Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Raise your hand if you like supplements!

A few people have seen me sprinkling some collagen powder into my coffee in the morning and have cocked their heads like curious golden retrievers, so I figured I'd post about supplements.  I take quite a few.  Okay, I take a bunch.

The usefulness of supplements is a big debate.  Some say they don't do a dang thing.  Some say they provide a boost.  And still some say they are essential.  I don't know what's true and what isn't, but I do know that at least a couple of the things I've taken have shown results.  Here's what I take:

1. Multi-vitamin - duh. I don't really agonize over which ones.  When I run out, I just get a bottle of regular multi-vitamins from whichever grocery store I happen visit that weekend.

2. Vitamin D - this was actually suggested by my primary physician.  (Have I mentioned that she's also the biggest cheerleader of my paleo-ish diet?  Yeah, my doctor's cool, man.) Many women with polycystic ovaries are low on Vitamin D.  My condition has improved, but I can't say if it's due to "the D" because I also take other meds to regulate the insulin resistance issues that cause my PCOS.  My doc highly recommends this particular brand and I've been using it for nearly five years.

3. Pharma-grade fish oil - this was also suggested by my doc.  Actually, she prescribed a specific fish-oil-based drug to me, but it was way too expensive, so I found an over the counter alternative and she approved because she's cool like that.  My bad cholesterol levels have decreased slightly, so it may be working, but the lower cholesterol could also be related to better eating habits and working out.  I am a fan of Omega Via, partially because they have a recurring purchase option where you pick how often you want them to send you a new supply and it comes automatically.

And my two favorite supplements of all...

4.Magnesium Citrate - Apparently a lot of women are also magnesium deficient.  The addition of magnesium can sometimes lower stress and aid with sleep.  Since beginning a daily regimen of a glass of water with this stuff (it's fizzy! AND tart!), I've definitely seen a slight reduction in anxiety and falling asleep at night is easier.  This could also be due to my increased workout intensity, but I've been taking Natural Calm for nearly two years now so I doubt it.  Now, those first three supplements up there come in easy, portable pill forms, but this is a big ol' container of powder.  Not the easiest thing to get through airport security for my frequent work trips.  Luckily, Natural Vitality also sells single serving packets, which you can usually find at Whole Foods or most health stores.  I buy a bunch before (or during) every trip and I'm set!

5. Collagen - I prefer to take it in water soluble powder form - both Great Lakes and Vital Proteins are good brands.  Since it can break down in hot or cold beverages, and it's flavorless, I add it to my morning coffee.  I have had very fine hair and brittle nails for most of my adult life.  Since starting regular use, I have seen my nails grow stronger and my hair has gained a lot of body.  My skin is also clearer.  This can also be a tough substance to take on the road, but I recently found Reserveage collagen chews.  I don't think they serve as much of a nutrient "punch" as the powder, but they travel well and I'll take whatever nutrition I can get while doing work travel.

(Pro tip: Vital Proteins tends to be cheaper at and Thrive Market.)

I think my general feeling on supplements is that they are not going to do much in a lifestyle that is not healthy in other ways.  I mean, that's why they are called supplements, right?  They can't do it all on their own, but they can help. 

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