I’ve worked in the supplement world for several years in the past, and have seen a huge array of products, brands, quality, ingredients and claims from hundreds (maybe thousands?) of different products. It’s extremely easy to get overwhelmed about what we think we need and how to make an informed choice about supplements in general. My most common advice: Don’t just buy supplements willy-nilly because someone on TV or a magazine says you “need” it. Supplements, like people, are very individual. Here I am, writing a blog post about helpful supplements, but I also want to stress that none of these are absolutely essential for everyone. They’re supportive, not required. These are some of the highest quality supplements I’ve ever used, and they’re helpful on so many levels – not just for one thing. Always do your own research when it comes to supplements, and seek professional advice if you’re wary about trying something. I have listed below 5 of my go-to supportive supplements for this time of year specifically, when our digestive system and immune system and overall diet can use support. They’re excellent quality, small batch made and certified organic / non-GMO.
I’ve sung the praises of herbal bitters over and over again, and the Holiday season is when they really have their time to shine. Just a tiny taste of bitter on the tongue stimulates the stomach and pancreas to start secreting digestive enzymes. These enzymes help to break down our macro molecules (like proteins, fats and carbs) into small, more absorbable pieces. If we’re over-eating, the entire digestive system can become strained and digestive bitters can significantly help with the overall digestive process every time. Not that I’m encouraging overeating…but if this is something you know you’re not going to avoid, I would strongly suggest you try some herbal bitters to help you along. Take just a few drops 10 minutes before a meal.
Much like bitters, probiotics help to enhance your digestion without forcing it to work harder than it should, We all have a couple of trillion probiotics in our digestive tracts (mainly in our small and large intestines and colon), and if our diets are out of the norm for any reason, be it with travel or extra sugars or savory foods or illness, our probiotics can become dysregulated and out of balance, leading to symptoms like gas, bloating, irregular bowel movements or even reflux. Taking a comprehensive probiotic every day can greatly assist in maintaining the balance of our gut flora, and replenishing / re-populating our natural supply of probiotics.
I can’t tell you how many times I talk to folks this time of year who tell me that make it to the end of the day and realize they haven't had a single vegetable (I shudder to think). I know – lots of foods are being shared this time for year, and treats of all sorts of just lying around everywhere we go. Thats why I always suggest taking a greens powder every single morning with your breakfast. I’m never huge fan of replacing any essential food with a supplement (supplements should never be a replacement for a good diet), and a greens powder can just ensure that you’re getting at least 1-2 servings of veggies during a time when you’re intake may be abnormally low.
Yes – it’s the time of year where colds and flu’s run rampant. Keeping your immune system boosted is a really good idea as we mingle more and more with the common cold, colder weather, and gatherings of folks not staying home with their “non contagious coughs”. I love elderberry syrup because of it’s anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities that can be taken for a solid month or two to slightly boost the immune system while scavenging for viruses lingering in body to fight them off right at the onset. I have my own recipe for elderberry syrup that I make every month from December – March, and you can also purchase a high quality elderberry syrup through Gaia as well with minimal sugars added. 1 tsp daily should do the trick.
Many people assume a B-complex is only for vegetarians or vegans not eating meat, but a comprehensive B-complex is used for so much more. Not only do B-vitamins provide extra support for your adrenal glands (energy support!), they play a major role in your liver’s ability to go through both phases of liver detoxification, phase I and phase II. The liver has to process every single thing you put in your mouth, from foods to medicines to alcohols and sugary drinks. It’s important to help it out this time of year when it may be feeling sluggish and overwhelmed with not-so great food options. Just 1-2 tablets daily can help tremendously with this process.
All of these high quality supplements can be found in the Nourish Department at Ellwood Thompson’s, where their helpful stewards can help guide you to the right products and explain the difference between brands, ingredients and similar products! If you need individualized guidance about which supplements you may want to try, schedule a free health coaching appointment with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to get up a meeting!
Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN | HealthCoach@EllwoodThompsons.com