People often ask me if I still take supplements. The answer is yes, I do! I'm not a fan of multivitamins and I don't recommend them to anyone. However, there are dietary supplements I believe are really helpful for many people.
Here is the list of 4 supplements I take and give to my family, and why I take them.
Please note: There are affiliate links in this post. However, I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own.
4 Supplements I Take Every Day — and Why
I believe in eating real food, but there are times when supplements are really helpful, especially when you're trying to heal something or reverse a condition. When I recovered from gluten sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis in my 20s, it was the combination of diet and supplements that did the trick.
I do try to take food-based supplements as much as possible, in addition to eating a real food diet. For example, for vitamin D, I take cod liver oil (see below), and I spend as much time as humanly possible in the sun. Luckily, I live in Los Angeles and I have fair skin, so it's easier for me to get adequate vitamin D (I'll be writing a longer post on vitamin D soon so check back).
I also try to keep the supplements I take as simple as possible, because I am very bad about taking vitamins and I easily forget. And if you don't take your supplements, you're just wasting money!
OK, on to the list!
1. Cod Liver Oil
I truly believe cod liver oil is the #1 superfood for most people. Many of us need to supplement with vitamin A because we don't eat liver once a week like our ancestors did. Very few people get enough vitamin D either. And omega-3s, fuggedaboutit!
Why I'm Taking Cod Liver Oil
As I said above, I am taking cod liver oil (and I give it to all my family members) for 3 reasons: (1) vitamin A, (2) vitamin D and (3) omega-3 fatty acids.
Now, there are other supplements you could take to get these 3 nutrients, but I LOVE the convenience of taking 1 teaspoon a day of ONE supplement, instead of having to take 3 different things. I mean, you could take desiccated liver and vitamin D drops plus fish oil, but for me it's hard enough to remember to take one thing, much less 3.
Let's briefly talk about these 3 things…
(1) Vitamin A – This is a critical nutrient for eyesight. A friend of mine stopped needing to wear his reading glasses after he took his EVCLO regularly for 6 months. This is the main reason I'm taking EVCLO right now. I don't know if it will work for me but I'm going to give it a shot.
Vitamin A is also super important for stamina and energy, as well as for immunity. If you catch colds and flu every winter, you may be low in vitamin A.
And you know how you hear all those horror stories about the measles? Guess what? The measles is only fatal in people who are low in vitamin A. Vitamin A not only helps to protect you from catching the measles, but it helps you fight it off.
Vitamin A is also critical for children who are on the autism spectrum.
(2) Vitamin D – Vitamin D is a powerful immune booster and it helps build strong bones and teeth.
The more I read about vitamin D, the more I realize how really difficult it is to get enough from our diet and from the sun. Vitamin D is something most of us don't get enough of, and many of us are low in vitamin D. This is why it drives me CRAZY to see parents smearing their kids with sunscreen every summer. Sunscreen blocks vitamin D production!
Also, in many parts of the world above 45 degrees latitude, you can't even get vitamin D from the sun during winter — and your body only stores it for a short time.
I'm really working to get more vitamin D from the sun, for me and my kids. And thankfully we live in LA, so we can get it year-round (only 2 hours of the day during winter, but still!). It's not always easy to get outside in our swimsuits or shorts… but we get out as much as we can.
I still take cod liver oil and give it to my kids (and my husband), because I'm sure we're still not getting as much as we should. Cod liver oil is a nice insurance policy — that one teaspoon per day is boosting your vitamin D supply, especially through the winter months during cold and flu season.
(3) Omega-3s Most of us get too much omega-6 fats in our diet, and not enough omega-3s, which causes inflammation.
I've also read a number of studies that show that omega-3 fatty acids protect us from sunburn and skin cancer. I have noticed in my own family's experience, when we take our cod liver oil, we don't get sunburn.
And this allows us to absorb more vitamin D from the sun… See? Win-win!
I give cod liver oil to my husband because we are trying to lower his triglycerides, which omega-3s can help with. He's on the verge of being pre-diabetic, another thing you should take omega-3s for.
