Being a naturopathic doctor means I’m constantly nagging myself to take supportive supplements.While there are so many herbs and nutrients I could and should be taking, I’m not exactly the best patient (doctors never are). I do not like taking pills, just the act of it reminds me of being sick. However, I know the impact certain nutrients & herbs can have when used appropriately. These treatments can help support the immune system to keep an eye out for any new circulating cancer cells and thereby help prevent a cancer recurrence. These treatments also help me feel great by lowering inflammation levels in the body. Knowing how essential it is to support my health here are the few supplements I choke down everyday:
1) Melatonin (20mg sublingual before bed): I take melatonin nightly not just for sleep but for a myriad of health reasons. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone made in the brain and the intestinal cells and is most notably involved in the sleep-wake cycle. However, melatonin is not just the sleepy hormone, it also assists in regulating constipation, diarrhea, and healthy digestion. This potent antioxidant reduces inflammation in the body while also supporting immunity. This is the one supplement I actually enjoy taking since it melts in my mouth and twenty minutes later I’m asleep!
2) Fish oil (1250 mg EPA/DHA/day): Fish oil is gross, there is no denying it but it is the best supplemental source of the essential fatty acids: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These omega-3 fatty acids help prevent chronic inflammation which can occur when you eat a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids (most often found in meat and animal products). Fish oil (usually a combined source of omega 3s from cold water fish such as: mackerel, herring, anchovies and sardines) reduces this inflammatory cascade. Omega-3 fatty acids are also involved in improving immune function. While I hate taking this supplement I balance out my pain by buying a good flavour (apple or lemon) and chasing it with something delicious (right now, that is a halloween mini-chocolate bar).
3) Probiotics (10-500 billion CFU/day): I take a daily probiotic supplement in a range of doses and bacterial strains. I use probiotics to restore beneficial bacterial flora in the colon and reduce inflammation throughout the body. In addition, probiotics bolster the intestinal immune system, make crucial nutrients needed for immune function, and keep pathogens (bad bugs) moving out of the body. New research linking the health of the bacterial flora in the gut to the health of other systems in the body like; mental health, cardiovascular health, and bone health, also encourages my daily intake of probiotics. I splurge on probiotics sometimes spending upwards of 100 buckaroos a month just to get my ideal dose. I figure some women like shoes, I like gut bacteria.
Oh, I also drink a shit ton of green tea everyday because I enjoy it and its good for me 🙂