Taking Charge of Your Health

Hey, Everybody, my name is Dr. Talia Marcheggiani
and I’m recording to you guys from my kitchen in Toronto. And this video is about the supplements that
I take as a naturopathic doctor and health experimenter. When it comes to making treatment plans for
my patients I prefer to focus on the Therapeutic Order, so starting with the foundations of
health, which usually means making adjustments to diet and lifestyle and if possible using
food prescriptions and functional foods to help heal the body as opposed to relying on
supplements. And this is just from clinical experience
and from a cost-benefit perspective. So, of course it’s better to get these nutrients
from food sources, because, when you eat a pile of kale, like a big plate of leafy greens,
you’re getting all of the vitamins that we know about: the magnesium, the fat-soluble
vitamins, like A, D, E, and K, some iron, and all of the flavonoids, and anti-oxidants
that are present in that big pile of greens, but you’re also getting a lot of nutrients
that we haven’t been able to isolate and that we don’t know is present in those foods. Some of those nutrients may act synergistically. And so it’s always better to get things from
their whole-food source, I think. That’s the philosophy that I come at when
it comes to health and healing. And I’m always looking for the obstacles to
cure. Ideally I’m prescribing something like magnesium
to replenish a magnesium depletion or to compensate for a diet that may be inadequate for magnesium,
or to replenish magnesium deficiency. So I’m not a big fan of prescribing a ton
of supplements, and I think my patients appreciate that, because of the cost and the annoyance
of taking a lot of things. That being said, there is definitely a benefit
to supplementing with vitamins and minerals and other sort of functional supplements to
improve optimal health. We’re trying, obviously, to eat a diet that
meets the recommended daily nutrition intake for all the vitamins and minerals that the
body needs to function optimally, but there’s some evidence that increasing these levels
and taking higher doses of these vitamins and minerals may actually help our body perform
properly. So, if you take something like vitamin C,
if someone is completely deficient in vitamin C that will manifest as a disease called scurvy,
where you’ve got loose gums, or you’re experiencing problems in creating collagen. You’re getting sore on the skin, there’s skin
issues, there’s gum issues. And then there’s an adequate amount of vitamin
C, where you’re not seeing those symptoms, and then there’s having optimal vitamin C,
where your body is able to not just meet its daily requirements for all of the chemical
reactions that it needs for us to feel our best, and look our best, but now it’s got
an abundance of vitamin C and now it’s able to really divert a lot of the vitamin C that
it’s getting to increase energy, to boost immunity, to target cancer cells, to exert
an anti-oxidant effect, to accommodate all of the free radicals we might be exposed to,
living in our modern times. So, that being said, I do my own self-experimentation
with vitamins and minerals, and there’s a few things that I’ll take on the regular,
that I’ll take all the time, and then there’s other things that I might play around with,
just to see what it’s like to take the medicine. Depending on what it is, I think doctors should
taste their own medicine every now and then to know what the effect is on their patients
and what their patients’ experience would be, experimenting with these vitamins and
minerals. So, the first thing I take, and this is something
that I started taking in school, is a B complex. And a B complex contains all of the B vitamins. Some people get confused, they’ll refer to
their B12 supplement as a B complex or they’ll refer to a B complex as B12, or they’ll get
confused about all of the different B vitamins. In this product there are all of the B vitamins,
from B1 all the way to folate. These B vitamins are cofactors in thousands
of chemical reactions in the body. We need vitamin B6, for example, to make serotonin
out of tryptophan and 5HTP, those are all the amino acids that are present in the pathway
to synthesize serotonin and without B6 we’re not able to make serotonin, no matter how
many of those building blocks, tryptophan building blocks, may be present in the body. So, if we’re deficient in these cofactors,
our body is just not able to function properly. And we burn through B vitamins a lot more
quickly when we’re under stress and some people have higher requirements for them. And some people have an issue metabolizing
certain forms of B vitamins. So, for example, there’s some people that
have an issue taking folic acid, which is often thrown into a lot of our grains and
cereals, that are fortified and lots of multivitamins and taking that folic acid and making it into
its active form, about 40%of people have a genetic polymorphism that reduces their ability
to methylate and to make active folate and, therefore, they need to supplement with the
activated from of folate otherwise the folic acid that’s in all of their foods starts to
