Oftentimes patients come to me and discuss past situations that could have been handled quickly and effectively with natural supplements. However, in most situations, you have to have the supplements on hand so you can deal with common issues as soon as they arise. I will share with you the must have supplements to keep in your medicine cabinet for common conditions.
Must Have Supplements to Prevent or Abort Cold and Flu
Andrographis is one of the must have supplements to ward off the full blown attack of colds and flu. Take it immediately at the onset of symptoms. When taken in combination with other herbs, it is a powerhouse. It is antiviral, antibacterial, and antiparasitic. It is often combined with Echinacea, Astragalus and licorice root, L-lysine, zinc, pantothenic acid, vitamin C, and/or indigowoad.
It can abort the onset or shorten the course of an infection. The caveat is that you have to take 6 a day for the first few days. It is by far superior to anything I have encountered in the past. My go-to companies for these supplements are Orthomolecular Viracid and Xymogen Viragraphis. They are available at a discount from the Supplement Savvy Club. Membership is free.
Must Have Supplements When on Antibiotics
Saccharomyces boulardii is one of the must have supplements to support normal immune response, maintain the integrity of your gut wall, and prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Don’t confuse this with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or “brewer’s yeast.” It is entirely different and it boosts secretory IgA which protects your respiratory and gastrointestinal tract from invaders.
Many people know that they should take a probiotic while on antibiotics, however, they are not aware that the antibiotic will kill the probiotic. You should continue to take your probiotic at least 6 to 12 hours after taking an antibiotic so some will survive. Both companies make a good quality Saccharomyces boulardii supplement that is dairy free, as many people are sensitive to dairy. It’s also formulated to survive the acid in your stomach, which destroys many probiotics.
Must Have Supplements When Stressed
Stressful situations can hit unexpectedly at any time, such as an accident, serious illness, death in the family, or job loss. Stress can be physical, mental, hormonal, infectious, toxic or metabolic and can affect your weight, energy, sleep, memory, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Cells die in response to high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Adrenal adaptogens are the supplements to have on hand to enable you and your cells to be more resilient in times of stress. Ashwagandha, Eleutherococcus, Rhodiola, Magnolia Officinalis, licorice, ginseng, and holy basil are the best-known supplements.
I recommend a combination of herbs that work synergistically. The formula would depend on whether or not you are stressed and tired or stressed and wired or just plain old burned out. L-theanine and phosphatidylserine can calm you down, ginseng and Rhodiola are stimulating and give you energy, licorice can be used in burnout but take with caution since it can raise blood pressure. Have a functional medicine doctor measure your cortisol and help you determine the best adaptogens to suit your metabolism and situation.
Must Have Supplements for Constipation
So many people suffer from constipation, which can be toxic. Some of the must have supplements for constipation are magnesium citrate, Vitamin C, a probiotic and fiber. Taking these on a regular basis has cured chronic constipation. Some may first require Super Aloe if these supplements don’t work right away. You must start slowly with all of the above to avoid gas and discomfort. Start slow and work your way up. If you get loose stools or gas and discomfort cut back.
Must Have Supplements for Endurance Sports
Marathon runners, triathletes, endurance sports athletes, and people exercising at high intensity are more prone to colds and flu. Too much exercise can depress the immune system. Beta glucan is the must have supplement that was shown in studies to reduce the incidence of cold and flu in athletes. Even non-athletes can benefit. It enhances your immune cell’s capability to fight infection. It can be used prophylactically to decrease or prevent the incidence of infection.
Must Have Supplements for Herpes Outbreaks
L-lysine is one of the must have supplements to take at the first onset of a cold sore or herpes outbreak in any area. It can abort its spread and the discomfort it can produce. Start with 1,000 mg 3 times a day at the first sign of tingling. L-lysine can improve immune function and is being studied for its benefits in keeping the brain healthy. L-lysine is an important building block for healthy bone, skin, hair and nails since it must be available to synthesize collagen. Avoid nuts and chocolate as well as supplements containing arginine as they would make the outbreak worse.
I have most of these on hand in case any situation strikes. If you have them in your medicine cabinet, you can avoid illness and/or the need for medication. It is important to source good quality supplements from companies you trust. If you have trouble navigating the many choices, join the Supplement Savvy Club. Membership is free and gives you access to the highest quality brands at a discount. It is always wise to have a consultation with a functional medicine doctor to guide you in making the best choices. Be prepared to protect the health of you and your family with these must have supplements on hand when you need them.
Lorraine Maita, MD is an award winning physician, speaker, and author of “Vibrance for Life: How to Live Younger and Healthier.” She can make you slim, sharp, sexy and supercharged. She is an expert in anti-aging medicine, bioidentical hormone replacement, weight loss, medical nutrition, supplements, and executive health. Dr. Maita was the medical director for 3 Fortune 100 companies and has a private practice specializing in Functional, Integrative, Personalized and Anti-Aging Medicine in Summit and Basking Ridge, NJ. She educates virtually at www.vibranceforlife.com. She is also an advisory team member for Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life on WOR radio, the #1 talk radio station in the NY Metropolitan area. Contact the office today to schedule your appointment!