HELLO THERE! How are you guys? I received a TON of emails the last few months about the types of supplements I use! I wrote a bit about natural supplements not too long ago, but apparently you guys wanted me to get even more specific with which ones I use daily! And so, here we are. I recently added in two new supplements to my every day mix, and let me tell you, I’ve seen a HUGE improvement in my overall healing/mystery/invisible illness symptoms.

Apparently I’m not the only one with these super crazy and weird mystery symptoms. A lot of you guys reached out to me thanking me for helping you to not feel so alone and *weird*. And in turn, that always helps me too. Just because a doctor can’t explain or fix whats happening in your body, doesn’t mean you’re strange or alone in health issues. It means that modern medicine is not at all advanced enough yet to figure out real solutions to health problems. Band-aids are not cures, we want cures!

And while I most certainly cannot cure you guys suffering from mystery illness’ (I wish I could!!!)… I can tell you what has drastically helped me in my own healing process. Just remember this is all just my personal experience for my mystery illness symptoms. If you haven’t read my recent(ish) post on what my “mystery illness” is and what my symptoms are you can check it out here. I’m obviously not a doctor. I can’t diagnose or fix you. Our bodies are personal, delicate, and everything will affect everyone differently. Check with your trusted doctor if you’re unsure about something, stop taking stuff if it gives you terrible side effects, etc. Okay? Cool.

My body REALLY crashed with the pregnancy / miscarriage thing. To be completely honest, I was really surprised, I thought I would bounce back quickly and feel great immediately after, like I did with my first miscarriage 5 years ago, but that was NOT that case. It took me some time to heal from that. I was feeling okay over the last few weeks/two months or so, but adding in a daily dose of iodine drastically improved my energy levels and changing the type of zinc I was taking really helped with my reoccurring  viral/shingles symptoms. I still have to be gentle with myself during hormonal times (ovulation/menstruation) because I’m at risk for those symptoms flaring, but for the most part, all those weird symptoms have gone away.

What I have dealt with lately is weird and crippling colon inflammation. This has come and gone since I got c. diff. My doctor basically said it’s like I have a minor flaring case of UC/crohns and I should consider taking medication for flare ups. I passed. Right now I’m working on trying to figure out the triggers– so I can avoid those. Supplements can’t fix this problem if I keep eating things that inflame my colon. As mentioned, this came on after c. diff three years ago. But also, it got even worse with this past pregnancy. And now it’s been unbearable since my stomach bacteria in Nepal. Now it’s the point where my ribs ache from my colon pressing up against them. Ridiculous, right?

But I’m working on it. And like with everything else, I’m determined to FIX my problems, not band aid them with “modern medicine.” My health is not perfect— it’s far far from it. And I have to be stupid amounts of careful with my body, because it crashes ridiculously easy now. But as long as I’m moving forward, I’m okay with it all. I’m no longer bedridden, I feel decent to good more days than not now, and that’s all I can ask for!

So here we are! A list of supplements that have helped me with my invisible/mystery illness:

iodine

Iodine is one of my most recent add ins. If I’m being totally honest with you, sometimes I buy supplements, and then they sit on the shelf for months until I actually use them. This happens because I’m SO nervous about having a negative reaction to them! And so I just don’t take them… kind of a waste of money, don’t you think? I bought a bottle of iodine forever ago. And while my logical mind knows that my body receives a good bit natural iodine with my diet, I was still nervous. So there it sat.

There is a lot of controversy about iodine. Some people are convinced that we receive too much iodine due to iodized salt and the foods we eat. After A LOT of research, I decided I’m on the other side of the debate– I really don’t think the average person is receiving too much iodine. That seems impossible with our western diets. Contrary to popular belief, most salt does not actually contain iodine.

And so, I did it. I took the iodine off the shelf and started taking ONE drop a day in a glass of water. Within a few days, the difference in energy was noticeable. It was better than a cup of coffee. I went from needing 9-10 hour of sleep (and still feeling low on energy) to waking up after 7-8 again (and feeling great!). All with on little drop. I can’t say enough about how much better I feel after taking a bit each day.