build up in their tissues and there’s some evidence that that can cause problems. I showed you which B vitamin I use. I use the AOR brand and one thing to look
for in a B vitamin is, what is the form of folate in it? So, you want to look for one that has L-5-MTHF
or that’s the methyl-tetrahydrafolate, that’s the active form of folate. And you also want to look at the B12, what’s
the form of B12? So there’s 3 different forms of B12: cyanocobalamin,
hydroxycobalamin and methylcobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is the synthetic form and,
for the same reason that people have a problem activating folate, they may have a problem
activating B12 and using it. And it’s the methylated form, methylcobalamin,
that crosses the blood brain barrier, and that would have effects on depression and
anxiety, and help with cognitive decline, and energy and all of those things. So, it’s important to look for a B vitamin
that’s got those activated forms of the B complex. And you also want one that has adequate forms
and that will be better absorbed. And so, taking a B complex is not something
that you can overdose on readily because it’s water-soluble, so you may notice, as you start
to take it, that your body starts to up-regulate the receptors to absorb them, for the initial
weeks of taking it, you might have really yellow pee. And that’s normal, that shouldn’t cause any
issues, but it’s one side effect that sometimes surprises people when your first morning urination
is highlighter neon yellow. The other thing that’s a staple in my supplement
regime is magnesium. So, magnesium is, again a cofactor in tons
of chemical reactions, and one of the really important functions that magnesium has is
in DNA repair and also in mitochondrial function. So, mitochondria are the furnaces in our cells. Without magnesium, our DNA won’t have that
ability to repair itself, which can cause us to allow DNA mutations or issues with DNA
replication to go unnoticed and that can cause problems such as cancer down the line. It’s not that you’re deficient in magnesium
one day and that manifests as symptoms, it’s something that will manifest over time, over
decades of having just insufficient magnesium to achieve optimal health. So, you might be meeting your general needs
where you’re not outwardly deficient in magnesium but, you’re not getting those levels to really
have your body functioning at its best. Magnesium deficiency can manifest as symptoms,
as physical, clinical symptoms in people and a big one is tense and tight muscles. Magnesium is a skeletal muscle relaxant and
a smooth muscle stimulant. So what that means is that, if you’re the
kind of person that has got really tense shoulders, lots of muscle knots, lots of aches and pains,
that are muscular in nature, magnesium can help relax that skeletal muscle. And if you’re the type of person that suffers
from menstrual cramps, or constipation, then magnesium is helpful for getting things moving
and stimulating motility of the digestive tract and relaxing the uterus as well. Magnesium, there’s been some studies showing
that magnesium can be beneficial for headaches, and that is probably due to its muscle-relaxant
properties. Magnesium is also a great remedy for fatigue
and, like B vitamins we burn through magnesium a lot more quickly when we’re stressed. 40% of people have a diet that it is inadequate
to obtain their optimal levels of magnesium. This may be because we’re not eating enough
leafy greens, which is a really great source of magnesium. It’s about 2 cups of spinach or chard a day
to get the 300 mg of the magnesium, and also from soil depletion. So, when crops are not rotated, and the soil’s
not replenished, the next round of crops are grown in a soil that’s depleted and therefore
those plants aren’t absorbing the nutrients that were then going to enter our bodies after
we eat those plants. And from this soil depletion, it’s hypothesized
that that’s why our magnesium levels are so low. Also, a diet that’s high in processed sugar
increases our magnesium needs, and a lifestyle that’s high in stress also increases our magnesium
needs, as we need it to make stress hormones. So, B complex and magnesium. I often recommend to my patients to take magnesium
before bed because of the skeletal muscle-relaxant properties, it helps to calm the body and
the mind. There’s different forms of magnesium and the
forms are prescribed based on what your therapeutic goals are. So, something like a magnesium citrate will
be prescribed for somebody who’s tending more to the constipation, because it can help draw
water into the bowels and have a bit of an osmotic laxative effect. So, it doesn’t sort of stimulate the bowels,
like a laxative would, like sennakot, but it will draw water into the bowels to kind
of flush the system out. That can be problematic over the long-term
so do that under the supervision of a doctor or naturopathic doctor. And then, for people that are really sensitive
to those laxative effects of magnesium, they may want to go with a magnesium that’s conjugated
to an amino acid such as glycine. And so I often recommend magnesium glycinate,
because a lot of us are also deficient in glycine. Another good source of glycine is collagen,
