This has been coming up frequently in conversations lately, so it's about time I write a little post on it. For the past decade or so I've been monitoring my diet and energy and I've come across a few supplements that I can whole-heartedly recommend to almost anyone.

Drink water

This isn't a supplement, but if you aren't well hydrated there's really not much point in trying anything else. Force yourself to drink water. Get a bottle where you can see the water inside. When there is water inside, drink it. When it's empty, fill it up. This simple trick will keep you hydrated for the rest of your life.

To make tap water taste good, I bought a Royal Berkey Water Filter and I fill it daily. Even my plants get filtered water. And lately I started buying sparkling water, which weirdly actually kinda works for me as when I'm craving a beer. Update: I bought an Aarke Carbonator 3 and I love it.

Whole food

This isn't about supplements at all, is it? Look, all the supplements in the world won't make any difference if you're shovelling crap in your food hole. Cut out sugar, start eating vegetables, and eat grass-fed organic beef and local animal products. Free-range eggs and wild pacific salmon. If you don't vibe with vegetables, opt for Greens Plus or Vega One. Whatever it takes to provide your body with a healthy nutritional baseline.

Magnesium Glycinate

Next comes Magnesium. We used to get this from plants. I can't stress enough how important magnesium is for good health, and how big of an affect it had on me. If you've been chronically deficient in magnesium, this could change your life. It might take a week or two for your body to adapt. It's difficult for your body to absorb. Give your body the chance to adapt. Start small and incorporate it into your routine.

Magnesium is a nutrient used in the body for a variety of critical functions. In the brain, it helps to regulate neurotransmitters helping with restless leg syndrome. It also regulates melatonin, which induces that sleepy state when the sun goes down and guides sleep cycles while you're asleep. It's also a natural muscle relaxant. It moves calcium out of muscles and into the bloodstream where it's mobilized elsewhere. It helps with anxiety, blood pressure, bone health, anti-inflammation, depression, migraines... the list goes on.

I prefer powdered magnesium glynicate (or bisglycinate)  because it's easiest for the body to absorb. Citrate is also very common, especially in relaxation and stress formulas. I take the powder with hot water at the end of the day when I want to unwind. Never take more than 250mg. At significantly higher doses it functions as a laxative. If that's not the affect your looking for, keep the dose low! To be safe, go with a product that targets either workouts or anxiety. Brands like NOW or Natural Calm are fine.

L-Theanine

Another nutrient –  an amino acid. It's an active ingredient in green tea. I take it with coffee, first thing in the morning. Keeps the jitters away, and keeps me calm, focused, and balanced. I only started taking this regularly about a year ago. I've taken a 100mg capsule twice a day, and these days I take a 250mg capsule once a day. I'm taking the CanPrev brand, which I've been told is a premium natural health brand.

That's about it.

I really can't recommend anything else. There are literally one million supplements and reddit is full of folks chatting about them. But what works for one person might not work for another. There are likely many supplements that you can find that claim to help with memory, focus, blood pressure, stinky feet, leaky gut, and boring face. But if you haven't started with the fundamentals above, in my opinion it doesn't make sense to waste time anywhere else.

Once you have the basics covered, start small and treat it like an experiment. Research each brand and read reviews. Don't buy supplements from London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart, or any of the big box stores. Go somewhere that deals with premium suppliers. If you're not getting what you want out of a supplement, call it a day and move on.

But I'd like to mention one more supplement that might significantly help folks going through difficult times:

Ashwagandha

This adaptogen is extremely effective for stress. It can significantly lower cortisol levels in the body, which makes it also quite popular at the gym. Something to do with keeping the body in an anabolic state in order to build muscle.

The KSM-66 formula is a root extract and seems to be the way to go. Don't use daily for more than a couple of months. I've never used it for more than a couple of weeks. It's surprisingly powerful, and I found that 300mg was perfect for me. At 600mg it seemed to exacerbate my absent-mindedness.

In very rare cases I've read that ashwagandha – in certain forms – can be toxic, so definitely do your own research and stay alert for side-affects. Some brands are much better than others. My favourite so far was Ashwagandha Matrix by Cyto Matrix, which was 300 mg of ashwagandha and 200 mg of l-theanine.