It is not a coincidence that I am writing this article a couple of days after Halloween. As you have probably noticed, lots of people are sick right now (flu season) and it is likely going to get worse over the next few weeks as the immune suppressing effects of eating junk food fully kick in.
Obviously, the best way to avoid being sick this season is to eat high quality food and live a healthy lifestyle. The fact is, not everyone is going to do that – regardless of how many articles I write about it. And, even for those who eat great and focus on living a healthy life sometimes we need some help by the way of high quality supplements.
For a variety of reasons, there are 3 supplements that I recommend everyone take – especially during the cold months – and a few others that you may want to consider. I personally use all of these and have noticed a significant improvement in my health and immune system as a result.
Vitamin D – The sunshine vitamin is crucial to supplement with in Canada in the winter time. Many northerners are deficient in this vitamin that is essential to immune system function, bone development, protection from cancer and preventing musculoskeletal pain syndromes.
Unless you are getting significant sun exposure over a large area of exposed skin, you likely need to supplement with Vitamin D. Some medical doctors and most naturopathic doctors can order Vit. D level blood tests if you would like to be sure where you stand so you can dose accordingly.
Fish Oil – There is a popular internet meme that says ‘If it can’t be fixed with squats and fish oil, you are probably going to die!” While that may be a bit of hyperbole, a high quality fish oil supplement is something everyone in our western culture can benefit from. Due to modern farming methods and the processing of food most of us get too many Omega-6 fatty acids, and not enough of the beneficial omega-3’s.
Fish oil helps to bring us back into balance. Fish oil is essential for the health of the nervous system, skin, cardiovascular system, immune system and for reducing systemic inflammation.
A word of warning though – because of heavy metal contamination you MUST be sure to take a high quality supplement that is independently tested to ensure safety. It is for that reason I do not recommend buying any old cheap bottle off the pharmacy shelf.
Probiotics – Believe it or not, our bodies are made up of about as many bacterial cells than ‘us’ cells (look it up)! So, it is important that we have bacteria (especially in our guts) that help us instead of hurt us. Because of lifestyle factors such as high sugar and grains intake and the overuse of antibiotics (both in us and the animals we eat) our gut flora gets messed up. Probiotic supplements help to get it back to normal.
Having optimal gut flora not only helps digestion, but immune system function, energy levels, and has even been shown to help with behavioural and cognitive disorders. There are a variety of good supplements out there and if you are more dedicated you can get beneficial bacteria by consuming naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, apple cider vinegar and others on a regular basis.
While not in my top 3, there are two other supplements I use regularly that I use and you may want to consider. The first is Magnesium which I take before bedtime and the other is a Green Drink supplement. Magnesium helps with relaxation and recovery amongst many other benefits. Eating enough vegetables is difficult for some people and while a supplement does not replace food the green drink makes it a bit easier and helps to balance your pH levels.
So, how do you choose what brands to buy? Admittedly, it can be a bit confusing. Nexus Chiropractic carries the Vitamin D, Fish Oil, and Probiotic brands that I use, if you live in Cornwall. If you are elsewhere, I suggest you find a healthcare provider, or even gym you trust who can advise you.
A few simple steps can make a big difference in your health. Take action now to ensure a healthy and happy season.