Dr Stephanie Matinpour, PharmD, BCGP, APh
Many of us are struggling with the dreaded “COVID-15” since being home during the pandemic. If you’re looking to make a change to your current diet in addition to exercise it can be a little overwhelming on where to start. There are many different diet plan options out there for you to choose from to get healthier. Gluten free, vegan, low glycemic. It seems as though everyone has a dietary preference these days. One of the questions we get about diet and lifestyle changes is which supplements are best to take when you may be making a change to the foods you are eating everyday.
If you’re trying to eat healthy or avoid certain foods, you should know that certain elimination diets can lead to nutrient deficiencies. That’s where supplements can help. They’re a great way to get the nutrients necessary for the optimal functioning of your body. When looking at supplementation it’s important to buy your supplements from a trusted source ensuring they meet the minimum quality standards, as many of the supplements on store shelves or that you purchase online are made with fillers and may lack quality control. The key, as obvious as it might seem, is to read the fine print on a label and to ask questions if the details aren’t clear. Here at Remedy we stand behind the supplements recommended below as they are all from our professional partners and trusted sources, assuring the highest purity and potency. Here’s the lowdown on what to look out for—and some common pitfalls to avoid.
Paleo Diet. Paleo diets, though nutrient dense in fruits, vegetables and animal products, can still leave one lacking adequate levels of a few nutrients such as calcium and fiber. Of course it will depend on what you are eating within your paleo diet. There also may be additional needs for vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA. It’s important to note that on a low-carb diet such as paleo, it may be difficult to replenish the glycogen in your liver. Honey can be helpful to take before and after workouts or before bed, since glycogen is needed to keep blood sugar steady, and drops in glycogen during the night can cause wakefulness. Look for quality raw honey such as our Wildflower Honey.
Here are some supplements we recommend for paleo diets:
Gluten-free diets. It’s easy enough to eat gluten free at home, but with restaurants opening back up you risk consuming trace amounts of gluten when eating out. This is where supplements like Digest Gold or Digestive Enzymes by Pure Encapsulation can help. They contain the enzyme glucoamylase that breaks down gluten. It won’t protect against an entire pizza or bowl of pasta, but it will likely counter small amounts of gluten, such as in soy sauce.
It’s important to note that most supplements don’t contain gluten, but read the label carefully just to be sure. Wheat free isn’t the same as gluten free and some whole-food supplements might contain barley, rye, or wheat all of which contain gluten. Don’t use wheat germ oil because small amounts of gluten pass through the oil-extraction process. Curious about Vitamin E? Don’t sweat it. Virtually all natural-source vitamin E now comes from soybean oil, so gluten shouldn’t be a problem.
Vegetarian Diet. No two vegetarian diets are exactly alike. Therefore every aspect of your lifestyle, not just your dietary preferences, can influence what supplements you should take. Vegetarians are at higher risk for having low iron levels if they are not getting enough iron-rich foods in their diet. A routine blood test can reveal if you’re getting enough iron. If your blood levels of iron are low, then supplementing can help. Be careful not to exceed the daily recommended amounts of iron. Iron supplements can be hard for people to tolerate as they can cause nausea and constipation. We have three great options for an easily absorbed iron supplement. Pure encapsulation offers a great one with vitamin C that helps absorption, Innate offers a whole food source version, and a favorite among midwife’s is Floradix which is a liquid iron supplement. All of these are well tolerated.
Vegan Diet. Strict vegans can be at risk for multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, iodine and amino acids (which the body uses to make protein). Vegetables are poor sources of vitamin B12, and plants contain phytates, which reduce the absorption of minerals. Therefore we recommend shoring up micronutrient intake with a quality multivitamin/multimineral supplement.
Vegan and vegetarian-friendly supplements are usually clearly labeled, however we still recommend you read the fine print. Most but not all soft-gel capsules, which range from golden to brownish in color, are made from gelatin, an animal byproduct. Hard capsules may be derived from either gelatin or vegetarian sources, and companies usually state if it’s a vegetarian source.
Fish and krill oils are derived from sea creatures, but there are now omega-3 supplements derived from algae. Vitamin D2 is made from fungi, and most vitamin D3 is produced from sheep lanolin (the oil found on sheep wool). However, some companies now make vegan-friendly lichen-source D3, like this one. Some digestive enzymes come from animal sources, but all of the ones sold at Remedy are made from vegetarian sources and can also be vegan friendly like this one.
Keto Diet/Blood-sugar management. With an estimated 100 million Americans diagnosed as prediabetic and another 30 million with type 2 diabetes, controlling blood sugar has gained a major focus. While a low-carb diet is crucial, supplements can provide an additional tool to manage sugar levels on a daily basis. Silymarin, an extract of the herb milk thistle, has been shown to lower blood sugar and other markers of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Chromium is also an essential nutrient for normal insulin function, along with biotin, a B vitamin that regulates genes responsible for carb breakdown.
As with all health related diet changes everyone has a different path and what works for one person may differ from another. To get a full understanding of your micronutrient deficiencies we offer a full panel Micronutrient test that can help you personalize your supplement regimen based on your specific needs. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary mini herbalist consult or schedule a Micronutrient consultation with one of our Clinical Pharmacists.
Browse Remedy’s full selection of vitamins and supplements here.