or gelatin, and glycine has this sort of relaxant and modulating effect on the nervous system,
and so it can be great for depression and anxiety, more so for anxiety because of its
calming effect on the brain. So, another supplement that I take is zinc. So, this is not the best form of zinc, I just
picked this up because it was cheap and I could find it—I think I got this one at
Bulk Barn, this is a zinc citrate. Even better absorbed form is zinc picolinate,
so there’s a study that shows that that’s the best-absorbed form of zinc, which is appropriate
for somebody that experiences nausea when they take zinc, which goes away in a few minutes,
but it kind of sucks to have so, if that’s happening to you, then going with a more absorbable
form of zinc, or taking zinc with food. A zinc deficiency manifests as dry skin, and
depressed immune system, so you’re getting infections a lot more often than the average
person. But inadequate levels of zinc can manifest
as hair loss, leaky gut, depression and anxiety. Zinc helps us with neurogenesis, so it actually
helps us make BDNF, brain-derived neurotropic factor, which is a chemical that our brain
uses to make new neurons, and to promote resilience against stress. It sort of protects the brain against mental
and emotional stress. And I also prescribe it for cystic acne and
hormonal acne. And zinc is a really good remedy for PMS and
heavy menstrual periods and vegetarians are often deficient in zinc. 4th is a fish oil. So a fish oil is combined with two kinds of
omega 3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA.The one I use has got a 5:1 ratio for EPA. So, EPA is the anti-inflammatory omega 3,
the anti-inflammatory fish oil. DHA is the fish oil that we use to build up
our brain tissues. Most of our brain mass is made of fat and
it’s mostly this kind of fat, DHA. So there’s some good studies that, because
of its anti-inflammatory properties, EPA can help increase symptoms of depression. And this is probably because there’s some
evidence that depression, like other mental health conditions, is an inflammatory condition
in the brain. We don’t have pain receptors in our brain,
so if our brain is experiencing even a small level of inflammation, it can kind of go undetected. It may just manifest as negative thoughts,
mental chatter, low mood, lower or impaired neurogenesis. We’re not experiencing that acute, sharp memory
that we’re used to, maybe we’ve got some brain fog, maybe we’re having trouble recollecting
names and those kind of things. And there’s a little bit of evidence that
it can be heart healthy as well. Our diet is really rich in omega 6 fatty acids. These are the more, inflammatory—this is
sort of a general statement—they’re little bit more on the inflammatory side. I think our diet is about 10:1 omega 6:omega
3. And that’s mainly because we’re consuming
animal products from animals that are not fed their natural diet, so for example cows
should be eating grass, but we’re feeding them corn, which tends to make the fat in
their meat more composed of the omega 6 fatty acids, and also because we’ve been told to
avoid saturated fats and to eat a lot of industrial seed oils, like canola oil and corn oil, and
vegetable oil, which is just corn oil, and soy oil. And so, these kind of oils are also rich in
omega 6, those kind of pro-inflammatory fats. It’s been shown that our ancestors, our hunter-gatherer
ancestors, had a diet that was more 1:1, for omega6:omega3. So, supplementing with omega 3 fish oils or
eating fish a few times a week, those fatty fish I mentioned in other videos, decreases
that ratio of omega 6 to omega 3. I also take NAC. And the reason I take NAC is I did a genetic
test that showed that I have impaired phase II liver enzymes. So my body has a little bit of difficulty
making glutathione, which helps detoxify all of the toxins and free radicals that pass
through my body, all of the hormone metabolites. So, no matter how clean I live, if I’m using
natural cleaning products, natural body care products, I’m still exposed to toxins, as
we all are: there’s car exhaust outside, we’re consuming things that are wrapped in plastic,
so no matter how perfect you try and be, you’re still going to be exposed to things. And so, to encourage my body to make more
glutathione, I give it NAC, which is a precursor to making glutathione, the antioxidant. NAC helps with liver detoxification, so it
also helps decrease symptoms of hormone metabolites, that estrogen dominance, that I also talk
about in other videos, and it can also help with detoxifying the brain, so neurons. And that’s through its antioxidant effects
and it kind of cleans out mitochondria. So you imagine if you’re running your car
in your garage, the process of your car metabolizing, so spending its fuel, is creating some chemicals
that are coming out of the exhaust pipe. And if your garage door is closed, all of
those chemicals are filling the garage. And so, taking NAC is a little bit like opening
a window, it’s just helping your body get rid of all of those toxic metabolites from
performing its chemical duties. So I’ll take NAC and I’ll recommend NAC for
