Supporting Health with Supplementation

The science of prevention

Healthy dietary habits are vital to ensure that our bodies are obtaining the essential nutrients that are required to facilitate healthy functioning, fight infections, and prevent illnesses and diseases. Fresh and nutritious food is paramount in supplying our body with the nutrients it needs to perform all these functions. However, many factors can affect our ability to maintain a healthy diet, such as busy lives which can take away from our time to ensure we prepare nutritious meals. With many of us experiencing this struggle, a growing number of us have begun to reach out for nutritional assistance in the form of supplements to fill the gaps that may exist.

Dietary supplements are now commonplace and widely used in contemporary times as we mitigate the accumulative risks of a stress-filled lifestyle and a potentially unbalanced diet, or where processed foods have compromised our body’s ability to absorb the correct quantities of nutrients necessary for a thriving multicellular system.

Supplements come in various forms such as tablets, capsules, powders, liquid drops, disintegrated tablets, and nasal sprays. They are produced to contain specific concentrations of a single nutrient or a combination of several, which we call a blend. Supplementing with vital minerals, vitamins, and amino acids is especially critical if our diet lacks the required nutrients for healthy functioning or if a chronic disease or disorder has compromised the ability to absorb enough nutrients from the food we eat (Hassan et al., 2020).

Dietary supplementation as we now know it, is a practice that’s been widely used across various cultures for centuries. For instance, Native Americans have been known to drink tea made from pine bark and needles as its’ high ascorbic acid concentration has helped them prevent and cure the disease scurvy (Hassan et al., 2020). By 1912, Polish biochemist, Casimir Funk, was among the pioneers in the conceptualisation of “vital amines,” which we now know as vitamins, and the understanding that certain vitamins are critical in fighting significant diseases back in the early 19th century such as pellagra—lack of vitamin B3—and rickets—vitamin D deficiency (Supplement Factory, n.d.).

The dietary supplement industry has grown massively over the years as health advancements allowed professionals to innovate with the production of various kinds of vitamin and multivitamin supplements. The industry growth reflects the wider integration of supplement use in people’s daily lives. A 2006 survey of a New Zealand sample demonstrates that at least 24% of NZ adults consume supplements daily, with multivitamins and mineral supplements being the most frequently consumed (Parnell et al., 2006). By 2023, the demand for dietary supplements has seen a significant increase with its market size estimated to be valued at USD 177.5 billion (Grand View Research, 2023). Altogether, these figures further establish the growing demand for dietary supplements, giving us an insight into their salience in people’s daily routines.

Purposes for dietary supplementation vary. An article from Harvard Medical School shows that even individuals who make an effort to prepare balanced meals may still find themselves struggling to obtain certain essential nutrients (Harvard Health Publishing, 2013). Hence the daily supplement routine. For others, the practice of supplementation is a preventative measure to boost their health and mitigate against potential diseases (Hassan et al., 2020). For instance, a study by Rautiainen et al. (2016) concluded that while a well-balanced diet is an ideal approach to foster the adequate intake of essential nutrients, supplementation plays a significant function in addressing vitamin and mineral deficiencies and prevention of non-communicable diseases.

We have curated a helpful list below as a quick guide for vitamin and mineral sources to help you have a better understanding of what benefits come with certain supplements.

(The following supplements are also available on our website. Click on the supplement name, highlighted in green, to be redirected to the product page and add to the cart to purchase.)

 

5-HTP

A mood and anxiety regulator.

 

Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Acetyl-L-Carnitine, more commonly shortened to ALCAR, is known to aid in mitigating depression symptoms. In addition, it also repairs and protects neurons from damage, improves insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular health and mitochondrial function, and counters the effects of ageing. 

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-Lipoic Acid (R-ALA) is a mitochondrial compound involved in energy production and the antioxidant system. R-ALA supplementation has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and has been shown to protect against neuronal cell death.

Ashwagandha 

The root of the botanical Withania somnifera is more commonly known by its Ayurvedic name, Ashwagandha. Ayurveda is a form of traditional Indian medicine and recognises Ashwagandha as an adaptogen that helps to balance the overall system. Ashwagandha has been studied for its effects on regulating stress hormones to help with symptoms related to anxiety as well as its support of balanced energy and its ability to relieve fatigue.

