- Hannah Aylward
A Peek into a Health Coach’s Medicine Cabinet
What Supplements Does a Health Coach Take
By Hannah Aylward
One of the most common questions that I get asked is, "What do you eat?" And right after it is this one, "What supplements do you take?"
I totally get it. There are a million of them out on the market now, and it can be really confusing to sift through all of the noise.
Supplements are powerful tools that can help the body both heal from disease and optimize functionality — from inflammation to metabolism to hormones. While they can be incredibly important, they also cannot carry the weight and makeup the difference for negative lifestyle habits. I am sure you have heard, “You can’t outrun and bad diet." That same concept holds true here. You can't eat chicken fingers and French fries, drink soda, sleep for four hours a night, and then take supplements expecting things to get better. They most likely won’t, because there is way too much fighting against any ability they have to help your body heal.
The quality of supplements from different manufacturers varies dramatically.
The supplement industry is self-regulated which means that if it is on the shelf at your local grocery store or Walmart, they can say whatever they want on the label.
This means that these supplements could be contaminated by mercury, toxins, lead, and other things, not be properly sourced or tested, low in the active ingredients they claim to contain, or a form of the nutrient that is cheap and poorly absorbed or used by the body.
This is unfortunate for many reasons, including the fact that you as a consumer have wonderful intentions and are making an effort to get better through using supplements, yet you see and feel no difference despite having spent a lot of money on supplements that are “guaranteed to help." How defeating!
My point here is, don’t lose hope. Supplements can be amazing and beneficial. Never skimp on quality when purchasing
If it costs a few extra dollars, it is most likely worth it. I always recommend that my clients buy high-quality supplements from doctors that I refer them to, recommend, and trust. Even as a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I do not have access to some of the good ones. Fortunately, you can find some of these online and outside of your local area, you just have to know where to go. If you have a doctor that you work well with locally, get their medical-grade supplement recommendations. I don’t mean to say that all supplements at your local store aren’t worth purchasing. I’m sure a handful of brands will be of good quality. The first thing to look for is that the company has tested their product. Secondly, that the studies were performed ethically and with as little bias as possible. (Pharmaceutical companies and big business can sponsor some of these studies, skewing results towards what they want.)
It’s important to remember that my body is very different from yours. I am predisposed to certain things because of my genes and my upbringing. I took way too many antibiotics as a young child for sinus infections and experienced some serious trauma as a little girl. These both took a large toll on my gut, leaving me still a bit more sensitive today.
We are all different, come from different places, and have different activity levels, hormone levels, and metabolisms.
So it is important to follow what actually feels best in your body (with some guidance from a professional), as opposed to taking things because they are trending on health blogs.
With that being said, here is a look into my personal (daily!) cabinet, because I have a ton of others in my arsenal.
I believe a probiotic is one of the most important supplements that you can take. Modern life, diet, stress, antibiotics, and other medications damage our gut ecosystem, which is so important in keeping us healthy, strong, and vibrant. A probiotic helps us maintain high levels of good bacteria in the gut.
Want to know more about the gut and why it is so important? Read here.
Up to 80 percent of modern-day humans are deficient or suboptimal in vitamin D. Vitamin D3 improves metabolism by influencing more than 200 different genes that can prevent and treat diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Our biggest source of vitamin D comes from the sun. However, most of us spend our days inside, wear clothing that covers most of our bodies, and use sunscreen to “protect our skin” when outdoors. Because of this, we simply don’t get enough.
Make sure that you are taking the right kind of vitamin D - D3. Vitamin D is also a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it needs to be paired with fat to be properly absorbed in the body. For that reason, I typically put a few drops in my smoothie every morning that always contains my special formula of protein + healthy fat + fiber + greens.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids - EPA + DHA
Omega-3 fatty acids pack an anti-inflammatory punch. Omega-3 fats, like DHA and EPA, have been shown to decrease inflammation in the body, improve heart health, fight depression and anxiety, reduce cancer risk and slow aging to name a few.Theseimportant fatsimprove insulin sensitivity, lower cholesterol by lowering triglycerides and raising HDL, prevent blood clots, and lower the risk of heart attacks. Fish oil also improves nerve function and may help prevent the nerve damage common in diabetes.
We are all constantly dealing with inflammation, whether it is from stress, sugar, caffeine, a hard workout, little sleep, pollution, and more. Therefore, an omega-3 supplement is probably a good idea.
This one kind of covers the bases. The right multivitamin will contain all the basic vitamins and minerals so you are getting a solid foundation. However, once again, some people may have unique requirements for higher or lower doses depending on their current health status. Get your levels checked.
Most people are deficient in magnesium. Our soils have become depleted of nutrients. This soil creates and feeds everything that we eat. So essentially, when the soil is depleted, so are we. Medications also negatively interfere with magnesium levels (and much more). Finally, mental and physical stresses cause an increase in magnesium elimination from the body.
Magnesium is involved in at least 600-800 enzymatic reactions in the body. To put it lightly, it’s pretty important.
As always, this should not be taken as medical advice. Always listen to your doctor first and foremost.
**We recommend that you do not rely solely on the information presented and that you always read labels, warnings, and directions before using or consuming a product. You should consult your health care professional before making any changes to your regular health care routine.
Hannah Aylward is a Certified Health Coach, nutrition consultant, fitness instructor, healthy living expert, and founder of HAN. She helps both men and women around the world lose weight, heal skin disturbances, balance hormones, heal gut imbalances and feel at home in their bodies through healthy eating, movement, mindfulness and positive self-talk. Her goal is to help others “learn the tools that they need to live the lives they deserve”. Get to know her by visiting her website and following her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.