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Health + WellbeingThe Balanced Brief

Wednesday Wellbeing: Supplements, by Zoe

Supplements to support a lawyer’s lifestyle 

To take supplements or not to take supplements that is the question!?

As a Health Coach I’m often asked what my go to supplements are or what my generic recommendations are for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I’m usually reluctant to make sweeping recommendations because, often, specific supplements are best taken in response to functional blood testing or known deficiencies and symptoms.

I also believe, perhaps rather idealistically, that it can be possible to gain all the nutrients we need from a balanced, nutrient dense diet. That being said, it may not always be the reality for whatever reason.

The  lifestyle of a lawyer, coupled with ‘vocational stress’ does, in my opinion, lend itself to being supported by a few supplements regardless. So, there are several supplements I’d recommend, on the basis of the general Lawyers Life audience and the nature of work within the legal profession.

It’s  no secret those working in the law often work long hours, to tight, time sensitive deadlines. With many working at optimum or peak levels of performance for large proportions of that time with stress being experienced all too frequently.

Stress can manifest itself in a variety of symptoms. These are unique to each individual but may include: disturbed sleep, anxiety, headaches, poor digestion, aches and pains, loss of or increase in appetite, with emotional and mental health also being impacted. When the body is in a constant state of stress or experiencing low levels of stress over long periods of time, supplements can offer additional support to help the body’s system function.

My go to recommendations are not excessive and are highly accessible. The first is;

Spirulina tablets

Spirulina is a nutrient dense, algae. Taking it in tablet form means there are no issues with taste which can be a tad accustomed! Although I love to add the powder to a smoothie, it’s definitely not for everyone,  so stick to the tablet form to begin with. You’ll need to take around 6 – 10 per day depending on the brand. It’s the only supplement recommended by NASA and The European Space Agency during long missions into space because of the unique combination of vitamins and high level of protein.

Facts about spirulina and why it’s my top choice

Although no substitute for eating well, spirulina is one of the world’s best and most complete sources of nutrition on a gram by gram basis.

It’s an excellent source of plant-based protein and contains more protein than meat, fish or chicken with zero cholesterol. It contains over 100 different synergistic nutrients and is rich in a range of Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3 and B12, copper and iron. It’s said to be ‘58% richer in iron than spinach.’
Daily doses of spirulina can support the body in terms of maintaining and optimising a range of essential functions and promoting cellular renewal including boosting the immune system and clearing toxins from the body.
It’s a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which is useful and much needed when considering how stress can impact the body, especially when stress and lack of time can result in making quick food choices.
Perhaps a side benefit relevant for busy professionals, is that because it’s so high in protein, taking spirulina can mean a person feels full up for longer in between meals. Try it – you’ll be surprised and if you want to test the impact you can stop taking it for a while to see that it truly works! (That’s certainly my personal experience).
 It’s my every day go to, particularly during busy periods of teaching and training when my time is maxed out. Again, it’s not a substitute for eating well, but I definitely find it comes in handy knowing I can nourish my body in such a nutrient dense way for that bit longer between meals.
Due to the nature and complex composition of this supplement, many nutritionists also recommend its use for supporting hormonal balance. It is particularly good leading up to perimenopause and through the menopause. I can also vouch for this too, although alongside other lifestyle choices.

My preferred brands are https://www.greensorganic.co.uk/Spirulina-Tablets-300x500mg  This is a wonderful small family run UK business and if you order three packets you get a discount!

Or Synergy Organic Spirulina.

Both brands are organic and 100% pure with no added ingredients. It’s essential the brand you buy is 100% pure, organic with no other added ingredients or GMO. Avoid cheap brands at all costs!

My second choice is Magnesium and here’s why:

Magnesium is required for proper growth and maintenance of many of the body’s  functions, particularly the nervous system and brain functions. Many people are unknowingly deficient in magnesium and as a result can display a range of symptoms that are not always easy to attribute to magnesium deficiency, one for example is fatigue, which it is natural to experience when working long hours and experiencing stress. Making sure the body has enough magnesium is essential for good health and all bodily functions.

The Facts about magnesium and why it’s in my top two

This supplement can help to prevent migraines and cluster headaches and support issues with sleep and insomnia. It’s often used by athletes to enhance energy and performance, so perfect for stressful lifestyles.
There is also research to suggest magnesium might be useful for treating anxiety. A 2017 study confirmed it was, in fact, useful in treating mild anxiety, premenstrual anxiety, postpartum anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder as it plays an important role in supporting brain functions because it can help to regulate neurotransmitters.
Additional research has confirmed magnesium can support the function of the hypothalamus which supports and regulates the functioning of the pituitary and adrenal glands’ response to stress. Again, vital when working long hours under pressure and firing on all cylinders for most, if not all of this time and living on nerves!

There are a range of brands available. Look for a good quality one.  I use Viridian High Potency Magnesium 300mg and take 1 tablet in the morning and one before bed. Occasionally increasing to 3 tablets per day in response to intensity of workload.

A word of warning though. Magnesium can have a fortunate or unfortunate, as the case may be, impact on the digestive system. While this can be excellent in cases of constipation this may not be the desired effect for all!
• If you do experience this effect, it’s easily rectifiable by making sure the tablets are taken with food and not on an empty stomach or experimenting with reducing the dosage.

In addition, I highly recommend daily baths (if possible, in Epsom Bath Salts. These are rich in magnesium and are a fantastic way of absorbing additional magnesium through the skin. They’re well known for promoting sleep, can support the body’s  digestive system by relieving bloating and can help to detox the body. They’re also excellent for dry skin or eczema and a wonderful self-care ritual to ease the stresses of the day.

Two other supplements I’d also recommend are Vitamin D and Vitamin B12. The Better You oral sprays are a good way of taking both conveniently without tablets and ensuring maximum absorption. Vitamin D, usually gained by exposure to the sun, is essential for supporting the immune system, brain and nervous system. Feeling tired and low in mood or irritable can be signs of Vit D deficiency. Deficiencies in vitamin B12 are not always easy to spot as they can be common and generic, for example depression, poor memory, insomnia, and fatigue. Testing for both of these vitamins requires a blood test which can be requested from your GP or using a simple and efficient service such as Medicheckshttps://www.medichecks.com

Happy experimenting! But remember supplements take time to work, they’re not instant fixes.

I’m off to Positano tomorrow for a few days of September sun, so hop on over to the Gram to follow the stunning scenery and more on my stories.

Zoe

Health and Wellness Coach