95% of all probiotics do not contain the healthy bacteria they claim. This is because many of the lactic acid bacteria-based formulas are destroyed during supplement processing, and also are plentiful in many human guts already (sometimes too much).
What to choose?
Reach for: a “soil-based” formula or “spore forming” organism-like:
Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra
(*if you do not have SIBO or extreme bloating after meals)
Saccharomyces Boulardi by Jarrow Brand
2. Digestive Enzymes
Like the “Pac Mans” that help you eat up your food, digestive enzymes ensure that food is broken down when you eat (to help prevent unwanted bloating, gas and constipation).
Reach for: a digestive enzyme with a variety of enzymes like
NOW Super Enzymes & Garden of Life Omega-Zyme Enzymes
3.Apple Cider Vinegar
Stomach acid is good for you! And if you don’t have enough of it, then you probably are not absorbing all the nutrients from your food. Stomach acid helps break down food before sending it to the small intestine where your digestive enzymes go to work and nutrients are delivered throughout your body.
Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar or NOW Betaine HCL (if you can’t stomach a tablespoon of ACV in your water glass before meals)
Prebiotic fibers like Glucomannan and Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum help your body absorb your probiotics and ensure a balanced gut flora. Not all fibers are created equal though, and many of them can worsen symptoms of bloating and constipation.
Glucomannan tablets or powder
Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum
5.Cod Liver Oil
If you don’t consume cold-water wild-caught fatty fish on the regular, fermented cod liver oil can be a booster of EPA/DHA fatty acids essential for brain health, and vitamin and mineral absorption. Unfortunately, Whole Foods actually does NOT carry a fermented cod liver oil to date, but you can find it online super easy through a supplier like Rosita or Green Pastures.
For this one, save your money from buying rancid fish oils, and get your Omega-3 Fatty Acids from Cod Liver Oil, that unlike fish oil, is less rancid because it is “fermented” and rich in the active forms of vitamin A and vitamin D, both of which are difficult to obtain elsewhere in the diet.
To take or not to take? That is the question. In an ideal world, you’d get all of your vitamins and minerals from your food and daily nutrition. However, this is often not the case. So is there a multi-vitamin you can pop for general wellness?
Before considering a multi-, I highly encourage you to start FIRST with the first 4 listed supplements (all digestive support aids) AND a nutrient-dense diet. These combined will help you maximize your nutrition.
If a multi-vitamin is for sure in your supplement line up “for good measure” my top on-the-shelf formula is an immune-boosting supplement called: “Wellness Formula” by Source Naturals. (bonus: also great for when you’re sick)
“Wellness Formula” by Source Naturals
7. B-Vitamin Complex
B-Vitamins are the governors of a thriving metabolism, energy, brain function and even absorption of nutrients. They are found primarily in organ meats and sustainable protein sources, and those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet can generally benefit from a Vitamin B boost.
In addition, if you struggle with constipation or low energy, a trial of B-Vitamins can be beneficial to see how your body responds to the booster.
NOW Vitamin B Complex
8. Essential Oils
If you don’t have a diffuser at home, doctor’s orders to get one now.
Essential oils have been around for thousands of years, used as healing agents for everything from back relief, to anxiety, the common cold, nausea and everything in between.
Whole Foods certainly carries an assortment of oils, and they may not compare to many popularized multi-level marketing companies (like doTerra and Young Living), but you can find a few gems in the mix.
The key to buying essential oils is: If the price seems too good to be true. It is.
Essential oils can actually be masked forms of toxic chemicals if they are not sourced or packaged properly.
High heating and processing destroys many of their properties and ironically makes them smell “sweeter” than they actually are. Some of the companies actually distill at high pressure and high temperature to produce more oil faster, despite it being commonly known in the essential oils industry that low temperature and low pressure is vital.
Nevertheless, reach for the top of the line (price point) quality oils you can find on shelves at your local Whole Foods.
Some of my fave blends?
Check out this post for some essentials.
Bonus: Castor Oil
Technically not an aromatic essential oil, but castor oil is like the “Windex” of healthy supplement land. You can find it in the Whole Body section, and use it for:
- Relieving constipation and bloating (rub it on your stomach)
- Cold & Flu Treatment (90 percent of its fatty acid content consists of ricinoleic acid, which helps prevent the growth of viruses, bacteria, yeasts, and molds; rub it on your pulse and sinus points)
- Hormone Imbalances
- Acne & Skin Breakouts
- Athlete’s Foot & Funguses
- Styes (in your eyes)
- Yeast Infection
- Inflammation & Back pain
9 Magnesium Citrate
Restless at night? Constipated? Sore muscles?
Reach for magnesium—specifically magnesium citrate for immediate relief.
The popularized Natural CALM is a powder you can add to water before bed to boost quality of sleep, as well as help you “go” (#2).
Natural Calm (plus Calcium)
10. Protein Powder
Protein powder can make life (and breakfast) easier, but remember, NOT ALL PROTEINS ARE CREATED EQUAL…Look for a formula with as few of ingredients as possible (read: Not Vega). The fillers inhibit digestion of your protein powders in the first place—winding up in the toiler rather than your body
Vital Proteins Collagen Powder (also a pescatarian Marine blend and “Beauty Greens” for those who want a green powder too)
Primal Kitchen Primal Fuel
Bona Fide Bone Broth (sold in the frozen section)
Elizabeth D. Kantor, Colin D. Rehm, Mengmeng Du, Emily White, Edward L. Giovannucci. Trends in Dietary Supplement Use Among US Adults From 1999-2012. JAMA. 2016;316(14):1464–1474. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.14403
Cameron-Smith, D., Albert, B. B., & Cutfield, W. S. (2015). Fishing for answers: is oxidation of fish oil supplements a problem? Journal of Nutritional Science, 4, e36.