Standing back and looking at the shelves of nutritional supplement sections can make you feel overwhelmed and stressed out pretty darn quickly.
There are hundreds of different vitamins, nutrients, and compounds to choose from, each with thousands of producers and different label variations. To cut away 99% of what’s out there, you need to start by getting clear on how you want to feel and what your body needs.
This approach has allowed me to use my laser focus through the endless sea of marketed options and get down to exactly what it is that my system needs in order to truly thrive.
The supplements that I choose to take have to meet four basic criteria:
1. High quality, organically sourced, sugar free, and toxin-free
2. Multi-purpose with high leverage benefits
3. Requires daily consumption for simplicity of regiment (with occasional cycles on/off)
4. Targeted to support my immune system, cognitive function, libido, or any combination of those 3 things
If you resonate with that list, you’ll probably benefit from reading through the stack that I now take on a daily basis.
I’ve been open with you about my struggles with depression and anxiety in the past. Knowing what it’s like to be so far on that side of the spectrum has given me the resolve and concrete sense of value that I need to look after myself in ways I never used to.
Now I actively strive to be the best version of myself as often and as consistently as possible. And the right supplements help me do just that. Mental health, sexual health, and emotional health all start with nutritional health.
(Note: I’m not a doctor and don’t play one on the internet. But these are all safe to take and have pretty much zero side effects. The best thing you can do is find a referral for a great naturopathic doctor in your area to consult with and help you develop a laser targeted regiment that suits your unique body and mind.)
With that, here are the 7 supplements that I take every day.
Over 300 biochemical processes in the body involve magnesium. The most crucial of which is energy production at a cellular level. Studies have shown that magnesium deficiency is a cause of common conditions such as depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, insomnia, chronic pain, diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and headaches.
There are various different kinds of magnesium. Magnesium bisglycinate, specifically, is the only type known to cross the blood-brain barrier, which makes it especially good for supporting people who deal with depression, anxiety and migraine headaches. It is generally known for having super potent calming effects.
Magnesium deficiency is very common. Besides a mineral deficient diet (due to processed foods and the degradation of soil quality in modern agriculture), stress of all types is another major cause of magnesium depletion, whether that stress be chemical, emotional, hormonal or physical.
Since magnesium relaxes muscles and nerves, more magnesium is needed when you’re stressed out. When you’re under stress your adrenal glands produce cortisol, which increases acidity in the body, which increases the need for magnesium.
Taking magnesium and managing my stress levels is the highest leverage thing I can do to mitigate anxiety and brain fog.
You should take magnesium bisglycinate if you:
– have high anxiety
– struggle with depression
– need a natural mood balancer
– have hypertension
Best known for supporting a healthy immune system, vitamin C is also the fundamental catalyst for collagen synthesis, which is the flexible, structural protein that forms your skin and connective tissues. Everything from your teeth, eyes, blood vessels, hair and nails require collagen for their structural health.
Personally, I take it more for immune support than anything. Yes, sickness will happen to the best of us, but if I can do anything in my power to prevent it, I’d rather not feel like shit for a week and get way behind on the work I need to stay on top of.
If you haven’t heard of liposomal technology, you should look it up (or watch this video interview I did about it). It’s the next wave of long overdue revolution in the nutritional supplement industry. The fact is that the majority of the contents you see on the labels of your vitamin bottles don’t actually make it into your bloodstream. They either break down prematurely in the digestive process or end up in the toilet because they aren’t easy for your body to absorb. Basically, I found out that I had literally been pissing away my money on most of my supplements.
This problem is solved with liposomes… nano-sized fatty bubbles that protect their contents from harm in the digestive tract. On top of that, the stuff that they are made of is super easy for your cells to absorb. So uptake of the nutrients into your body ends up being increased exponentially.
You should take liposomal vitamin C if you:
– get poor sleep
– often get sick
– travel in airplanes regularly
– have brittle nails, hair or skin
Curcumin is a natural and super potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. It’s the key beneficial component in turmeric, the yellowy-orange indian spice. Recent studies have shown that curcumin is at least (if not more) effective than drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen in reducing inflammation and pain, which are dangerous when taken regularly for long periods of time.
I work on my computer just about as much as any office worker. This means plenty of aches and pains in my wrists, fingers and forearms from the acute stresses of tapping away at a keyboard for hours.
I find this stuff really helps to cut through mental fog too. It increases your levels of a growth hormone called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) in the brain that is responsible for memory, learning and cognition. So it’s not just a natural, side-effect free pain reliever and anti-ager, but a great brain booster too.
You could cook with turmeric, but curcumin only makes up 3 or 4% of the spice itself. On top of that, it’s really hard for your body to absorb curcumin into the bloodstream without processing it in time consuming ways.
Again, this is why a liposomal form is the only way to go. It delivers a concentrated punch of curcumin to my bloodstream that I couldn’t possibly get anywhere else.
You should take liposomal curcumin if you:
– are an athlete
– feel mentally sluggish
– experience arthritis symptoms
– are a musician
– spend a lot of time on keyboards/computers
Vitamin D is a hormone your body makes when UV light hits your skin. It facilitates the body’s absorption of calcium and the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine – two MVP’s responsible for good moods and wakefulness.
