I get a lot of emails with questions about supplements and which ones should be taken for different conditions. I’m not a doctor and don’t even play one on the internet, so I certainly can’t give any medical advice related to specific conditions and supplements, but I do highly encourage you to do your own research about vitamins and supplements and find the ones that work best for you.
With depleted soil quality and the abundance of toxins in our environment, many people do have some underlying nutrient deficiencies and supplements can often help fill in the gaps. Supplements are not a magic bullet though, and can’t fix the effects of an unhealthy diet or poor lifestyle.
Some nutrients that are most often lacking due to these lifestyle factors are:
- Vitamin D – Many people avoid the sun or wear sunscreen daily which blocks the body’s natural ability to create Vitamin D from sunlight.
- Gelatin – Many of us consume proportionately much more muscle meat than the smooth gelatinous meats and broths bade from bones, marrow, and organs.
- Magnesium- As a result of the depleted soil levels and the imbalanced nutrient profile in fortified foods often it is difficult to obtain enough magnesium from diet. I love using Magnesium Oil on the skin as it seems to absorb more easily.
- Probiotics- Fermented foods (sauerkraut, Kombucha, homemade yogurt, etc) are not as popular in modern days and many of the foods we eat are processed and dead. Consuming enough probiotics helps maintain a good balance of bacteria in the gut.
- Healthy Fats- Most of us just aren’t consuming enough healthy fats. Studies of primitive cultures with good health and high life expectancies reveal that many of them eat much more saturated fat that we do and they eat fats higher in important vitamins like A,D,E and K.
What I Take All The Time:
I’ve been constantly pregnant or nursing a baby for the last few years so keeping my nutrient levels up is a high priority to make sure that my babies are getting enough nutrients too. My husband takes a similar protocol but in slightly smaller amounts. I typically take:
Omega 3s and Healthy Fats- I takeFermented Cod Liver Oil all the time, but especially when pregnant or nursing. It helps balance out Omega ratios, provides necessary fats for baby’s brain development, and guards against inflammation. It also seems to make recovery after delivery go much faster (probably due to the anti-inflammatory properties. The high vitamin butter oil is obtained from cows eating rapidly growing green grass, and contains Activator X, as discovered by Weston A. Price. Not only is this superb for baby’s development, but there is some information showing that it helps get baby’s vitamin levels (especially Vitamin K) after birth. This is also now available in capsule form, which makes it more palatable in early pregnancy. These are especially important during the third trimester when brain development is at its peak. (it’s also helpful for remineralizing teeth and increasing sun tolerance!)
Probiotics- These are critical, especially during pregnancy. Babies are born with a completely sterile gut and they culture their beneficial guy bacteria from what the receive from mom when passing through the birth canal and from nursing in the months afterward. Quality probiotics (I take these) help ensure that baby will get a good dose of beneficial bacteria, which can reduce risk of ear infection and illness in the first few years. Good gut health also has a tremendous impact on lifelong health, and this is one of the most important things you can do for your baby’s health. Probiotics also help mom avoid illness and constipation during pregnancy, and might reduce the risk of Group B strep. Since baby’s gut bacteria continues to culture during the nursing time, it is good for mom to continue to take probiotics during this time as well.
Vitamin D3- There is a lot of emerging research that Vitamin D can help reduce the risk of many pregnancy related complications including gestational diabetes. It is important for baby’s bone and hormone development and helps support mom’s immune system during pregnancy. SOme research suggests that nursing babies may be able to obtain Vitamin D from the mother’s milk if mom is getting more than 5,000IU/day. I take 5,000 IU/day while pregnant or nursing, unless I’m able to get 30 minutes or more of midday sun. For supplementation, I only take Vitamin D3 and I test blood levels of vitamin D to make sure levels don’t get too high.
