I get a ton of questions from my clients about vitamins + supplements. And while my number one recommendation is to always get your nutrients from food first, I understand that we don’t always have total control over the quality of our food, the health of the soil where our food was grown, or what nutrients our body actually absorbs. Using specific, targeted, high-quality vitamins + supplements as part of a healthy lifestyle is a failsafe to make sure that on those days when you end up missing a meal, eating out, or not getting enough sleep, your body still has access to the nutrients it needs to keep your hormones in perfect balance.
Today I’m going to share the top ten supplements I recommend to clients, regardless of whether they’re trying to conceive, already pregnant, postpartum, or simply want to balance their hormones and feel better. But first, I want to briefly talk about a supplement you should definitely NOT be taking … that your doctor may have recommended.
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If you’ve been taking folic acid, STOP NOW. For a ton of info on why, read my blog on Why You Shouldn’t Take Folic Acid, but the short version is that synthetic folic acid is not normally found in foods or the human body. While it can be converted into usable forms of folate, that conversion is limited, and unabsorbed folic acid blocks receptor sites for naturally occurring folate. An overabundance of folic acid in the body has been linked to poor detoxification ability, increased inflammation, and miscarriages.
Similarly, you should not take standard over-the-counter multivitamins. They also usually contain synthetic, non-absorbable forms of nutrients your body needs. Synthetic nutrients can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb nutrients in their natural form. Always opt for food first, and when you supplement, always use the highest quality supplements available.
So what should you be taking? Here are my top recommendations:
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1. A Quality Prenatal Vitamin (even if you’re not trying to get pregnant)
The prenatal that I recommend is the Designs For Health Prenatal Pro Packets. I love this prenatal because it contains the correct form of each nutrient so your body can properly absorb and utilize all the nutrients it contains. This prenatal multivitamin contains potent levels of all necessary vitamins and minerals that play a part in the intricate processes of making a healthy baby, including the formation of body proteins, structural compounds, chemical transmitters in the nervous system, red blood cells and the developing skeletal system.
I recommend taking these even if you’re not pregnant (or not even sure if or when you want to get pregnant) because the earlier supplementation begins, the more nutrient stores your body will have to meet the nutrient demands of a growing baby. There’s so much in these packets that your body needs anyway, they are just a fantastic overall supplement that can be used in place of a multivitamin.
Each Prenatal Pro Essential Packet contains:
Prenatal Pro multivitamin: this prenatal multivitamin contains high levels of all the bioavailable + absorbable vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Prenatal Pro also includes NatureFolate, the naturally occurring, methylated form of folate.
OsteoForce multimineral: a unique formula that delivers a synergistic blend of minerals necessary to protect bone health. OsteoForce provides the minerals calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, potassium, and boron, along with vitamins C, D, and K – all in highly bioavailable and absorbable forms.
OmegAvail Ultra fish oil: Seafood contains a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid called DHA. DHA is found almost exclusively in seafood—you can’t really get it anywhere else in the diet. Americans on average consume only 5 ounces of fish per week, and up to 14 percent of women of childbearing age consume no fish at all – despite the fact that DHA is essential to proper brain development. OmegAvail is a high potency omega-3 product, providing 600 mg EPA and 400 mg DHA in each two soft gel serving. So especially if you don’t eat fish (and even if you do!) make absolutely sure you’re getting plenty of Omega-3 in supplement form.
2. Probiotics: I highly recommend all women start taking a probiotic if you’re not already — but I especially recommend it if you have to take an antibiotic, which can destroy the microbiota in your gut biome. Taking probiotics will not only help replace your gut flora if that happens, but a healthy gut biome bolsters your immune system, which may prevent you from contracting an infection requiring an antibiotic in the first place. Start with 1 capsule daily and work up to 2 capsules daily over a 7 day period. Continue on 2 capsules per day. You can also use probiotics in the form of a vaginal suppository a few times weekly while trying to get pregnant—insert the capsules at night before bed; they will dissolve while you sleep.
