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Let's talk about SUPPLEMENTS...

Quite rightly, there is a lot of confusion around supplements and whether one should take them or not. There was a Documentary on Netflix that came out a few years called 'The Truth About Vitamins' which planted a seed of doubt around these little pills, what they contained and whether they were a total waste of money or not.

Personally, I've always been of the opinion that you can get what you need from a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and protein. However, as the years go by I do find myself drawn towards giving myself an EXTRA boost of some specific vitamins and minerals during the colder half of the year because hey...why not?

However, I do a fair amount of research into the specific vitamins I could do with and why, and also the brand that I want to buy. The supplement industry is largely unregulated which means that many brands promise to deliver x but in fact won't come close because the dose and quality of their pill is inferior to what you can find in a brand which chooses to avoid fillers, preservatives, GMO ingredients, bulking agents or plastic (yes, plastic). Supplements which avoid the latter are often more expensive but naturally, are worth it. Take fewer, good quality ones from a reputable brand or stick to your local farmers market and get what you need from whole, plant-based foods.

As mentioned above I think that some extra support is good from time to time and so I have listed the supplements I take and why I take them below. Please do not begin to take anything I suggest unless you have consulted with your doctor and know that it is safe to do so (especially if you take any medication).

Vitamin C - You cannot overdose on Vit C and it is a great barrier against coughs and colds during the winter. I also take it before a flight (an extra one on top of my daily dose because of the stale air being circulated) and you can find it naturally in peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, citrus fruits, brussel sprouts and broccoli. See below for a link to the Viridian 950mg dose.

Vitamin B12 - This one is largely found in animal products such as beef, eggs, clams, milk, sardines and salmon but also in Nutritional yeast and fortified non dairy milk. I decided to start taking this when I stopped eating meat as it is an essential vitamin for effective body function and I did not want to risk becoming deficient. A course of 90 days should be plenty to replenish stores. I also choose Viridian for my B12.

Magnesium- Magnesium is an important mineral, playing a role in over 300 enzyme reactions in the human body. Its many functions include helping with muscle and nerve function, regulating blood pressure, lowering inflammation, and supporting the immune system. For foods naturally high in this mineral almonds, spinach, edamame beans, avocado, banana and cashew nuts are some of the foods highest in it.

An overdose of magnesium through dietary sources is unlikely because the body will eliminate any excess magnesium from food through urine however, if side-effects occur (diarrhoea, nausea or cramping) speak to your doctor and lower your dose.

I take a US based brand that recently launched in the UK-

Probiotics- The benefits of taking a good probiotic daily is something that I really notice for my digestion in particular. They help me regulate bowel movements, reduce symptoms of IBS and also ensure that my gut micro biome is balanced and happy. I take Optibac Extra Strength each evening before bed (many take them in the morning, it doesn't really matter). Symprove is also a great alternative but you have to commit to drinking it from the fridge every day which is tricky if you are on the go frequently. I have linked both below as think that both are brilliant.

Vitamin D - most effectively absorbed with K2, this vitamin is one that we get from direct sunlight. In the UK, it is advised that we take a Vitamin D supplement between October and March because there is not enough sunlight for us to get the amount needed to keep levels at their sweet spot. This particular brand is easy to take in spray form and I do this once in the morning. Deficiency in Vitamin D can cause fatigue, muscle weakness and bone pain.

Vitamin D + K2 from Better you

Hair & Energy- JS Health are a relatively new brand which I am a huge fan of. Their Detox + Debloat pills really helped me when I was having an IBS flare up earlier this year and was really suffering from painful bloating. Most recently I started taking their Hair & Energy pills which have dramatically improved the strength of my hair and also my nails. I used to lose half a head of hair each time I washed it but have found this to improve and my nails are stronger than ever before (and grow faster). Also, who doesn't want a bit of an energy boost at this time of year when the days are getting darker and shorter?!

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