At Connect First, we’ve recently been asked by many of our family what are our thoughts on supplements. What are they for? Which supplements are good to take to help keep your body and immune system healthy?
As vitalistic chiropractors, we view the body as having an innate intelligence. This intelligence guides body functions such as cell replication, tissue growth and repair, digestion, your heartbeat, your breathing, etc. What’s amazing is that you don’t need to think about these processes, they are controlled by the automatic part of our nervous system. Though there are many ways to ensure that these functions happen optimally! Some of our favorites are getting adjusted regularly, exercising, getting proper sleep, nourishing your body with good food and water, and having healthy relationships.
Before supplementing, we want to get the essential nutrients we need from whole foods. Make sure to incorporate lots of foods that are nutrient-dense at every meal. It is important to know that supplementation should not be used in replacement of food, but in support of food.
In today’s world, food is grown in soil that has been depleted of the many essential nutrients that it once had. Even organic soil does not have the level of the nutrients we need. It is very costly for farmers to keep turning over their soil and to wait for the soil to replenish itself of nutrients and good bacteria. This means that though we may be eating the right foods, the food itself can be lacking some of the nutrients we need. This is why supplementation is important.
Below are some of best vitamins and minerals to help support your body and immune system and some simple suggestions of using them. If you are brand new to supplements this is a great place to start. Keep in mind recommendations vary based on age, lifestyle, activity level, during preconception, pregnancy and postpartum, medical conditions, and your health goals.
This powerful vitamin and antioxidant helps with immune function, restoring skin tissues, and can help decrease the length of respiratory infections! Some foods high in Vitamin C are red pepper, black currant, kiwi, guava, strawberries, kale, and broccoli. Aim for about 75 to 90 milligrams of Vitamin C daily for adults.
Vitamin D3 helps improve immunity and brain function. Not enough Vitamin D3 can actually increase the risk of infection! Here are some natural ways to get Vitamin D. Getting outside in the sunlight for at least 5 to 30 minutes, at least two times per week. Eating foods such as cod liver oil, wild caught salmon, mackerel, sardines, beef liver, eggs, caviar and mushrooms. Aim for 400-800 IU for adults.
This rockstar vitamin is essential for healthy eyes and vision, neurological function, healthy skin and hormonal/reproductive health, and supporting the lungs, liver, kidneys and digestive organs. It can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, berries, eggs, butter, and organ meats like beef or chicken liver, and raw whole milk and cheeses (full fat). Aim for about 700–900 RAE for adults.
Vitamin E helps boost the immune system by increasing white blood cells and increasing the ability to handle infection. It also fights off free radicals! Some of the best food sources of for Vitamin E are sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, wheat germ, mango, and avocado. Recommendations for adults are about 15 milligrams for adults.
This amazing vitamin helps to boost immunity and mood. It supports many parts of the body to keep you moving and feeling your best. Some food sources for Vitamin B6 are turkey breast, grass-fed beef, pistachios, pinto beans, avocado, and chicken breast. Aim for about 1.2 to 1.7 milligrams for adults.
This fabulous mineral helps to boost the immune system while keeping immune cells healthy as they mature and grow. Great food sources for zinc are lamb, grass-fed beef, chickpeas, cashews, yogurt, chicken, turkey, eggs, mushrooms, salmon, and cocoa powder. Aim for about 8 to 11 milligrams for adults.
This mineral is very important as it helps guide oxygen to all of the tissues of the body! Iron rich foods are spirulina, liver, grass-fed beef, lentils, dark chocolate, spinach, sardines, and black beans. Recommendations are about 8 to 18 milligrams for adults.
This warrior mineral helps to slow down the spread of inflammation to help aid the immune system. Foods containing selenium are brazil nuts, eggs, liver, cod, sunflower seeds and chia seeds, poultry, barley, and mushrooms. Recommendations are about 400 micrograms for adults.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Simply put, probiotics are the good bacteria in your digestive tract. Prebiotics help feed the probiotics to be more effective. It is the fiber from foods that are high in prebiotics. Some examples are chicory root, dandelion greens, leeks, and garlic but all vegetables fiber helps boost our prebiotics. Some foods high in probiotics are sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. Both prebiotics and probiotics work together to create a healthy digestive system, lower inflammation in the body, and increase your immune system. Recommendations are 10 to 100 billion CFU.
We love Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic Complete Powder
Cod Liver Oil
Cod Liver Oil is great for boosting immunity and decreasing inflammation in the body. Cod liver oil naturally contains Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Omega-3 fatty acids. You can eat fresh cod liver to obtain the benefits and there is also supplementation. Vitamin A and D we spoke about above.
Omega 3 fatty acids are good for brain and mental health, decreasing inflammation in the body, supports bones and joints, essential for infant and child development to name a few. Some foods with Omega-3’s are mackerel, wild caught salmon, cod liver oil, walnuts, chia seeds, herring, flaxseed, sardines, hemp seeds, anchovies, egg yolk, and natto. Supplementation for omega 3’s – supplementation, fish oil, krill oil, cod liver oil, algal oil and flaxseed oil are all excellent options to increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake. Suggested dosage for omega-3 fatty acids are 500 to 1,000 milligrams for adults.
We love Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil from Green Pasture
This well-known European berry contains antiviral properties for helping with flu-like symptoms. It also helps with sinuses and eases allergies. Many people love to make their own elderberry syrup! It can also be found at all health food stores. We also have DIY elderberry kits available for purchase in office! Dosage recommendations are 1 tablespoon up to four times daily for adults.
This Indian root (mostly used in the spice form) helps to reduce inflammation in the body. It contains many important vitamins and minerals. Enjoy cooking with this spice! Recommendations for supplement are 500 to 2,000 milligrams of turmeric extract for adults.
Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano oil is an herb that is a member of the mint family. It has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. You can use oregano to cook with, you can use it topically as an oil diluted with coconut oil, and/or you can take it internally as a supplement. We have DoTerra Oregano essential oil available for purchase in office!
There are many brands of supplements on the market today. What is most important when choosing a product is making sure there no unnecessary ingredients such as soy, artificial sweeteners, fruit juices, corn syrup/glucose/sucrose/fructose, fillers, additives and preservatives.
If you have any questions about supplementation or would like some recommendations on where to begin, we would be happy to help! We also have affiliations with some of the top supplement brands in the industry, which include Standard Process, Designs for Health and Klaire Labs. We will provide the links below, but these are the products that we use personally and love!
When making the choice to incorporate supplements into your lifestyle, always remember good food as the main source of nutrition comes first. Continue to take care of yourself by getting adjusted, sleeping well, drinking lots of water, and managing stress. Making healthy lifestyle choices throughout your life helps keep the body functioning well and allows you to live the life you want today, and helps you continue to do the things you love for a lifetime.