Say goodbye to prescription medication! Here are 10 effective, safe and natural supplements for digestion, hormones and healing.
I don't mean to brag, but I'm not on any prescription medications… Also known as the worst pick-up line ever. Never have I sounded more geriatric than with that statement.
All joking aside, this is actually a HUGE health accomplishment for me and one that just 2 years ago, I never thought I'd be able to say.
You see, when I was first diagnosed with IBS-C, I was put on some pretty serious prescription medications. The first one I tried had the complete opposite effect of constipation <puts head down in utter embarrassment> and cost me over $200 a month <hard pass>.
My doc then prescribed a less extreme medication, but it didn't seem to do much and carried just as heavy a price tag as the first. Both had warnings for pregnant women and children, meaning both classes of people shouldn't take these medications.
When I looked more into it, I realized this was because these prescriptions could seriously harm (even fatally) young bodies…
SAY WHAT!? Even if I am a full-grown, not-with-child woman, is this really the kind of thing I want to put into my body?
It got me thinking about the other prescriptions and medications I was taking, like birth control, and what kind of side effects these might also have.
So I tossed all my prescriptions in the trash, found a new doctor who focused more on natural, holistic remedies and nutrition, and what do you know…within a week, my chronic constipation (the same one that plagued me for nearly five years!) was completely gone.
A few months later, my other symptoms (think hormonal imbalances, fatigue, acne and irregular blood sugar) began to improve and, ultimately, completely disappear.
I am now 100% prescription free and I've never felt better! So what do I take instead?
First and foremost, I eat tons of fruits and veggies, organic protein and healthy fats (learn more about my real, whole foods approach and anti-inflammatory diet ). But I also supplement my healthy eating (and regular exercise!) with…well, supplements.
So, if you were to look in my medicine cabinet, you'd still find a lot of pills. But the difference is, they're all natural supplements. As in, they're completely safe, have no negative side effects, and yet are just as effective (actually, even more so!) than those scary, expensive prescriptions I used to take.
Not only that but instead of just treating my symptoms, like prescription meds were doing, these supplements are actually healing the root cause.
Here's a peek inside my all-natural medicine cabinet:
- Probiotic: Taking a probiotic every morning is easily the best thing I've done for my digestion. My doc recommends alternating the brand every month so your body continues to be introduced to new bacteria strains. My favorites have been Prescript Assist, PRO-15 Advanced Strength Probiotics, Ortho Molecular Ortho Biotic, Dr. Axe Live Probiotics, Renew Life Probiotics, Garden of Life Probiotic Supplement for Women, and Seed’s Daily Synbiotic–go here to use the code ROOTANDREVEL to get 15% off your first month!
- Vitamin B and D: After getting extensive blood work done with my new doctor, I discovered that I was deficient in several key vitamins: B (which can cause fatigue and constipation) and D (which can affect mood, bone density and your immune system). So now I take Thorne Research Basic B Complex and Jarrow Formulas Vitamin D3 every morning and my levels have improved.
- Fish Oil: After some experimentation, I've found that taking an omega-3 supplement like this drastically improves my digestion. I really like Omega 3 Fish Oil Triple Strength, which has no fishy aftertaste. Fish oil is also great for reducing inflammation and improving your skin, hair and nails.
- Turmeric: This antioxidant-laden superfood is amazing for reducing inflammation and improving gut function, but it's hard to get a ton of it in your diet without eating curry all day. I used to take MegaFood Turmeric Strength a few times a day–it also helped treat my acne–but now I love Truvani's Turmeric supplements, which are the first ever USDA certified organic, glyphosate residue-free turmeric supplements. They’re non-GMO, vegan, cruelty-free and regularly tested for heavy metals and other contaminants, plus–unlike most other brands–have 95% curcuminoids (the active ingredient that makes turmeric so magical!).
- Inositol: As a woman with PCOS, I suffer from insulin resistance and high blood sugar. My doc put me on Jarrow Formulas Inositol to help regulate these hormone levels and I've noticed that it's helped my periods become more regular.
