Supplement Smarts, Part 2: Six Supplements for Constipation, Inflammation, Energy and More


These six supplements are terrific because they do so much to address immediate health issues – they’re excellent problem-solvers, many of which you can take on an as needed basis vs. daily. Great for addressing more specific health concerns, the Supportive Six pack a medicinal punch with lots of health-boosting side effects – and no pharmaceutical downsides. My advice? Always have a supply on hand. 

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that is responsible for the correct metabolic function of over 350 enzymes in the body. You’ll find it in leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and even dark chocolate. Spinach, pumpkin seeds and black beans are especially high in magnesium too. Still, many of us fall short. So what can magnesium do for you? It will help you unwind, relax aching, tense muscles, help keep blood pressure in check and ease constipation. 

Be Well Tip
  • Trouble sleeping? Try taking 300-500mg of magnesium at bedtime to calm your nervous system and help you sleep better, drug-free.
  • Feeling “backed up?” Skip the laxatives and take 1000 mg of magnesium citrate before bed. It should get things moving by morning.

2. CoQ10

CoQ10 is an extremely powerful antioxidant that offers amazing benefits for just about everyone. It has virtually endless applications — from anti-aging and increased energy, to improved cardiovascular and cellular health. In fact, maintaining high CoQ10 levels is so critical, I recommend supplementation to most of my patients, particularly those who are over 40, battling fatigue or dealing with cardiovascular issues. For the over 40 set, I usually suggest starting with 200-400 mgs daily for the first 4 weeks, and then 200 mgs a day to maintain healthy levels. On cholesterol lowering drugs? Then CoQ10 levels are even more important, as statins can slash your CoQ10 levels by as much as 40% — leaving you vulnerable to all sorts of problems, especially muscle pains. My advice? If you must take a statin, CoQ10 supplementation is an absolute, health-saving must. 

Be Well Tip
  • Look for the Ubiquinol form of CoQ10. It’s more easily used by the body than the more commonly available Ubiquinone form.
  • How to keep ‘em straight? Think Ubiquin-all, as in all you need, vs Ubiqui-none, as in, none for me, thanks! 

3. Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid is found in every cell of your body. It’s a potent, versatile, antioxidant warrior that helps beat down inflammation, balance those blood-sugar raiders and protect your skin collagen battlements. It boosts the effectiveness of other antioxidants in your body, promotes nerve health, helps remove heavy metals from the body and purifies the liver. Simply put, ALA has your back. Although your body does produce ALA, it doesn’t make large enough quantities. In order to get enough, consider taking an alpha-lipoic acid supplement and, of course, always eat well. Good sources include grass-fed red meat and especially organ meats, as well as vegetables like broccoli and spinach. 

Be Well Tip
  • To slow your beauty clock, look for Alpha Lipoic Acid in skincare products as it can help combat signs of cellular aging.
  • If you choose to supplement with Alpha Lipoic Acid, a good rule of thumb, particularly for non-meat eaters, is 300-600 mg a day 

4. Turmeric

Turmeric, that wonderful root that gives curries its’ yellow color, is the Superman of the spice world. Underneath that mild-mannered exterior is a health-supporting super-hero. Turmeric root contains curcumin, which helps reduce inflammation. When you stop inflammation in its’ tracks, a lot of good-things follow, like reductions in pain and fatigue, improvement in mood and cognitive function. Curcumin also interrupts the normal progression of cancer cells and is found in most traditional anti-cancer herbal formulas. If I had to choose one single herb for all possible health needs, I would choose turmeric. It’s a winner. 

Be Well Tip
  • A typical dose is 400 – 600 milligrams of turmeric extract three times per day.
  • Expect to start seeing results in roughly 4–to-6 weeks. Though it’s not exactly an overnight cure, but its’ benefits are worth the wait, so give it some time.

5. B Complex

B-Complex – picture it like beehive, consisting of 11 nutrient worker bees, creating and sustaining your body’s energy supply by helping to break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The busy B’s activities keep heart health and immunity humming. Therapeutic doses of B vitamins make a great a treatment for headache, fatigue, mood, stress and menstrual disorders. With B vitamins involved in so many of the body’s operations, it’s easy to see how coming up short can easily effect how well you do or don’t feel on a given day, so treating your body to a B Complex supplement is a virtual a no-brainer, particularly if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet which can be short on B’s. 

Be Well Tip
  • When buying B Complex, keep in mind that roughly 50% of us have a genetic mutation that makes it difficult to process some of the B’s, so look for ones with methylated forms of folate and B12 for maximum benefit. 

6. Powdered Greens

No doubt you’ve probably seen friends, co-workers and celebrities with a tall glass of greens in hand – and with good reason. Powdered “greens” are the easiest way to quickly nourish every system in your body – and help pick up some of the slack if you’re not eating enough greens every day. What’s in them for you? Enhanced immunity; boosted energy levels; better digestion and, depending on the formula, a nice dose of good bacteria for your gut.  Beats the pants off a Diet Coke, now doesn’t it? Powdered “greens” are also full of vitamins and minerals, anti-oxidants, enzymes, phytonutrients and other health-enhancing nutrients. Better yet, just a scoop a day will deliver the same antioxidant support of three to five servings of fruit and vegetables, so drink up!

Be Well Tip
  • When buying powdered greens, make sure they’re made with organic fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid those with fillers and bulking agents, which are often added, but which greatly diminish the nutritional value of the drink.
  • The easiest way to sneak in those green goodies into your diet? Simply toss a scoop of powdered greens to your usual morning smoothie, hit blend, and enjoy the healthy benefits all day long.
Also see:

Part 1: Supplement Smarts: The 4 Key Supplements to Take Every Day

Do You Have Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Hypothyroidism: Causes and Treatment