Supplements are a huge draw for people focused on their health, and although there are benefits to almost every supplement on the market, they are not all necessary. To keep things simple for the supplement-novices out there, or if you are looking to clean out your pill cabinet, we have selected four supplements that we recommend based on their enormous benefits. These are: Omega-3 Fatty Acid, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Betaine HCL.
#1) Omega-3 Fats
Most commonly taken as Fish Oil capsules, these essential anti-inflammatory fats aid in brain development, autoimmunity, & recovery from activity, prevent against cancer & neuro-degeneration, improve insulin sensitivity & fertility… need we go on? Just to be clear, fish oil does not contain mercury, because the type of mercury found in fish is not soluble in oil, and is therefore separated when the oil is extracted.
If you want to get fancy, Robb Wolf discusses the proper ratio of EPA to DHA. He thinks a 1 to 1 ratio is good, but that even a DHA heavy oil is acceptable, and is preferred for pregnant or breastfeeding women, and children. In fact, children under 3 years of age should ONLY have DHA. It’s safe for children because it’s derived from algae, and therefore free of chemicals and pollutants that may be present in the EPA from fish oils. Also, our bodies can convert this safe DHA into EPA if needed!
There are different grades of fish oil, the most expensive (and cleanest) is pharmaceutical grade/ultra-refined. You do get more bang for your buck with these, but they are not necessary to get the benefits we are looking for. Any fish oil capsules you can find should be fine, but if you want some general standards to follow in addition to the EPA-DHA ratio, try to match these:
- PCBs 15 – 20 ppb
- Mercury < 10 ppb
- Lead < 10 ppb
- Arsenic < 100 ppb
To find out how much you need, visit whole9life.com/fish-oil.
They also have a great FAQ page hereif you have more questions about Fish Oil supplements.
#2) Vitamin D
Calling all desk jockeys: get outside, or take the supplement, because this shiz is important. Vitamin D controls inflammation, regulates blood sugar, lowers blood pressure, can help with acne, prevents a huge slew of diseases, and decreases the likelihood of developing many cancers (more benefits on this site). Our hunter-gatherer ancestors got all the Vitamin D they needed (10,000-20,000 IU/day) from the sun. This is the best way to get it, but impossible for many people, so we supplement. Take 2,000-5,000 IU/day in the morning with a meal that contains fat for the most benefits. And, for goodness sake, try to see the Sun everyday.
*If you have Hyperparathyriod disease, take less than 1,000 IU/day.
This nutrient played a big role in our past, and is just as critical now as it was then. Magnesium helps form healthy bones and teeth, help with protein synthesis, lowers the risk of heart disease, regulates hypertension, and treats migraines, insomnia and depression. It also increases calcium absorption (which we’ve been hearing since we were kids is important… we were just unfortunately told to do it through drinking milk).
The best way to figure out how much to take is by starting with one 200mg pill (or 200mg of powdered magnesium), and adding one more every day until you “reach bowel tolerance” (get the poopies). 400-800mg is a good range to play with. Magnesium puts most people to sleep, so it’s a good thing to take at bedtime. If you are special and it wakes you up, just take it when you wake up and you’ll be all bright and shiny in time for a big “GOOOOOOD MORNING!”
#4) Betaine HCL
Betaine Hydrochloric Acid is a digestive aid. It adds acid to your stomach to give your digestion a nice little push at the beginning of the process. This supplement can work wonders to help your body process proteins and fats. If you are going to eat something either A) you know you are allergic or upsets your stomach, or B) is not paleo and therefore likely will upset your stomach, make sure you have some Betaine with you to make the best out of the situation. Also, if you are a first timer at The Paleo Diet and find that your stomach is upset due to the change in foods, taking some Betaine at every meal just might get your stomach back to normal.
Betaine’s purpose, again, is to add acid to the stomach. To do the opposite, use sodium bicarbonate (a base… alkaline), Betaine’s nemesis. The recommended “dose” of sodium bicarbonate ranges from ½ tsp- 1 full tsp. Taking 1 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate plus 1 teaspoon of buffered Vitamin C powder in water can stop an allergic reaction. Try to avoid taking this directly after eating, as it stops the digestive process.