I'm an unabashed advocate of taking the right supplements. Frequently, I'm asked what I take and why. Here are my 7 reasons to supplement and specifically what I take for each.
My 7 Reasons to Supplement
How many times have you heard taking vitamins is flushing money down the drain? Or worse, now studies are coming out saying taking certain supplements can actually be bad for you. Why would anyone choose to spend good money on expensive supplements?
I'm often asked that question or a similar question, such as what I do to look as young as I do, have as much energy as I have, be as healthy as I am, etc. I attribute much of my health and vitality to the supplements I take on a regular basis. I'm in my late fifties, and I take no prescription medications because I have no reason to do so.
However, not everyone in my household is a supplement advocate. Beck is anti-supplement overall. He takes very few to no supplements depending on his state of health at any given time. Several years ago, he talked me into going cold turkey on my supplements. Within the first day, I began having physical reminders of why I took them.
I decided to tough it out in case I was experiencing some type of supplement withdrawal which would ease after several weeks. (I hoped.) Nope, each day, I felt a little worse. Finally by my third week of no supplements, I realized I had a choice: Take supplements or have a horrible quality of life. I chose supplements.
I take supplements to
- Help me sleep - Without my nighttime supplements, I wake frequently and am unable to go back to sleep quickly. In addition, without my nightly supplements, I would have hot flashes and night time sweating that would interfere with sound sleep.
- Provide extra daytime energy without taxing my adrenal glands - I regularly change my energy supplements to optimize my daytime energy levels.
- Provide mental clarity - There's a definite link for me between having physical energy and mental clarity. I highly value my ability to think clearly, remember, and have mental energy.
- Provide nutrients lacking in my diet - I eat extremely well compared to most Americans. However, my body lets me know clearly that I do not get enough nutrients through my normal diet.
- Have an optimally functioning immune system - I am rarely sick. In other words, I rarely suffer from acute or chronic illness.
- Ameliorate genetic damage - I've identified at least one genetic breakdown in my body. Supplements help me overcome the negative outcome.
- Help me age better - I'd rather take supplements to look younger than have cosmetic surgery. The supplements are making a real difference to my perceived physical age. Certainly, I believe I'll live longer taking supplements than I would with cosmetic surgery.
There you have it: my 7 reasons to supplement. Whether you choose to supplement or not, you probably have a few reasons that aren't on my list: pro or con.
Specifically What I Take and Why
I've found quite a bit of general recommendations on taking herbs, minerals, vitamins, etc. available, but very little specific, personal information. Usually, when family, a friend, or an acquaintance asks me what I'm taking, they want to know very specifically why I take it.
My hope is always that by sharing what I do and why, I'll help each of you to make more informed choices on your own supplementation and resulting health.
Most importantly, please realize I'm listing what I use now, based on my 7 reasons to supplement, as a point in time. I'll update this posting based on changes. Also, I'm not listing the literally hundreds of supplements I've tried over the years for point in time specific ailments, that didn't work, or where I found something that worked better.
Your own need for supplementation or lack thereof may, and probably will, be substantially different than mine.
My Sleep Aids
I use these supplements regularly, every night.
Synergy Bone Booster Complex from Vitacost
If I don't take a supplement for bones before bed, I have pain in my leg bones at night. However, I'm prone to kidney stones. That means I can't take too much minerals at one time. The serving size for this supplement is six capsules. I take one capsule before bed. It contains ascorbic acid, D3, K, folic acid, B12, excellent sources of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese. Along with glucosamine, lycopene and boron.
Taking a small amount of minerals before bed helps me to sleep deeper and avoid leg pain. If I didn't have a tendency to make stones, I'd probably take 2-3 of these before bed.
Vitacost Evening Primrose Oil, 1300 mg per Softgel
I take two of these before bed to help with hot flashes from menopause. Without them, I wake up covered in sweat and chilled because I've tossed off my covers. With them, I rarely have hot flashes or night sweats.
Evening Primrose Oil has many other potential benefits. For more information, go to Evening Primrose Oil: Benefits, Use and More.
Sublingual Melatonin - Source Naturals or Vitacost Brand
I usually go to sleep with little problem. However, without taking melatonin, I sleep lightly and am easily woken. Beck and I have two cats and two dogs that all like to sleep with us. I can sleep through all of their movement when I take melatonin. Without it, everything wakes me up.
I use one to two mg of melatonin, which is a very low dose. I keep the melatonin on my bedside table. After I go to bed, I literally bite one of the sublingual lozenges in two and place half under my tongue to melt while I read. Then, I put the other half back in the bottle for another night.
I do this because it's cheaper to buy twice the dose and half it, and I want to use the minimum effective dosage. As long as I don't get the lozenges wet when I bite them in two, this method works great for me.
Regular Daytime Supplements
I take some supplements regularly during the day. However, I don't take any of these every single day. I make it a point to have a least one day a week where I take no supplements. This gives my body a day to clean out from any over supplementation.
