Hey Career Adventurers! Today I want to share one of my secrets to survival on the career and parent journey. It's vitamins. And before I start, I want you to know this is nothing fancy and this isn't to sell you anything. It's just the basics of vitamins -- how they help me to regain ground after stressful events and stay on top of my game.
In 2017, I had a really stressful work situation and I had two important experts in my life telling me to try taking vitamins. One was my doctor, who is excellent. She helped me to rule out any other medical condition or concern. And the other was my personal trainer, Laurie Johnson, the Founder and Director of No Limits Fit Life.
I was pretty skeptical about whether vitamins could help me to combat stress at work, but Laurie was persistent, and I agreed to give it a try. I immediately noticed two big changes.
I was less fatigued mid-afternoon.
I wasn't foraging in my pantry after supper.
And, now nine months later, my hair loss (from stress) has slowed down and I have new hair coming back in. And, I am starting to feel more balanced. These are all good things.
Laurie will tell you that there are four things essential to wellness: movement, sleep, nutrition and managing stress. So today, we are going to focus on vitamins as part of your daily nutrition.
Laurie was kind enough to do a Q&A and with me so that I can share her expertise with all of you. So here are some tips on improving your well-being and performance through vitamins.
Q: OK Laurie, I'm a busy, working parent. How do I know if I should take vitamins?
Busy professionals with high-stress, high-impact roles, especially those with small children, can really benefit from taking vitamins. I know, because I have been there.
The demands of an active career and home life may make it necessary to supplement your daily routine with additional vitamins. Here's why.
Stress can have a negative impact on your body, making it hard for you to achieve optimum health, even if you are exercising and eating well. When this happens, you can experience mental, physical and emotional changes, such as exhaustion, sleeplessness, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, weight gain and hair loss.
Even when your stress is well-managed and you are making great food choices, nutrient depletion in our soil could mean you are not reaching your daily requirement of vital minerals and nutrients. Some people also have dietary restrictions due to health conditions or suffer from malabsorption, resulting in a deficiency.
If any of this rings a bell, adding key vitamins can help to restore balance to your hormones, increase energy, strengthen your immune system,help you cope with stress and increase your mental focus.
Q: What should people know before they start taking vitamins?
First and foremost it is very important to understand that vitamin and mineral supplements are not a substitute for quality nutrition. While some people may notice improvements almost overnight it may take others several weeks. Consistency in taking supplements is key to affecting change in our bodies.
It is also a good idea to see your doctor. You need to know if there is a medical condition that is contributing to your symptoms, to understand any deficiencies and to have her opinion on what vitamins might be helpful for you. Not all vitamins and supplements are appropriate for everyone. For example, pregnant women need to be careful about the amount of Vitamin A they consume, and people with bowel conditions may not be able to take probiotics.
Q: What vitamins should a person start with and why?
I like to start with my Top Six Vitamins list.
Vitamin B Stress Complex
Vitamins 1 & 2: Multivitamin and a B Stress Complex
Begin with a multivitamin and a B vitamin, stress complex.
I recommend The Ultimate One by Nu Life for active women. This has both vitamins and minerals but has additional minerals one of which is iron and some key herbs for active women under stress.
Many women have very active lives in addition to stress from work, family, social obligations, and lack of sleep and therefore may require a B complex. Thorne is a very high-quality brand for stress. B complex vitamins help us to digest food, aid metabolism, increase energy, and enhance hormonal, cognitive and cardiovascular health.
Vitamins 3 & 4: Magnesium and Vitamin D3
After two weeks of a steady consistent regimen, add the next two recommended vitamins on my Top Six Vitamins list. Next up is magnesium. It is available in both oral as well as topical supplementation. Begin with 600 mg per day. It is necessary for healthy bones, teeth, as well as for healthy function of muscle.
If you are magnesium deficient and you begin to supplement, you may notice a more restful night’s sleep, less muscle fatigue when you are active with your children, and better mental performance on your job. Magnesium will help you unwind mentally, emotionally, and physically. It will also help balance hormones that women may encounter due to PMS. And despite how great our lives may be, depression is nearly twice as common in women, and magnesium will help boost our mood, lower depression, and help make being a mom more enjoyable and less stressful.
Vitamin D3 is another addition I would suggest (2000 mg) at this point. Vitamin D3 and magnesium are essential for calcium retention. Vitamin D is important for bone and teeth health and immune function. Stress in our daily lives as busy parents can leave immune systems compromised. Taking vitamin D will improve your mood, energy, immune system and aid in weight loss.
We also require more of this vitamin because we live in the Northern Hemisphere and we don’t get enough exposure to sunlight. It is also necessary for hormone production, a key factor for women in childbearing years.
Vitamins 5 & 6: Vitamin C and DHA
After two months, I would then add the last two vitamins on my Top Six Vitamins list. It is essential to give our body time to adjust to the vitamins rather than introducing them all at once.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for busy, high-stress jobs and family life. It is essential for healing, and collagen production for healthy skin. It also helps you to fight infection, and acts as an antioxidant. It boosts your progesterone levels, which will aid in balance hormones and also helps the adrenals to combat stress. With the addition of this vitamin you will feel more energetic, less stressed, and suffer less from colds and flu.
Last but not least I recommend one more supplement and that is fish oil. I recommend a total of 1000 to 1500 (EPA plus DHA). It decreases inflammation in your body, increases hormonal health and improves brain function. All of which will help you keep your mental focus sharp at work and your nerves calm for a balanced home life.
Q: What will be the noticeable effects?
The effects of consistent vitamin and mineral supplementation will be more subtle than prescription drugs but don’t underestimate their power. With consistent use you may notice increased energy, increased mental focus, increased libido, more patience, and a higher tolerance in stressful situations.
Thank you to Laurie for providing this valuable content for the leagues of extraordinary parents. I hope that introducing vitamins into your life has a positive effect on you and helps you in the ways that it has helped me.
I am also so pleased to announce that Laurie is joining Brain Snacks to support the leagues of extraordinary parents in achieving their wellness and well-being goals as our first Brainiac.
Laurie is a Certified Personal trainer (IFA), Certified Nutritionist (IFA), Certified Life Coach Practitioner and Functional Assessment Screening Asst.
Take care Career Adventurers.
If this moves you, I invite you to join in on the conversation by posting a comment or sharing on social media.