June 13, 2017

A Day of Supplements

Herbs + Supplements


Hi, friends! So, I receive a lot of questions about the exact supplements I take every day for Gastroparesis and gut health. I figured I would just write a whole post on it because it’s a bit detailed. Before reading this, please note that everyone is totally different and I do not intend to treat or cure. This is simply what helps me the most, and if there’s even the smallest chance it will help someone else out there suffering I’d love to share. There are a lot of awesome brands, but Nature’s Sunshine is always my go-to. I’ve tried so many digestive enzymes, even more powerful than these, and they just don’t flow with my body the same. Nature’s Sunshine uses all plant-based ingredients (a major plus) and are super gentle on the most sensitive systems (aka mine). I also use Nature’s Way from time to time. I like them because you can find them at most specialty grocery stores and have quality ingredients. If you’re interested, I’ll be writing another post about my favorite brands soon. (This post is also not sponsored in any way, just showing my love) Here we go!

Before Breakfast: Nature’s Sunshine Probiotic 11, Nature’s Sunshine Nutri-Calm, Nature’s Sunshine Proactazyme

Why it’s important – The morning is the best time to get everything moving. You have a chance to warm up your digestive system properly and gain energy for the rest of your day. After a night of fasting, your GI tract has a clean slate to properly absorb all of the nutrients. Probiotic 11 is the first thing I take every day. A probiotic is the number one supplement, in addition to enzymes, that I recommend. They have tons of “good bacteria” to boost your immune system and heal the gut. Your microbiome and microflora will thank you. The next thing I take is Nutri-Calm. This a powerhouse blend of vitamins and herbs that support the nervous and immune system. Bee Pollen, Vitamin C, B Vitamins, and valerian root extract are just some of the calming ingredients. Stress puts so much negative energy on the gut, so supporting your nervous system is one of the most beneficial things to do for it. Last, of course, is my tried and true Proactzyme. This is one that I take with every meal for proper digestion. These help to break down food in your gut by attaching to food particles and creating a liquid form that is easily absorbed. Having gastroparesis or any other related GI disorder takes a toll on the way the body absorbs nutrients. If food is just sitting your stomach, the nutrients will rot before your body can absorb them. These digestive enzymes break everything down fast for optimum benefits. They also relieve gas and bloating, these are the bomb. I’m not even joking.

Before Lunch: Proactazyme, Nature’s Sunshine Magnesium Complex

Why it’s important – Again, let’s keep that digestive system moving along with Proactazyme. Up next, Magnesium Complex. Magnesium has so many benefits including nervous and skeletal system support. Magnesium also improves sleep function so you can get all of those Zs your body needs. When fighting a chronic disorder, your body uses so much energy just for everyday functions. Not getting a proper night’s sleep will only add to this problem. My favorite part about magnesium is that it pulls water to the gut. TMI guys, but this regulates your bowels like a miracle worker. Just be aware that if you’re going too frequently (more than three times a day or stools are too loose) cut back a bit.

Before Dinner: Proactazyme, Magnesium Complex

Why it’s important – I always take both of these with lunch and dinner. The same facts apply to dinner! Typically supplements shouldn’t be taken at night because they can keep you awake, however, magnesium helps with sleep so it’s a win-win.

As needed for nausea: Nature’s Way Ginger Root

Why it’s important – I really can’t talk enough about this magical root. I consume it in just about every way possible, with a supplement just being one of them. These little capsules are great for traveling or when you just need an extra boost of it really quick. I plan on writing a whole post about ginger in the future, but here are some quick tips about it now. It’s a warming herb, so if your stomach is in knots or not digesting, it soothes. By doing this, it takes the strain off of the gut and relieves nausea. It kicks motion sickness’s butt and brings back appetite. Ginger can also help with pain.

