Others, however, walk in, stagger around a bit and look positively dizzied by the selection. They may walk up to us and stammer, “I-I-I just want to be healthy…what do I take?” These people may be new to the world of supplementation and walking into a store with thousands of different products can be overwhelming. They likely do not suffer from any particular set of symptoms, but they have an interest in elevating their health beyond diet and lifestyle through natural supplements.
An ideal supplementation regime is highly personal, and is best decided by a practitioner who can work with you and uncover any nutritional gaps in your diet or any body systems that may require extra support. That being said, I’ve come up with a very general, short list of supplement options to suggest to these customers to get them started. I believe nearly everyone can benefit from these three supplements because they are safe, effective, and simple.
Here are my top 3 supplement recommendations that I feel everyone can benefit from:
We have a whole section dedicated to greens at the Wholistic Dispensary. There are single ingredient options like chlorella, spirulina, wheatgrass, and alfalfa, and there are blends which may include all of those aforementioned, often mixed with fruit and vegetable powders, seaweeds, plant fibres, and tonic herbs. And surprisingly, some of them are pretty tasty!
I almost like to think of greens powders as multi-vitamins. These powdered plants are so nutrient-dense! They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some have superpowers too like chlorella’s ability to detoxify heavy metals, or spirulina’s ability to support the eyes and the skin (given its high concentration of beta-carotene and zeaxanthin for the eyes, and GLA which heals dry or inflamed skin).
I often recommend greens over a standard multivitamin because there is something to be said about the nutrient synergy found in a whole food. For example, tomato consumption has a greater effect on human prostate tissue than an equivalent amount of lycopene. Higher doses of isolated compounds may be needed to treat specific imbalances, but in my mind, whole is always best when possible.
Omega 3s are in the spotlight a lot. Like any celebrity, sometimes it’s good press and sometimes it’s bad press. Our staff as a whole is pretty plugged into current and precedent research, and most of us think adding extra omega 3’s is still a wise idea.
Compared to that of our ancestors, our diets have changed in many ways, and one of them is our intake of fats, particularly our current high intake of omega 6 fatty acids, and our relative low intake of omega 3 fatty acids. Experts estimate that the ideal ratio of omega 6’s to omega 3’s is about 4:1 and may even be as high as 1:1! Currently, the average consumption of omega 6’s to omega 3’s is about 20:1. We’re pretty far off, people!
Omega 3’s are essential for managing inflammation, keeping circulation flowing, skin glowing, and the brain functioning optimally. Omega 3’s help form the structure of our nervous system, our eyes, and indeed our very cells! That’s why it’s so important for pregnant women to take those beneficial fats as they grow a little human being.
If you work as a Speedo-clad outdoor lifeguard for at least four months of the year, you can ignore this suggestion. Otherwise, you are probably low in vitamin D. Especially us Canadians, spending about half the year trying to dodge the outdoors racing from home to subway to office bundled in woollies with slits only for our eyes. We don’t get enough sun.
Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, and deficiencies, which are extremely common, have been linked to low mood (particularly seasonal affective disorder, or SAD), immune-related diseases, and osteoporosis, to name a few. If you are getting 30 minutes of direct sunlight a day with minimal clothing on, then your vitamin D levels are probably good. If not, taking about 1,000-2,000 IU a day of vitamin D is wise, especially during those winter months.
Other honourable mentions for general supplement recommendations include probiotics, vitamin C (preferably from whole food sources such as camu camu, acerola cherry, and amla), and a good quality B-complex vitamin, especially for stressed individuals.
If you want help picking out the best supplements for your needs, pop in and ask for our help!