Supplements you should take every day!
Navigating the supplement aisle at your local Whole Foods or health store can feel like a high-stakes obstacle course: What does “IU” stand for again and why does it matter? Which strain of probiotic do you need? And what is up with magnesium, anyway? In order to preempt your desperate real-time shopping questions for Dr. Google, here’s a little supplemental intel on the gold-star vitamins and minerals that you need.
Of course, this roadmap is only a basic guide to supplements. They’re used for different reasons and, therefore, the recommended amounts will differ from person to person. Check with your doctor for more personalized guidance. (Really, you should call up your doc before adding any supplements to your diet.)
Vitamin D: 2,000-5,000 IUs per day
“Vitamin D is essential to how our body functions,” says Dr. Guzzardo. From the immune system to digestive health to brain health, he says the supplement is “vital.”
“In fact, some people with deficiencies tend to be on myriad medications to manage their symptoms, when really, all they need is a daily dose of bottled sunshine,” he continues.
Vitamin D, which humans absorb naturally from the sun’s rays, also reduces risks of developing asthma, heart disease, and cancer, Dr. Guzzardo adds.
Magnesium: 200-400 mgs per day
A shortage of magnesium could wreak havoc on your mood, mental health, and sleep patterns. “Magnesium is a foundational micronutrient for the hormone pathways, neurotransmitter regulation, and detoxification,” says Dr. Guzzardo.
Probiotics: 20-50 billion CFUs per day
Imagine your gut is a garden (because it kinda is). Probiotics are the seeds in your gut that can boost brain health, soothe inflammation, support hormonal health, and more, Dr. Guzzardo explains. To clarify no seeds means no flowers. “Ideally, you should have enough good bacteria from your diet to have a healthy microbiome and be replenishing that bacteria on a daily basis,” Dr. Guzzardo explains.
Omegas: 2-3 grams per day
Omega-3 fatty acids should be added to your diet for its brain-boosting, heart-healthy, and inflammation-fighting superpowers, Dr. Guzzardo advises.
But for anyone who might treat this buzzy supplement as a magic pill, there is one caveat. “While taking fish oil can be really helpful, it doesn’t replace plant-based diets and adequate sleep,” warns Dr. Guzzardo. In other words: Make sure you’re not expecting your pills to do all the heavy lifting for your overall #wellnessgoals.
Vegan protein powder: 1 scoop per day
To round out your daily dose of supplements, Dr. Guzzardo recommends a heaping scoop of Vega (or another vegan protein powder) to fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet. Any brand that packs 20 to 25 grams of plant-based protein is ideal, so you can enjoy this extra boost in a post-workout cookie, your morning smoothie, or these bliss bites.
If you stick to a particular diet—be it vegan, keto, gluten-fee, etc—you’ll need to put extra consideration into your supplement regimen. Plus, everyone should be taking these five supplements for mental health.
5 Simple Ways to Beat Brain Fog
We all experience those moments from time to time - a forgotten name, a hazy memory, misplaced keys. After all, in today's age of multitasking madness, it's easy to lose track of a few details. But when these "forgetful moments" happen regularly, they become more than just passing phenomena; they comprise a condition loosely referred to as "brain fog".
The term "brain fog" describes the symptoms well - people feel as if there is a thick fog dampening their mind. While conventional medical and mental health establishments don't generally recognize brain fog, it is actually a surprisingly common condition that affects people of all ages. Symptoms include pervasive absent-mindedness, muddled thought processes, poor memory recall, difficulty processing information, disorientation, fatigue, and others.
Because the condition is loosely defined, the causes themselves have been quite murky. However, we now know that good cognitive function depends on numerous physical systems running smoothly: Strong circulation, efficient digestion and detoxification, antioxidant activity and more. Impairments in these functions can deprive the brain of nutrition and damage neurons and brain cells. So by understanding and strengthening these complex interrelationships, we can help combat brain fog and improve overall health simultaneously.
1. Improve Diet and Digestion
One issue linked to both diet and brain fog is chronic inflammation. Of all the factors that influence inflammation, diet has the most direct impact.
A number of nutrient-dense foods with specific anti-inflammatory qualities, such as green vegetables, sprouted grains and legumes, healthy fats and others, are shown to support brain health and cognitive function. On the other hand, junk foods high in sugars and trans-fats fuel inflammation and impair cognitive function. Worse, insulin dysfunction - usually related to chronically elevated blood sugar from an unhealthy diet- is a major risk factor in dementia and cognitive decline.
In addition to a nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory diet, certain herbs and nutrients such as cardamom, pomegranate, cinnamon, galangal, chromium and zinc support digestion and nutrient absorption, and help reduce inflammation.
Heavy metals and toxins such as mercury, lead, pesticides and pollutants can accumulate in the body over time. A gentle detox program with natural cleansing supplements and an anti-inflammatory diet can help support a healthy brain.
PectaSol-C® Modified Citrus Pectin has been clinically shown to safely remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body without affecting essential mineral levels. PectaSol-C binds to toxins, allowing them to be gently removed by the body's innate detox systems.