 

Astaxanthin

While other types of antioxidant molecules generally act either inside or outside of the membrane, astaxanthin’s structure allows it to do both, thereby helping stabilise membranes and protect them from oxidative damage, both for the cell itself and the mitochondria within. Benefits show astaxanthin reduces inflammation, increases blood flow, reduces oxidation, modulates blood glucose levels, improves cognitive function, protects neurons from damage, and decreases anxiety, depression, and muscle inflammation. The carotenoid is also known to improve physical endurance and exercise performance, muscle strength, and mobility. It acts as an internal sunscreen and dramatically increases the skin’s tolerance to sun exposure. It also improves the ‘heart-brain axis’ (both mental and physical health) and improves energy levels. 

Astragalus

For more than 2000 years, Chinese herbalists have valued Astragalus for its adaptogenic properties, as well as for its ability to tonify the body’s “vital force” known as the Qi. More recently, Astragalus has been found to support healthy immune function through numerous mechanisms. Non-clinical studies using Astragalus have demonstrated it can support the healthy production and activity of specialised white blood cells. Astragalus has also been studied for its role in the support of healthy liver and vascular function.

B-Complex

Healthy vitamin B levels can support energy production, organ function, cognitive function, and other essential metabolic processes.

Berberine

Berberine is a naturally occurring plant alkaloid found in various plants, including barberry, goldenseal, and Oregon grape. Many herbalists credit this unique alkaloid for the beneficial effects of many traditional tonics made from these plants. Berberine plays an important role in blood sugar (glucose) metabolism and cardiovascular health. Berberine helps maintain healthy blood sugar and total cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 is essential to mitochondrial energy production and is a powerful fat-soluble free radical scavenger. In addition, it also enhances blood flow, protects blood vessels, lowers oxidative stress and boosts vitality. 

Glutathione (amino acid) 

Glutathione is a small peptide molecule composed of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. It is produced by every cell of the body, with especially high levels in the liver. Glutathione is critical for healthy immune system function and is necessary for proper detoxification processes. It also plays a critical role in maintaining cellular health by directly neutralizing free radicals, as well as by maintaining the activity of vitamins C and E. 

Lion’s Mane 

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) a type of medicinal mushroom that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to promote health and wellness. Studies suggest Lion’s Mane improves cognitive function, helps improve memory and concentration, reduces inflammation, improves gut health by promoting beneficial gut bacteria, boosts the production of immune cells, reduces anxiety and depression by promoting new brain cells and reducing inflammation in the brain. 

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are powerful antioxidants that defend your body against unstable molecules called free radicals. In excess, free radicals can damage your cells, contribute to ageing and lead to the progression of diseases like heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Lutein and zeaxanthin protect your body’s proteins, fats and DNA from stressors and can even help recycle glutathione, another key antioxidant in your body. Additionally, their antioxidant properties may reduce the effects of “bad” LDL cholesterol, thus decreasing plaque build-up in your arteries and reducing your risk of heart disease. Lutein and zeaxanthin also work to protect your eyes from free radical damage. Your eyes are exposed to both oxygen and light, which in turn promote the production of harmful oxygen free radicals. Lutein and zeaxanthin cancel out these free radicals, so they’re no longer able to damage your eye cells. These carotenoids seem to work better together and can combat free radicals more effectively when combined, even at the same concentration.

Red Light Therapy / Low-Level Light Therapy

Although red light therapy and low-level light therapy (red light and NIR light) are not dietary supplements, they are preventative measures that can supplement one’s routines to provide relief for joint and muscle pains, inflammation, skin irritation, and many more. RLT uses various wavelengths that are non-invasive but can effectively penetrate the skin to stimulate cellular activity.

 

Rhodiola

Rhodiola, a renowned adaptogen that thrives in harsh, cold environments like the Arctic and mountainous regions. Packed with powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients, it aids in stress adaptation and helps modulate our response to daily stressors.

Rhodiola helps us adapt to stress by modulating stress hormone levels. When stress hormones go too high it can leave us edgy and anxious. Overtime, it leads to fatigue, lethargy and chronic disease. Rhodiola prevents our stress hormones from going up too high at inappropriate times. This allows our stress response system to remain strong and sensitive to the needs of our environment.

Scientists have found that Rhodiola enhances serotonin, dopamine and endorphin activity within the brain. Healthy serotonin levels are necessary to balance our mood and keep us calm and positive. Dopamine drives us towards accomplishing goals and enhances our self-esteem and confidence. Endorphins help us to feel good and lift our mood and spirits.

Rhodiola is known to help people calm their emotions and stimulate cognitive processes that improve memory and creative thinking. Several studies have shown that Rhodiola improves associative thinking, speed of audio-visual perception and ability to perform complex calculations. Researchers also found that it significantly reduced stress-induced fatigue after just two weeks of regular usage.

Reference: Dr. Jockers