By Tim Mount, CN, CCMH
On a recent Forever Young radio interview I was asked to give my list of essential supplements that almost everyone in America should be taking. As a health professional I’ve had extensive training on most supplements, but I’ve also been my own guinea pig and tested most supplements on myself as well.
I routinely question everything that I do in life, including the supplements that I take. Sometimes it’s a good idea, sometimes it doesn’t turn out so well. For example, last year I became skeptical of the necessity of toothpaste and brushed only with water. Yeah – bad idea! I got 3 cavities in two months. It turns out the stuff is pretty important.
When it comes to creating a list of essential supplements I try to look past the almighty marketing dollar and look at the theoretical foundation, substantiating research, and real-world results of a product to determine the supplement’s spot on my priority list.
Times are tough for a lot of people right now, nobody needs to waste their money on a marginally beneficial supplement. And I don’t know about you, but if I need to add another pill to my daily supplement routine I’ll probably gag.
My recommendation: cut out some of the non-essential supplements in your routine and take as many of these as you can for a few months. Most of these essential supplements fill nutritional gaps in the American diet or protect against pervasive toxins. This list is in no particular order, ALL are essential.
Why it’s important: Everyone experiences the degenerative effects of aging, and collagen plays a central role in the process. Collagen is the structure of your body – it’s the “studs” of the house – but after the age of 25 the body’s production of collagen declines and your body slowly breaks down. Since collagen is found in nearly all tissues you see and feel the effects everywhere – from the wrinkling of your skin, to the pain and instability in your joints, to frailty of your bones. Collagen supplements help to boost your declining collagen production back up to more youthful levels, thereby providing nutritional support to help rebuild your broken down tissues.
Tim’s Take: I’ve never found another supplement that makes such a wide ranging impact on the body! Collagen is the real deal. It has a long history of effectiveness and safety, plus NeoCell Super Collagen products won’t break the bank. MSRP for a 1 month supply of the powder or tablets is only $15.95!
Why it’s important: The body requires lots of minerals to function properly, but for the most part Americans get enough in our diets. Even calcium isn’t a major deficiency, especially if you eat dairy and vegetables. Magnesium is an exception. Once plentiful in our diets, modern farming techniques have reduced the magnesium content of most vegetables by 70-90% as compared to 100 years ago. Considering magnesium plays a central role in over 325 bodily processes that is a big nationwide problem.
Tim’s Take: Ever get a little flutter in your eye lid? You probably need magnesium. Tight muscles? You probably need magnesium. Sweat much? You probably need magnesium. Live a normal life? You get it by now. I take a magnesium citrate pill every night before bed. It’s a great sleep aid, and helps with bowel movements too. Watch out, if you take too much you may get groggy. Regular epsom salt baths and transdermal magnesium therapy are great options too.
Vitamin D3 (+ K2)
Why it’s important: Vitamin D acts as both a vitamin and hormone-like catalyst to turn on over 2000 genes in the body. Known as the “Sunshine Vitamin” Vitamin D plays a central role in the immune system, emotional health and happiness, bone density, cancer prevention and protects against a laundry list of diseases. Our skin converts the sun’s rays into Vit D, but only when the rays are strong enough and we have ample bare-skinned exposure. In the winter supplementation is critical because the rays are too weak. One theory why people get sick more in the winter – Vit D deficiency! Most supplements now contain the correct type called D3 (cholecalciferol), but recent research suggests Vitamin K2 and possibly Vitamin A should be taken at the same time.
Tim’s Take: For years the sun has been demonized as a solar death ray from the heavens. We’re not vampires, the sun is good for us! Never burn, but moderate sun exposure during the warmer months is a-ok. Plus, a tan looks sexy! I try to get at least 15-60 minutes a day of sun on my skin in the summer (depending on how dark my tan is), but nudists may require less time. In the cooler months I take between 5000-10,000 IU per day and combine it with a K2 (MK-7 form) pill.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Why it’s important: Wait, there’s such a thing as good fat? Who knew! Besides protein (which includes collagen), the other important building block in humans are fats (fatty acids). They make up cell membranes, allow our nervous system and brain to function properly, reduce inflammation, regulate hormones and glands, and much more. Without fatty acids we’d be dead! Although there are a number of fatty acids important to the body, Omega-3s are the most glaring deficiency in America. Omega-3s are easily destroyed by cooking heat, processing, or even the transit time of food to grocery store shelves. Supplements are the only surefire way to get a consistent, quality source.
