Supplements can be an excellent addition to an already nutrient-dense diet. I personally try to keep my supplements to a minimum. Below, I explain some of my favorite vitamins, herbs and supplements that I take regularly.
Turmeric is an essential herbal supplement always in stock in my vitamin cabinet. This powerful little herb has so many benefits and a quick internet search will attest to this. From headaches, to digestive support, to general inflammation support, turmeric can do it all. All turmeric is not the same though. In fact, studies suggest that the best turmeric supplements are combined with fenugreek seeds or black pepper . Curcuminoid's are likely to be absorbd in the body when turmeric combines with fenugreek seeds or black pepper. This means that the turmeric can actually reach other parts of the body, including the brain, at much higher levels.
I take turmeric with fenugreek seeds a couple of times a week for general support. Plus, it gives my body a boost in fighting inflammation. In addition to this, I also take turmeric when I feel a headache coming on! Being a natural blood thinner, turmeric is the perfect herb to take when you feel a headache coming on. In fact, research backs this up.
A 2019 study tracked 100 people who regularly had migraines to see if a combination turmeric and coenzyme Q10 supplements would affect how many migraine attacks these people experienced. Those who took both supplements reported a reduction in headache days, severity, and duration. This may be because turmeric is a natural blood thinner and as I like to call it “nature’s Advil”. Because of turmeric blood thinning properties, it is best not to take turmeric during menstruation or before a surgery.
From reishi, to lion's mane, to shiitake, medicinal mushrooms have gained a lot of popularity in recent years due to new research touting its connection to increased longevity, lowering the risk of developing heart disease and boosting the immune system. It seems evident that these medicinal mushrooms cover all bases when it comes to health!
Although these mushrooms have gained significant popularity recently, medicinal mushrooms have been recognized for their health benefits in Eastern medicine for thousands of years. Although these mushrooms are edible, it can be difficult to eat medicinal mushrooms due to texture, flavor and repetition. As much as you may love a good mushroom risotto you may not want to eat one everyday! Thus, a supplement can be the easiest and most efficient way to reap the benefits that mushrooms have to offer.
I personally take a mushroom supplement that is a combination of reishi and shiitake mushrooms. During cold and flu season, I feel that this supplement especially helps keep me healthy and gives my immune system the extra support it may need. In addition to benefits for immune health, I feel that this supplement further supports my vitality, focus and general well-being.
Most of our ancestors ate animals from nose to tail, but long gone are the days where most of us are living in villages or on farms. In modern day society, eating an animal from nose to tail just isn't as feasible as it once was. This is where glandular supplements come in! Glands, organs, or tissues of healthy animals make up glandular supplements. So if you aren’t keen on serving sheep's brain for dinner, glandular's may be the right choice for you! Glandular supplements are administer whole fresh tissue or as tissue extracts. Ancestrial diets based on the culture made up of organs, glands and tissues packed full of nutrients based on the culture you come from. Glandular's are a natural way to support the functioning of your own glands.
Let's Dive Deeper
Research indicates that an ancestral diet can be extremely healthful. Turkana people recently had a study done about them. This population is from northwest Kenya and they still follow a traditional lifestyle and diet (one that is rich in glandular's). Researchers found that the Turkana people still living their traditional pastoral lifestyles scored high on all 10 biomarkers for health which included cardio-metabolic health. Those living in suburban areas in a modern day lifestyle had poorer health biomarkers, including higher rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Thus, taking a glandular supplement is one of the easiest ways I reap the many benefits of animal organs.
Personally, I notice my energy levels staying more stable when I take my glandular supplements! B12 and B-complex rich glandular's naturally boost energy levels. When selecting these types of supplements make sure that the animal comes from a good source. This means looking for the key words “grass-fed and finished”, “pasture raised” and/or “organic”.
I always say “there’s an herb for everything” and this includes stress! Every single one of us deals with stressors on a day to day basis. Whether the stress is related to work, family, school, the world or personal relationships, we just can’t seem to escape it at times. Ashwagandha was traditionally used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to help rejuvenate the body as well as to help ease pain and inflammation. Modern day research would have to agree with this. One study exhibited that supplementation with ashwagandha was associated with a reduction in cortisol.
In addition to relieving anxiety, ashwagandha can stabilize mood and overall well being which can be very helpful for people who experience signs of depression. In one study involving rats, ashwagandha efficacy was compared to the antidepressant medication imipramine. Researchers found that it exhibited antidepressant effects that were comparable to imipramine when rats were exposed to “behavioral despair” tests. Thus, there is no question that ashwagandha is a mighty herb that will always stay present in my vitamin cabinet. If I know I’m about to have a stressful week or even day, a little ashwagandha can go a long way!
With so many different vitamins or supplements to choose from it can be hard to narrow down what you need to be taking. Although everyone has their own bio-individual needs, turmeric, medicinal mushrooms, glandular's and ashwagandha I believe are all “must haves” in the supplement department to help your body with basic health needs. It is important to remember to choose the source of supplements exactly how you would choose the source of the food you eat. The better the source of a supplement, the more likely you will be able to properly absorb it. Quality is key if you don’t want expensive pee.
Kaylee Noland See all the author’s articles