When I first turned to naturopathic medicine, I was actually taking quite a few more supplements. I was barely able to digest nutrients from food at the time, so my herbal specialist recommended some liquid vitamins and immune boosters. My body thanked me so much for this, and now I am able to get just about all of my vitamins from food and drinks alone! If you suffer from this, you know how daunting it can be taking a billion pills a day. It feels like there are just weird rules and if you slip up, that’s it. I get it. I’ve been there so many times. But stay diligent, I promise you will find relief. When I first started this process, my natural doctor told me to give something a try for at least 90 days. 3 months. If after that amount of time has passed, and you’re not feeling a change, you can stop. The thing is, it takes most natural supplements that long to get into your system and start working. Natural medicine is not immediate. I believe our society today looks for the quick fix, however in most cases that fix will harm rather than heal in the long run. When I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis, my MD gave me a prescription of nausea medication. Actually, I’ve tried 4. FOUR. I would take a pill, feel relief for maybe an hour, and then I would be constipated for a week at the very least. Sorry if that’s TMI for you, but I believe in being open about our bodies, not ashamed. With an already slow digestive system, a prescription drug that slows it down more is the exact opposite of what you want. I was nauseous day and night. Natural medicine and supplements are all about the long run. Before I started taking supplements, I was pretty anemic. I was unable to digest iron in any pill form without being nauseated. I swapped my prescription strength iron pills for a 100% plant derived supplement for a couple months. I actually couldn’t believe that when I got my blood tested again I was no longer anemic.  I had more energy than ever and didn’t feel sluggish even in the afternoon. Getting back to my initial point, here’s a list of the essentials that restored my health!

Nature’s Sunshine Liquid Vitamin B12 (taken in the morning or as needed for a pick-me-up)

Why it’s important – Vitamins and minerals are crucial for everyone, but what happens when your digestive system physically doesn’t absorb them? Taking over the counter and prescription vitamins in pill form can be really rough on your system. They lack quality ingredients and can contain fillers and additives. This in return does not give your body the full nourishment it needs. Liquid Vitamins and minerals are much more easily absorbed and this brand adds nothing but the best to its formula. B12 is an excellent source of energy. Feel free to think of it as an all-natural five-hour-energy shot. Morning is best to reap the benefits, but it can also be consumed mid-day instead of caffeine.

Nature’s Sunshine Liquid Ionic Minerals (taken in the morning, usually blended in a smoothie)

Why it’s important – Minerals are an important factor in the pH balance. This liquid blend is easily absorbed and can help improve immune and circulatory function. This brand also contains acai, which makes for a great tasting berry smoothie with added benefits. If you’re not feeling a smoothie you can also just take a tablespoon of it straight.

Nature’s Sunshine I-X (taken up to three times a day with a meal)

Why it’s important – IRON. Personally, I’ve been anemic for quite some time due to a heavy menstrual cycle. Again, Gastroparesis makes it even more difficult to absorb those nutrients when they’re needed. This supplement is fully plant-based so it won’t upset your stomach. I can’t take anything else without becoming nauseated, even when taken with food. Many over the counter iron supplements can be compared to the quality of iron from car rust. However, this lovely little blend contains red beetroot, yellow dock root, red raspberry leaves, chickweed aerial parts, burdock root, nettle leaves and mullein leaves.

Nature’s Sunshine Aloe Vera Juice (taken in the morning on an empty stomach before breakfast)

Why it’s important – Aloe vera juice is great for nourishing and soothing the digestive tract. It’s best taken in the morning after a night of fasting to create a slick path for nutrients throughout the day. It also contains vitamins and minerals. It’s great for strengthening the gut and relieving constipation. My mom suffers from diverticulitis and finds it extremely beneficial in relieving symptoms and flare-ups.

Nature’s Sunshine Liquid Chlorophyll (added to water to sip on throughout the day)

Why it’s important – How I love chlorophyll. It detoxifies the digestive tract and supports blood-cleansing functions. It also helps to boost enzyme function. This specific blend adds a small amount of spearmint for a fresh taste. I love mixing it with water to sip throughout the day and making mint chip smoothies with it (recipe coming soon!)

I still keep most of these on hand and take them from time to time if I’m lacking energy or feeling off.

I hope this helps! I’ve found that starting out slow works the best. You don’t want to shock your system with too many things at once. My top two suggestions if you’re looking to aid digestion and restore your microbiome are probiotics and enzymes.

As always, questions are welcome!


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