As a nutritionist, biochemist, and medical scientist, I personally do not recommend taking separate vitamins and minerals in supplement form unless you suffer from a very specific problem that requires supplementation with a very specific nutrient.
Overall I am a fan of balance and balance cannot be achieved by supplementing with single nutrients.
However, I also do not support taking “multivitamin” supplements where minerals and vitamins are combined into one tablet. There are nutrients that should not be taken together in supplement form because they affect each other’s absorption, for example iron and manganese, selenium and zinc, iron and zinc, selenium and vitamin C to name just a few. Therefore I also do not recommend supplementation with “multivitamins”.
However if you do feel you need a little more energy and would like to supplement your diet, here’s how I recommend doing it:
My recommendation is to supplement with foods, especially “super-foods”, which are foods rich in nutrients and enzymes that promote health. This is all I recommend for people eating a varied diet. Some vegans may need B-12 but if they consistently consume the specific super-foods which I will recommend in a moment, even they will not require supplementation with B-12 on a regular basis.
During times when the body has increased needs, for example during pregnancy, lactation period, menstruation or during an infection, we can add certain nutrients for support, but on a regular basis supplementing with super-foods is enough to promote ongoing health.
Super-foods are called “Super” because they are exceptionally rich in nutrients.
Here is a short list of Ultimate Food Supplements That Promote Health and Well Being:
A Cyanobacteria (a plant like organism found in fresh lakes and salt water, also known as a type of Blue-Green algae) with a very rich protein and nutrient content. Spirulina was also an ancient food source for the Aztecs. It is still controversial if the B-12 content of Spirulina may be utilised by humans, although through my personal experience it is a biologically active source for humans. I take Spirulina on an almost daily basis and so do all of my children. However, there are some contradictions for consuming Spirulina, it should not be consumed by people with PKU (because it contains phenylalanine), and also should be avoided by people on anticoagulant medication (because of its rich vitamin K content).
Spirulina is an amazing super-food also taken by astronauts during long-term space travel, and it has been well researched for its benefits with malnourished children, as well as people suffering from allergies, as a supplement for the elderly and for improving hypertension.
Chia seeds come from a flowering plant of the mint family. The seeds are extremely rich in omega 3 fatty acids and have the perfect balance between omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. Chia seeds also have high protein levels and contain a high amount of dietary fiber levels. Chia seeds also have an incredible amount of calcium, like flax and sesame seeds. To extract the maximum from this super-food, I recommend milling it and adding it to your foods, it has no flavour and can be added easily to any dish. This super-food need not be taken as a supplement and can and should be consumed as a food.
Barley and Wheat grass
Barley and Wheat grass are young grasses at the early stage of growth and therefore they have a totally different composition to the more mature wheat or barley which are considered grains rather than their young versions which are more similar to vegetables in their makeup. As these grasses grow, they change composition from being rich in chlorophyll and minerals, to rich in cellulose (a fibre). At their young grass phase, they have very high levels of antioxidants which has been proven to help the body remove cancerous cells. They are also rich with digestive enzymes which help us breakdown and digest foods more readily allowing the foods’ nutrients to become more available for the bodies’ needs.
Barley and wheat grass can be consumed daily and are also available in tablet form which I find very useful when on a busy schedule.
Probiotics are microorganisms that help us maintain a healthy balance between healthy microbes and harmful ones within our intestinal flora. Probiotics also synthesise vitamins, including B-12, and have been proven to help us overcome the effects of stress.
They have also been proven to have health benefits for controlling allergies, treating diarrhoea, increasing overall health including gum health and overall immune health. There are so many studies which prove the benefits of probiotics on our health.
When you are feeling over tired, stressed out, bloated, have constipation or diarrhoea, or after taking a course of antibiotics, I truly recommend taking probiotic supplements with multiple probiotic strains. They are also important for babies and have now been added to most baby formulas.
I recommend taking a probiotic supplement with minimum 50 billion live cultures and 10 beneficial probiotic strains at times of increased stress, major life changes, during constipation, when you are not getting sufficient sleep or after taking antibiotics.
Moringa oleifera, also referred to as the drumstick tree (due to the appearance of its seed-pods), is one of those traditional plants that have been eaten and used as herbal remedies long before Western science recognised them. The most nutritious part of the plant, the leaves, can be eaten raw, cooked or even powdered and added to sauces and soups. The leaves can also be taken in capsule form. They are rich in vitamins B, C, beta-carotene and minerals calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and protein. Due to insufficient research, it is currently not recommended during pregnancy.
Moringa leaves contain several thousand times more of the powerful anti-ageing nutrient zeatin, which has anti ageing properties on human skin fibroblasts more than any other known plant. Moringa leaves are also known to help prevent cancer by killing cancer cells and stopping tumor growth due to special antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compounds.
Studies on rats showed that Moringa leaves can reduce blood sugar levels within 3 hours of consuming the leaves and also protect the liver. Due to this, Moringa also helps control appetite!