Our Western diet is filled with nutrient-poor and calorie-dense processed foods We are constantly exposed to toxins in our food, water, air, and even personal care and cleaning products. Our stress levels have skyrocketed and many people are dealing with gut issues. This combination of a decrease in nutrients in our food and an increase in stress, toxins, and gut issues like leaky gut is why we can no longer get all of the vitamins and minerals we need from food alone. Supplementation helps you maintain healthy levels of nutrients. You don’t however need to take too many. We are all unique individuals and unique physically, so not everyone needs to supplement the same way, however, there are some essential supplements that I recommend for everyone to take.
1. Omega 3
The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are widely publicized. They reduce inflammation and may help lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. And, because they are highly-concentrated in the brain, omega-3 fatty acids are also important for memory, cognition, and behavior.
For auto-immunity they are super powers. Of all the fatty acids, the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have the greatest effect on the immune system and the inflammatory response. This is important for autoimmune disease sufferers. Studies examining the use of omega-3 supplements (usually taken as fish oil) have demonstrated benefits for people with chronic diseases, including autoimmune conditions such as lupus, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease. These benefits include reduced pain and inflammation, with a consequent decreased need for medications designed to combat inflammation, which can have their own negative side effects.
The future of medicine is turning toward your microbiome, the ecosystem of bacteria and other microbes that live in your gut, to prevent and reverse many diseases. We now know that nearly 80% of your immune system is located in your gut, and up to 95% of your serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood) is produced in your gut.
This means that if the balance of bacteria in your gut is thrown off, it can lead to a whole host of problems, including autoimmunity, depression, anxiety, and leaky gut, to name a few. Taking a probiotic every day can help keep your microbiome in balance, which promotes a healthy GI tract, relieves digestive discomfort, promotes a normal bowel pattern, and supports overall wellness.
3. Vitamin D3
Vitamin D is unique in a couple of important ways. First, your body can make its own vitamin D3 when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Second, vitamin D3 is converted into a hormone in your body. Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers, they travel through your blood to your tissues and organs activating chemical reactions that control everything from metabolism to growth and development to mood. Over 50,000 of the chemical reactions in your body require the presence of adequate amounts of vitamin D3 in your blood. The vitamin contributes to bone strength, heart health, and cancer prevention. Vitamin D3 also plays an important role in your immune system, and can be a determining factor in whether or not you develop an autoimmune disease.
Interesting Facts About Mushrooms
If you read the nutritional information on a package of mushrooms, you’ll notice that some contain vitamin D and some don’t. When exposed to sunlight, mushrooms produce an active form of vitamin D. Most commercially grown mushrooms are raised indoors, in the dark, and lack the nutrient. Some growers expose their mushrooms to artificial ultraviolet light to induce vitamin D synthesis.
Mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D. Meat is the only other food source of vitamin D.
Mushrooms contain the same form of vitamin B-12 as meat.
Mushrooms have umami—a meaty, savory flavor and one of the five basic tastes. If you have a craving for meat and salt, try a mushroom dish. It might satisfy those cravings.
Mushrooms are a terrific source of copper, potassium, folate, and niacin (B3).
Foraging for mushrooms in the wilderness, also known as mushroom hunting, is fun but it’s important to exercise caution. Many poisonous mushrooms are nearly identical to safe varieties.