Brands of Cod Liver Oil I Recommend
I only recommend the Rosita EVCLO (extra virgin cod liver oil) from Corganic. This is the only raw cod liver oil that contains the highest amounts of natural vitamin A.
I do not under any circumstances recommend fermented cod liver oil (FCLO). You can read my previous posts about why I no longer recommend FCLO.
Here's my post on all the different brands of cod liver oil and why I only recommend Rosita EVCLO.
You can order the liquid EVCLO or the capsules. The liquid EVCLO is a cheaper than the capsules, but the capsules are great for travel, so I buy both. If you buy 2 bottles, shipping is free.
Note: Store the liquid in the fridge and use within 90 days after opening. The capsules should not be refrigerated or frozen; they should be stored in a cupboard.
Most people can benefit from a probiotic supplement, because our gut flora is under assault by antibiotics, pharmaceutical drugs, even the chlorine in our water and swimming pools.
And 80% of our immunity is based on our gut. A healthy gut is critical to good health.
Why I'm Taking Probiotics
I healed my gut in my 20s, reversing my gluten sensitivity, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome. I know what abnormal gut flora can do to a person, because I lived it. At the tender age of 25, I was extremely sick, so much so that I could barely get out of bed in the morning. Probiotics turned my life around!
While many people do need therapeutic doses of probiotics, I am pretty healthy in that department these days, so I just take a maintenance dose.
Brands of Probiotics I Recommend
First off, not all probiotics work. Many of them have little to no impact on your gut flora. Worse, some brands have stuff in them that make it hard for people to heal (see below).
For years, I used to recommend 3 brands of probiotics: ThreeLac, Biokult and GutPro. I recommended these 3 brands for years because I knew from first-hand experience that they actually work. In other words, when I took them, I experienced “die-off” — or the bad bacteria in my gut died off and I had symptoms.
I didn't recommend any other brands other than those listed above, because I had taken other brands and they didn't work. No die-off. No change in my symptoms one way or the other, even after a month of taking them.
OK, so here's the update as of 2016… I stopped recommending ThreeLac years ago because they started adding canola oil. Yuck! Canola oil is an industrial oil made from one of the big GMO crops, canola.
I also stopped recommending Biokult because it contains a a soil-based bacteria called Bacillus subtilis. From what I've been reading lately, this can be very bad for many people due to the fact that this strain of bacteria forms spores which compete with the good bacteria in your gut. I will write a longer post on this whole issue later, but I think this could be what is keeping a lot of folks from recovering.
There may be other brands out there that are good, and I am working on researching for a comprehensive post about probiotic brands. But for now, the only brand I recommend is GutPro.
GutPro was created by Corganic (actually Organic 3, their manufacturing company), the same company that imports the Rosita EVCLO, my friends Dan Corrigan, Archie Welch and Karen Myers.
I've known these folks for almost a decade now and I trust them implicitly. After working with families of children on the autism spectrum for close to a decade, Corganic/Organic 3 worked on developing the purest and cleanest and one of the most powerful probiotics on the market.
I have many, many reasons for recommending this brand and I will put them into my probiotics post. However, I won't post that until I've spent adequate time researching probiotics. So please stay tuned.
You can order GutPro capsules or powder. I take the powder because it is a lot cheaper and more concentrated.
I recommend getting the powder to start, and going VERY SLOW. One of my readers just started on it a week ago and her face broke out.
You know what that means? It's working! The skin is a detoxification pathway. But she needed to go MUCH SLOWER and take a much smaller amount.
I recommend getting the little spoon set Corganic sells with the powder and take the smallest amount possible to start.
3. Emu Oil
Emu oil is the best source of vitamin K2 that I know of. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life.
Emu oil contains more vitamin K2 (Menaquinone-4, or MK-4, the preferred kind of K2) than any other food:
5-20 times more vitamin K2 than ghee or butter oil
12-13 times more vitamin K2 than egg yolks
20-30 times more vitamin K2 than butter
25-100 times more vitamin K2 than cheese
WHAT?! Yes, you heard that right! Emu oil is the most concentrated form of vitamin K2 that exists.