3. Vitamin D: 1 capsule daily with a meal containing a healthy fat source. When your vitamin D levels are in the optimal range of 50-80 ng/ml, you’ll feel happier, calmer, and more in balance. Healthy vitamin D levels dramatically reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and high blood pressure. Studies also show a significant correlation between robust vitamin D levels and optimized fertility.
4. Magnesium: 2-3 capsules at bedtime. Not only does magnesium allow the body to absorb calcium, it also regulates the pituitary gland, which in turn regulates hormone levels. Boosting your magnesium can help to heal PMS, PCOS, adrenal fatigue, and many other hormone-cycle related health problems. Magnesium is also incredibly helpful in promoting a good night’s sleep. And the great news is that once your magnesium levels are balanced, the positive changes happen fast!
5. DIM-Evail: 1 capsule daily. DIM (diindolylmethane) helps balance hormones by breaking down estrogen and removing it from the body. Too much estrogen leads to lower levels of progesterone. By cleansing the body of excess estrogen, DIM can help your body decrease estrogen and increase progesterone levels, which is extremely helpful for keeping all of your hormones in balance and optimizing your fertility. STOP TAKING WHEN PREGNANT.
6. Vitamin B6: 1 capsule daily. B vitamins (and B6 in particular) play an important role in cell metabolism, improve your metabolic pathways, boost your energy levels, and regulate your hormones. One research study showed that taking Vitamin B6 reduced blood estrogen levels, increased progesterone levels, and resulted in improved PMS symptoms. B-vitamins also assist in the formation of serotonin, helping to regulate your mood. Research has also shown that women with high levels of Vitamin B6 have a 50% lower chance of miscarriage.
7. Proteolytic Enzymes: 2 capsules, twice daily (away from meals). My favorite enzyme product is Inflammatone—a blend of robust, high potency proteolytic enzymes. Enzyme therapy is one of the best and most effective natural treatments for endometriosis, fibroids, blocked fallopian tubes, cysts, and any type of scar tissue in the body. Specific enzymes reduce scar tissue and digest the excess tissues that can result from imbalanced hormone conditions. Enzyme therapy reduces overall inflammation and may help with the pain that sometimes comes with it. The blood-cleansing actions of enzymes improves circulation and clears out any stagnant blood. DO NOT TAKE WHILE PREGNANT AND STOP TAKING IF YOU GET PREGNANT.
8. Adrenotone: 1 capsule with each meal, 3 per day. If you experience any kind of stress at all (and let’s be honest, everyone does), it’s important to make sure your adrenals are as healthy as possible. Adrenotone is a comprehensive formula designed to balance stress hormones, support a healthy menstrual cycle, and optimize energy. It uses the most effective adaptogenic herbs and nutrients to directly support your adrenal health.
9. Detox Antiox: 2 capsules per day. While the first step in keeping environmental toxins out of your body is to avoid them in the first place, in today’s world, it simply isn’t possible to avoid all the toxins we are exposed to daily. Detox Antiox combines an extensive array of nutrients that combat free radicals and assists your body’s natural process of ridding itself of toxic chemicals and heavy metals.
10. CoQ10: 1 capsule per day. CoQ10 is the body’s main antioxidant—it’s critical to the cellular ATP (energy) production cycle, and keeping free radical damage at bay. Your body produces CoQ10 naturally, but production can decline as we age. Low levels have been linked to all kinds of health conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Taking CoQ10 regularly can reduce oxidative stress, helping to prevent a number of health conditions, and it can also improve egg quality for women trying to conceive.
In addition to taking the supplements above, it’s (of course) equally important to eat a nourishing diet of whole, real foods that you cook yourself, get outside and move your body every day, and reduce your exposure to toxins as much as possible.
Have more questions?! Let’s talk! If you want more tips and advice regarding the best supplements for you, that’s what I’m here for!