen creamer).
Here is a basic overview of fat-soluble versus water-soluble supplements.
Start with the broad categories
There are a few basic types of supplements that are important for women: immunity, energy, anti-aging, sex drive and fertility, urinary tract health, and all-around well-being.
Disclaimer: Consult with a doctor before considering taking any of these supplements, including for interaction with other medications and contraindications for medical conditions such as pregnancy, diabetes, or thyroid issues.
Not to be confused with DHA, DHEA has been shown to protect against an overactive cytokine response to a virus or other pathogens; but DHA is also important, as we will explore more in the section on sex drive and fertility.
I recall when COVID “got real” there was a run on Elderberry supplements. Stores were out for weeks, you couldn’t find them online. They were just as elusive as dumbbells.
For good reason, also. Elderberry is high in vitamin C, and may help prevent or shorten colds and flus. So definitely a good idea, and it’s also available as yummy gummies.
More: Essential supplements in the COVID-19 era (Summit healing arts)
Remember how we discussed autophagy in my post about intermittent fasting? Resveratrol, which is an antioxidant found in the skin of grapes, is also known to activate that process. Cell renewal = younger cells revealed! This also links to the protection of the body from cancer and other diseases. And before you get any ideas, drinking a bottle of wine will NOT replicate the effects. (you’d need, like, a 1000 glasses).
CoQ10 is also important for the heart and the immunity system, and it is also known for it’s anti-aging anti-oxidants. You probably noticed a lot of face creams on the market also contain CoQ-10. It’s probably better to ingest it than to put it on your face. Besides the aesthetics, CoQ10 boosts energy and mental clarity.
Collagen is already the most dominant protein in your body. But as we get older, we naturally produce less collagen, causing dry skin, brittle nails, hair thinning and possible hair loss. As you start noticing more hair come off on your brush or comb during the shower, that becomes a scary reality.
Collagen supplements are a great way to compensate for this lost production. In addition, they can also prevent bone loss and lessen joint pain. These are often sold as supplements, or in peptide powder form. Some companies, like Vital Proteins or Bulletproof, even make bars, and you can also find them in dairy free coffee creamers like Picnik. Whatever the source, make sure you are incorporating this into your supplement regime.
Now that we are not taking in as much sunlight, Vitamin D3 can help compensate for that deficiency, also helping with increased energy and necessary vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone loss, high blood pressure, or glucose intolerance.
This supplement is very important for daily detoxification of the liver. The liver is probably one of the most overworked organs in your body. Basically anything associated with sugar – including alcohol, has to be processed through your liver. Over time, your liver function can weaken and it cannot as effectively detox the body. Enter milk thistle, which studies have shown improves the liver function and can actually possibly reverse a liver damaged by excess alcohol consumption overtime.
I would recommend the Hum liver detox supplement, Wing Man, which helps support the liver detoxification and eliminate under eye circles.
A good probiotic keeps the levels of “good” gut bacteria high. This is beneficial for the digestion and overall immunity system. This is really important now that we seem to be in a perpetual state of viruses.
A popular food that is a source of probiotics is yogurt. There is even evidence that such probiotics would relieve symptoms of depression.
Omega-3 / Fish Oil
If you do not already consume a good amount of oily fish (think tuna and salmon), you may want to consider fish oil supplements. Even if you do, getting a concentrated amount of Daily Omega-3s can help protect your heart, aid weight loss, and feel more positive.
Relieving stress and increasing energy
My trainer recommended that I take this supplement upon rising. By increasing your dopamine responses this compound can alleviate stress and improve alertness. I usually take this supplement when I am awake in the morning half an hour before my workouts. It definitely gives that extra kick without having to take a pre-workout drink filled with artificial ingredients.
Vitamin B-6 and Vitamin B-12
These are both essential for energy- highly necessary component of energy supplementation. The vitamins also provide a host of other benefits. Among other things, vitamin B6 helps keep blood sugar within a normal range, vitamin B12 protects against anemia. Both of these vitamins are usually in all around multivitamins, but if you want separate B6 energy, then check out Hum’s Uber Energy supplement, which combines B-6 plus L-Tyrosine
Sex Drive and Fertility
Maca root is a plant root available as both a powder and a supplement. It’s known for boosting fertility and sex drive. Even if that is not as important to you at this phase in your life, there are general benefits associated with improved mood, learning and memory function.
DHA is essential for the growth and functional development of the brain in infants, so an excellent supplement if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.. DHA is also required for maintenance of normal brain function in adults. The inclusion of plentiful DHA in the diet improves learning ability.
For other supplements that could heighten fertility, check out this article.
Urinary tract Health
Taking it to another level for urinary tract health, we all know how uncomfortable it is to have a UTI, or think you have one, or don’t know if you have one. I have to tell a personal story here, because I think it might help a lot of people. And I don’t think people talk about it, because they feel ashamed. I am here to smash that stigma and give you a solution.
For years I was struggling with a constant urge to use the bathroom and not even really have a full bladder. I went to urogynecologists, took antibiotics unnecessarily, and could not have a cup of coffee in the morning without feeling uncomfortable and constant trips to the bathroom. Then I got diagnosed with what is an apparent common condition aggravated by stress – interstitial cystitis. I was told I couldn’t have caffeine, tomatoes, or most fruit – what??
The UQORA discovery
Then one day as I was looking up on the internet for the billionth time exactly what was wrong with me the UQORA supplementation system showed up on my search. I was skeptical at first, until I just decided to try it because it seemed that all the testimonials on the site were exactly what I was experiencing. The site promised to the people looking after your urinary tract so you “can get back to living.”
I ordered my first package, which included specially designed probiotic, biofilm cleanse, and an occasional urinary tract flush for after exercise or other “activities.”
Within weeks I was amazed. My bladder was no longer running the show. I was so happy and I kept getting my auto-refill of the system for only about 50 bucks a month. It’s nice to not have to constantly run to the doctor or wonder if something is wrong.
If this in any way resonates with you, and you are sick and tired of trying to figure out what is going on and why you are in pain, I suggest you give this a shot. I even told my doctor and showed her the medication and she was very impressed. I don’t have to restrict my diet, and I can be a coffee queen without any pain!
Everyone should be taking a basic multivitamin, but the key is one that has all the essential vitamins and minerals, because a lot of the basic brands miss key ones. You want to make sure that the vitamin contains Vitamin A, C, E, K, D, and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, and selenium, iron, and manganese. You can also find multivitamins with both the daily supply of B-6 and B-12, so no need to to consume these from another source.
For a regular daily multivitamin, I would recommend Garden of Life Vitamin Code for Women. A daily probiotic to balance the gut and help immunity is also a must. To save time from searching for bottles every day, you can organize your supplements in a vitamin organizer box grouped by time of day.
*I am not being compensated by any third party for my comments or endorsements in this article.