mental health conditions, especially OCD and bipolar disorder. And sort of on that note, I also take something
called estro-adapt. And it doesn’t have to be this product, there’s
many other products that are similar to this, estroadapt has DIIM and calcium d-glucarate. Both of those are chemicals that help the
body metabolize estrogen. So I’ve talked about estrogen dominance and
other videos and the estrogen is not just one hormone, it’s a group of hormones and
that there’s also these xenoestrogens, so these estrogens that are toxins in our environment
that exert estrogenic effects. So, some of these include fragrances, and
bisphosphenol A, BPA, that’s found in plastic, that has received a lot of media attention,
what DIIM and calcium d-glucarate do is help us with normal estrogen processing. So, estrogen, when don’t need it any more,
when it’s already done its thing, or those more toxic forms of estrogen, they’re conjugated
in the liver, so the liver makes them inactive and then they’re dumped into the colon, where
they’re removed from the body. And what happens if any of those steps are
impaired, so if your liver is sort of overburdened processing other things, or you’re not able
to process those hormones as well, is you’re going to have a higher level of metabolites
in the body, or if you’re constipated, or if you’ve got a dysbiosis situation happening,
and some pathogenic gut bacteria that aren’t able to keep estrogen conjugated, so they
sort of put it back into it’s active form and the body reabsorbs it, which is not what
you want. You want to get rid of those toxic estrogens. So what I’ll recommend is doing a detox twice
a year, Spring and Fall is a great time to do a detox and I’ll do another video on detoxification
because our body can detoxify pretty effectively. It takes care of all of our detoxification
needs, but sometimes it helps to give it a little bit of a boost, and so a product like
this, with DIIM and I3C, or indole-3-carbinol, which is not in this product, or calcium d-glucarate,
is really helpful for lowering those estrogen toxicity symptoms, which could be heavy menstrual
periods, anxiety before your period, PMS, hormonal acne, irregular periods, weight gain,
especially around the hips and a predisposition to female cancers, such as breast cancer. Another way you can get this from diet is
from green leafy vegetables. So those are all the crucifates, broccoli,
cauliflower, cabbage, brusselsprouts, chard, spinach, kale, all of those vegetables are
really rich in I3C and DIIM and those help us clean estrogen from our body. Finally, I take an adaptogen. So, adaptogens, this is Withania complex,
they’re herbs that literally just help the body adapt to stress. So my two favourites are withania, or ashwaghanda,
and rhodiola. And I like taking them together, this complex
doesn’t have rhodiola in it, but it does have ginseng, which is a little bit more stimulating. It’s got withania, it’s got ginseng, and it’s
got licorice, and it has skullcap, which is a little bit more calming, nervous system
calming. And, so what withania does, these just help
us against the pro-aging and pro-inflammatory stress effects. So, they help sort of protect our tissues
against stress, they protect our brain against stress, they can help calm the body down,
they help the adrenal glands function more optimally, and rhodiola in particular, helps
increase BDNF, just like zinc, so it increase brain-derived neurotropic factor, NAC also
does this as well, and there’s a connection between low levels of BDNF and depression
and anxiety and mental health conditions. The low levels of BDNF may be from nutrient
deficiencies, or it could be from inflammation in the brain and that inflammation could be
just a stress resistance. So, the stress hormone is coursing through
our body 24/7 and our brain sort of stops responding to them as well, kind of like a
diabetic, a type II diabetic, stops responding as effectively to insulin, an a resistance
develops and, since those stress hormones have an anti-inflammatory effect, when you
start becoming resistant to them, inflammation ensues. And so what withania and rhodiola do is just
help calm down that inflammation. I’m a big fan of herbal medicine because in
addition to sort of its active medicinal properties, herbs are also flavonoids, and have really
important nutrients, like I talked about that big pile of leafy greens, we’re not exactly
sure what is in these nutrients. We just know that, as a whole, they work really
well. And so they’re flavonoids, they’re also anti-inflammatory,
they’ve got anti-oxidants, as well as their medicinal properties that we can isolate and
study. So I like herbs, it sort of brings us closer
to nature, it puts a piece of nature into our body and some of that intelligence of
nature, rather than just one supplement or one ingredient would do. And, because we’re so stressed out, and not
all stress is bad. You think of a new mom, she just had a baby,
she’s full of love and joy, but there’s sleep-deprivation, there’s all these kind of thoughts, and new
responsibilities that are filling her life, so she’s stressed out, but she’s not full
of negativity and negative thoughts. And so that’s still stress, the body still
