I remember watching a documentary several years ago that said un-dissolved vitamins are one of the top things found in waste water treatment facilities. Aside from the ‘gross’ factor of thinking about how they’re getting there, it’s a sobering look at how much money is literally being flushed down the toilet. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans spend more than $30 billion dollars on dietary supplements each year . On the bright side, there are some supplements with proven benefits– not to mention, droves of users who swear by their effectiveness.
1. Black Seed Oil
Black seed oil– coined the “Miracle Herb”– is thought to be one of the most powerful natural supplements on the market. Impressively, this oil is touted to have the same benefits as multiple over-the-counter and prescription drugs: anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-histamine– to name a few. Black seed oil users across the web report healing and treatment of almost everything including cancer, skin and bacterial infections, Candida overgrowth, joint inflammation… even HIV/AIDS. Science says the benefits come from 3 natural properties in the oil: Thymoquinone (TQ), Thymohydroquinone(THQ), and Thymol. These natural chemicals are quickly getting attention in the medical community thanks to several studies showing significant results against MRSA, tumors and other serious conditions.
Turmeric is mostly known as a spice used for cooking, but its lesser known benefits make it suitable to be taken as a supplement also. It is naturally anti-inflammatory, helps to lower cholesterol, and promotes heart health. Turmeric also helps to strengthen the immune system. Several YouTube beauty bloggers say it whitens teeth and lightens armpits, when applied topically (I’ll leave the latter to the adventurous to test out).
So I first discovered L-Lysine while searching the web for a natural remedy for my cat’s eye-infection. Hopefully I haven’t lost you there haha! It turns out, L-Lysine is one of eight essential amino acids; it plays a crucial role in the development of antibodies and has important antiviral properties. Most notably, L-Lysine can cure a cold sore very quickly (a few days) as it is a powerful treatment against the Herpes Simplex Virus. Additionally, it has been shown to decrease anxiety and support the formation of collagen and muscle tissue. And if you’re wondering– yes, it cured my cat’s eye infection… overnight! Amazing!
4. Vitamin C with Rose Hips
So you already know that Vitamin C is a great way to stave off a cold, but you may not have known Vitamin C enhanced with Rose Hips can give you a glowing complexion. Together the supplements become an antioxidant dynamo– protecting the skin from bacteria and viruses often linked to acne. The combination helps to prevent new blemishes and calm inflamed pimples.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is another vitamin staple… however it’s worth noting, Vitamin D may be most effective when taken as a softgel (versus a tablet). Vitamin D promotes healthy bone growth. The key with Vitamin D is absorption. Health experts recommend you take it with food, as that can increase absorption by 30 to 50 percent. The oil in the softgel further aids in absorption.
Passionflower is the perfect alternative to (or at least a great first stop before turning to) anti-anxiety medications. While the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) says more research is needed to prove its efficacy, multiple trials and studies show Passionflower to relieve anxiety and insomnia.
Ashwagandha– an Ayurvedic healing staple– is also known for its calming effect, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. More than 200 studies nod to the herb’s ability to: improve memory/learning, support the immune system, stabilize blood sugar, reduce brain cell degeneration, enhance sexual potency, reduce anxiety, depression and the effects of stress, reduce inflammation, and help lower cholesterol.
8. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil has a cult following similar to Black Seed Oil. And the great thing about a ‘cult following’ for a supplement is the fact that it’s based on the supplement’s effectiveness — not because it’s ‘cool’. Carvacrol is the active ingredient in Oregano oil. The natural chemical has gained a lot of attention because of its proven ability to kill cancerous cells. Carvacrol is also backed by science for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammation, and cholesterol and blood sugar- lowering abilities. The key to finding the most effective Oregano oil is to pay attention to the Carvacrol concentration (which can range from 5 to 86 percent); higher percentages are considered the best quality.
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With so many options, choosing the best Probiotic can prove to be a daunting task. Something to aim for: choose a Probiotic that can make it past the stomach acids into the lower gastrointestinal tract. This will ensure that good bacteria is making it to all of the right places. A healthy gut is arguably the starting point for overall good health.
Garlic supports heart health and is a natural antioxidant. If you’re not a fan of the ‘garlic-y’ aftertaste from some supplements (let alone eating a fresh clove), look for one with an enteric coating. The enteric coating allows the supplement to make it to your small intestine before dissolving. This will allow you to get a healthy dose of garlic and all of its benefits without the garlic burps.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional in any capacity. Always consult with your health care provider before taking any new dietary supplements. Some of the supplements mentioned above may not be compatible with those who are pregnant, suffer certain illnesses, and/or take certain medications. Additionally some individuals may have unknown allergies. ALWAYS take the safe route and talk to your health care provider first.
Black Seed Oil
Vitamin C with Rose Hips