Magnesium- I take magnesium all the time, but it is especially beneficial in pregnancy. Severe magnesium deficiency can lead to poor fetal growth, preeclampsia or even fetal death. Proper magnesium levels also help mom’s tissue growth and recovery during pregnancy and may help baby receive more nutrition through the placenta. It is very difficult to get enough magnesium from food sources anymore, so I typically recommend magnesium oil on the skin, Natural Calm in the evening before bed, or an ionic supplement. In total, a pregnant woman shouldn’t exceed 500 mg from all sources unless severely deficient.
Coconut Oil- During pregnancy and nursing, I take 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut oil in smoothies or tea daily as s supplement in addition to cooking with it. It is naturally immune boosting, supportive of baby’s brain development, and contains many of the components of breast milk to support nursing as well. Second to Breast milk, it is nature’s highest source of Medium Chain Fatty Acids and Lauric acid, which support the body but are not easily stored as fat cells. Many people actually notice a metabolism increase from taking Coconut Oil.
For Sun Protection:
In the summer, I add to and change up my supplements somewhat as I’ve found that my diet and supplements make a HUGE difference in how long I can stay in the sun and what my Vitamin D blood levels are. (This is likely because these supplements lower inflammation which makes the body able to better absorb Vitamin D from supplements or the sun). I still stick to the ones above but focus especially on:
- Vitamin D3 (I take about 5,000 IU/day)- Emerging evidence shows that optimizing blood levels of Vitamin D can have a protective effect against sunburn and skin cancer. Don’t take this if I’m getting enough sun.
- Vitamin C (I take about 2,000 mg/day)- A potent anti-inflammatory, and it is good for the immune system too.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (or more) melted in a cup of herbal tea per day- the Medium Chain Fatty Acids and saturated fat are easily utilized by the body for new skin formation and are protective against burning. I also love blending a couple tablespoons into a cup of hot coffee or tea.
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil/High Vitamin Butter Oil Blend (also great for remineralizing teeth)-Probably the most important supplement for sun protection. I take double doses during the summer and the kids take it too. Since adding this and the coconut oil daily, none of us have burned. It’s also great for digestive and oral health. (Amazon finally has the capsules back in stock)
- Astaxanthin- A highly potent antioxidant which research shows acts as an internal sunscreen. It’s also supposedly an anti-aging supplement. My hubby takes this and tans incredibly well without ever burning. I don’t take while pregnant/nursing or give to the kids.
For My Teeth:
Like the rest of the body, teeth are capable of healing and I have now witnessed this first hand in my own mouth and in my family. The fascinating book Cure Tooth Decay provides a strong case for the ability of teeth to heal and the specific protocol that is needed. I highly recommend the book but I’ve used a simplified version of the protocol with great success:
Diet to Help Heal Cavities and Improve Oral Health
- I drastically cut foods that contained phytic acid. I already wasn’t eating grains or beans, but I also cut or limited nuts.
- Limited foods containing even natural sugars or starches- I limited fruit and even starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and focused on mineral rich vegetables, bone broths, meats and healthy fats.
- Ate a LOT of healthy fats. I added about 1/4 cup extra of coconut oil to my diet each day, and used only pastured, cultured butter.
- I made an effort to consume a lot of homemade bone broth for its added minerals.
Supplements to Help Heal Cavities and Improve Oral Health
To help the body remineralize cavities, it is sometimes necessary to increase mineral levels with supplements. While diet alone might be enough, many foods are depleted of nutrients from being grown in nutrient depleted soil, so supplements help fill the gaps. These are the supplements I typically recommend for improved oral health and dental healing:
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Butter Blend- Green Pastures makes this as a Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Liver Oil blend I prefer the combination in capsules or there is a liquid version (tastes terrible). This is one of the main supplements recommended by Dr. Price from his research.
- Vitamin D- This was the other main supplement that Dr. Price and the Drs. Mellanby found was extremely supportive of dental healing. In the study they did, cavities healed even when diet wasn’t changed if Vitamin D was optimized and the best healing occurred when diet was optimized and Vitamin D was added.
- Coconut Oil- I take an additional 1/2 cup a day of coconut oil in a smoothie or melted in tea each day. We get ours from Tropical Traditions, but you can find it many places…. just look for organic, virgin and unrefined coconut oil.