This means that you’re extremely susceptible to depression if you live somewhere that doesn’t get much sunshine. For example, I live in Vancouver, BC. Similar to London, England, it’s notorious for being mostly grey and rainy throughout the year, with a super brief respite in the summer months.
Vitamin D deficiency is the primary culprit behind seasonal affective disorder and “winter blues”. If you know you suffer from that, a vitamin D supplement could be a game changer for you.
Since you can’t possibly get enough Vitamin D through your diet, you either have to move to the Sahara desert for perennial sunshine, or buy a quality supplement.
You’ll notice I’m continuing the trend of pumping the shit out of liposomalized vitamins, which is for a good reason. Especially when it comes to mental health and fending off depression, I’m not taking any risks with efficacy. I want to make sure that my body is actually getting the medicinal benefits that I’m looking for.
You should take liposomal vitamin D if you:
– get little to no sunlight on a regular basis
– work in an office
– feel out of it and lethargic in winter/fall months
– are prone to depression
No, not the magic kind…
You might have never heard of them through the conventional pharmaceutical market, but medicinal mushrooms are some of nature’s most potent healing substances.
I take an extract that has a blend of 5 different mushrooms, so I’m reaping all the overlapping benefits of the key ones. You can find a liquid tincture, or just take a powdered version like I do. I find tossing a spoonful of it into a smoothie works best. Mixing it into a hot cup of tea can be a bit thick and hard to drink.
Chaga mushrooms, for example, are known for having the best adaptogenic profile of any plant, which means that it is incredibly good at helping the body combat the various negative effects of stress, while promoting optimal and healthy functioning of the majority of our bodily systems.
Lion’s Mane mushrooms are known for being a wicked, side-effect free nootropic, or cognitive enhancer.
Reishi mushrooms are great for balancing hormones, fighting viral infections and supporting liver health.
Cordyceps mushrooms provide a strong kick of energy and offer a great, non-acidic alternative to coffee, or a natural pre-workout boost.
I could go on.
You should take a medicinal mushroom supplement if you:
– Regularly experience patchy memory or brain fog
– Struggle with chronic fatigue and/or high-stress
– Are a student that needs a great immunity and brain boost for exam crunches
– Are travelling and want a simple way to keep healthy and sharp
B vitamins help the body convert food into glucose, which provides the body with energy. They also help metabolize fats and proteins, as well as support healthy nervous system functioning.
Because there are so many types of B vitamins, which all perform very important functions, a blended complex is a really high-leverage supplement to take.
For example, Vitamin B1 helps boost the immune system and fight stress. Vitamin B6 helps the body make certain hormones and neurotransmitters. Vitamin B3 lowers “bad” cholesterol levels and boosts “good” cholesterol, which helps prevent hardening of the arteries, among other things.
Mostly, I take this for overall energy and keeping my mind sharp and fluid.
You should take a vitamin B complex if you:
– feel lethargic
– are prone to depression
– need a brain booster
Omega-3 is a fatty acid naturally found throughout the body, especially in the brain, eyes and heart. It’s chief functions are reducing cellular inflammation and fostering optimal brain health/cognition.
There are two main kinds of Omega-3’s: EPA and DHA. Tons of studies have been done on EPA’s effectiveness with depression, ADHD, and brain trauma, among others. So it’s great for fending off stormy mental skies.
DHA is important to have because it’s a structural fat that makes up about 30% of your brain’s grey matter and 97% of the omega-3’s present there. It helps with fluidity and flexibility of cell membranes, as well as communication between nerve cells.
Besides supplementing, eating a fish-rich diet is a very common way that health experts recommend getting enough Omega-3’s. Studies have shown that brain health is highest in cultures that eat lots of fish. But if you don’t eat it yourself, whether it’s because you’re a vegan or just a preference, your brain is at high risk to develop serious disease in time.
When we’re quite young, we usually don’t get the urgency of taking proper care of your brain. But all our health efforts are pointless if the brain is in a state of decay. When the conductor falls apart, the entire bodily orchestra will descend into chaos, with little chance of getting back into good shape. The earlier you start, the better the chances that you’ll be enjoying a lucid, versatile mind into ripe old age.
You should take an omega 3 + DHA supplement if you:
– eat a vegan diet (or ate a vegan diet for many years in the past)
– are prone to depression
– have poor memory recall
– don’t like eating fish
This might seem like a lot to swallow – literally and figuratively – but I didn’t jump into all of this overnight. I incorporated these one at a time and checked in with how they made me feel. I also consulted with health professionals along the way for recommendations on what I should and shouldn’t consider.
Over time, it was no big deal to take seven or more different supplements a day because I had slowly developed a strong routine and fully trusted the difference they made in my quality of life.
Pick just one or two from this list that really speak to you and start slow. Be patient. Your body can take up to a few weeks to integrate and utilize the new fuel you’re putting into it.
The healthiest, most resilient version of you is just a few well chosen supplements away.
Dedicated to your success,
Ps. If you don’t like taking multiple supplements and just want to take ONE thing per day to have the biggest positive effect on your health, I would recommend taking one scoop of Athletic Greens every morning. It covers the whole nutritional spectrum, has prebiotics, probiotics, and more. Good for gut health, mood, energy levels, and overall health.
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