Tim’s Take: Don’t worry, fatty acids won’t make you fat. There are plenty of good sources out there – fish (cod liver), krill, and various plants. Whatever you decide, be sure it is FRESH and clean. If you ever get a nasty fish burp after taking a supplement throw out the bottle and switch companies.
Mercury & Heavy Metal Detox
Why it’s important: The politics of coal burning power plants and metal amalgam dental fillings aside, the fact is that the deadly poisonous heavy metal mercury is everywhere in our environment. Eliminating exposure to it is impossible in the modern industrial world. Mercury causes MASSIVE destruction to the brain and thyroid, as well as many other organs. I once wrote a long article on my old website if you would like more information: http://liveliketim.com/html/mercury/mercury.html. Everyone in the world needs to take this seriously and detox their bodies on a regular basis. The most important natural way to get mercury out of the body is chlorella (get it from a non-radiation containing source), but cilantro tincture and garlic supplements also help detox from certain areas of the body (brain and kidneys). Stronger medical drugs like EDTA may be needed in some cases.
Tim’s Take: Here’s a fun fact – annually at least 500 TONS of mercury accumulate in our environment worldwide per year. It doesn’t go anywhere, so last year’s 500 tons are added this year’s. Considering it only takes about 1 teaspoon in a 40 acre lake to make all the fish poisonous to eat, you get the idea about how serious the problem is. Here’s a direct quote from the EPA website, “Mercury concentrations in fish fillet samples exceeded EPA’s recommended tissue-based water quality criterion of 0.3 ppm at 49% of the sampled population of 76,559 lakes.” (See http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/fishstudies/results.cfm) That’s right, about HALF of all freshwater fish in the US are already poisonous to eat. I guess the days of going fishing with Dad are over! Also, strongly consider replacing your metal dental fillings with composites. But take it slowly, mercury detox can be rough on the body!
Why it’s important: Free radicals are wrecking balls in the body that destroy tissues and cause disease. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Our bodies have natural defenses to some free radicals, but the load put on our body these days from toxins and stress leave the body unable to keep up. There are a million antioxidant supplements out there right now, but Resveratrol stands out as the superstar! Resveratrol is extremely powerful and works on specific pathways in the body to reduce inflammation and protect against diseases like heart disease and cancer (#1 and #2 killers in America).
Tim’s Take: NeoCell Resveratrol is the purest, most effective source on the market. I personally feel the benefits in my body. It’s a funny thing, most people notice when they are in pain, but often when pain goes away it can be subtle and less noticeable. It took some time for me to realize how well NeoCell’s Resveratrol worked, but then I remembered how back my upper back and neck pain used to be, and the difference was amazing!
Why it’s important: Did you know you aren’t really you? At least not totally…the number of bacteria in your body outnumber your own cells 10 to 1. Pretty crazy huh! Fortunately most of these bacteria are cool dudes and don’t harm you. Many are even essential to like and are called probiotics. Since an influential microbiologist called Louis Pasteur (i.e. “pasteurization”) proposed his theory that bacteria make you sick, there has been an all out war on these little guys. Sure, some bacteria are terrible, but our medical weapons aren’t targeted to kill just the jerks – we’re killing our friends as well. Antibiotics, food processing, chlorine in the water – all of this is causing a genocide of probiotics in your gut. It’s nearly unavoidable, so supplements to replace the good guys are important.
Tim’s Take: There are over 300 kinds of probiotics in the digestive tract, so taking a supplement with just a few strands isn’t advisable. I prefer switching up my brands and making sure there are lots of different races of probiotics in each pill. Also, fermented and cultured foods are great, and tasty!
Radiation Detox & Protection
Why it’s important: One word – Fukushima. There aren’t a whole lot of natural supplements specific to radiation detox, but iodine may be appropriate for some people (be careful if you have autoimmune thyroid disease). Iodine (such as Logol’s solution) doesn’t protect against all radiation, but it’s a good start. There are some great homeopathic remedies that may help.
Tim’s Take: During my natural health medical training I was fortunate enough to have one of the foremost radiation experts in America as a teacher and mentor. Burned into my head are the words I’ve heard a million times – “There is no such thing as a safe level of radiation exposure!” I have no affiliation with the company, but there is a product called Rad-Tox that I personally have found extremely effective for radiation detox. It is very powerful – take it slow!