- BONUS: Apple Cider Vinegar: It sounds counterintuitive, but if you have heartburn, acid reflux and/or GERD, you actually suffer from low stomach acid. So consuming acid, like apple cider vinegar, boosts the acid in your gut, which helps you properly digest your food. Rather than popping antacids after every meal, I now take a shot full of raw, unfiltered, organic ACV mixed with a little water first thing every morning. It's also great for boosting energy and controlling blood sugar.
- Magnesium: Not only does taking magnesium at night help you relax your muscles and sleep better, but it's also been proven to improve constipation AND balance hormones, particularly cortisol, insulin and thyroid (all of which I struggle with as a result of PCOS and hypothyroidism). I take 2 tablets of Metagenics Mag Glycinate every night.
- 5-HTP: Over the past two years, I've had horrible bouts of debilitating nausea that suddenly hit me when I was incredibly happy and excited (think my wedding, vacations, parties…all the fun stuff!). Talk about a buzzkill. After many tests and prescriptions and conversations with my doc, she recommended I try taking NOW Foods 5-HTP, which is a natural alternative to anti-anxiety medications. She thought my nausea might be a result of a rush of hormones like adrenaline that weren't able to be properly metabolized because of my congested liver and adrenals. There's no way to know for sure if that's right, but I can say that ever since I started taking this supplement, I haven't had any nausea and so far, it's the only thing that's worked for me! (I also recommend taking Gin Gins if you feel nauseous, as they really help alleviate symptoms in the moment).
- Digestive Enzymes: I take digestive enzymes, like NOW Foods Super Enzymes, after every meal, especially meals that contain a lot of protein, gluten or dairy. It really helps reduce gas, bloating and indigestion, plus digestive enzymes help your body absorb the nutrients from your food.
- Ayurvedic Herbs: Every day, I thank my lucky stars that I e-met Stephanie Morish. She turned me onto ayurvedic herbs as a way to treat the awful acne I got after going off The Pill. For nearly a year, my face was covered with hundreds of skin-colored bumps, particularly around my chin and cheeks, and I felt awful about myself every time I looked in the mirror. It was horrible. And then Stephanie suggested I take LifeSpa Organics Liver Repair and Manjistha, which helped her clear up the same kind of acne. Within 2 months, I'd say my acne is 90% gone (cue the hallelujah chorus!!) and I'm hoping that after another month or two on this supplement, I'll finally have clear skin again!
- BONUS: EstroDIM: After going off The Pill, I struggled with estrogen dominance with my PCOS. I couldn't believe how quickly this issue was solved–just one month on Ortho Biotic EstroDIM and my estrone levels went from a staggering 262 (normal is below 100) down to 12. All with just a natural supplement of cruciferous vegetable compounds. Crazy!
- BONUS #2: Spearmint Tea: Not only did I struggle with estrogen dominance after going off The Pill, I also had bouts of excess androgens (the male hormones, like testosterone, that cause acne, weight gain, facial hair, etc.) and elevated AMH levels. My doc recommended I drink spearmint tea a few times a day. Can you guess what happened? My AMH levels dropped from 13.89 (normal is between .76 and 11.34) to 4.73 after just 1 month of drinking the tea, and my testosterone dropped from 1.7 (normal is between 1.1 and 2.2) to 1.1.
So that's it! These supplements are the ones I've found to be most effective for my specific symptoms. But every body is different and has its own set of issues and responses. For example, Matt no longer takes any of his medications, like omeprazole, antacids and Flonase, and now relies on natural supplements, like berberine, slippery elm and glutegenics. He says this is the best he's ever felt!
I strongly recommend finding a holistic doctor who practices integrative medicine, or a naturopath, who can work with you to help you treat your conditions naturally.
What's in your medicine cabinet? Share your favorite natural supplements in the comments below!
As a reminder, please note that the information provided on Root + Revel is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Also, note that in certain cases, prescription medication is literally a lifesaver and the advances we've made in Western medicine are nothing short of incredible. But prescriptions are not the only option, and it can be worth exploring natural solutions as part of a comprehensive health plan.