If you're trying to build bone or prevent or reverse cavities with vitamin K2, emu oil is the supplement you need.
Why I'm Taking Emu Oil
So yes, I'm taking emu oil for the vitamin K2.
I just started taking the emu oil and I'm really excited about it. I'm only taking 1/2 teaspoon a day because it's very potent.
I'm really working to see if I can reverse or at least stop my bone loss. I have lordosis (the form of scoliosis that makes you look hunched over).
The best vitamins for bone loss are a combination of vitamin K2 along with vitamin D and iodine (magnesium is important too — which I am also taking — see below under #4).
Brands of Emu Oil I Recommend
4. Iodine Protocol
Finally, I'm on the Iodine Protocol.
OK, I'm kind of cheating here because when I say I take “Iodine Protocol”, it's not just ONE supplement. It's iodine plus some other stuff, the “companion nutrients” which help your body absorb the iodine.
I'll write a longer post on this soon, but I'll list the basic iodine protocol here.
Why I'm Taking Iodine
The main reasons I'm taking iodine is to see if I can get the fluoride out of my body. When I read Melissa Gardner's book, The End of Acne, this year, I was totally blown away. Click here to read my review.
I want to see if I can get rid of the cellulite on my thighs and the slight melasma on my face. I also want to see if I can reverse the bone loss in my spine. (Fluoride causes all of these things.)
And I really want to protect myself against fluoride exposure, damage to my hormones, and I want to prevent breast cancer. Fluoride and bromide displace iodine in the body and the body. The human body needs iodine, and naturally stores iodine in the thyroid, breasts and ovaries (and the prostate in men). However, when we are exposed to halogens like fluoride and bromide, the body stores them instead. Iodine helps to detox these harmful halogens.
Brands of Iodine I Recommend
I take Iodoral which you can get on Amazon.
You can also take Lugol's Iodine if you prefer the drops to the pills.
I don't recommend other forms of iodine, such as kelp, for a variety of reasons, which I will elaborate on in a future post.
The Full Iodine Protocol
First of all, I recommend getting a copy of Melissa Gardner's book, The End of Acne. She goes into great detail about how to do the iodine protocol and how to work up slowly with the dose, which is critical.
Also, consider joining the Iodine Workshop Group on Facebook, which is run by two extremely knowledgable people, Lynn Razaitis and Lynne Farrow, author of The Iodine Crisis: What You Don't Know Can Wreck Your Life (another book I highly recommend).
OK, so, like I said, this really needs its own post but here's the basic daily protocol (and in the meantime, here's a good source to read more about supplementing with iodine, in addition to the two books I recommended above)…
1. Iodoral (50 mg) – I started at 12.5 mg per day and worked my way up to 50 mg per day over a period of 4 weeks
2. Vitamin C (2000-3000 mg or bowel tolerance) – This helps to detox bromide and fluoride from the body. Bowel tolerance means if you have diarrhea you're taking too much. You may need to break up the vitamin C into more than one dose. I take 2000 mg per day.
3. Magnesium (300-600 mg) – Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle (really fabulous book), told me in an interview once that magnesium binds with fluoride and helps to detox it. (I know magnesium also helps us build bone, so I would take this anyway since I'm trying to reverse my bone loss.) I'm taking 400 mg (2 capsules) of this brand of magnesium per day.
4. Selenium (200 mcg) – L-selenomethionine is the best, most easily absorbable source. I'm taking 200 mcg of this brand.
5. ATP Cofactors (2 capsules) – This is optional, according to the iodine docs. I take 2 capsules of ATP Cofactors per day.
I also use Celtic sea salt daily with my meals, which is recommended for detoxification.
I plan to stay on the Iodine Protocol for at least a year to help detox the bromide and fluoride from my body and to help store more iodine in my thyroid, breasts, and ovaries.
Oh, also, because there are a lot of pills involved in the Iodine Protocol, it's super helpful to get a vitamin organizer to manage taking the vitamins required. If I don't have a visual reminder on the counter, I forget to take my pills.
There are a number of different ones available on Amazon but I got 4 of these 7-day organizers (they come in 2-packs).
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