Melanie Sykes Guide to Supplements

Supplements: Which Ones?

No matter how well you eat, it’s always likely that there is something you’re not getting from your regular diet that would boost your long term health. Whether it’s iron, Omega-3 or manganese, it’s likely that there is something you could be adding in to boost your long term bone health (especially after the menopause, when osteoporosis can kick in ), your energy or your immunity.

Nothing can replace a healthy, balanced diet, exercise and sleep, but you can help things along the way here and there.

Naturally, the wellness industry has this covered – in abundance – but with so much to choose from, how can you identify what suits you, and what brands are out there that have it nailed?

Energy

If you’re feeling a bit drained, the first thing you should be looking at is your sleep and lifestyle. No number of supplements can help if you have 2 glasses of wine every evening, six hours of broken sleep and then two cups of coffee to get yourself started again in the morning.

If you have your alcohol, caffeine and sleep levels under control, but are still struggling to get through the day, your iron levels could be low – diet is the best place to get iron, because your body finds it difficult to absorb it through supplements (hence the constipation that is often associated with iron supplements). Your body can absorb it most easily from meat, but you can also get it through dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and tofu.

You can round all of this out with some Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid from Holland and Barrett which boosts mental performance and helps you to fight fatigue.

Ageing

No matter how well you eat, it’s always likely that there is something you’re not getting from your regular diet that would boost your long term health. Whether it’s iron, Omega-3 or manganese, it’s likely that there is something you could be adding in to boost your long term bone health (especially after the menopause, when osteoporosis can kick in ), your energy or your immunity.

Naturally, the wellness industry has this covered – in abundance – but with so much to choose from, how can you identify what suits you, and what brands are out there that have it nailed?

The fabulous team at Lumity have created a supplement designed to target your immunity, ageing and sleep, with two finely tuned combinations of Omega oils, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, one for the morning and one for the evening.

Melanie Sykes Lumity Supplement

Skin, Hair and Nails

A word that will come up a lot on this list is Omega-3. Omega-3 helps to create the cell membrane, keeping things out (free radicals, for instance) and maintaining cell health. They are also precursors (i.e. they make up one of the key ingredients) for the substances our bodies create to combat inflammation and blood pressure.

Having Omega-3 in your diet promotes hair strength and the condition of your skin (including your scalp) and nails, so any supplement routine for your hair, skin and nails should include them.

B vitamins are a group of vitamins that include thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid, B6, biotin (B7), folic acid and B12 are well known to convert energy from food, support your metabolism, promote cell growth, in particular B7 – known as Biotin – for hair, skin and nails – and most cannot be stored in your body, and are necessary in your daily diet.

Catwalk Queen from MyVitamins ticks all these boxes and more.

Resveratrol is a chemical found in the skin of red grapes, and has been identified as an intensive antioxidant (so it could protect your skin from ageing) and also as potentially providing some protection from cancer (in its purified form – not wine!).

You can find it in Caudalie’s great new Reservatrol [Lift] collection, but also in a supplement form from Fountain – The Beauty Molecule.

Menopause

There is no need to feel negative about the changes that the menopause or perimenopause can bring. Even in your thirties, you can make sure that your body is prepared for “the change”, by making sure that your diet include plenty of calcium and even calcium supplements to ward off the osteoporosis that can kick in when your oestrogen levels begin to drop.

You can even help to replace some of that oestrogen with phytoestrogens – chemicals found in plants that mimic the effect of oestrogen in your body. Soy, flax, alfalfa, liquorice, lentils, sesame seeds, oats and barley all provide phytoestrogens, but the research into their efficacy is mixed. Read more here.

When it comes to herbal remedies that pack some punch, Black Cohosh, Red Clover and Maca have a reputation for addressing some of the symptoms of permimenopause.

Finally, adaptogens can really come into play here, as they support your adrenal system, levelling your moods and responses to stress. Read our recent article on them here.

Stress

Stress is so closely tied in with lifestyle, that much like fatigue, if you are feeling permanently frazzled and on edge, you need to look at your day first: work stress (do you need to say “No” more?), alcohol, caffeine, diet, exercise and sleep. Even small changes can have a big impact, such as putting away devices and screens an hour before bed. But that’s not to undermine the biggest challenges that women can have in the workplace, particularly if you feel stuck in the wrong role, or have trouble being assertive, which can contribute to your overall stress significantly.

Exercise is the quickest way to combat stress, as it triggers the release of serotonin and endorphins, which make you feel good straight away, and reduces your cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

Your responses to stress are largely controlled by your adrenal gland, and targeting your adrenal system is a way to combat stress if you are struggling. This is where adaptogens come in, and to learn more about these, you can take a look at our article on them from a couple of days ago.

Most can easily be bought individually from different herbalists online, such as Nutriseed and Detox Trading who each have a wide variety of different adaptogens available.

Melanie Sykes Supplement Guide

Immunity

Much like stress and fatigue, there is no single isolated cause for lowered immunity in an otherwise healthy person. You lifestyle has a huge impact – smoking, alcohol consumption, diet and exercise all play a part that no supplement can compete with.

Firstly, there is no definitive evidence that Vitamin C has any specific action in preventing or treating colds. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, and helps your body to make collagen and healthy cells, so in that sense, it is highly beneficial and should be a part of your diet anyway, but to take it specifically to prevent colds is approaching it the wrong way.

If you want a supplement that boosts your immunity, you should be thinking broadly – a high quality multivitamin that supports all aspects of your health.

Solgar’s Omnium supplement contains practically everything under the sun from iron to turmeric, and for a single product that covers everything this is probably the most comprehensive.

For something a little more affordable, Waitrose own brand Health and Vitality Multivitamins A-Z come in at just £4.75 and cover most of the essentials.