The Purpose of Supplementation
Supplementation can be a great therapeutic addition to a healthy mindset, diet and lifestyle—but in no way can it replace it. In my practice, I use supplements to bring grace and ease into the healing process, which can be very challenging at times.
In this way, supplements can help to support you on your own path to radiant health, freedom and becoming who you truly are.
Principles of Supplementation
Not all supplements are created equal. Like any industry, there is a difference in quality between supplement companies and individual products. Because of this, I recommend purchasing high integrity products from reputable companies to ensure optimal results.
Here, it is important to keep an eye out for supplements that contain synthetic ingredients and preservatives. These supplements are often found in big box retailers and pharmacies that care more about their bottom line than your health and well-being. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of attributing poor results to holistic medicine and supplements in general rather than the poor quality of the product itself.
Because of this, I recommend purchasing supplements from an enlightened doctor, health food store or online destination. Many of my favorite brands can be found on Amazon and ThriveMarket.com.
It is also important to make sure that your supplements contain the active and bioavailable forms of particular nutrients. For example, D3 and Folate are far more comprehensive and bioavailable than D2 or Folic Acid. When a company cares about the details and stays up to date with the latest research, it is much easier to trust and allow them to do the work for you. Pure Encapsulations is in my opinion a great examples of this.
Last but not least, if you have any questions on supplementation, check with a trusted, holistic healthcare practitioner that can work with you to create a strategic treatment and supplement plan aimed at root cause resolution.
I have treated many patients that come to me after spending thousands and thousands of dollars on supplements that are just thrown at them without any thorough thought or investigation into the underlying issues. This approach simply does not work, as it mimics the conventional paradigm.
When I create a treatment plan and prescribe a supplement, I work to treat the whole person and specific patterns rather than a single symptom. For example, Vitamin C can help to regulate the immune system, decrease inflammation, build collagen, repair the gut, improve detox, enhance elimination and promote a healthy stress response. Whereas many practitioners will use a different supplement for each one of these symptoms.
In my practice, I also use Chinese Herbal Formulas. My favorite part about this approach is that Chinese formulas drive function and are usually not meant to be taken for long periods of time.
Many of my patients come into my office having been on certain supplements for years. After we review these supplements and get a simple game plan together, they realize they do not have to be bound or dependent on these products for life! This is a light bulb moment for many people, that deepens faith in oneself and body to heal—just another simple shift in perception that big pharma has worked so hard to hide.
For example, rather than just taking progesterone cream to suppress symptoms, there are formulas that can help the body to heal itself by directly addressing the underlying imbalances that cause the symptoms in the first place. In this way, specific formulas can help to promote function and balance within the body through tailored supplementation.
Now that we have gone over the basics, I would like to introduce you to how I think about supplementation—within these four primary categories! In this section, I will also provide examples of supplements I commonly prescribe in my practice.
Before we dive in, I would like to mention that these categories are flexible in nature, and are not black and white. However, there are subtle and distinct differences that make each unique.
The 4 Categories of Supplementation
- Food Based Supplementation is a great place to start. Nature is beyond intelligent, and the more we can receive high quality nutrients and therapeutic benefits directly from her, the better.
- Liver or Desiccated Grass Fed Beef Liver pills or powder (I much prefer the pills) contains more nutrients than any other whole food gram for gram on the planet. Liver is an excellent source of protein and nature’s own multivitamin. It contains an abundance of micronutrients, particularly fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, K, and E, water soluble B vitamins, especially B12, natural folate, usable iron, CoQ10, trace minerals, and more.
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil (not to be confused with regular Cod Liver Oil) contains nature’s perfect balance of Fat Soluble Vitamins. Fermented Cod Liver Oil has been proven to reduce inflammation, stabilize the mood, promote healthy cholesterol levels, as well as improve neurological, musculoskeletal and endocrine function.
- Gelatin or Bone Broth is a highly absorbable form of protein (I use this powder instead of protein powder) and contains a myriad of amino acids, particularly glycine, that are used in many healing gut protocols for mucosal repair. Gelatin also improves mental health and sleep quality, while promoting healthy endocrine, musculoskeletal system and neurological function.
