When it comes to supplements, it can become super overwhelming to know what ones are actually worth it to buy since they’re are SO many options?! I have created a list of my top 5 most recommended supplements for those who want to support everyday maintenance of good health.
Now, I must premise- you do NOT need supplements to be “healthy”. A well-balanced diet rich in whole foods and a lil sunshine will have you well on your way!! These are just to help give you that extra insurance that you are checking all the boxes that you might be missing in your everyday diet.
You should also never take any supplements without speaking to your health care provider first. I do not recommend taking supplements if you are on medications, are pregnant or breastfeeding, unless approved by your HCP.
My Top 5 Supplement Recommendations:
This is my number one supplement I think pretty much everyone living in Canada should be taking, since we do not get nearly enough consistent sun throughout the year. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it gets stored in our bodies for up to 3 months. These stores begin to run out in the colder months and this is often when we begin to feel the affects of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Vitamin D is best absorbed by the body when it is combined with a fat, you should always purchase a vitamin D supplement that is in a fat source such as a gel capsule, liquid or emulsion. It is also important to take D3 (animal source, most absorbable) with K2, to avoid the increase of calcium deposits in the body.
CanPrev D3 & K2 + MCT. (comes in soft-gels or liquid drops)
Genestra D3 K2 Mulsion
Magnesium is such an important mineral for our bodies, it plays a key role in over 300 different chemical reactions! It is involved in everything from DNA synthesis, energy production and metabolism, muscle strength, nerve function, heart rate regulation and bone building. Wow! I think everyone can benefit from taking magnesium because we do not get very much of it naturally anymore, due to the nutrient levels in our soils being depleted over time- but those who suffer from high stress, sore muscles, poor sleep and fatigue would benefit most of all.
There are different types of magnesium that you should look out for such as:
Magnesium Oxide– a very cheap form, often used as a laxative- I do not recommend anyone using this form.
Magnesium Citrate-good form for those who suffer with constipation because it draws water into the intestines and helps pass bowel movements more easily.
Magnesium Bis-glycinate– this is the most absorbable form, this form is what I recommend for everyday use and what I often call the “anti-stress” mineral.
Magnesium Malate– if you suffer from chronic pain and inflammation, this form would benefit you most
Magnesium is best taken on an empty stomach.
You can also get magnesium from food sources such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, spinach, Swiss chard, brown rice, lima beans, cacao powder.
CanPrev Magnesium Bis-glycinate
AOR Magnesium Glycinate
Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate
B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning they get depleted from the body pretty regularly through our sweat and urine. This means we need to replenish them frequently! There are 9 B vitamins that each have their own benefits but some of them actually work together in the body, so it is essential to get a good balance of them all. In that case, it is best to take them all together in a supplement like a B complex. B complex helps increase energy, improve skin and hair health, enhance mood, stimulate the immune system and digestion, etc!
Also, if you are on the birth control pill, it is super important to be taking a B complex supplement because the pill depletes your B vitamin supply in the body. Keep in mind, vegans, vegetarians and the elderly are also at greater risk for vitamin B deficiencies.
Things to note: B vitamins can make your urine a bright yellow colour, this is due to vitamin B2-riboflavin, you might also notice you are urinating more than usual since taking a B complex, this is because they are water-soluble and aren’t meant to get stored in the body. So don’t be alarmed, both are completely normal!
AOR Advanced B Complex
Genestra Active B Complex
Natural Factors BioCoenzymated Active B Complex
Omega-3’s are essential fatty acids that unfortunately our bodies cannot produce on their own, so we have to get them through our diet. There are 3 types of omega-3 fatty acids. EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish, seafood, fish oil and algal oil. ALA is found in high-fat plant foods like flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. Although, ALA needs to be converted into EPA or DHA to provide any benefits and studies show we only convert ALA to EPA or DHA at a rate of around 5%, so you may need to supplement further if you are only ingesting plant foods. Omega-3 is great for supporting the maintenance of heart and brain health, as well as inflammation in the body, dry skin and dry eyes. If you are not eating fatty fish on a regular basis, you may want to consider taking an omega-3 supplement.
You do have to be careful when selecting your supplement because not all are created equal. As we know, our oceans have become polluted, meaning the sea life have as well. They can contain bacteria and heavy metals when sourced from unreliable fishing companies. A lot of brands also use low quality fish oils that are often rancid before they even hit the shelves.
Things to note: If you are on any blood thinning medications always consult your HCP before taking omega-3 supplements.*
Natural Factors RxOmega -3 600mg
NutraSea Liquid Omega (do not buy the soft gels, contain low quality oils)
AquaOmega Omega-3 Liquid (do not buy the soft gels, contain low quality oils)
Probiotics are the live bacteria that line our guts and help the body to produce certain vitamins and minerals, absorb nutrients and fight off infections! Probiotics are actually in our bodies from the moment we enter the world, but overtime through our diets, lifestyle habits and certain medications these good bacteria lining our digestive tract become less and less. So, in order to keep our bodies happy and healthy I think a probiotic is a great addition to our everyday lives. We can also add in fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, tempeh, miso. etc. to help inoculate our intestines with as many probiotic strains as possible!
There are 3 main families of probiotics:
Lactobacillus: these live predominately in the small intestines and are best for supporting digestion and immune function
Bifidobacterium: live predominantly in your colon and large intestine and are best for supporting a healthy bowel, as well as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, IBS
Saccharomyces: are a friendly yeast that can be given concurrently with antibiotic treatment to support the gut lining from effects of the antibiotics such as antibiotic-diarrhea and Clostridium difficile infection (C.difficile), which can result from antibiotic.
When it comes to buying probiotics it’s all about survival. Those microorganisms must survive the manufacturing process, shelf life AND your stomach acid all before making it to your intestines! So you always want to look for one that contains at least 20-50 billion strains, as well as multiple types of strains (Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium), make sure it’s dairy-free and does not contain and binders and fillers.
Always store your probiotics in the fridge, unless they are shelf stable. You should always take probiotics after a meal, preferably breakfast and two hours before and after taking any medication, especially antibiotics.
Genestra HMF Forte (for overall digestive health)
Genestra HMF Intensive (only if you are taking antibiotics)
Renew Life Ultimate Flora Colon Care (best for diarrhea, constipation, etc.)
I hope this helps clear up some confusion you may have around supplements! Remember supplements may not be for everyone, if you do decide to add them to your routine I suggest ALWAYS starting slow and working your way up. Start by taking ONE supplement at a time for 2-3 weeks and see how you feel, then continue this process for all new additions! This way you can easily find out if a supplement is not working well with your body or not having any positive effects!