This month I have covered 4 of the supplements I regularly take: fermented cod liver oil, vitamin D, vitamin C, and the last one I was going to cover was a vitamin B complex that I take, but after rereading the label I decided to skip my B-100 complex and go with magnesium instead. I pride myself with being a label reader but this last month I have discovered I trust the claims on the the front of the box or jar more than I read the labels. I have bought at least two different boxes of tea only to get home, have a cup, feel like crap and then read the label. I am not a fan of stevia, I feel off when I consume it, both of these teas had stevia and one had “natural flavors” . Natural flavors can be anything but natural or can be natural things that we really don’t want to eat. So as I was grabbing my bottle of B-100 to start the research I saw it contained folic acid – good right? Well, it turns out there is controversy about folic acid which is synthesized and folate, which is what you get from food. I’m in no position to take this controversy on at this point and don’t want to promote something that I’m not sold on, so magnesium it is!

When I first started to getting informed about my health and how food and lifestyle were affecting me, I knew sleep was important but just not how important. I also knew that stress could take a toll on me but again, not to the extent I understand now. As I became more informed I knew I had to do some things to get better sleep and and reduce my stress. After reading Wellness Mama’s article about magnesium I started taking Natural Calm Magnesium supplements. I bought my first bottle and  followed the directions on the package that suggest that you start with ½ teaspoon. One of the benefits of magnesium is it helps to move your stools through your system. When you are not used to having stools move through your system daily and believe that is just how your body works, and then you start having multiple stools move through your body multiple times a day, it sort of freaks you out and after a week I quit taking it. Several months later I was following a discussion on a Facebook page about magnesium and shared my experience and said I was no longer taking it. The response was overwhelming that I should try again starting ⅛ of a teaspoon. I did and within 2 months I was up to the 2 teaspoons recommended. By going slowly I was able to work up to an amount that was healthy and not get all my daily steps from going back and forth to the bathroom. What are my end results? Do I sleep better and am I less stressed? Yes and maybe. I definitely sleep better. Part of my nighttime routine is to drink a cup of what I call magnesium “tea”. It’s really not tea, of course, but I drink my magnesium hot. I put my 2 teaspoons in a cup and fill it up with hot water. The powder smokes and bubbles up and makes me feel like a mad scientist every night. I crawl into bed and read a novel until it is gone. I shut off my light and according to my sleep app on my phone I’m asleep with in the first 10 minutes almost every night. I drink the plain flavor and the warm water with that slight citrus flavor has become very comforting for me. I can’t make the same correlation between the magnesium and stress. I can’t make that correlation because I try and do so many things to reduce my stress that it’s hard to know which ones are working and which are not. I do know that getting a great night sleep helps reduce my stress so I guess if you look at the magnesium from that angle it reduces my stress.

 Besides magnesium helping with sleep and stress it is responsible for over 300 chemical reactions in the body and most of us are magnesium deficient. We are deficient thanks to over farming and pesticides and insecticides used on our food. We need magnesium for proper bone growth and development. It is required for proper nerve function and is required for muscle relaxation. Like I mentioned  earlier, it helps stools move through the system and helps neutralize stomach acid.

 I love the magnesium “tea’ that I drink every night but if you are looking for getting your magnesium from food, try a banana for breakfast and a spinach, avocado, pumpkins seed salad for lunch with some dark chocolate for dessert and you’ve just supplied yourself with 234 mg of magnesium, which is a little over half of the suggested RDA. If you are following the autoimmune diet skip the pumpkin seeds and maybe add a little extra chocolate.

 Challem, J. (2003). The inflammation syndrome the complete                              nutritional program to prevent and reverse heart disease, arthritis,             diabetes, allergies and asthma. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley.

 Junger, A. (2012). Clean for life.: A doctor’s guide to taking back your             health and vitality in a toxic world. HarperCollins Limited.



Who doesn’t love Vitamin C?

I think I’ve taking vitamin C for my whole life, or at least ever since I could chew a chewable vitamin. I remember my brother would always tell me it was a sweet tart, like I didn’t know the difference.

 I think vitamin C is the most familiar vitamin. You mention that you don’t feel well and the first thing everyone says to you is “Take a vitamin C.” I’m sure most families in the U.S. have a bottle of it some where in their house. So many people take vitamin C, do they really know what all it does for them? I didn’t!

 I’ll be honest, I’ve always taken vitamin C to prevent colds and never really thought about what else it does. As I started my research into the vitamin I was pleasantly surprised learn all this wonderful little vitamin does for me.