- Himalayan Pink Salt contains over 80 ionized minerals encrusted into the earth more than 200 million years ago. Himalayan Pink Salt supports electrolyte balance, hydration (surprisingly!), and detoxification. It also contributes to and supports the cardiovascular system and musculoskeletal system.
- Coconut Oil is an easily digestible and usable form of fat because it does not require pancreatic enzymes for digestion and can be used for energy immediately. Coconut oil improves neurological and metabolic function and supports the endocrine, immune, and musculoskeletal systems. Many people also use Coconut Oil topically for skin issues, and even in the morning for “Oil Pulling”.
- Turmeric is an incredible herb that has been proven time and time again to reduce inflammation, improve mental health, immune function, and detoxification pathways. It has demonstrated to be at least effective as over a dozen different pharmaceutical drugs.
- Core Supplementation can be helpful in creating a solid foundation for the process. This category is more maintenance in nature, and I often recommend it when one has a chronic nutrient imbalance, compromised function or just needs help rounding out.
- In my practice, I often prescribe the Pure Encapsulations Nutrient 950 with K. I love this multi-vitamin because it is very neutral in nature and has the most active and bioavailable forms of each nutrient. It is very comprehensive, and I have seen it level out patients in unbelievable ways.
- Digestive Enzymes can be a great way to support digestion and assimilation. Digestive enzymes help the body to heal, repair and breakdown fats, carbohydrates and protein.
- Probiotics can be very helpful when it comes to creating health, especially when we don’t get enough probiotic rich food in our diets. In general, I recommend Prescript Assist’s soil based probiotic because it is convenient, well tolerated and well-researched. Ongoing studies, continue to reveal the many benefits of gut-friendly bacteria. These benefits include, but are definitely not limited to, enhanced digestion, immune modulation and even optimized mental health.
- Therapeutic Supplementation is more active and healing in nature. In this category, we work strategically to balance out specific qualities and functions. Once the gaps are bridged and function is optimized, therapeutic supplementation has done its job and is no longer needed.
- Flower Remedies are made of wildflowers and can be used improve emotional health. I have seen them work well to raise self-awareness, transform fear and bring about joy, peace, happiness, health and love to our lives. I am most familiar with and often recommend the Bach Flower Remedies.
- Adaptogens are a category of herbs that help promote a healthy stress response. The adaptogens support the HPA axis, boost energy levels, improve sleep and strengthen the immune system. Examples of adaptogens include Ashwagandha, Eleuthero, Ginseng, Rhodiola, Holy Basil, Schisandra, and Red Reishi.
- Activated B-Vitamins are a great way to support and build a healthy mood. These vitamins help help to regulate the nervous system, build tissues and aid the liver with its many functions.
- Vitamin C is a great way to support your body in times of stress. Vitamin C helps to regulate HPA axis, strengthen the immune system, repair the tissues and detoxify the system. The National Library of Medicine holds thousands of studies demonstrating vitamin C’s ability to improve health and well-being, along with over 200 disease applications. I recommend using a liposomal or buffered form.
- Magnesium Glycinate can be taken orally in the afternoon and at night to promote quality sleep and healthy bowel movements. Magnesium can also be bought in the form of spray or available in the form of an epsom salt bath. Magnesium brings in a sense of calm and relaxes the muscles. It has also been shown to reduce pain and premenstrual syndrome.
- Essential oils can also be a great way to interrupt patterns, create new ones, drive function and promote balance. Here are some of my favorites: Balance, Serenity, Arborvitae, Lavender
- Acute Supplementation is the most symptomatic in nature, used on the fly, to assist the mind and body with speed. This type of supplementation is appropriate for emergencies and is not meant for long term use.
- Rescue Remedy is a combination of 5 Bach Flower Remedies and can be used to relieve shock, loss, trauma, panic, terror and intense periods of stress.
- Activated charcoal is actually used in emergency rooms across the world to absorb and trap toxins and chemicals. I highly recommend having it around in your first aid kit for when a meal does not sit right or you just happen to drink a little too much alcohol.
Finally, as always, remember to follow your intuition and read the signs as they come to you! If you are drawn to a certain doctor, program or supplement regime, check it out, do your homework, and see where it leads you. No one knows you or your body better than you do. Tap in.