If you asked ten Whole30ers if they should supplement during the Whole30, you would most likely get ten different answers. I recently surveyed members from my Whole30 group and was very surprised by the various responses. Let’s just say – they were all over the place.
Personally, I’m very pro supplementation and believe just about everyone should supplement during the Whole30 or any other diet program. And, I noticed that those who took the Whole30 compliant supplements while doing the Whole30 seemed to feel better and stay on track. I’m not a scientist or a doctor though (and I don’t play one on the internet :). So, let’s tap into the expert(s) perspective.
What the Expert Says About Supplements During The Whole30
Melissa Hartwig, co-founder, and CEO of the Whole30 program posted the below on Facebook on October 10, 2017.
It would be lovely to think we could achieve optimal health with a whole-food diet and healthy lifestyle…but in today’s modern world, that’s tough. Environmental toxins soil depletion, imperfect food choices, life stress, long workdays, gut dysbiosis, and many other factors can make it hard to feel our best, even if our diet is on point.
If you are like me, collecting all of your Whole30 compliant food, condiments, and spices may have been such an overwhelming task that you can’t even imagine searching for Whole30 compliant supplements. – ugh. And, oh by the way, here are a few helpful articles for you on making Whole30 grocery shopping made easier and easy Whole30 meals that take less than 10 minutes to make.
But, anyway, back to supplementing during the Whole30. It Starts with Food has a lot of great information on supplementing while doing the Whole30. I highly recommend you take a read or listen. In the interim, keep in mind that the supplements need to be clean (just like the food) – so no soy, dairy, gluten, carrageenan, or legumes (soy).
So With No Further Ado Here Are A Few Recommended Compliant Supplements…….
It Starts with Food has a few important things to say about multivitamins.
Taking a multivitamin may not be a bad idea. On one hand, we know the nutrients we get from real food interact in complex and beautiful ways in our bodies, providing us with a level of health that supplements simply cannot match. On the other hand, it’s idealistic to think that we can get complete nutrition just from the foods we eat and our environments. After all, we don’t always eat perfectly, and our modern world (the soil, the water, the seeds themselves) may not provide us with as much nutrition from our foods as it used to.
So even though you’re doing the best you can with real food, your health may still benefit from the micronutrient boost found in a good, balanced multivitamin. Just remember that the micronutrients found in multivitamins are nowhere near as bioavailable as those found in real food- so make sure you always prioritize getting your vitamins and minerals from the plants and animals on the plate.
Essential Fatty Acids
- Reduced risk of several lifestyle-related diseases and conditions
- Protection from cancer, Alzheimer’s, and depression,
- Improvement of skin conditions like acne and psoriasis, arthritis, etc.
Omega 3’s are also anti-inflammatory. And, I notice my hair, skin, and nails look better when I am taking a good Omega 3!
According to the Washington Post’s article, nearly half of all American’s are magnesium deficient. Ancient Minerals published an interesting article detailing the many possible reasons why Americans are so deficient in this precious mineral. It Starts with Food refers to magnesium as the “magic white powder” because it is known for helping people fall asleep so quickly. Magnesium is also critical for:
- Bone health
- Muscle and nerve function
- Heart rhythm
- Blood sugar regulations
- Blood pressure
*The Whole30 recommends Natural Calm (unsweetened) and Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Citrate. It Starts with Food gives the general recommendations of 1-3 teaspoons (200-600 mg) dissolved in water shortly before bed every evening.
And as a bonus, you can always take in some magnesium while soaking in an Epsom salt bath! If the idea of soaking in the tub isn’t appealing enough, check out this article from PaleoLeap for more information about Epsom salt’s benefits.
It Starts with Food tells us that digestive enzymes help your body break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins and maximize the amount of nutrition your body can absorb. This is so important because if we don’t absorb the nutrients from the healthy food we are eating during the Whole30, the healthy food (and nutrients) don’t do us much good. I know I feel less bloated and gassy when I take digestive enzymes.
Mercy Medical Center published an article saying 42% of the US population is vitamin D deficient and the percentages are even higher in several various populations within the US. Healthline’s article outlines symptoms of vitamin D deficiency:
- Getting sick or infected often
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Bone and back pain
- Impaired wound healing
- Bone Loss
- Hair Loss
- Muscle Pain
Web MD published an article saying that vitamin D deficiency can be harmful and there are meaningful benefits to increasing your vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for many things including immune support, bone health, and the regulation of calcium. And recently, a Healthline article has reported there is mounting evidence that vitamin D can help you lose weight!
**Since vitamin D is fat-soluble, be sure to take it with a meal that is rich in fat.
Healthline’s article, Why The Gut Microbiome is Crucial to Your Health, shares:
The gut microbiome plays a very important role in your health by helping control digestion and benefiting your immune system and many other aspects of health.
An imbalance of unhealthy and healthy microbes in the intestines may contribute to weight gain, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and other disorders.
In It Starts with Food the founders of the Whole30 recommend reaching out to a functional medicine doctor for some testing before starting probiotics. For those that cannot do the lab work first, they recommend taking steps to restore a healthy balance of bacteria with fermented foods and drinks.
*Klaire Labs has a probiotic that is Whole30 compliant.
The Whole30 Vital Proteins Whole30 FAQ provides a lot of great information about collagen:
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It’s found in muscles, bone, skin, and connective tissue like tendons, and basically holds the whole body together, providing strength and structure. It’s important for healthy skin, hair, nails, and teeth; maintaining healthy joints and reducing the risk of joint degeneration, and helps to heal a leaky gut.
Did someone just say healthy skin, hair, nails, teeth, and joints? I’ll take a double dose said every 40 something woman.- no just kidding. The Whole30 FAQ also shares the below information:
- We used to get collagen and these aminos in our diets in the form of bones and broth (eating the whole animal), but in today’s modern world, we’re highly unlikely to consume foods like bone marrow, or boil pasture-raised bones down for broth. The aminos found in collagen aren’t found in significant amounts in the muscle meat we eat or the protein supplements (like whey or BCAAs) we take post-workout. This means that today, we’re not getting a steady or adequate supply of collagen, glycine, or proline in our diets.
- Taking a collagen supplement can help keep our skin smooth and supple, our nails and hair strong and healthy, our joints strong and flexible, and our guts healthy.
- As a fitness supplement, it complements the protein and BCAAs we’re taking to ensure creatine production is high, muscles are strong, and we are able to maintain energy during training sessions.
*Vital Proteins collagen peptides are Whole30 compliant and approved.
Cheers to you and your Whole30 experience!
*This article is not intended to be medical advice. Anyone considering a new supplement regime should consult their physician first.