• Hana Kovac

Supplements - Why, Which, When

When I went for a check up a few years ago, my doctor told me I can get all my vitamins and minerals from food. I'm eating a whole, fresh, unprocessed foods diet, so I should get a healthy supply of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients, I thought.


Alas, food we eat is not the food our grandparents ate - the soil is depleted due to industrial farming, food is transported long distances, often stored for a long periods of time, we are over stressed and undernourished. We spend most of the time indoors, are afraid to eat wild plants that are highly nutritious (what if I poison myself?) and let us not forget the convenience or junk food we often grab due to lack of motivation, time, or both.


That's where supplements come in. Obviously, no supplement can replace high quality diet so make sure you eat a whole foods, unprocessed, seasonal (and sourced locally when possible) diet. And when you're purchasing a supplement, consider it as part of your diet - high quality, additives, colors, fillers, and allergens free are the best options.




Supplements - Which, When?


What follows is a list of vitamins and minerals that I take daily. I'm following the recommended basic nutrient plan outlined by Dr.Mark Hyman a well known functional practitioner (find it here).


Multivitamin


As mentioned previously, even if you eat a whole foods diet, it is difficult to get all your nutrients from food alone due to soil depletion and daily stress we all suffer from. That is why i take a multivitamin every morning (2 to 6 tablets a day - check the bottle for recommended amount). The right multivitamin will contain all the basic vitamins and minerals. My favorite Multivitamin.


Vitamin D3


When was the last time you checked your Vitamin D3 levels? Not many people do and yet, vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic with up to 80 percent of modern day humans deficient or suboptimal in their intake and blood levels! Get your blood level to 45 to 60 ng/dl. Easy when you live in the south of France, difficult when you live in, let's say Belgium. Take the right type of vitamin D— D3 (cholecalciferol), not D2. The recomended amount is 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D3, once a day with breakfast. My favorite Vitamin D3.


Omega 3 fatty acids


Many clients in my Mind Body Eating Coach practice get scared when I tell them they should eat more fat. The perception of ''fat will make me fat'' is still pretty common no matter how many articles about healthy get published. That is why recommending Omega 3 fatty acids can be better option for people afraid of fat. Omega 3 fatty acids improve insulin sensitivity, lower cholesterol by lowering triglycerides and raising HDL, reduce inflammation, prevent blood clots, and lower the risk of heart attacks (source see above). And how much and when should you take it? 1,000 to 2,000 mg of omega 3 fatty acids (should contain a ratio of approximately 300/200 mg of EPA/ DHA), twice a day, once with breakfast and once with dinner.



Magnesium


I first noticed magnesium deficiency when I woke up during the night with excruciating cramps in my legs. As with vitamin D deficiency, magnesium deficiency is very common. Unfortunately many experience diarrhea when taking too much magnesium. If this occurs, just back off on the dose, and avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, or oxide. They are the cheapest and most common forms found in supplements but are poorly absorbed. Switch to magnesium glycinate. If you tend to be constipated, use magnesium citrate. 100 to 200 mg of magnesium, twice a day, once with breakfast and once with dinner is a sufficient dose but if you are suffering from cramps (e.g.during menstruation) you might need more. Again, your body is the best doctor if you listen to it. My favorite Magnesium supplement


Collagen


Youthful skin, healthy hair and nails, less inflammation, freedom from joint aches, and a healthy digestive system. Who wouldn't want it? Although your body naturally produces collagen, it's good to support your body a bit, especially if you are over 30. Foods like bone broth are wonderful options but I'm not really into drinking bone broth in summer. That's why I always put collagen powder into my morning smoothie. Collagen powder is one of the easiest ways to ensure you are getting the proper amount of collagen that your body needs, every day plus, it's so simple! My favorite collagen powders: Collagen powder and this one!


Again, there's nothing better than a whole foods diet but supplementing might be worth it if you want to support your body on its healing journey.

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