- Others: I also take Magnesium, Gelatin and Vitamin C daily, though these aren’t as vital to tooth healing.
- I brush with homemade remineralizing toothpaste daily and while I was actively trying to heal teeth, I swished with both calcium and magnesium powders dissolved in water daily to help provide minerals and to keep the mouth alkaline.
- I also added Ora Wellness Brushing Blend to my regimen and use their (gentler) toothbrush daily.
- I swished daily with Hydrogen Peroxide to keep mouth bacteria at bay (which had the added effect of whitening teeth).
- I brushed with activated charcoal every couple of days to help pull toxins from the mouth and effectively whiten teeth.
My Kids Take:
On top of making sure that kids are consuming a lot of protein from quality sources, an abundance of green veggies and plenty of healthy fats, I often find that children benefit from:
Probiotics: Especially if they’ve ever been on antibiotics, children can greatly benefit from quality probiotics. Their gut flora is still developing, and supporting gut health during childhood will have much more of an effect than attempting to supplement later in life (though I recommend it then too). We use Bio Kult probiotics, which are the strongest ones I’ve personally tried. I notice a distinct difference in my digestion when I take them, and the pills are small enough for most kids to swallow, or they can be opened and added to food. Since I had to take antibiotics during my delivery with my fourth, I have been rubbing probiotics on the inside of her mouth since she was a few weeks old to help build her positive gut bacteria and taking it myself so she gets it while nursing. Another reason I prefer BioKult, is that the capsules are individually wrapped and don’t have to be refrigerated, which makes them much more convenient. One capsule is typically adequate for children up to 12 years old. I take 4 of these capsules a day and others may need more or less.
Vitamin D: I’m a firm believer that kids should be getting their Vitamin D outside, in the sun, and preferably barefoot. This works great in the summer, but it is more difficult in the winter, or if you live in an area where you don’t have access to direct sun daily. Most children’s vitamins contain Vitamin D (though not enough!) but the issue of supplementing Vitamin D in children can be controversial. Personally, my kids each get a 5,000 IU capsule of Vitamin D3per WEEK. I do check their levels about once a year in the winter to make sure they aren’t getting too much, and I’d recommend this, especially if you plan to give your children higher doses. If you can get your kids to routinely take fermented cod liver oil (see below) you probably don’t need any additional supplementation unless you are in an area where sun exposure is not ever possible.
Vitamin C: I always keep Vitamin C on hand, and we’ve avoided many trips to the doctor because of this and Homemade Elderberry Syrup. I add about 1/4 tsp of vitamin C powder to the kids water or smoothie once a day (it is bitter!) to keep their immune systems bolstered… mainly in the winter. During illness, we take Vitamin C powder until we hit bowel tolerance (diarrhea) and then back down to 3/4 that dose until the illness is gone. There are also some good chewable versions, which are much easier to get kids to take.
Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil:This is the toughest one to get kids to take, but the one I notice the most difference in their mood (much calmer) and concentration when they take. There are capsules of this, but my guys can’t swallow that big of one yet, so we stick to the gel version. The best brand I’ve found is Green Pastures, which also includes the High Vitamin Butter Oil, which is excellent for brain development and muscle growth. My 8 month old has gotten this since she started eating foods at 6 months and she just started walking (not super excited about this!).
Magnesium Baths: I take Natural Calm and use magnesium oil on my skin, but the easiest thing for the kids is to just add about 1/2 cup of epsom salts or magnesium crystals to their bath water so they can absorb it through their skin. You can also give kids about 1/2 tsp dose of Natural Calm, which is fizzy like soda and some really like it.
Gelatin: Gelatin is excellent for intestinal health and for hair, skin and nails. We try to eat homemade bone broth, but I also occasionally make the kids healthy jello to give them some extra gelatin intake. I drink it in smoothies or in warm water, and also sometimes sneak it into the kids smoothies. I’ve been able to verify that this brand is from grass-fed, humanely raised cows and doesn’t contain any additives or pesticide residue.
What vitamins do you take? Have you noticed a difference from taking any of them?