If you’re anything like me, you’ll have various bottles and packets of vitamins and supplements in your kitchen cupboard – I am a big advocate of supplementation alongside a healthy diet and have experimented with many different brands over the years.
In an ideal world, I would love not to take any supplements at all. But the truth is, I, like most of us, often eat on the run and can’t always get hold of local, organically grown fresh fruit and veg. And no matter how well-thought-out your diet is, it can be tough to get all the nutrients your body needs through food alone. Over the last fifty years, soil has been depleted of nutrients, and our food no longer delivers the levels of vitamins and minerals that it once used to. So, taking some good quality nutritional supplements is just as important as eating well.
If you’ve ever walked into a Holland and Barrett shop, you’ll understand how vast the array of vitamin pills and powders is and how each of them claims to be essential for wellbeing and overall health. So, if you’re looking to get started with a good supplementation regime, I have broken down the best vitamins to focus on for specific health concerns.
Combatting stress and anxiety
B vitamins have incredible benefits for our mental health. I take a good Vitamin B Complex twice a day. At night I take an extra Vitamin B5, Strong Nutrients Chill Pill, which helps the body relax, dramatically improving the quality of sleep, mood and energy.
When we’re stressed, we produce more of the stress hormone cortisol, and Vitamin C is essential for helping the body neutralise the effects of this. Altrient outshines every other Vitamin C supplement in my eyes, and if I’m feeling particularly stressed, I will even take two. Finally, magnesium plays a vital role in the function of our brain. It’s a crucial neurotransmitter, yet most of us are deficient as we don’t tend to get enough magnesium in our diet. So taking a good supplement can improve stress levels, concentration, and memory.
For acne and supplements, I have one main go-to – ZENii London Pro Clear – which contains Zinc and Vitamin E, two crucial vitamins that we know acne sufferers tend to be deficient in. It also includes lots of anti-inflammatories like green tea extract and curcumin, which will help to minimise redness and calm acneic skin. It contains Vitamin D but not as much as I usually recommend, so also look for a high dose Vitamin D like the Allergy Research Group Vitamin D3 Complete. These supplements also contain Vitamin A, a crucial supplement for acne and overall skin health, and is what retinol is based on.
Supporting your immune system
This is crucial as we approach winter, and, naturally, colds, flu and viruses are on the rise. Vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infection. Altrient is my go-to Vitamin C supplement which is many times more potent than other forms of Vitamin C thanks to its liposomal delivery system.
N-Acetyl Cysteine is the pre-curser to Glutathione, your body’s most powerful antioxidant, so this is an excellent supplement for boosting your cellular immune defences. Finally, Vitamin D3 is crucial for immune health, and I believe it plays an essential role in minimising how many colds, flu, and viruses we contract. Most of us in the UK are deficient, and I’m a big beliver that we should all be supplementing at least 2000IU per day from September to May.
When it comes to collagen supplements, the collagen needs to be broken up (hydrolysed) into tiny fragments (peptides), so the body can absorb and use them. These fragments need to be between 2000 and 2500kDa in size to be effective for skin, and should be in a concentration of 10,000mg as this is what research shows is effective. Essentially, your body is tricked into thinking that these fragments indicate there has been some trauma to the skin and repair is urgently needed, which then stimulates fibroblasts to produce more collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. It should come from either a marine or bovine source – my favourite is ZENii London Skin Fusion which is brimming with marine extract collagen, vitamins B, C, D, zinc and hyaluronic acid. I mix it with half a glass of sparkling water every morning, and it goes down a treat. I also love Dose & Co, which offer brilliant, cost-effective marine and bovine options.
If you’re taking collagen, make sure you’re also taking a good Vitamin C because your body cannot make collagen without it. Again, Altrient is one of the best available.
Balancing your hormones
If you would like to balance your hormones through diet and supplementation, I recommend speaking to a good nutritionist to establish what’s right for you. I take Calcium D-Glucarate which helps detoxify excess oestrogen or ‘dirty oestrogens’ – the harmful metabolites of oestrogen responsible for conditions such as fibrocystic breasts and thyroid nodules, endometriosis, fibroids, infertility, mood swings, and PMS. There are also other helpful supplements like Diindolylmethane (DIM) that help change the pathway your oestrogen goes down, which can reduce premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopause symptoms.
Biotics Research Meda-Stim & GTA Forte II are very helpful for supporting thyroid health. The thyroid gland is a vital hormone gland: It plays a significant role in the body’s metabolism, growth, and development. It helps regulate many body functions by constantly releasing a steady amount of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. So, supporting it is crucial, especially as we age and approach perimenopause.
Finally, Vitamin D3 is a supplement that I recommend to anyone with any hormonal-related issues. It has an independent hormonal activity that can help alleviate hormone imbalance symptoms and restore balance to your system.
Boosting hair growth
Hair loss is a complex issue, and I recommend seeking medical guidance and having some blood tests if hair loss has become a problem. B12 deficiency can contribute to hair loss as your hair follicles may not grow new hair as efficiently. I like the B12 Oral Spray, which enters the bloodstream directly for maximum effectiveness. Vitamin D and Iron deficiency are also contributors, so you are more likely to experience hair loss if you are anaemic.
I also love Viviscal Professional – a supplement that promotes hair health and growth. Using a unique active ingredient, AminoMar CTM, Viviscal provides amazing results in a drug and hormone-free formula, which for a long time was the only option for effective hair supplements, and often came with a variety of side effects.
Viviscal is a nutritional supplement that uses a rich protein complex to promote hair growth, health, density, and strength. It also contains biotin to promote smooth, healthy hair and apple extract to give a soft, healthy-looking finish. I have used it for many years alongside other hair treatments in the clinic and have seen phenomenal results.