Drucker Labs intraMAX 2.0 All-In-One (Purchased from Global Health)
I take one tablespoon of this liquid with over 415 essential ingredients six days a week. I began with one tablespoon twice a day, but then after the first bottle dropped to once a day.
This is one of the all-time best supplements I've ever taken. I feel significantly better when I take it, and I've noticed an improvement in symptoms that hadn't responded to any other supplementation previously.
Most importantly, I have higher energy levels taking intraMAX. As a result, I no longer need to take additional supplements to boost my adrenal glands or thyroid when I'm taking it. Since I've had issues with low energy for many years, this is a big benefit for me.
Additional Symptom Improvement with intraMAX
For instance, when I take this regularly, I no longer have to get up at night to urinate. Before I began taking it, I had to get up to pee between two and three times a night every night. Even with it, I can't drink diuretics before bed without having to pee at night. However, it's amazing to me that intraMAX cured my need to pee at night. I didn't even know that was possible!
In addition, I've noticed a big improvement in my tinnitus when I take intraMAX (along with additional B-12). It takes both of the supplements taken every day to make it go away. As soon as I stop taking either of them, the ringing in my ears returns. Since I didn't think anything would make my tinnitus go away, and tinnitus is often a precursor to hearing loss, I'm extremely happy with this result.
Also, as a result of taking intraMAX, I no longer have to take other supplements I previously used for health problems. Prior to taking intraMAX, I had pretty severe issues with uric acid buildup. I controlled the symptoms through diet and by taking black cherry concentrate liquid or cherry concentrate capsules almost every day. I require fewer cherry supplements since shortly after I began taking intraMAX. Because, taking intraMAX, I only notice uric acid buildup symptoms when I eat far too many problem foods. (I think another supplement I began taking also helped with the uric acid buildup, Detoxadine. More about it later on.) Further, I no longer have to take probiotics for digestive health since intraMAX contains those, too.
365 Vitamin A, 10,000 IU from Fish Liver Oil and Simple Truth Norwegian Cod Liver Oil Softgels
I take Vitamin A from fish liver oil because I'm unable to synthesize beta carotene into vitamin A. I literally cannot eat enough foods high in beta carotene to get enough vitamin A. My obvious symptoms of vitamin A deficiency, which I develop when I don't take oil-based A regularly are severely dry scaly skin, styes on my eyelids, allergies, and developing acute respiratory illnesses.
The 365 brand is vitamin A only while the Cod Liver Oil also contains Vitamin D. I take three of the Vitamin A only once a week with fatty foods. About every second or third week, I take the cod liver oil instead. I don't want to get too much Vitamin D because I'm getting some in my Bone Booster Complex and 50% of daily value in the intraMAX.
As I take enough vitamin A and C, I don't have allergies. Without adequate A and C, I have seasonal allergies and some food-related allergies. Both can be quite severe, but are not present with adequate supplementation.
Vitacost d-Ribose Powder, 5,000 mg
I take d-Ribose for energy. One of my doctors recommended it to me years ago. I tried it, noticed a slight boost in energy, and have taken it regularly since. Several times since I began taking it, I've tried stopping it to see if I could tell a difference without it. Both times, after about two weeks, I noticed a drop in energy levels.
When I added the d-Ribose back in, my energy level went back up almost immediately. This tells me that it works for me, but it's a subtle energy enhancement.
If you're having issues with low energy levels, I suggest reading my posts: Eradicate Tiredness for a Happier You: Part 1, Easier Solutions and Eradicate Tiredness for a Happier You: Part 2, Complex Solutions.
Global Healing Center Detoxadine (Nascent Iodine)
I tried this supplement to see if an Iodine deficiency was causing issues with my energy levels. When I read the reviews, one of them said they'd noticed an improvement in uric acid-related issues as a result of taking it which also piqued my interest.
I began taking it every single day, then dropped down to about three times a week. Both my energy levels and uric acid issues have improved, although I believe this is due to both the detoxadine and intraMAX together.
This is a supplement Beck agreed to take because of the large percentage of people who are deficient in iodine. Since we use sea salt or Himalayan salt versus iodized salt, we are both likely to be iodine deficient without other supplementation.
I can tell whether or not I need the iodine by how it tastes. There is a very significant difference in the taste of this supplement from one time I take it to another. If I can barely taste it, then I need it. If it tastes gross, then I don't.
Global Healing Center Vegansafe B-12 Liquid
I've taken B-12 supplements with varying degrees of impact for years. Certainly, the most effective B-12 I've found has been sublingual. Pills have little effect, which tells me I have issues absorbing B-12 in my intestines. B-12 shots only work for several days then the effect wears off.
When B-12 works for me, I experience higher energy levels and less tinnitus. GHC's Vegansafe B-12 works as well for me as a B-12 shot at a fraction of the cost. Taking it, I have higher energy, an overall sense of well-being, and almost none to no ringing in my ears.
As a result, I try take it six days a week at the one ml dose recommended on the bottle. I say try because if I have a very busy day, and especially if I'm away from home, this is the supplement I miss. B-12 degrades with exposure to light so this isn't a supplement I can easily take along. Also, the intraMax advises not to take any other supplements within 2 1/2 hours of taking it.
