- Supplements You May Not Have Heard Of (But Are Actually Great) -
Photo from https://www.thedailybeast.com/these-are-the-15-supplements-to-keep-in-your-medicine-cabinet.
Written by Editorial Intern Amanda Schroeder.
The world of supplements is a captivating one. One will give you the muscles of a goddess, one will help you unlock the full potential of your mind, another will save you from the once unavoidable process of aging...it’s easy to get confused or to start feeling like you need to be taking everything at once. My secret to navigating this world is to look at what your priorities are and what your diet or environment might be lacking in. I tend to focus on balancing my mood and energy levels, as well as supporting healthy muscle gain, but your needs might be different. Here’s a list of supplements that you may not have heard of but that can do great things for your health.
Also known as coenzyme Q10. Your body naturally produces CoQ10 in order to protect your cells from harm, but taking this powerful antioxidant in a supplement form may help increase the positive effects. The benefits of CoQ10 can be categorized under the umbrella of “anti-aging” as it helps your cells run problem free for a longer period of time than they may naturally. CoQ10 does everything from boosting your energy levels and stamina to promoting healthy cell turn over in your skin (to give you a youthful glow).
5HTP is a chemical extracted from a plant that encourages your body to create more serotonin. Serotonin is probably the best chemical ever, as it supports a happy mood and a positive outlook on life, as well as an increase in focus when your awake and more restful sleep when it's time to get some shut eye. 5HTP is absolutely not a replacement for prescription medication and you should contact your physician before taking this product in conjunction with other serotonin encouraging drugs, but as someone who has transitioned off of these drugs, this product is great for easing my manageable but occasionally uncomfortable anxiety, depression, and sleep issues. And has also been frequently used as a cure for hangovers or other post-party effects.
Slippery elm is great for a variety of things and is not necessary to use every day in order to see a positive change in your health. Slippery elm is great for a variety of stomach conditions, particularly if you suffer from IBD or frequent dyspepsia. It can also be used to treat the symptoms of a urinary tract infection by easing irritation. You may have come across the product in teas as well, as it makes a great treatment for sore throats. Slippery elm essentially coats what it touches and creates a slippery surface for things to pass through. The coating that slippery elm provides can also help stop toxins from infecting the system. I find this product specifically useful living in Salt Lake City, as it helps with the occasional sore throat I get from pollution and dry air.
Psyllium husks are a great natural source of fiber. Psyllium husks are most noted for being an effective natural laxative (as opposed to painful stimulants) but they have also been shown to improve the health of the heart and pancreas. Psyllium husks are easy to add into your diet to improve digestion and increase regularity, or used as an occasional boost for your digestive system.
I didn’t know how popular this product was until I started working in the vitamin section of Whole Foods. Many people claim the effects of ginkgo are approaching miraculous for getting rid of brain fog, increasing memory, and warding off insidious conditions related to dementia. Native to China, this herb has been used for thousands of years to help improve mental stamina. I have seen ginkgo become increasingly accessible and I now see it regularly in most grocery stores, though I recommend taking this product in a tincture to ensure that the ginkgo leaf is still fresh and thus potent. This product is both preventative and for increasing memory and for increasing focus in the short term.
Important Note on Biotin, The Instagrammable Supplement
Biotin is one of those supplements you’ve likely seen all over Instagram. It promises strong, luscious locks, plump skin, and rock-solid nails. However, there’s a downside that people may not have heard of. Biotin has been linked to causing acne, even though the supplement promises clear skin. How does biotin cause acne? The imbalance between vitamin B5 and vitamin B7. When there is an excess in one vitamin, there’s a decrease in the other, and biotin causes this imbalance, which is the reason why it causes acne. Also, its scientific benefits of strengthening hair and nails is minimal at best. It doesn’t hurt to try, but know that there is a chance you will break out when using the product, and in the end, you may just be wasting your money.
Editor’s Note: ask your physician before adding any supplements to your diet!