perceives that as stress. Some signs of stress are waking up in the
middle of the night wide awake, inability to fall asleep, that tired and wired feeling,
feeling like you’re getting an energy crash around 2-4pm, feeling a little bit more tired
than usual, feeling a little bit more burnt out, feeling a little bit of ennui, and lack
of motivation, so a lot of those signs of depression are actually present in someone
who’s chronically stressed out: lots of mental chatter, lots of negative thinking and irritability
can also be signs of stress. It manifests differently in every single person
and so I’ll go through a full work-up to see how stressed out somebody is feeling and what
their state of stress is. And there’s a difference between perceived
stress and how stressed out you think you are, and actual, physiological stress and
what the body’s under. And being in a state of inflammation, as well
as riding the blood sugar roller coaster can also increase our physiological stress. Finally, I take 5HTP. And I take this before my period, so I don’t
take it all the time. I may take a couple hundred mg of it before
bed, just to help with sleep. And, so 5HTP is a precursor to make serotonin. A lot of women will experience a dip in serotonin
right before their period, sometimes up to a week before, so these women will experience
irritability, those mental and emotional PMS symptoms, cravings for sugar, inability to
sleep, worsening of depression and anxiety right before their period. And so sometimes they can benefit from 5HTP,
which is an amino acid. 5HTP needs magnesium and B6 to work properly, though. So, we need to make sure the body has got
adequate amounts of those nutrients, either through supplementation or diet, so that it
can take that 5HTP and make it into serotonin. 5HTP crosses the blood brain barrier and so
that sort of helps us get it into our brains where it can be made into serotonin. And the good thing about amino acids, like
NAC and 5HTP and some of the other ones I mentioned in my amino acid video, is that
they work pretty quickly, so sometimes they can exert their effects within hours and sometimes
even within a matter of days, whereas something like fish oil can take months to be incorporated
into the cell membranes and change the fatty acid profiles of our cells. Even B vitamins work pretty quickly as well. So, these are what I take. You’re going to need something different,
maybe less things, maybe more things. Some of these things are things that I experiment
with, and sometimes I’ll do a wash. So, a lot of the time, if my patients are
on a ton of things and they come in in that state, I’ll wash them, we’ll have them stop
a few things, see if symptoms return, see what their baseline of health is. Because sometimes we just need a boost and
to just take these things for a few years or months, and then our body gets back on
track, sometimes we need some continual support throughout our lives. And so, everyone is different, everybody has
different individual biochemical needs and everyone has different challenges with getting
diet into their life and exercise and meeting those foundational health needs. And so someone who is a little bit more challenged
in that department, who’s got a really busy and stressful lifestyle may need more nutritional
support, someone who’s in a chronic disease state, recovering from more serious health
issues may need more support and someone who’s having trouble maintaining their minimal nutritional
requirements through diet may need some more support. Again, I always tell people to pay for a consult
with a functional medical doctor or a naturopathic doctor to figure out what your supplement
regime would be. I see a lot of people in healthfood stores
kind of going it alone and, not to say that you can’t get great information from the internet,
but it may result in your taking a lot of things that you don’t really need, spending
a lot of money that’s not targeting a specific health concern or meeting your higher levels
of nutritional requirements. And also the form of the supplements and the
dosing is something that’s individualized, that we need to talk about. So, there was a Marketplace study with CBC
that showed that a lot of these vitamins and minerals that aren’t from professional brands
and aren’t 3rd party tested don’t actually contain what they say they contain. This is specifically a problem with herbal
remedies. So, if you have any questions leave me a comment
below my video and you can check out my website at .

8 thoughts on “What Supplements Does a Naturopathic Doctor Take Every Day?

  1. Hi, I'm really enjoying your videos! Could you please list the suppliments names that you use and talked about in this video?

  2. Dr Talia, I was wondering if I could get your email address as I have a serious behavioual problem which up to now, I have not been able to access help for. I would be sincerely grateful if you could help me , Eileen.

  3. Wow this is a really concise but in depth video. I hope your channel grows. I’ll be taking my supplementation more seriously after watching this. Thanks for doing what you’re doing.

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