There is no dosage labeled on the bottle I buy, but I did google it and found a handy chart. It says to work your way up slowly. I still only take one drop, and it works amazingly well so I don’t plan to increase it anytime soon. Especially because I’ve also been eating a good amount of seaweed in my daily life lately.

magnesium

I’ve been taking a magnesium tablet for a while now. And if you have insomnia or trouble staying asleep, I’d highly recommend it. It also helps with anxiety, constipation, and so much more. We all NEED magnesium in our bodies. There are tons of foods that are rich in magnesium (dark leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, etc), but if you’re struggling with health issues or your body crashed due to stomach or viral overload, theres a good chance you’re low on it and need to have more.

Taking too much calcium, drinking carbonated beverages, malabsorption issues, and excess diarrhea (HELLO C. DIFF!) can cut magnesium levels as well. Theres no real way of testing if you’re low on it, but consider looking into deficiency symptoms and seeing for yourself if it’s a good fit in your healing process.

I take one tablet every night before bed. You can also find magnesium in powder form. I’ve done this too, and I like how you can adjust the dose if needed. I’ve debated on taking this liquid magnesium option that one of you guys actually emailed me about. I’ll probably give it a try after I run out of tablets… and  after its sat on the shelf for a few weeks in unreasonable debate 😉 You can of course always give yourself an epsom salt bath too. Marlowe loves magnesium bath salts (so do i). Relax and let all that mineral goodness be absorbed through your skin.

zinc

Zinc! I was taking zinc for a while and saw zero improvements. After so much research on the benefits of zinc and virus’ this REALLY confused me. Why was I not feeling better? Then one day my mom emailed me with an article she found about zinc– and as I read through it, a new idea was realized! Not all zincs are created equal! (duh). Just like proteins in food, there are different types of zinc in the world and each type will be processed differently!

The type of zinc you buy matters! A LOT. Most zinc supplements on the shelf are actually more like placebos. They go in, the body can’t process them/absorb the benefits, and out they go. And so the big google search began– hours of articles and figuring out what zinc I actually should be taking. I landed on this tablet– zinc in monomethionine form. Taking this zinc nightly has helped SO much with my viral symptoms. I stopped taking it for a while (to test out results) and viral symptoms started coming through again! Now I make it a point to take it every night.

Next I’m debating on this liquid form of zinc sulphate. I’ve heard really good things about this option as well. Zinc is needed in our body. Zinc kills virus’ and boosts the immune system! It’s a winner 😉 The one I linked above has copper in it too, so you not have to worry about copper depletion with the zinc 😉

l-lysine

I’ve taken l-lysine on and off for a while now. L-lysine is an amino acid that you’re probably getting decent doses of everyday in the food you eat. And it’s probably not something you need to worry about, unless you are trying to fight virus’ (like me). I like the tablet I take because not only does it have a decent dose of l-lysine, but it also has vitamin C, garlic, and licorice root in it— all known to strengthen your immune system and kill off the bad bugs.
This is another supplement I’ve played around with– taking it regularly and then not. It’s made a serious difference. If I remove this from my daily routine for even a week or two, shingles symptoms return. I’m hoping one day this wont be the case and I wont need it— but if I can suppress my viral symptoms by taking a daily amino acid supplement for now, I’ll take it.

vitamin c

I don’t take vitamin C daily. But  it helps so much, that I thought I should definitely list it here. Vitamin C does wonders for your immune system. I try to eat a vitamin C rich diet everyday. Marlowe and my orange addiction is putting a serious dent in our wallet. But vitamin C is SO good for you! I make sure to take the supplement during high stress times, before and during travel, and when other people around me are getting sick.
If you’re going to take a C vitamin (or any vitamin really), then I HIGHLY recommend taking one that comes from a real food source. Like Folate (from real food) instead of Folic Acid (fake substitute). I like this brand/item best. This one in spray form is also a great option. We buy this one for Marlowe to take while we travel.