As Needed Supplements
Over the years, I've discovered a large number of supplements that work for specific conditions. I take them for those conditions and stop when they are no longer needed.
Zand Echinacea Zinc Lozenges
I don't let colds take hold. I keep Zand Echinacea Zinc lozenges in Cherry and Elderberry flavor on hand and take them as soon I feel any symptoms of respiratory illness. For instance, slight soreness in my throat, sneezing, itchy nose, etc. I literally carry these in my purse and take a bag on trips as part of my luggage.
I like these lozenges because they're sweetened with brown rice syrup. Most importantly, though, they work! I give these away as stocking stuffers for Christmas I like them so much.
I order these from Vitacost, and with their sales, i can usually buy them for around $2.00 for 15 lozenges. It only takes me 2-5 lozenges to ward off an acute illness. To me, that's well worth the expense.
This is also a supplement that Beck, with his no supplementation policy uses. He's gotten to the point where he'll even pull them out of the medicine cabinet himself.
Solaray Timed Release Super Bio Vitamin C
I use additional this vitamin C when the zinc lozenges just don't seem to be enough and when it's hay fever season. It gives my body the additional boost to overcome a determined acute illness and to avoid having hay fever symptoms. Both my father and his mother had severe allergies to ragweed pollen which I've inherited. I've found even though I have the genetic predisposition, I don't have to experience the symptoms as long as I take the correct supplements.
I generally take 1-2 capsules every 12 hours as needed. I prefer to take it with food. Even though it's buffered to avoid stomach distress. A 250 capsule bottle of this C may last me a year.
I like this specific vitamin C for three reasons. First, it's timed released. That means I get the benefit of the C for 12 hours versus the six it would take for my body to normally flush it out. Second, it comes with bioflavonoid concentrate, rutin, hesperidin, and citrus pectin. I've found these additional ingredients help the C to work better. Third, I like that this C isn't just ascorbic acid (man-made C). It also contains rose hips and acerola cherry.
Nature's Answer White Willow, 1 Fluid Ounce, 2,000 mg, Alcohol Free
It's fairly common knowledge that most over-the-counter pain relievers are bad for you in one way or another. They're either extremely hard on your liver or stomach lining. I rarely get a headache, but when I do, I reach for this white willow bark instead of other common OTC pain relievers. Basically I've found white willow bark to be a safe natural pain reliever for me.
I take one dropperful. If that hasn't taken care of my headache within half an hour, then I take another. By two dropperfuls, even the worst headache is gone. Like the vitamin C, a bottle of the White Willow lasts me a year or two.
I like this particular brand because it's alcohol free, doesn't taste bad, but still is effective. If you haven't used white willow bark before and would like more information, I recommend this article from Healthline, Willow Bark: Nature's Aspirin.
Equate Gas and Bloating Prevention Capsules
This supplement has the same active ingredient as Beano. I use it to help digest cruciferous vegetables, beans, and wheat primarily. I find it highly effective and use it daily. I generally take 2-4 capsules with any food it will help digest that I have issues digesting.
If you want to know more about why I use these enzymes and wouldn't be without them, I recommend the post Gluten / Wheat Intolerance or Enzyme Deficiency?
Nature's Truth Probiotic Acidophilus, Quick Release Capsules, 3 mg
Before I began taking intraMAX, I took a probiotic supplement as needed. I knew I needed it when my stomach felt out of sorts even with the gas and bloating prevention capsules. I'd take a high potency probiotic a day for several days and then all would be well again for months.
Since taking intraMAX, I haven't needed to supplement with additional probiotics for my stomach. However, I do use probiotics as needed for vaginal health.
If I begin having an unusual vaginal discharge. I just use this acidophilus as a vaginal suppository nightly just before sleeping. I use it for about a week, and the discharge is always gone.
Because I rarely have unusual vaginal discharge, I rarely use all of a bottle and have to throw the remainder away because they're expired.
For me, this is a far cheaper solution than over than specific brand counter solutions for vaginal infections.
AZO Yeast Plus Dual Relief, Homeopathic Tablets
These homeopathic tablets are for yeast infection and vaginal symptom relief. For me, they work well in conjunction with the acidophilus when I want faster relief, especially of symptoms. Like the acidophilus, I rarely take these, but when I do need them, they're nice to have.
I take three a day and continue until several days past symptom relief. That means a box of 60 tablets lasts for at least three uses, and most of the tablets are past their expiration before I've used them.
The photo at the beginning of this section doesn't have a picture of the AZO tabs, but you can see them on Amazon here: AZO Yeast Plus Dual Relief.
My 7 Reasons to Supplement and the Net Results
- allergies - food and seasonal
- acute respiratory illnesses
- bone pain
- dry, scaly skin
- frequent night time urination
- hot flashes and nighttime sweating
- indigestion, bloating, gas
- low energy
- sleep disorder - poor nighttime sleeping
- yeast infections