Supplements are everywhere. They line the shelves at your local health food store and pharmacy, and we see ads in magazines and newspapers.
With multiple companies offering a quick fix for your every ailment choosing the right supplement can leave you dazed and confused.
How are you to know which supplements you need, for how long to take them, or even if you are lacking in any of the key vitamins or minerals that your body needs to function at optimal health?
Vital Nutrients That Your Body Needs
The body needs a lot of vital nutrients each and every day to complete all the tasks to stay healthy. Becoming deficient in any of these essential vitamins or minerals causes the body to start to breakdown, which ultimately leads to poor health.
Athletes and people who lead active lifestyles need even more nutrients and supplements than the average person.
- It plays a role in over 300 enzymatic reactions and needs to be consumed in relatively large amounts every day.
- It helps maintain muscle and nerve function as well as keeps your heartbeat steady.
- It helps support a healthy immune system, lowers blood pressure and keeps bones strong.
Research is showing that a large part of the population is deficient in magnesium and are mostly unaware of this fact. Magnesium deficiency is linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease and osteoporosis.
Our body needs calcium to build strong bones. As we age our bones get porous and weak therefore needing adequate calcium intake.
Signs of calcium deficiency can be muscle spasms or cramps, heart palpitations, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.
- It helps to metabolize production of hemoglobin and red blood cells.
- Menstruating women and those who have celiac disease are often deficient in iron.
- Inadequate intake of vitamin C can also contribute to iron deficiency.
Symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, weakness, dizziness and poor concentration.
Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency is one of the top 10 causes of death in America.
The benefits of omega-3’s include decreasing the risk of heart disease and stroke along with reducing symptoms of depression, hypertension, ADHD, arthritis and chronic skin issues.
Omega-3 fish oil has been associated with aiding the body in weight loss and increased energy.
6. Vitamin D
It is actually a hormone and is necessary for the absorption of calcium, phosphorous, and facilitating normal immune system function.
Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it is exposed to sunlight, but so many people opt for wearing sunscreen that we are a nation that is depleted in vitamin D.
Recommended blood serum levels range from 50-100 micrograms per deciliter, but many functional medical experts are stressing that 100- 140 is an optimal range.
7. B Vitamins
This plays an important role in keeping our bodies running and allow us to convert food into fuel. Vegans especially need to supplement with B12 as animal foods are the best food sources of vitamin B12.
It is often called the miracle nutrient, coenzyme Q10 exists in the mitochondria which are the tiny energy centers in our cells.
CoQ10 helps destroy free radicals that cause cardiovascular issues and heart disease. It is what your cells use to produce energy.
Even though CoQ10 is produced naturally in the body, production wanes dramatically with age.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins also interfere with CoQ10 production.
They are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health. They help to build a stronger immune system, but also aid in healing digestive and mental health issues as well as neurological disorders.
If you have taken antibiotics, have Crohn’s disease or are Celiac, this can affect the bacterial flora in your gut and so replenishing the good bacteria is one of the many reasons to take probiotics. Yet like many supplements you need to know what type of probiotic your body needs.
How Much Supplementation Does Your Body Need?
Dealing with a chronic illness for over 25 years it has often been frustrating when doctors and health professionals have suggested I try supplements which often did nothing to improve my condition.
Having studied nutrition and energy medicine, and now working with a functional medical specialist I now realize that traditional medicine does not take into consideration that each and every one of us is unique, therefore our healing regime needs to be customized to meet our individual needs.
The parameters set for standardized government blood testing, in my opinion, is not enough to measure the many levels and functions in our body to determine what we are lacking in way of minerals, antioxidants and crucial metabolic cycles that can determine what may be causing our symptoms.
Not every condition can be fixed with a pill unless we know exactly what is going on in our body. For those who have chronic health conditions, it often takes the patient seeking out a practitioner who will work with them to dig a little deeper with more defined testing to get to the root of the problem.
A few years ago I heard of a personalized body chemistry balancing test that was being offered at a local pharmacy and biomedical lab.
How Does Body Chemistry Balancing Test Work?
Step 1 – A detailed questionnaire is supplied and asks questions ranging from health history, symptoms, what you currently eat and how often you exercise.
Step 2 – Blood work is taken by a qualified phlebotomist, and a urine sample is given. This is then sent off to a dedicated lab to analyze over 60 biochemical markers that help to measure the progress of the disease in your body. Testing also includes:
Antioxidants prevent the reaction of free radicals with DNA, proteins, membranes, and/or fats. In other words, they help protect our cellular integrity against damage by harmful reactive molecules called “free radicals”
Measuring all sex hormones, a thorough thyroid panel, kidney and liver function, adrenal function, cholesterol, triglycerides, C- reactive protein, vitamin D, B12, ferretin, blood cell count and fasting blood glucose. C- reactive protein is especially important as it measures the amount of inflammation in your body, and since inflammation is the cornerstone to most illnesses this is a hugely valuable test to have done.
Measuring urinary byproducts of the metabolic breakdown of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, three main neurotransmitters. Any metabolic disruptions can be detected by urinary metabolites.
General Metabolism Panel
This panel evaluates if someone is able to properly utilize the vitamins and minerals they are taking in. Someone may be taking a supplement, but if it is not in the correct form then their body will not be able to use it efficiently.
Energy Production Panel
Urinary metabolites are checked at of each step of the Krebs cycle. Each step of the cycle requires different vitamins or minerals as co-factors. If we don’t have these specific nutritional requirements a block or depletion in the cycle can occur. We can determine where the blockage is by what metabolic byproducts are elevated in the urine. Correcting these deficiencies with the proper nutrients will result in more efficient energy production.
Gastrointestinal Health Panel
The compounds measured in this panel are not byproducts of normal human metabolism. The compounds are actually byproducts of the metabolisms of microorganisms (microbiome) of our gut. We test for compounds that are produced from unhealthy or ’bad’ microorganisms such as protozoa, fungi, and certain bacterial species. This is one way to analyze gut health through the urine.
Oxidative Stress Panel
Measures the imbalance between the amount of free radicals we have in our body and our bodies antioxidant defenses against those free radicals. It basically tells us if we have enough antioxidant defenses to handle the amount of free radicals in our body.
Step 3– A clinical consultation with you in person, via Skype or telephone to review your tests and go over your lifestyle, diet, exercise, and medications. Then based on the outcome of your tests a customized treatment plan is determined which may include:
Customized Treatment Plan: customized compounded mineral and vitamin supplements
Lifestyle Recommendations: dietary or lifestyle suggestions to optimize your health and healing
How Does It Help?
- It allows you to find out what is truly going on in your body and determine which minerals and vitamins your body is currently lacking.
- It helps you to determine whether there is an underlying nutritional or hormonal issue going on that has not been identified.
- By balancing your hormones and nutritional needs it will lead to more energy, improved book, restful sleep and a healthier life.
Plus, it allows you to save money as you are not spending money on supplements that your body simply does not need, and it will help you to know if there are any underlying chronic health issues that need to be addressed before they manifest into a serious condition.