How do you know if you’re taking too much vitamin C? If you take a high dose of vitamin C and then need to rush to the bathroom with loose stools… then you’ve taken too much. A normal, or even double dose should NOT do this though.

a probiotic

You guys have heard me talk about probiotics again and again. But since it did help me so much, I feel like it’s worth listing again and again and again, you know? Probiotics don’t just benefit your gut, they benefit your overall well-being. Your immune system, your serotonin levels, everything starts IN THE GUT. You need a healthy gut to be a healthy person. Taking this probiotic drastically helped my gut and stools after getting deathly ill with c. diff. SO imagine what taking a bit of probiotics can do I your normal everyday life.
But if you don’t want to take a probiotic supplement, you really don’t need to– there are other options like fermented foods, raw foods, etc. Even starting your day with a fresh made green juice every morning will give you a healthy dose of natural probiotics. Probiotics are abundant in real, whole, raw foods.
But if you’re gut is really in terrible shape or if you’ve taken antibiotics (anti-life) lately, then consider adding in a regular pro-biotic (pro-life) into your routine!

Well friends! There is my daily supplement list! It’s totally more supplements than I would like to need to take. I don’t ever want to feel like I NEED to take anything. But after years of reading, looking for answers, and trial and error, this really has been the best mix for me.  My overall heath and daily quality of living has improved so much with these supplements (and a whole foods, clean diet of course) . The heart palpitations, random fevers, twitching, vibrating feelings are all GONE now. The ear ringing comes and goes in times of high stress, but otherwise that’s gone too! And the shingles stuff, well that hasn’t come back in a few (two to three)  months since the iodine addition– so I’m hoping that continues for sure!

If any of my weird symptoms stood out to you in regards to your own health issues, then I recommend researching these supplements to learn more ! Maybe they can benefit you in your healing process! Maybe they all wont, but some certainly might! If even one helps you a bit, I’m happy!

Thanks for being part of my health journey, I wish you guys healing in yours too!

15 Comments

  1. I keep kicking on about this but lady – you have textbook symptoms of a copper imbalance! The zinc helping so much is just one more thing to the list from what you’ve shared about your health. You can actually have a copper toxicity AND a deficiency at the same time you know? Check it out …. only way to test is a hair analysis bloods don’t show accurate levels as they change hour to hour.

    • okay okay! I’ll do it! haha, but for realz, I might as well. I was only hesitant on taking the hair analysis test because im stubborn, but I know I should just do it, it’s not that expensive anyway 🙂 I’ll look into it this week 🙂

  2. That is interesting about the zinc, I need to go look at mine now. And, as someone with autoimmune disease, if it does end up being UC or Crohns I would just pay attention to immune boosting supplements and how you react to them. I can’t take elderberry or even eat more than a little açaí because they boost the already overactive side of my immune system. You can find out which supplements boost which part of the immune ecosystem (TH1 or TH2). For example, I am TH1 dominant, which means I tend to have delayed reactions to food and I hardly ever get sick (thanks overactive immune system), and I also have issues with legumes. I tend to avoid all immune boosters though, and just take ginger and vitamin c and zinc when I start feeling sick. Hope that’s helpful!

    • super interesting! With food stuff, some stuff makes me get itchy/sore throat right away (strawberries, tofu, whatever), but for the most part– if my stomach is going to flare up, it’s 12 hours after eating. always. It’s like it needs to work its way through my body and into my colon and then POOF it explodes. <3<3

  3. Meghan Campbell

    Hi Drea, thanks so much for putting this together. I’m really curious about the iodine drops.. gonna look into it for sure. I’m a year into recovery from adrenal fatigue and gut issues and my energy could always use some help.

    On my healing journey I discovered I’m intolerant to 18 foods and have since switched to an exclusively plant-based diet (I was lacto-ovo vegetarian before). Now I’m learning about phytic acid and ways to prepare legumes/grains to reduce consumption. It’s a little overwhelming. Do you or your readers have any experience with trying to reduce phytic acid? Overhauling my diet was already a huge learning curve (your recipes have been so so helpful!).. Now I’m wondering if I need to be more mindful of how much phytic acid I’m consuming since that’s pretty much everything I eat.

    I’m sure you get a million food/health questions so need to respond.. I’m just throwing it out there in case you have looked into this yourself and want to weigh in on whether it’s really necessary to pre-soak like all my beans, grains, etc!!

    Here’s an article for reference..

    https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/vegetarianism-and-plant-foods/living-with-phytic-acid/

    Thanks a bunch!

    Meg xo

    PS so happy for you that you’re temporarily moving to Mexico!!

