Supplements and Health Tonics: Waste or Warranted?
“Supplements are a waste of money! You can get everything you need from a good diet.”
You’ve read this before right? The sentence appears in various forms in ‘scholarly research’, in well-meaning magazine articles, and in books. The fact is, if you don’t struggle with ANY health vulnerabilities or illnesses you probably CAN get what you need from a regular diet without supplements. This doesn’t apply if you struggle with anemia, vitamin D deficiency, osteoporosis, CFS, chronic stress, recurrent UTI’s, and other chronic diseases. It also doesn’t apply if your ACE score is high.
Food is our best medicine in some circumstances, but you might not have time to do the right kind of menu planning and food prep. When time is short, stress is big, and you want to feel good, use supplements and tonics as health aides.
I’ve been taking supplements since my late teens and have never stopped. It became habit. It wasn’t until I started researching and writing about stress that I understood this was an early intuitive tip-off. I was going to need them more than I realized back then.
Though food can be your best medicine, you don’t have to abstain from junk food. You can have your hamburger, your favorite pizza, a Diet Coke, those fries, or that cinnamon roll. Just realize it should be a treat, not a lifestyle. It’s all about moderation.
When it comes to taking supplements, I offer a balanced, moderate perspective. My opinion hits middle ground somewhere between “They are a waste of money, you just need to eat well”, versus the polar opposite view, “They can cure every illness on the planet”. My fitness coaching job (a longtime hobby) drives me to review lots of research, pop culture articles, and reviews of ‘miracle’ products. I’ve seen plenty of quackery on wellness! I don’t believe there is a cure-all. Save your hard earned money and work on consistent habits rather than placing your trust in a single, expensive, ‘magic’ product.
I talk frequently with my clients about supplements as an ‘insurance policy’ for those days we ‘fall off the wagon’ a bit with our eating. There are also days our immune system needs a helping hand due to stress. Stress weakens the immune system, causes cell damage, and can be a catalyst for almost every illness known to humankind. There’s
Promising Health Practices to Consider:
- Fiber and Prebiotics- We generally need more soluble & insoluble fiber than our diet gives us. Motility can be an issue for those of us that sit all day for work. Get non-thickening, unflavored fiber powder and mix it with anything you like to drink. Many new fiber products such as chews and cookies have popped up on the market. You can also buy unprocessed wheat bran in powder form to add to food/drinks. Prebiotics are available as a supplement.
- Daily baby aspirin
- Fish oil
- High potency B vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Turmeric/black pepper
- Vit D (If residing in the northern hemisphere)
- Lightbox therapy (If residing in the northern hemisphere)
Common Natural Remedies for Common Problems:
- Valerian Root
- Magnesium, or magnesium/calcium blend
- Lavender oil diffused or sprinkled on sheets/pillow
- Chamomile Tea
- Magnesium or magnesium/calcium blend (consume in the PM hours)
- L-Tryptophan (consume in the PM hours)
- Align Oil Blend (Eden’s Garden)
- Cheer Up Buttercup Oil Blend (NOW Brand)
- Bergamot oil
- Balsam oil applied to the chest area
- 5 HTP
- High potency cranberry
- Uva Ursi
Other interesting supplements to read about!
- St John’s Wort
- Kava Kava
- Ginko Biloba
*This list of natural remedies is not medical advice and does not originate from a physician. These supplements do not replace medications.
The preceding list of natural remedies for common problems was compiled from current research on wellness and was written in consultation with a naturopath and homeopathic practitioner. If you are taking medications, it is very important that you check with your doctor before trying certain supplements. It is also important that you become an educated consumer and do your own research. Note that these wellness supports do not treat or cure a medical condition and are not medications. They may support wellness in terms of alleviating deficiencies for a ‘system under stress’. It is important to understand that anyone can be allergic to anything and this includes natural remedies! In the same way, just as with medications, you are your own best expert to gauge the effectiveness of any given supplement. It takes time to figure out what your body needs. Order your supplements from a trusted source such as Vitacost and avoid synthetic products. Set your supplements in a pill minder to be as consistent as possible. Be informed and use a journal to track what works. Combine these wellness supports with plenty of water intake, a diet mostly made up of lean protein and vegetables, and move physically as much as possible.
Your Guts Hold the Key to Health? Really?
I’m most concerned about the gut and GI issues that I see in most of my clients. We need to be aware of the ravaging, well-documented effects of stress and anxiety on our gut- our ‘second brain’. These four standard protocols – supplements, fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics, along with adequate hydration, are the first steps in correcting imbalance. If you are struggling with nausea as a result of stress or anxiety, taking a ginger supplement is a far better option than an antacid. Antacids can cause secondary health problems.
In addition to supplements, there are other daily ‘health tonics’ and practices out there. They are ancient, inexpensive, and worth consideration. Perhaps they have more of a placebo effect than anything, but we must remember the placebo effect is powerful because it is based on belief. You already know about the power of belief if you’ve chatted with me about CBT!
Here are some simple health tonics and practices you can add to your regimen:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Fire cider
- Lemon water
- Oil pulling
- Diffusing, ingesting, and using essential oils (more on that below)
*As always, it’s best to talk about these health practices with your providers if you have concerns or needs outside the general population!
Information on Essential Oils
There is so much helpful information on essential oils out there today. They are an inexpensive health tonic. They are also powerful substances. Essential oils should be used with CAUTION and after taking the time to do research. You can buy them at big box stores, your local co-op, or a specialty shop. I love the website https://drericz.com/ for all things oils and consider him an expert. Here is some summary info you can find on his website:
- Inhale essential oils in a diffuser, inhaler, spritzer, and other effective ways.
- Add essential oils to your daily body care regimen.
- Be careful and learn the basics, especially if you plan on ingesting.
- Have fun & be empowered! Using essential oils and other natural therapies is a life-changing experience for most people. Remember to enjoy the journey as you learn all about them.
- Good Bye Allergy Blend – lavender, lemon, and peppermint
- Healthy Digestion Blend – anise, caraway, fennel, ginger, lemon, tarragon
- Focus Blend – cedarwood, frankincense, sandalwood, and vetiver
- Christmas Blend – fir (balsam, Douglas, white), peppermint, and vanilla absolute
- Holy Anointing Blend – cassia, cinnamon, frankincense, myrrh
- Immune Boosting Blend – cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, rosemary, orange, and lemon
- Joyful Blend – orange, lemon, bergamot, grapefruit, and vanilla absolute
- Deep Breathing Blend- cardamom, eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, tea tree
- Sleepy Time Blend- Roman chamomile, lavender, and vetiver
If you feel overwhelmed by this list, make it easy on yourself. Here are two simple steps:
- Get your ‘toolkit’ together. First, do your research on what to buy based on your health issues & wellness goals. Make a list, then shop from your list online at Vitacost, Amazon, or a local grocery store. It doesn’t have to be ‘top-of-the-line’ product.
- Take everything but your bedtime supplements in the morning. Put all supplements in a cup/pill minder on your kitchen counter. Mix in powders with your cereal and milk, dump them into your shake or smoothie, or take them with your morning beverage.
“The greatest gift to give to the world is a healthy you”. ~ Joyce Meyer
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