As I learn more about natural and healthy alternatives to synthetic vitamins and drugs- particularly how vitamins and minerals help neurotransmitters in the brain- my home pharmacy increases. And with that- how and when to take these supplements-becomes more complicated, but the payoff is spectacular- more consistent energy levels throughout the day, good sleep, improved muscle performance from workouts and a stronger immune system to name some.
So here is the current lineup of what they are, but I won’t drill down to the when, with/without meal, etc.. People have asked what I take instead of conventional drugs so here we are:
- Tryptophan: and amino acid that converts to 5-HTP and then to serotonin, the “happiness hormone,” and melatonin for circadian rhythm. This can help during times of stress with mood, anxiety and sleep.
- 5-HTP: sold as an individual supplement- as from Tryptophan, 5-HTP can help regulate mood, memory and sleep. Pharmaceutical SSRI antidepressant drugs are believed to work by increasing serotonin levels.
- Sam-e: naturally occurring molecule in the body, good for anxiety or depression
- Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA): 3 amino acids- leucine, isoleucine and valine are naturally occurring in protein products. Important to take daily for muscle growth over time and to prevent fatigue in novice athletes (during exercise a serum decline occurs causing a tryptophan influx into the brain, followed by serotonin production, which causes fatigue- don’t take at night as I did and was wide awake half the night).
- Multi-vitamin: obvious- for diet deficiencies at various times- be sure to take a whole food supplement, not cheap and synthetic
- B vitamin complex: eight B vitamins — B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, for antioxidant benefits, fighting free radicals, making new cells and boosting HDL (good) cholesterol. A great resource for understanding each B vitamin and the foods they are in is found at the dailyburn
- Vitamin C (powdered, buffered): Daily!!! Not enough can be said for taking ample vitamin c- it is a water soluble antioxidant that supports: cellular health, production of glutathione (the master antioxidant), making collagen (keeps skin looking young, adrenal health, immunity and wound healing. Here is a great article about all the newly amazing discoveries of vitamin C from Lifeextension.
- Magnesium Citrate: a mineral used by every organ in your body- most people are deficient due to the decline of nutrient rich soil producing food with less mineral content (and also that our food is ultra sterilized for public sale with no soil residue) and leaky gut (the inability to absorb proper levels of minerals) An entire host of health problems stems from low levels.
- Astaxanthin: a naturally occurring carotenoid that is found in marine plants and animals, thereby giving salmon its pink color. It has been used as natural sunscreen that works from the inside out as it accumulates in the skin, where it makes its way into all skin layers (topical sunscreens can reach only the outermost layers). This can provide potent protection against ultraviolet radiation. Athletes who train in the sun for extended periods found this to be beneficial as a sunscreen.
- Melatonin: for sleep, it’s a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that readies your body for sleep. As a supplement it can help you to feel sleepy without the side effects of sleeping drugs. Sometimes one can have very vivid dreams though!
And this does not include other supplementation my doctor has prescribed- rather than pharmaceuticals- for other temporary conditions. To keep costs lower I buy all or nearly all at one time from iHerb.