I was asked if i could write about which supplements i use, so here are some of my non prescribed supplements.
This is no way me telling you what to take, this is just me showing you what I take for my own health and my own problems (i.e anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, stress and just overall health.)
As you know, i have Cystic fibrosis, which means i take a whole lot of medication on a daily basis which is neither vegan or cruelty free (i.e all medications are tested on animals so are not vegan anyway. But some of the medication i take does contain animal biproducts. And i have talked to my doctor about this and whether there are other alternatives, however there aren’t and well…. a healthy vegan who takes his/her medication can do alot more for the animals than an unhealthy vegan who refuses to take their medication because it contains animal products/isn’t vegan. Instead what i do is donate to a vegan charity/donation every month… atleast i can do that :)) So i am not going to mention all the prescribed medication and extra vitamins/supplements i have and neither the multivitamin i take as that isn’t vegan and it is prescribed for me because of my CF.
These below are some of the other supplements i take and notice a difference when i take them vs when i end up not taking them for a few days.
First off, vegan omega 3!
I don’t eat alot of vegan omega 3 rich foods in my diet (I have written alot about vegan omega 3 in my ebook 🙂 So if you want to know more that is a good source!) so i take a supplement just incase. Also because my body doesnt absorb fats so well so taking an extra supplement is recommended by my doctors even when i wasn’t a vegan i was taking a supplement of fish oil. Just because you are vegan doesn’t mean you need a supplement of omega 3, but it can be a good idea if you aren’t eating alot of omega 3 rich plant based sources!
Super important according to me. In your gut you have up to 2kg of bacteria which play a huge role in your health and overall wellbeing. More and more studies are being done on gut bacteria and the importance of good gut bacteria. Also it seems that an unhealthy (or little variation of gut bacteria) has been linked to different mental illnesses. Things like stress and antibiotics can affect gut bacteria negatively and as i personally stress quite a bit as well as need regular doses of antibiotics for my lung health i take probiotics everyday to keep my gut healthy! (As well as a healthy and fiber rich diet!). I have written more about probiotics vs prebiotics here if you want to read more! It’s not that you *need* to take probiotics but i don’t think it would harm anyone to take them on a regular basis.
I was given GABA supplement by my mum around 2 years ago but never really taken it on a regular basis. Not really known what it is or what it is good for either. However when we were learning about physiology and the brain in my uni program i learned that it was a neurotransmittor helps to calm the CNS which could help with anxiety and depression. I have also noticed that the nights i take GABA I sleep alot better than the days i don’t. Infact the nights i don’t take GABA i am often very restless and takes hours to fall asleep…. also notice my anxiety is alot less the days i take GABA. Whether it is placebo or not i don’t know. But according to WebMD, low levels of GABA can be linked to mood disorders and anxiety, as well as supplementation of GABA can help improve mood, relieve anxiety, improve sleep, help with PMS (i have personally not noticed any difference with this). So far there is a limited amount of research on GABA but as it is an aminoacid and naturally produced in the body as well as naturally found in certain foods there doesn’t seem to be any complications/risks with supplementing – as far as research has shown now. But of course if you do take a supplement, best to talk to your doctor incase. You can read more here (or of course do your own research haha!)
Stress care which is a blend of different herbs is supposed to support cortisol levels and help with energy levels and adrenal support. It says it is supposed to keep cortisol levels in balance which helps keep the adrenal glands healthy and not overworked. It contains a whole bunch of different plants/herbs but primarily ashwaganda which is supposed to help with fatigue and exertion. Gotu kola which is supposed to help calm the nervous system if you example feel very restless as well as helps mentally with example memory, concentration. If i am honest i have not done so much research on this on this supplement and whether it works or not i don’t know… i would like to think it works whether it is placebo or not. However i have now noticed that i don’t actually take the recommended dosage everyday, i only take half the dosage about every second day … so i am sure it would help alot more if i actually followed the dosage recommended, haha. You can read more HERE
Fifth, Black elderberry
Black elderberry is supposed to be good for fighting colds and boosting the immune system. I don’t take this everyday just when i feel like i am about to get sick or if people around me are sick! (read about dosage/interactions etc here)
Do vegans need to take supplements? No not necessarily, apart from B12 (and maybe D vitamin), and the rest you should talk to a doctor about. However taking a multivitamin such as omnivegan which is specifically made for vegans might be a good idea. I know many have complained about the size of the tablet/pill but i think omnivegan have remade the size of the pill. I have never actually taken this brand as i have always gotten my multivitamin on a prescription, but if you take a multivitamin that says vegan on it, then you atleast know it is all vegan!!
Note, this post is in no way saying take herbal supplements instead of medication. This is just what I take, and i personally prefer herbal supplements to other medication as i feel they lhave less side effects also less chance to get addicted and stuck on taking medications. Of course, when medication is needed – take it (I still need to take my everyday CF medication, but i supplement with herbal pills for insomnia, stress, anxiety etc and i find that works well for me. But each to their own and there is nothing wrong with taking antidepressants, anxiety medication or sleeping pills if you need them (i have taken them in the past and even considered asking for anxiety medication again because i was struggling with alot of anxiety a while back. Do what works best for you :))
Also, always do your research when you take herbal supplements just to know what you are taking and the same goes with normal medication. Look up the side effects, look up the interactions and know how the medications work in your body (basic level anyway.). Also if you do take herbal supplements sometimes you need to tell your doctor about it especially if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Also certain herbal pills such as st. johns wort which can help with depression can interact with certain medication such as birth control pills, so just be aware of that!!