A lot of people start their days by popping a multivitamin.
Unfortunately, there’s more than enough evidence to show that these “multis” provide absolutely no nutritional benefit. There’s even compelling research that shows they can even do harm to your body. It’s also very confusing since every supplement has different ratios of various vitamins which don’t take into account an individual’s diet or biological makeup. They tend to contain fillers like magnesium stearate, which you might think is a form of the mineral magnesium, when in fact it is an industrial lubricant, meant to keep the pills from sticking to machinery (and has been shown to reduce immune function).
Truth it, there are very few supplements that you should be taking every day.
In fact, when you see RDA values for various vitamins and minerals on a package, you might think that stands for Recommended Daily Amounts, when in actuality, its Recommended Dietary Amounts.
So if you want to take supplements, you need to think of your medicine cabinet as a toolbox, where you use what you need, when you need it, and throw out the idea of a daily dose.
These are the 15 “tools” I keep in my cabinet and what I use them for:
1. Probiotics—A lot of diseases of the industrialized worlds (like my personal favorite, Crohn’s Disease) are thought to be a result of our hyperclean environment with hand sanitizer stations around every corner. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that help regulate our digestion, strengthen our immune system and maintain sanity. Unless you are eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, natto, or kefir on a daily basis you should take a probiotic most days and double if you are taking antibiotics.
2. Vitamin D3—Most of you reading this are probably vitamin D deficient if you wear clothes and work indoors. In addition, if you’re diet doesn’t contain adequate amounts of fat then you won’t be able to properly process vitamin D (as well as A, E and K). Most people should be taking around 5,000 IU per day unless you get to spend a good amount of time outside and in the sun. Even those people should take some during the winter months. One more thing, take it in the morning otherwise it can disrupt your sleep since vitamin D and melatonin are inversely related.
3. Krill Oil - Krill Oil, like fish oils can help fight inflammation and lower cholesterol. In tests Krill seems to be better absorbed by the body so you’ll tend to get more bang for your buck and added benefits such as blood sugar regulation and even possible fat loss.
4. Astaxanthin—The red pigment in salmon and a major skin protectant thought to aid in eye health and inflammation, I take this carotenoid mostly in the winter months when my skin tends to get dryer as the lips in Astaxanthin appear to help maintain elasticity.
5. Phenocane—Nature’s Tylenol, Phenocane’s main ingredient is Curcurmin with a couple added friends that make this an incredibly powerful anti inflammatory and pain killer.
6. Oil of Oregano Capsules—Oil of Oregano (different plant from the stuff on your pizza) contains Carvacrol, an incredibly potent bacteria killer. I take this anytime I travel, am exposed to people I know are sick, or feel a cold coming on.
7. Oil of Oregano Liquid—in liquid form this stuff is really powerful and will burn a little but a couple drops in a glass of water gargled for a minute will stop a sore throat or sinus infection dead in its tracks.
8. Goat Colostrum—colostrum is the first two or three days of breast milk and contain the building blocks for a strong immune system and health body. Goats milk is the closest equivalent to human breast milk and I always take these in combination with oil of oregano capsules.
9. Xylitol Nasal Spray - xylitol is a sugar alcohol and has antibacterial properties. As a nasal spray it keeps the passages moist and bacteria free, ideal for travel or ducted heating systems.
10. MCT Oil - Medium Chain Triglycerides are the fat transport mechanisms you get when you put coconut oil in a centrifuge. It’s an odorless, tasteless oil that provides an immediate source of ketones (fat energy) to you blood stream and will actually help your cognitive function. I use it in salad dressings or yogurt when I want to up the fat content without adding any taste. If I’ve had a rough night with the kids I’ll add it along with so we grass fed butter to my coffee for a nice cup of Bulletproof Coffee(TM).
11. Digestech—We have different enzymes to help us digest fats, carbs, and protein. Digestech capsules contain those and then some. They help me digest large meals and extract more nutrition from the foods I eat.
12. Activated Charcoal Capsules—sometimes you eat or drink something and wish you hadn't. Don’t panic about the toxins mounting an attack against your body. Just pop a couple capsules of activated charcoal and let natures Brita filter (which actually contains charcoal) trap those toxins and take them out of your body.
13. Alpha Brain - Nootropics are substances which increase cognitive performance. On the pharmaceutical side think Adderall or Modafinil. I’m not one for taking drugs so I turn to Alpha Brain, which contains 11 natural, well studied compounds that will increase focus and memory while offering neuroprotective anti stressors. You can use this daily but I use it when I know I’ve got a big day or meetings or a client engagement ahead of me to help me break through some inner barriers. This won’t turn you into an Einstein, but if you know the answer to the question is inside you somewhere, this might help you find it.
14. Collagen and Whey Protein Powder—Unless you are a bodybuilder or trying to experiment with eating only specific amounts of protein, most people do not need to supplement with protein. Sometimes I’ll do a protein fast for a day or two where I’m limiting protein to 50 grams or less and the easiest way to do that is to eat a whole bunch of veggies and then have a serving of protein power. The two forms are pretty similar but the nice added benefit of collagen powder is that it’s heat stable so you can add it to your coffee if you want.
15. Greens Powder - I try to eat lots of dark leafy greens in my diets but somedays are more difficult than others. A green powder mix like Powerfood from Onnit acts like a dietary insurance policy and gives me things I might never get otherwise like camu for antioxidants or olive leaf for internal cleansing.
That’s what I use—but how about you? Tell me what supplements are in your medicine cabinet in the comments below.