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Supplementation 101: How to supplement Correctly

Updated on January 16, 2015

How to supplement correctly

Taking supplements isn't always advised, as taking a large amount of supplements can cause digestive stress and sometimes do more harm then god. Done correctly though they can help considerably, especially with certain health conditions. It's always preferable to get vitamins and supplements with natural foods or natural multivitamins (such as organ meats like liver).

This isn't always an option though and if your on a certain diet or have a deficiency of some kind it needs to be addressed one way or another. Supplementing correctly can help you with any health goals you have in mind, whether improving digestion, losing weight or getting some extra help with certain health issues (such as mthfr issues). A good rule of thumb is to also introduce supplements one at a time, and to increase overall amount of supplements and dosage of each individual supplement every 3 days.

Commonly recommended supplements

There are a lot of supplements that people commonly are either told or advised to take. A lot of these can do more harm than good. An example being is multivitamins. Most conventional multivitamins have too much of some vitamins and supplements and not enough of others that are more needed. I would recommend the vitaman code raw brand of multivitamin as they contain folate instead of folic acid (methylfolate is always recommended over any other kind of folate). Greens are also a good choice of multivitamin as they often contain a variety of other benefits such as probiotics and enzymes which are beneficial.

I wouldn't recommend greens for someone with a lot of digestive distress though as they can make things worse. Calcium is something I wouldn't recommend as taking too much can sometimes be problematic. If you have the time you can create calcium supplements out of egg shells but it does take time to do this. When looking for supplements try to find natural varieties and avoid magnesium stearate as it often blocks absorption of the supplement.

Omega fatty acids are best taken from a good quality fish oil (that removes mercury) but can also be taken from borage, cod liver and flax oil. Generally its good to get more omega 3 than omega 6 or 9's but in some cases having some omega 6 and 9's can help a lot. This is why I typically find an omega supplement that uses some combination of fish, flax, cod liver and borage.

Magnesium is also a good supplement to take as well. Magnesium can help with metabolism, and citrate and chelated magnesium are the best forms to take. People with some health issues might want to avoid magnesium supplements, especially if sensitive to thiols/sulfur rich foods. Making magnesium oil is simple and easy to do, in fact I have made a squidoo on how to easily make it here:

Many people have problems with their adrenals and thyroid as well. To treat adrenals you can take bone broth which you can easily make at home. An adrenal cortex supplement will help a lot as well. Treating any blood sugar imbalances (and keeping carbohydrates low and avoiding sugar) will also help your adrenals as well. Thyroid problems should be taken care of by a functional medicine practitioner and will help adrenals as well. Having seaweed or having enough iodine can help the health of your thyroid as well. I cover thyroid issues more in depth on this squidoo here:

What do you take supplements for?

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Energy supplements

Energy supplements are very common and a lot of them do more harm than good. While b vitamins are water soluble (you excrete them), some people are sensitive to them and getting too much can throw off methylation. Niacin and B12 are two b supplements you should be especially careful with, niacin can cause flushing and those with methylation issues can eithen worsen or improve methylation so be careful. Also hydroxycobalamin is the safest B12 to supplement with, but methylcobalamin is generally the best option to supplement with. Dibencozide (A co enzymed B-12), can help a lot especially when dealing with MTHFR issues and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Methylcobalamin can be harmful and should be slowly increased with people with methylation issues (mthfr issues). Cyanocobalamin is best avoided as it is derived from cyanide and is difficult for the body to absorb properly. Furthermore it takes your body extra energy to detox and extract the cyanocobalamin form of B-12.

Mio, energy drinks and five hour energy drinks aren't good options for energy supplements. They often contain fillers, too much b vitamins and forms of the vitamin which aren't optimal (often contain cyanocobalamin). The sugar and other ingredients can also cause blood sugar fluctuations as well.

The best way to take b vitamins is sub-lingual as b vitamins are often destroyed and rendered useless by stomach acid.

Staying properly hydrated with electrolytes, can help with energy levels considerably. You can make a simple electrolyte mix with d ribose, vitamin c powder, electrolyte concentrate and bioplasma cell salts. I wrote a squidoo lens on how to make my own electrolyte mix here:

Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat
Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat
Recommended by Chris Kresser who is one of the top functional medicine professionals out there.

Supplementation basics

Only take supplements if needed and get help/advisement from a qualified health practitioner.

Take as few supplements as needed and if possible take them sub-lingual form, in liquid or powder form

Increase dosage and add supplements every 3 days to avoid side effects.

Supplements to improve digestion

Digestion I feel is an important area of your health to get a handle on. People often have problems with low/high stomach acid, gas, bloating, IBS, and are very common. A good approach to fixing digestive problems is with diet but also with some supplements as well. Some people are just born with sensitive digestive systems. Digestion influences mood, energy, detoxification and our mental capacity.