  • C is an extremely important antioxidant; as an antioxidant the reduces the damage caused by free radicals
  • reduces inflammation by getting rid of free radicals
  • helps controlling infection
  • reduces asthma reactions, or a least makes asthmatic reaction milder
  • reduces fatigue
  • maintains homeostasis
  • eases gingival inflammation and bleeding
  • reduces periodontal pockets (yeah, because I hate when they poke around in my gums)

 In my research I also learned that we are one of the few mammals that doesn’t’ produce our own vitamin C. When an animal is stressed it produces more vitamin C. Stress can cause vitamin C deficiency in humans. No where did I read that taking vitamin C reduces stress but after reading the last two statements I don’t think taking a little extra when there is extra stress in my life is going to hurt. So how much vitamin C should a person take? Everything I read suggested 500-1000 mg a day but those with medical condition could benefit from 2000-5000 a day! So go dig out that bottle of vitamin C buried in the back of your medicine cabinet, throw it away, and go get new bottle and start taking it today!

Ballantyne, S. (2014). The Paleo Approach cookbook: A detailed guide to       heal your body and nourish your soul. Las Vegas, NV: Victory Belt             Publishing.

Challem, J. (2003). The inflammation syndrome the complete nutritional      program to prevent and reverse heart disease, arthritis, diabetes,                  allergies and asthma. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley.

Kresser, C. (2013). The paleo cure: Eat right for your genes, body type,          and personal health needs — prevent and reverse disease, lose weight         effortlessly, and look and feel better than ever. New York: Little,                 Brown and Company.

Fermented Cod Liver Oil

For the next couple of weeks I’m going to share with you what supplements I take and why. I’m not in the medical profession so these are not recommendations, I’m just sharing information with you about what I take and I’m doing this for a pretty selfish reason. People sometimes ask me what supplements I take and why, I can always answer the what but not the why.That’s because typically when I read a book or article about nutrition if there is information that I can use and it makes sense to me I will implement it, but then as I go on and read information on different things I often forget why I started taking the supplement. I believe that my lifestyle is making a big difference in my health but don’t feel that I am doing a good job of advocating for it if i can’t explain a little bit of the why. So I’m explaining the why to myself and sharing with you; similar to the wheat incident.

 Over the past year I’ve settled on five supplements that I regularly take: fermented cod liver oil, vitamin D, vitamin C, B Complex 100, and magnesium. I have landed on these five because they are either recommended by every book I read or I notice a difference if I don’t take them. I’m going to start with fermented cod liver oil.

 I’m not sure where I first heard about fermented cod liver oil: it was either in Chris Kresser book, Your Personal Paleo Code
or on the Balance Bits podcast. In November of 2013 I was diagnosed with blepharitis, a condition where the oil glands in my eyelids become clogged so no oil gets on my eyelids and that causes chronic dry eye. I would wake up every morning with my eyes crusted shut. The opthamologist I see suggested I take fish oil capsules. So I took them for about 3 months and had no change in my eyes. During that time is when I started hearing about fermented cod liver oil. I read Diane Sanfilippo’s article, Wellness Mama’s article and Weston A. Price Foundation’s article. My take away from these article was that fermented cod liver oil was going to be better for my body than fish oil capsules. Better because the company that Dianne and Wellness Mama suggested, Green Pastures, doesn’t heat the fish liver so none of the nutrients are damaged. Better because it is a whole food and not something that is processed so my body knows what to do with it. Better because it can contains more EPA and DHA than fish oil capsules which contributes to brain and nervous system health.

 I’ve been taking FCLO for almost a year, off and on, and I do notice a difference. When I am faithfully taking about 1 teaspoon of FCLO daily I don’t wake up with crust on my eyes and my eyes don’t water. (I think it’s crazy that when you have dry eyes your eyes actually water more) I’m sure that this is the FCLO because I ran out for about a month and within days my eyes started crusting over. I didn’t connect the crust with the FCLO until I purchased another bottle and started taking it again. Within three to four days I was waking up without eye crust again. I was still hit or miss with taking it, I averaged five times a week. When I fully realized that it was the FCLO that was contributing to my eyes feeling better I became very faithful with taking it. As a matter of fact I’ve left for work, remembered I didn’t take it, and turned around to go home so I could quickly grab a spoonful. As I did the research for this blog I read that I can actually take more, up to a tablespoon,  so I’ll be upping my dose, slowly. I find with this supplement if I up the dose too fast I end up hanging out in the bathroom all day.

FCLO Green Pastures I don’t mind the smell of FCLO and the taste is very mild. I buy the Arctic Mint flavor. If you don’t want to taste it taking FCLO is an art. You put the spoonful in your mouth and then before you swallow you drink from a glass of water, so you swallow them both to once.I add a little apple cider vinegar to my water. Not because I have to but because I like to take a tablespoon of ACV every day too.

 Next week I’ll talk about vitamin D.