Supplements aren’t just for maintenance or to support disease conditions. I’m asked the question all of the time—shouldn’t I really be getting everything I need from food? The answer to that is YES, IN A PERFECT WORLD. What’s a perfect world? One where we live in tune with nature—food right out of the earth, lots of fresh air and sunshine, limited exposure to electromagnetic radiation, a chemical-free environment, and clean water and air. In other words, not the world we live in! Supplements are just that—they are an addition to any healthy diet. Here are some ways you should be using supplements that you may not have thought of:
1. You’re Stressed Out
Acute and/or prolonged stress can wreak havoc on the body. If you send your body into fight-or-flight response on a regular basis you could end up with all kinds of issues: imbalanced hormones, high blood sugar, weak digestion, heart palpitations, headaches, and more. Have a supplement on hand before the stress gets out of control. A good B-Complex or a magnesium supplement are a great solution that can be taken by most anyone. A B complex helps the body react better to stress, aids digestion, and boosts energy production. Magnesium is involved in 300 biochemical reactions in the body, relaxes the muscles and nerves, is involved in energy production, and is quickly depleted by stress. There are also numerous balancing herbs called adaptogens that help the body to react better to stress. These include rhodiola, schizandra, ashwaganda, ginseng, reishi mushroom, and others. Holy basil is an amazing zen herb that can help control cortisol levels. There are many other herbs, such as passionflower, that can be used for calming.
2. You’re Injured or Having Surgery.
Supplements can and should be used to speed the healing process. Homeopathic arnica is indispensable in the case of injuries and post-surgery for combating inflammation, reducing swelling, and minimizing the need for painkillers. Hypericum is also very useful in cases where the nerves are affected, such as surgery to the fingers, toes, spine, or eyes. Bone breaks are healed more quickly with symphytum, and silica is excellent for the healing of connective tissue and bone. A calcium/magnesium formula is necessary to heal breaks in bone. Powdered collagen is excellent whenever there is connective tissue damage. CoQ10 is great for energy recovery and getting rid of the fog of anesthesia. I could go on and on, but you get the idea!
3. You’re Having Dental Work
If you take arnica before and after dental work, and take hypericum after, you will minimize any pain you have from dental work. The herb goldenseal acts as a natural antibiotic for those that cannot take the antibiotics often prescribed with dental surgery. Aloe is very soothing and cooling to the tissues in the mouth after dental work and also has antiviral qualities.
4. You’re Travelling.
If you’re going overseas, especially to an area that is known to have clean water issues, you need a strong probiotic. Don’t wait till you get back and your stomach is irritated for days. Pack a probiotic and enjoy! Continue to take it for 2 weeks after you return, just to be safe. If you don’t sleep well on planes or in hotel rooms, or adjust well to time changes, take melatonin along. Several herbs including valerian, passionflower, hops, lavender, and holy basil can relax you for better sleep and help you get into your vacation groove. Don’t wait 3-5 days before you start enjoying your vacation!
5. You Have Allergies or Asthma.
A few supplements can make a big difference in how you manage these conditions. Magnesium is great for relaxing the bronchia. Quercetin is an antioxidant and natural antihistamine that can significantly reduce allergic reactions. Vitamin C is useful for both conditions, especially in the case of exercise-induced asthma. Astragalus can be very helpful for those with asthma. It is both an adaptogen and a building herb that fortifies the lungs.
6. You’re Low on Energy.
Using coffee as a replacement for energy will just further deplete the adrenal glands and the body’s ability to bounce back. Ginseng, rhodiola, and ashwaganda are a few herbs that will more naturally increase energy. CoQ10 is also used in the energy-making process and can boost your stamina.
7. You Feel Sore After a Workout.
Magnesium is a great muscle relaxant if you get too tight after working out. You should always eat protein within one hour after working out to aid in the rebuilding of muscles. A clean protein shake such as grass-fed whey, a plant protein, or egg white protein are a few good ideas. If you get inflamed while working out, try sour cherry juice concentrate in your protein shake, or mixed with water.
8. You Have a Cold, the Flu, or a Sore Throat.
The goal here is to shorten the duration of the illness. While research about using Vitamin C to combat the common cold is mixed, from my own experience it works. If you take up to 3000 mg per day (for an adult), it will help you recover more quickly. There are many great homeopathic combination remedies for the flu, and they are easy to get down even if you’re having stomach issues. Oscillococinum, an old standby, works great if you take it right when you feel the flu coming on. It’s great to have on hand just in case. For sore throats, a great herbal throat spray will get you through it quickly. Elderberry is also a favorite go-to for sore throats. A shot of Fire Cider every day is a great way to keep the bugs away!
9. You Have lots of Bloating, Gas, or Indigestion.
The natural arena offers much more for digestive issues than Western medicine in my opinion. A simple course of probiotics may help to correct your digestion. Herbal bitters are great for enhancing the natural digestion and have been used in many cultures for centuries. Just take a teaspoon before your meal. Digestive enzymes can also help correct digestion where it has become sluggish. Just take before the meal and voila, no more indigestion. If you have trouble digesting dairy, gluten, beans, or any other common allergen, there are enzymes targeted at these specific foods.
10. You Need Some Sleep.
Herbs are wonderful for this purpose. Many have sedative qualities and others are nervines, or in other words they calm the nerves. Some common herbs for calming are hops, passionflower, and chamomile. Melatonin may work, particularly in those over 5o. As we age we don’t produce as much melatonin and may need a little boost.
Supplements are Mother Nature’s little helpers. They can support just about any condition you have, and can speed recovery. The above are just a few ideas for using supplements, but there are many more. Liver health comes to mind, as does balancing hormones. The possibilities are endless! Please stop by and let us know how we can support your health needs.