Autumn brings more mild temperatures, along with the most beautiful scenery (although I am biased, since I am getting married in Autumn!)
Along with the positives, of course there are some negatives that come with this time of year. Shorter days often leave people feeling like their energy is zapped. In addition, the dryer air does a number on our hair, skin and nails.
I do believe in the food-first approach, however I also believe that supplement have a place in our diet – when needed! Let me outline the supplements that I have rotated into my routine for this Autumn season.
1) An Adaptogen (Rhodiola)
I’ve selected Rhodiola specifically because of it’s anti-fatigue effects. I’ve been working ~ 14 hours days + training for a half marathon, so the fatigue is real some days!
I feel a noticeable difference after taking Rhodiola in the morning, in terms of cognitive function. I am also less fatigued from stress. Some mornings I even skip my coffee!
You can read more about the evidence around Rhodiola here. I highly recommend it!
Verdict: Rhodiola is effective for combating fatigue
2) A Hair/Skin/Nails Supplement
Alright, I am the biggest critic of those ‘Sugar Bear Hear’ gummies that we see all over Instagram. However I did recently have a Dermatologist tell me that there may be a benefit to those hair/skin/nail supplements…so I thought I would try them out!
My biggest concern is the health of my nails, as they tend to crack easily. I started taking a Hair/Skin/Nails supplement that contains 25% DV Vitamin C, 50% DV Vitamin E and 833% DV of Biotin. It is thought that Biotin is the main nutrient that will benefit Hair/Skin/Nails. Biotin has been seen as the go-to vitamin for beauty ever since one pilot study in women with brittle nails showed supplementation to be beneficial. However we are still waiting for more sufficient scientific evidence to confirm this notion.
Verdict: I’ve seen some changes in my nails, but the changes aren’t drastic. Low cost to continue taking them, however!
3) A Prenatal (No I’m not pregnant or trying)
No I’m not currently pregnant or trying – but a prenatal is basically like a super-charged multi! I’m getting more folate, zinc, iron and more!
I’m especially a fan of the iron in a prenatal (which is typically double that of the iron in a multivitamin). I’m a female of childbearing age, a vegetarian and a runner – I’m at risk for iron deficiency! Although I do try to eat iron-rich foods daily, I appreciate the extra support from a prenatal supplement.
In fact, vegetarians typically consume as much iron, or more, than meat-eaters. Decent sources of the mineral include soybeans, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, lima beans, black beans, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, barley, cooked spinach, raisins and dried prunes.
The problem though, is that iron in plant foods (called non-heme iron) is often poorly absorbed – so we may not actually be using all of the iron we’re consuming in plant-form!
Verdict: A prenatal is a more effective multi for ensuing you are meeting your nutrient needs
4) An Omega 3 + Vitamin D
The typical North American diet is rich in processed foods and full of pro-inflammatory compounds. Fat plays an important role in modulating inflammation in our bodies, and an increase in dietary omega-3 fats in particular has been associated with lowering blood triglycerides (decreases risk for heart disease), helping alleviate symptoms of depression, boosting the effects of some anti-inflammatory drugs for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Always skip the omega blends that contain omega-6 fats, we already get way too many of these pro-inflammatory fats in our diets so you certainly don’t need to supplement with them!
Vitamin D also plays an important role in cognition, immune health, bone health and well-being. We don’t get enough through sunlight in the fall, so it is important to supplement!
Verdict: I know that I lack these two nutrients in my vegetarian diet in the Fall – so I will continue taking this supplement!