Supplements That Changed My Life
Updated: May 18
There's an argument to be made on the efficacy on vitamins. I've even written on it before. And I will wholeheartedly advocate for a clean diet over supplementation any day. However, there are a few key supplements that have literally changed my life. I'm going to go though them in order of their impact. Now, just because they worked for me, does not mean they will work for you. Please work with your trusted health care professional on utilizing supplements and vitamins and please, please, please never buy your vitamins from the drug or grocery store. They are not regulated and more often than not, don't contain what they say they do. Supplement companies must pay extra for GMP (Good Manufacturing Process) certification and third party testing. As with many other things, you get what you pay for. Buying poor quality supplements is like lighting your wallet on fire and may cause more harm than good.
Fish Oils / Omega 3
My dad has been preaching on the importance of fish oils and omega 3s ever since he heard Dr. Dan Murphy lectured on them at homecoming at NWSHU in the early 2000s. I took them begrudgingly through high school. It wasn't until I was running track at Bemidji State University and my shin splints became so unbearable that I was finally desperate enough to try something and stick to it. I increased my EPA/DHA intake and wouldn't you know it? Within a few weeks, my inflammation was low enough that I could run pain free! The coolest part about fish oils? You don't have to take them forever! Once your inflammation is reduced (I recommend managing it by eliminating ultra processed grains, fats and sugars) you don't need to supplement anymore. I haven't taken fish oils in over ten years now and haven't taken an anti inflammatory since the miracle of my fish oil experiment in college. I don't experiencing pain or achiness requiring any form of intervention (beyond chiropractic, massage or acupuncture). Thank goodness, because I'm a real wuss.
Glandular / Organ Support
Many traditional cultures recommend eating the organ of an animal if you want to heal that organ in yourself. We are often familiar of this in terms of eating liver. I've utilized it in two separate scenarios with equally impressive results. The first was during my diagnosis of PCOS. My naturopath suggested I support my ovaries with desiccated porcine ovaries. Utilizing this supplement, plus a few others and some dietary interventions, not only allowed me to heal, but I've been "normal" now over ten years later. I've utilized a similar supplement on patients of mine with similar issues and have also had excellent results.
Once I understood the impact that glandular or organ support could have, I used desiccated lung to see if I could prevent myself from constantly getting bronchitis as a result of every single cold or virus to which I was exposed. For nearly every year of chiropractic school (and a few years after), I would end up with bronchitis upwards of 4 times per year. I'm sure stress played a part, but I knew there must be something I could do to mitigate this achilles heel I seemed to have. And, wouldn't you know? After using the supplement regularly for about a year, I've never experienced bronchitis since.
I currently use adrenal support on occasion. I take it on an as needed basis and recommend any of my patients who are feeling especially burned out to give it a try, too.
Although I typically eat a pretty clean diet, I'm most certainly not perfect. I use a digestive enzyme when I eat too much dairy or anything else I know I'm not going to react well to. I don't have any digestive upset from these foods, but they can often mess with my mood. And no one should have to deal with a crabby Kristen.
I'm prone to UTIs (urinary tract infections). I've even had one manifest into a kidney infection. I've only sought traditional medical advice a handful of times and four of those times were for this symptom. After being fed up with the constant prescription of antibiotics (which always worked quickly, but only temporarily) I decided to dive into the research. I came across this article from Chris Kresser and decided I really had nothing to lose. I used d-Mannose on an as needed basis with excellent results. It amazingly kicked in as fast a antibiotics. Eventually, I decided to try to use it as a preventative treatment. I was convinced that my symptoms were from sex, so I made my partner use it, too. After 6 months of using it daily, I backed off, just to see what would happen. As of the writing of this, I've been UTI free for over five years and haven't needed to use d-Mannose at all (though I always keep it on hand in case of an emergency). AMEN!
I have no idea who first exposed me to Best Rest Formula. If I had to guess, it was probably my mom. She's more obsessed with vitamins than I am. It's the worst smelling supplement I've ever encountered (that darn Valerian Root - deodorizing doesn't even touch it), but it works amazingly. It works so well that I have a few patients who have such extreme dreams they refuse to use it (good ol REM sleep). The combination of herbs and vitamins encourages deep sleep and muscle recovery. I use it if I'm having a hard time sleeping or if I know I'm going to be sore from a tough workout. I recommend it to many patients who experience those two symptoms, too. I also use this supplement if I drink alcohol as it seems to really affect my sleep and this seems to mitigate my broken sleep a bit as long as I also take the multi vitamin below.
I'm always torn on advising anyone on taking a multi vitamin. I do like Ultra Preventative X because it's made from real, whole foods rather than synthetic vitamins. It's a good catch all to fill in the holes of a less than perfect diet. But, I personally use it the most as detox support. The older I get, the less I tolerate alcohol. While I rarely drink, if I do have a glass of wine or two, I will always take this vitamin. I like to offer it to my friends if we're drinking wine at my house and we all seemed to benefit from a reduction in hangover symptoms.
Low serotonin seems to run in my family. When I'm feeling blue with no real triggers and I've already loaded up on Vitamin D and adrenal support, I take 5-HTP. While it's not something I suggest taking every day for a long period of time, I most definitely notice improvements to my mood when I take it on occasion.
I believe in these supplements so much that I always keep them on hand at the clinic along side other supplements I think are important and sell them at the most reasonable prices you will ever find. If there any other supplements you would like me to order in for you, don't hesitate to reach out! Find my online Metagenics store here for many high quality supplements.