I’ve never been a fan of taking vitamins or a bunch of pills to make me feel better. My train of thought has always been to tough it out or just eat better, but since becoming vegan I’ve learnt that not everything can be solved with food choices. My health has improved dramatically just by changing my diet but like with any diet change there are certain nutrients you may need that aren’t in your food, or your body naturally does not process as it should. This is where nutritional supplements really make a difference.
Americans spent almost $320 billion on prescription medications in 2011 (source: Take Part) so I’m sharing with you which vitamins I’ve been taking, what they do and how they help me. You should never copy someone else’s prescription whether it be natural or pharmaceutical drugs, and that isn’t my aim, but rather I hope to show you how some of these natural wonders can replace the pharmaceuticals we’re consuming way too much of.
We always here the health experts waffle on about how we need Omega-3, whether you eat meat or not. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that can reduce high blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, improve brain function and important for pregnant women. It’s also been proven to assist in alleviating the symptoms of arthritis, depression, bowel diseases, diabetes and weight loss.
Most commonly fish is the recommended source of Omega-3 but fish actually get it from the algae they eat. Importantly, fish are also the ones that actually carry the only known negative effects of Omega-3 because they can contain toxins and contaminants, hence experts placing restrictions on the recommended weekly intake. By taking a vegetarian/vegan Omega-3 you get the nutrients direct from the source, algae.
I take: 2x Opti-3 Vegetarian Omega-3 EPA & DHA capsules twice a day. This is double the standard recommended dose as it’s being used to aid my knee, ankle and wrist joints.
Turmeric, a root plant from the Ginger family, is one of those underrated spices. Most westerners just throw a bit in a curry for flavour but it can do so much more than that. Turmeric was used in folk medicine to heal all kinds of ailments, and for good reason because it really does work. Unfortunately, the taste is quite bitter and in order to get the healing benefits you would need to eat more than your taste buds could handle. I tried this method for a few months and I never want to eat curry again (this will probably change when the memory wears off).
The antiseptic and antibacterial benefits make it a good all-rounder for most people to take but I take it for the powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Having carpal tunnel syndrome caused by a repetitive strain injury means I was prescribed pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories and then another drug to counteract the side-effects the anti-inflammatory pills. It was a ridiculously painful experience that left me very sick but that’s what most people with my condition must take each day. Turmeric is the natural solution
I take: 2x Thorne Research Phytoprofen capsules twice a day. I take these to treat the inflammation in my wrist and period paid. As a pleasant side-effect, it’s also said to help with anti-aging by reducing the amount of inflammation occurring to skin tissue.
If you are in Australia you’ve probably been told at least a dozen times in your life that the sun is good for you, we need the Vitamin D. Or that we shouldn’t wear sunscreen because it will stop us from absorbing Vitamin D. The fact is, and proven by many studies, that over 4 million Australians are deficient in Vitamin D (source: SMH) and it has nothing to do using sunscreen.
I won’t get into all the crazy medical stuff but basically the D3 strain is offering the most benefits according to studies. It’s this “sunshine” Vitamin D that has a tonne of benefits. Most notably it helps to maintain healthy bones and teeth, supports the immune system and supports normal muscle function.
I take: 1x Vitashine Vitamin D3 2500IU tablet once per day. The recommended daily intake is 2500IU, some of which we do get from our food (mushrooms, dairy, salmon and animal livers) but majority we need to supplement. If you have a diet high in the foods mentioned you can get away with taking a 1000IU supplement but vegetarians/vegans should take 2500IU.
Thyroid. It’s a dirty word but in this age more and more people are having problems with their thyroid. Iodine increases the production of thyroid hormone which in turn increases all hormones in the body, including testosterone and adrenaline. The hormones affect behavior, metabolism and libido. Don’t freak out, taking Iodine won’t make you grow a beard or change your voice. Women need testosterone too.
In order to get iodine from our food the food needs to be grown in iodized soil. This is becoming more uncommon so supplementation is required. Seafood is one of the most iodine-rich foods available but the body can’t store excess iodine so you need to take it each day, and that brings up the problems with toxins from eating too much fish/seafood. Taking behavior modification drugs, metabolism-boosting tablets or expensive hormone replacements can easily be avoided when you look at the nutrients your lacking.
I take: 1 spray of BioCeuticals Iodine Forte Oral Spray per day. It delivers the exact dose you need without any fuss, and it’s peppermint flavoured so it isn’t leaving a horrible taste in your mouth.
No body cares about your iron intake until you say you are vegan, but if there is anything people should be caring about it’s B-12. For animal eaters, the source of B-12 commonly comes in eggs and dairy but many people are still B-12 deficient because they are unable to absorb it. For vegetarians and vegans, we pretty much have to supplement all of it.
So why is B-12 so important? B-12 is responsible for so many vital functions, such as building our DNA and red blood cells, and supporting normal nerve function. The problem lies in how long you remain deficient because any nerve damage that occurs while you aren’t getting enough B-12 could be permanent. A lack of B-12 will prevent you from thinking clearly and can hinder basic functions as it’s responsible for speeding up our neural transmission. Advanced B12 deficiency causes dementia severe enough to resemble Alzheimer’s disease, although this can usually be reversed with supplementation.
I take: 1 spray of Pure Advantage B-12 500mcg Spray per day. An accurate dose is delivered and it has a delicious taste (kind of like berries).
Do you take any nutritional supplements? Did you learn something new from this post? Let me know by commenting below!
All items are vegan and not tested on animals.