A very common problem people have is low stomach acid. It is often confused with high stomach acid, since when people eat food and have heartburn reflex the incorrectly assume it to be high stomach acid. Commonly when people experience heartburn its your body's digestive system compensating for low stomach acid levels and raises level of stomach acid temporarily. Antiacids or heartburn supplements or medications are best avoided as they can either cause or contribute to low stomach acid levels (since they are designed to lower stomach acid). There are many other causes of low stomach acid as well, such as stress, diet, inflammation and so on, so supplementation may need to be done for some time.

They often only treat symptoms and don't treat the root cause. You can get a test for stomach acid but it is often not covered by insurance and can be expensive. There is another to test for low stomach acid and that is to do a trial run of betaine hcl (with pepsin, most brands do), and if you don't get any heartburn then you most likely have low stomach acid.

People with low stomach acid often have problems digesting protein and some incorrectly assume since they can't digest protein they should avoid protein/meat or go vegetarian. Fixing low stomach acid is fairly simple though, as you can slowly add the dosage of betaine hcl until you find what works for you. Taking digestive enzymes (papaya enzymes most typically), can also help as well, as people often have low stomach acid and enzymes.

Bone broth is something you can with the bones of any animal (I do chicken or beef), and can be taken on a daily basis to improve digestion. All it requires is in the case of chicken a whole chicken, water, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. The vinegar helps to extract the gelatin and flavor from the bones and the spices add to the flavor. Taking bone broth can help heal your digestive tract and can also provide nutrients and electrolytes to your body as well.

Castor oil packs can also help reduce inflammation and heal the digestive tract as well. It can be done 4-7 nights a week. Just apply castor oil to your whole abdomen, wrap in a flannel shirt/cloth then wrap with a towel then put a warm pad/water bottle on top. Make sure to warm up your body by taking a quick bath or shower before applying castor oil. The castor oil will help heal your digestive system and reduce inflammation in your body.

The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman
The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman
A lot of hacks and tips on health, and covers supplements as well.
Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure
Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure
Covers the basics of naturopathy and how to achieve optimal health.

Treating mitochondrial dysfunction, MTHFR, and other chronic issues

Treating complex health issues

Mitochondrial dysfunction seems to be common problem among people with complex health issues such as hypothyroidism, hypothyroidism type 2, mthfr, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. In another squidoo lens I have written a lens on making an electrolyte mix which does indeed help with mitochondrial dysfunction. It may take further supplementation and you may wish to supplement with the supplements used in the electrolyte mix individually.

Those with MTHFR snp mutations and other detoxifaction and methylation snps often have mitochondrial dysfunction due to increased and/or decreased enzyme activity among other problems that arise in several methylation, and detoxification pathways. By correctly supplementing mitochondria can work more effectively and efficiently and can lead to a decrease in muscular fatigue, brain fog and other symptoms.

Royal Jelly, NADH, Dibencozide (a co enzyme form of B-12), creatine, bioplasma cell salts, and D-ribose can also help raise levels of ATP in the cells (which are produced in the mitochondria). You should aim for a brand of creatine that uses a blend of creatine powders or preferably magnesium bound creatine. NADH and Dibencozide should be started at low doses and worked up if no side effects are shown. Bioplasma cell salts, d-ribose and royal jelly typically don't have any side effects but should be started at a low dosage and worked up to a higher dosage.

Supplementation 101 - Videos on proper supplementation

Videos on how to properly supplement, especially when dealing with health issues.

Now Supplements, Royal Jelly 1500 Mg With 10-Hda (Hydroxy-D-Decenoic Acid), 60 Veg Capsules
Now Supplements, Royal Jelly 1500 Mg With 10-Hda (Hydroxy-D-Decenoic Acid), 60 Veg Capsules
These are helpful with a number of issues, but help with energy and mitochondrial dysfunction

Supplements to help with mitochondrial dysfunction and complex issues - Supplements to use when dealing with complex health issues/mitochondrial dysfunction

These supplements help a lot whether dealing with chronic health conditions, especially mitochondrial dysfunction.

NOW Sports Nutrition, D-Ribose Powder 5000 mg, Certified Non-GMO, Energy Production*, 8-Ounce
NOW Sports Nutrition, D-Ribose Powder 5000 mg, Certified Non-GMO, Energy Production*, 8-Ounce
I like to use the powder and add it to water or drinks, or use when making the electrolyte mix/MTHFRade

Naturogenix - Natural supplements and therapies

Natural supplements and therapies for those dealing with chronic conditions such as mthfr, methylation, detoxification defects, chronic fatigue syndrome, metabolic syndrome, thyroid issues.

Bioplasma Cell Salts Tablets by Hyland's, Natural Homeopathic Combination of Cell Salts Vital to Cellular Function, 1000 Count
Bioplasma Cell Salts Tablets by Hyland's, Natural Homeopathic Combination of Cell Salts Vital to Cellular Function, 1000 Count
These help hydrate your body when taken with water or liquids and help a lot with mitochondrial dysfunction

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