In This Article
Herbal Supplements Scientists Recommend
While researchers and scientists are not known for taking herbal or nutritional supplements, a group of journalists from Inverse queried six scientists to see what supplements, if any, they take on a regular basis.1 Five very important supplements were on top of their lists.
The most common supplement taken by scientists is the Ayurvedic herb turmeric (Curcuma longa). India has some of the strongest rates of prostate, breast, bone, and lung health in the world.2 Some researchers attribute the numbers to regular consumption of turmeric, shown to offer superb support for mental clarity, digestion, inner and outer skin health, and healthy lymphatic drainage.3
These are only some of the roles this spice plays in promoting optimal health. For thousands of years in Ayurveda, this common spice was used for healthy joints, liver support, healthy skin, mental clarity, mood support, intestinal health, bile flow, and fat metabolism.4
We Recommend Turmeric: A Most Amazing Spice!
It is no surprise that researchers support vitamin D3 as a supplement. Vitamin D deficiency is one of the major deficiencies worldwide, with thousands of studies showing health implications of going without the needed amount. Here are some of those studies:
- The New England Journal of Medicine finds that risk of death for intensive care patients is 45% for vitamin D-deficient patients, and only 16% for folks with sufficient vitamin D:5 almost three times the risk!!
- As we age, risk of stroke rises, with about 6.8 million Americans living after a stroke. In one study, optimal vitamin D levels were associated with 90% return in functional outcome after a stroke.6
- Vitamin D levels have been linked to accelerated death of beta (insulin-producing) cells in cases of diabetes.7 Today, diabetes is considered the next epidemic.
- In one study, low levels of vitamin D were associated with mood-related issues and psychiatric disorders.8 Vitamin D receptors develop in the brain embryonically, suggesting that Vitamin D is developmentally linked to brain and neurological function.
- In a study over 11 years with 1,650 mother-child pairs, for every 10 ng/mL of vitamin D concentration in the mother’s blood during pregnancy, an 11% decrease in ADHD-like symptoms occurred.9
- In another double-blind placebo study, 218 post-menopausal women were split into two groups. The group that supplemented with 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day had 37% less inflammation compared to placebo.10
- In a study from the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 961 female nursing home residents over age 70 were tested for vitamin D. The group with the lowest levels had a 49% increased risk of mortality compared to the group with highest levels.11
- Vitamin D expert Dr. John Cannell has developed a theory that some immune issues are seasonal, due to variations in sunlight, which cause fluctuations in vitamin D levels.12 Vitamin D activates genes that support an immune response to foreign entities in the body.13 Vitamin D has also been shown to support respiratory health.14, 15
- In one therapeutic study, normalization of vitamin D levels was shown to significantly improve severity of fatigue symptoms of primary care patients.16
- In a two-year trial of vitamin D supplementation with 1,500 patients, healthy sleep patterns were linked to normal vitamin D levels. The most significant changes were seen when vitamin D levels were kept between 60–80 ng/mL.17
Recent research reminds us that 90% of our cells are microbes, while only 10% can be called human cells. Scientists are now well aware that supporting the 90% is extremely important—but how?
Probiotics are microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeasts, that thrive in the body, and particularly in the intestinal tract, doing the heavy lifting for many of the body’s functions. While a healthy gut is naturally rich in a diverse array of microorganisms that perform a multitude of different bodily functions, many aspects of modern life, such as stress, nutrient-stripped processed foods, antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, and potentially GMOs serve to destroy the richness and diversity of our microbiome.
Basically, there are two types of supplemental bacteria strains (probiotics): transient and colonizing. Transient strains do not adhere to the intestinal wall and are only effective as long as you take them. Colonizing strains have been shown to adhere to the intestinal wall and support permanent proliferation of more beneficial bacteria.
An overwhelming amount of science suggests probiotics deliver health benefits, but when it comes to transient probiotics, science tells us that to continue to reap the benefits, you have to continue to take them. Once you stop, your gut bug populations seem to revert to the way they were before.18
We Recommend Why You Don’t Need Probiotics Long-Term
Ayurveda described the microbiome thousands of years ago, calling gut bacteria krimi. To deal with such harmful gut bacteria, they employed strategies only today being investigated by Western medicine. Instead of killing bacteria, as we do today with drugs and harsh herbs, they suggested to:
- 1. remove bacteria physically
- 2. remove the cause of the infestation, or
- 3. alter the nature of the bacteria and the environment of the gut where the infestation is!19
The natural environment of the intestinal tract that supports beneficial microbes is delicate.20, 21 For intestinal villi to function well, they cannot be too dry or too wet (riddled with reactive mucus production)—they have to be just right!
Soluble fiber feeds intestinal microbes and acts as a natural prebiotic for the microbiome. This is a critical part of soluble fiber’s prebiotic and restoration effect: to create an environment for healthy microbes to proliferate, while restoring an environment for intestinal villi and gut mucosa to digest, detox, and assimilate nutrients optimally.
We Recommend Slippery Elm Prebiotic Tea to Restore Gut Health
Over the past 50 years, fats consumed in America have dramatically shifted away from the healthy omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) to less healthy omega-6 fatty acids found in most vegetable cooking and baking oils. One study found that participants who had the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA) also had significant reductions in all-cause mortality—meaning that risk of death from any cause was dramatically reduced.22
Animal sources of healthy omega-3 fats are fish. Vegetable sources are seeds, like flax and chia, which offer another omega-3 fat, ALA (alpha linolenic acid), which is then inefficiently converted to the more potent omega-3s, EPA and DHA.23
Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to lower IQs in children23
- May increase brain size, especially in area responsible for happiness23
- Supports memory + cognitive health23
- Makes up 8% of brain and is building block for 100 billion neurons23
- Supports mental health23
- Supports intestinal health + the gut-brain axis23
- Supports heart health23
- Supports joint health23
Do you take any of these scientist-loved supplements? What do you think?
- N Engl J Med. 2009 Apr 30;360(18):1912-4. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc0809996.