Another major factor in brain fog is oxidative stress, caused by unstable molecules called free radicals which fuel inflammation and can damage brain cells and DNA.
Be sure to get enough antioxidants which help scavenge free radicals help detoxify the body. Berries, dark greens and other richly colored fruits and vegetables are good choices, as they contain powerful antioxidant compounds that defend against oxidative stress.
ecoNugenics HonoPure®, an extract from magnolia bark, is a powerful botanical antioxidant compound shown to support neurological health, with a wide range of additional benefits. Other powerful antioxidants that help detoxify the body are vitamin C, lipoic acid, N-Acetyl-L- Cysteine and selenium.
3. Support Cell Power
Cellular power plants called mitochondria use oxygen to create energy, and there are more mitochondria in brain cells than other cells. So it's important to support mitochondrial function to improve oxygen utilization in the brain.
There are a number of supplements that enhance cellular energy production and support brain health, such as NADH (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) which is found in all living cells. In addition, supplements like Co-Q-10, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, L-Carnosine and medicinal mushrooms all support mitochondrial function and reduce inflammation, while helping to combat free radicals. As such, they can offer important support for cognitive capacity, vital energy, and overall health.
4. Control Stress
There are a number of practices that have been shown to reduce stress and benefit the brain: especially yoga, Tai Chi, meditation. The breathing that is so essential to these disciplines increases oxygen throughout the body, which in turn increases energy. These exercises are also shown to reduce inflammation and help calm an overactive nervous system.
One of the underlying issues we see in brain fog is the inability to get oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Many times, this comes down to a circulation issue, which can be related to a sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, and other factors. Regular exercise also increases neural connections throughout your body, balances hormones and supports numerous other areas of health. Studies now show that one of the most important things you can do for your brain is to get up and move around. Go for regular walks, take bike rides, get out in nature. If you find yourself stuck in a fog, get out and exercise, and notice the clarity you feel afterwards. If brain fog persists, see your doctor. In serious cases, it can signal an underlying neurological or inflammatory condition, such as Lyme disease, fibromyalgia or diabetes. Most importantly, don't let brain fog become your normal state. With the right support, you can stay sharp and protect brain health - at any age.
Increasing data points to benefits of intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting—going without calories for a set time, typically 12 hours or longer—continues to gain attention within the scientific and medical communities. Fasting is associated with a number of spiritual practices and has long been used in traditional healing systems as a prescription for enhanced health and longevity. Today, an increasing number of studies demonstrate that some form of calorie restriction may decrease disease risks, promote healthy weight loss, increase lifespan, and rejuvenate numerous areas of health.
It's important to note that prolonged fasting or severe calorie restriction can be difficult and potentially dangerous. However, intermittent fasting (IF) and fasting-mimicking diets (FMD) are much less restrictive. A growing body of clinical and scientific data suggest these modified forms of fasting can have significant benefits for critical areas of health, including glucose regulation, cardiovascular function, inflammatory response and more.
One type of intermittent fasting is termed “Time Restrictive Feeding” (TRF), where caloric intake is limited to a specific time period during a 24-hour cycle. Participants can eat whatever they want during that window, though experts recommend healthy, unprocessed foods. One of the more popular methods of TRF is the “16/8” approach, where daily caloric intake is limited to an 8-hour window; the remaining 16 hours are the fasting period.
Published studies continue to show the benefits of TRF as well as other forms of intermittent fasting. One recent clinical study showed that a TRF diet promoted weight loss and reduced blood pressure in obese individuals. A preclinical study showed that TRF effectively reversed the progression of metabolic diseases in mice with pre-existing obesity and type II diabetes, even when the diet was periodically interrupted. Another recent observational study showed that intermittent fasting, using an alternate-day fasting program for ten months, eliminated the need for diabetes medication in subjects.
Targeted Antioxidants and Nutrients
While many proponents of intermittent fasting point out that these types of diets are easier to follow because they allow for a diverse selection of foods, experts also assert that the quality of calories can play a critical role. This is especially important during a “fasting mimicking diet” where participants periodically restrict calories on certain days, with a focus on foods and supplements containing antioxidants and other important co-factors during that time.
Research continues to demonstrate the benefits of targeted antioxidants and nutrients in supporting healthy glucose balance, insulin function, cardiometabolic health and other related areas.
For long-term metabolic support and healthy glucose and insulin balance, ecoNugenics recommends ecoMetabolic®. This unique formula is designed to support overall metabolic health and efficiency, with specific benefits for healthy glucose and cholesterol levels.*
While the benefits of intermittent fasting continue to emerge in the published literature, it’s important to discuss specific dietary changes with your health provider to ensure optimal results. There is no one size fits all diet, but with slight modifications adapted to each individual, this simple approach to eating may offer a promising strategy to support long-term health and wellness, naturally.
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Furmli S, et al. BMJ Case Rep. 2018 Oct 9;2018. pii: bcr-2017-221854.