Lifestyle

If food is medicine, do I really need to supplement?

A question on many lips – are supplements the real deal?  If you had have asked me this question a few years ago, I would have said no, not really.  I don’t love the idea.  In an ideal world, we can get all the nutrients we require from everything around us.  Sadly, we don’t live in that perfect world and we haven’t for quite some time.  Whilst food provides nature’s perfect answer to pretty much all our body’s needs, there are several factors impacting why our food isn’t necessarily meeting our needs and it’s having a profound impact on us.  There can be a lot of resistance around this idea, so I’m keen to explore it a little deeper today to help you continue to serve up your daily dose of happy hormone information.

Attending a seminar several weeks ago, the hot topic was supplementation.  There was a very valid point raised.  We are for the most part, told that the ideal diet, for the majority is the Mediterranean way of eating.  Something I don’t disagree with, however what this idea fails to take into consideration is that the Mediterranean soil is far more nutrient dense than what many of us have under our feet.  In some regions, the soil is further nourished from it being rich in volcanic elements.  This intensifies the vitamin and mineral content of the food that grows in this nutrient rich soil, meaning you get the goodness in your food. Problem is, we don’t generally eat foods grown in this soil and truth be told, we should avoid imported fruits and vegetables where possible as they may go through heavy fumigation to prevent the spread of bugs and pests when they enter our own shores.  What’s more, we should always aim to be eating local and in season where possible, since nature is providing us with what is required for each and every season of the year. You know, oranges in winter for vitamin C or more cooling fruits in summer to keep our bodies happy like berries.  Nature knows it’s stuff.  We on the other hand must surrender to the fact that we are constantly learning.

So there goes that – local foods possibly don’t have enough vitamins and minerals to meet our daily needs.

Does this mean we should move away from the idea that food is medicine?  Please don’t.  Each and every food has a purpose. We must not forget that and we can allow it to be a guide as to what our bodies need throughout the year.  Food provides nourishment and whilst it may not contain the same amount of vitamins and minerals it once did or could if grown in the right conditions, we still must make every mouthful count.  I mention this in the very early pages of my book, Well & Good, that food makes all the difference.  Our diet will either take our health to greatness or lead our bodies astray.  Never underestimate the impact of a good diet. Like ever.

Our daily requirement of vitamins and minerals varies depending on the level of stress we expose our bodies to.

Just from this example alone, you may begin to see that supplementation can become an extremely important part of your daily routine and really see your health go from meh to WOW. Recently I tried this on.  I know, as a direct result of stress which was having a knock on effect to my hormones, I was experiencing neck acne that was out of control.  The acne was big, cystic and super painful and each month it would peak pre-ovulation and pre-period – the time when my hormones were building and more than likely, progesterone was having a conniption, all the while trying to do it’s job properly but it couldn’t (because it didn’t have the fundamental elements of adequate vitamins and minerals).  So I tested this theory and supplemented in quite heavy doses of a few key players to help out.  After just one week, my acne was clearing – to the point where within the week, no new cysts had formed and the old ‘friends’ (they were THAT big) were healing.  Fully gone! What’s more, I could feel that my body was managing better on the whole.

When our body is under stress there are a handful of essentials that we tend to churn through way quicker than usual, including magnesium and B vitamins – the two widely accepted to help address stress (I talk about this also in my 2 hour mini course, Debunking Stress).  Since my body was living in a state of nutrient deficiency, it was showing up in a host of symptoms, the loudest being the neck acne.  The solution was simple.  Remove stress.  But here’s a perfect example that stress is much more than being frazzled.  The knock on effect of stress means we don’t digest well AND our bodies require much higher amounts of key nutrients to preform.  To overcome the issue, I supplemented to meet these needs of my body frequently, in high (but still safe) doses.  In times of high stress, there is no way food can ever meet the daily needs of these two vitamins (let alone the others!).  I’m told it’s physically impossible and the amount needed to meet these nutritional needs is far more food than we can eat in a day.  This leaves us with virtually no option but to support our bodies with good quality supplements.

You might be keen to know that there are so many vital energy processes in our body’s that require B vitamins and magnesium alone.  And since we now know that under stress we power through what’s available, it can mean that we need to continually top up just like we do on Vitamin D or Iron.

Stress tends to suck the life out of us and this little experiment proved this point perfectly.  We can’t always remove all stress, but we can help our bodies cope better and that’s where it’s at with supplementation – helping our body to run more efficiently especially in stressful times.

So what vitamins and how much?

It all depends on your signs and symptoms.  My neck acne is just one prime example, however I want to share with you today how you can use these two to help you through the tough times.  It’s important firstly to adapt where needed.  That is, look at the recommended doses of both your magnesium and B vitamins and in a generally happy and non-stressed state, take as indicated.  During stressful times, because our bodies require more, we MUST add more in.  Start off with adding a second dose and see how that works for you.  I like to space mine out, so for example if my magnesium calls for 2 caps daily AND I’m experiencing a stressful time, I will take 1 cap, 3 x daily.  I would recommend that without medical advice, you would never add in any more than one extra dose but your health provider may be able to support you if you think you need more.  Same goes for B supplements in this situation.

Finding a good product isn’t too hard – you can generally work out what brands a better by the price.  This is a case of spending a few extra dollars to get a quality product.  As a practitioner, I prescribe Metagenics, but over the counter I suggest to my patients to ask their local health food shop owner what they recommend to be best. Or if you can get your hands on Bioceuticals over the counter, I find it very good too.

It can be a little confusing to know where it’s at without help – never underestimate the power of a daily multivitamin!  It can actually be your little secret weapon.

If you’re experiencing various signs and symptoms and you’d like a little more specific health care advice, I invite you to join our Wellness Collective Membership. It’s the one stop hormone fix it shop where I can help you further and get the information I need to really give you solid advice.  Click the banner to learn more – I’d love to see you in there where you gain access to a range of goodies, all at your fingertips!

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For those who join the Wellness Collective Membership TODAY (all because I’m in LA and feeling sun-kissed!) I’m offering a copy of my book, Well & Good. You can learn more here.

Remember, managing stress is key but tapping into supplements may help move your body back to a happier state of being, which will allow you feel better and tackle stress on the whole. It really is a cycle that we must break to create positive change.

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