    • okay so!! phytic acid/ grains is definitely something I think about often! We have a pot of rice soaking now for dinner tonight. We SHOULD be soaking all grains/legumes/all of it before we eat them for sure. I feel like, in general, Soaking vs. not soaking is not something you’ll notice overnight or even in a month, but I think it can make a big difference for overall health.

      I know for myself, I can feel a huge difference when I cut out grains– but the reality is that being grain free is a big challenge for me. I eat A LOT — and it’s just so costly for me to cut out grains and get enough food in my system to not feel hungry without going completely broke. So I try to not each excess grains– and when I do eat grains, I always try to make sure to soak them first.

      For Marlowe, I’ve always fed her a lot of grains. And I have to say, her dental situation isn’t great. I mean, that can also be hereditary and my brother, mother, and myself all have terrible teeth too. But for sure, even though overall she’s really healthy and almost never gets sick, she’s had a few more cavities than I would hope or expect. I suspect this is due to her high grain consumption. We’ve really only started soaking our grains over the past year or two– so I hoping to see a shift with her soon. Her teeth have definitely gotten a bit better– so theres hope!

      For soaking, you can soak in plain water– or you can add vinegar or a piece of combo (seaweed) to help remove even more phytic acid 🙂

  4. hey drea! you should look into boswelia for the bowel inflammation. digestive and respiratory inflammation are actually on a different pain pathway than most other inflammation. boswelia is one of the only things that touches it. i’m a fellow supplement nerd, and love reading about this stuff.

    • Hi amazing! Thank you! What do you suggest? tea form? I’m totally going to look into this! Also if you have reading recs, I’ll totally take those too 🙂

  5. Meghan Campbell

    Drea, thank you!!! You’re giving me the push I needed to make the effort to soak beans, grains, etc. It feels like a big undertaking, and a lot of extra effort for meal planning, but I guess the habit will come, I just have to start. I mean I can’t believe I could be undoing all my healthy eating by blocking absorption of magnesium, zinc, copper, iron etc with dang phytic acid. It’s always something! Thanks again for taking the time to reply. 😘

  6. Try not to take magnesium if you have had diarreah lately as it makes it worse. (Info from my holistic GP doctor)

    • Yes! It’s great for constipation, terrible when you already have runny stools. yuck.

  7. Thank you for this! Personally, magnesium creates wonders for our bodies. I’m hypothyroid due to Hashimoto’s and have IBS problems. I literally can not tolerate any curciferous vegetables (which I sadly love) as well as legumes. They just make my colon flare up for days at a time. Also, I had problems with my progesterone and estrogen, and once I started eating eggs and molasses for magensium, things started to get significantly better! I’m just looking out for magnesium in everything now.

    Take care of yourself Drea and thanks for all of your amazing posts. 🙂

  8. I take all of these as well! I have hormone balance issues and I take b6 and vitamin C after ovulation until my period to boost and help out my natural progesterone production. Keeping my progesterone in check has helped my numerous digestive issues and anxiety tremendously! Iodine magnesium and zinc all help with hormone balance too. It’s crazy how one imbalance can throw everything out of whack. Hormones are responsible for every function in our bodies! Also thanks for teaching me so much, I found a really good naturopathic dr that does Mayan uterine massage and I started taking my basal temp everyday too!

  9. Hey Drea- I stumbled upon your blog afer buying and loving your cookbook. I have been transitioning to a vegan diet and it’s going pretty well! My husband and kids even like it (although I still sometimes cook meats & dairy for them). I have UC and I find eating unprocessed foods serves me best. I am in remission now (knock on wood- for over 2 years since I gave up distance running and daily practice yoga) without drugs- this does make my GI doc nervous as flares = colon cancer, but she does understand that my past 2 scans have been clear. I have to avoid any spicy jalapeno family peppers- raw or cooked and I can never eat any type of sausage (which I never ate much of anyhow). If I am not feeling well, I need to eat more breads and cooked veggies and lower the fiber until the flare has subsided. I also take a very good probiotic, as well as a turmeric supplement and a biotin supplement. I happen to also take a cruciferous vegetable extract supplement too, but not for the UC. Thanks for sharing your recipies and making “The Plantiful Table!” I hope your health issues improve!