What vitamins and supplements are needed to overcome chronic fatigue?
If you have consistently low energy levels, you may be lacking vital nutrients that are needed for cellular energy production. Nutritional supplements can help replenish these nutrients faster than would be possible with diet alone. Supplements can also be used to remove toxins, enhance your metabolism, balance your nervous system, and directly or indirectly improve your energy in various ways.
But choosing supplements is challenging. You can quickly dump hundreds of dollars into supplements without getting results.
A quick online search for “supplements for fatigue” leads to dozens of vitamins, herbal remedies, stimulants, and other products that claim to increase your energy. But most of these products fail to address the deeper nutritional imbalances involved in chronic fatigue. What’s worse is that taking random supplements can easily create imbalances that make your health worse.
So how do you know which supplements are right for you?
The best way to determine your nutritional needs is to use a test called hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA). HTMA is a non-invasive lab test that can identify biochemical imbalances associated with chronic fatigue and can remove much of the guesswork involved in choosing supplements. It is based on a holistic system of balancing and strengthening your body chemistry.
However, even without testing, most people need certain basic supplements to begin rebuilding their body’s energy production system. These are described in the article below, Basic Supplements by Dr. Lawrence Wilson. The supplements described in the article make up a safe and integrated program that will supply many of the nutrients you need—in a balanced way—to heal your body and improve your energy production. At the end of the article, you can download a supplement schedule with the recommended brands and dosages.
Beginning of article: Basic Supplements by Dr. Lawrence Wilson © September 2019
To maintain or regain your health, and to function your best today, I strongly suggest following a complete nutritional balancing program based on a properly performed hair mineral analysis. However, if you are waiting for your program to arrive, or if you are not ready to embark on a full program, I recommend several basic food supplements that are described below.
Why supplements? Supplements are needed today for many reasons:
- Our food is not as nutritious as it was 100 years ago.
- The sun is not providing enough vitamin D.
- Farm animals are being fed corn, causing the omega-3 fatty acid levels to be low in everyone.
- We are surrounded by toxic metals and toxic chemicals.
- Supplements can be used to balance body chemistry.
In my view, anyone who says that food will provide all the nutrients one needs is not well informed or does not want you to be well. All one need do is compare the USDA food tables from 100 years ago to the same tables today.
Today our produce contains 1/10th to 1/1000th the nutrient content of food 100 years ago. The reason is modern agricultural methods, even if the food is organically grown.
Also, anyone who claims that a vegetarian diet provides all the nutrients one needs is not well informed, either. Here are details about these basic supplements.
Trimethylglycine or TMG
This rather amazing food supplement is not well known. However, it is very helpful. TMG functions as a methyl donor, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, energy booster and more. It is needed for the brain, immune response, and for biosynthesis or genetic health.
Trimethylglycine is found in some foods, but not in the quantity needed by most people. A supplement is sold at many health food stores, or online. It is not costly, and it is very safe at the doses I suggest.
Dosage. Women can take up to 1000 mg daily or 1 gram daily. Men can take up to 3000 mg daily or 3 grams daily. In my experience, any of the standard brands of TMG will work well. In the USA, they include Jarrow, Life Extension, Now and Spectrum Naturals.
Children over age 7 benefit from a little TMG based on their weight and size.
Kelp is a very important supplement today both as a source of non-toxic and readily absorbable iodine, and as a superb general mineral supplement. Kelp is also rather yang among vegetables, stays fresh and pure because of its salt content, and is rather inexpensive. All this makes it very desirable as a food supplement.
Extra iodine is needed today by most people because of:
1. Low iodine in the diet. Most people are not eating enough iodine-rich foods such as seafood and fish. However, please do not add a lot of this to your diet. All of it is contaminated with mercury, unfortunately. Seafood and large fish are the worst.
Also, the iodine in iodized salt is not well-absorbed today so this source is not working as well as in the past.
2. Chlorine, bromides and fluorides compete with iodine for absorption and utilization. We are saturated with these toxins in the food, water and even the air in some cities. For example, insane laws today force bread companies to use bromides in most baked products. Formerly, iodine was used, but not today.
In addition, most white flour is bleached with chlorine-containing bleaches. Most water supplies have added chlorine and fluoride, as well. Besides drinking this toxic concoction, the chemicals find their way into most prepared and packaged foods made with water.
To improve iodine metabolism:
- Avoid fluoridated and, if possible, chlorinated water to drink and all foods made with these products. Avoid restaurants for this reason as well.
- Avoid all baked goods as much as possible.
- Supplement with kelp.
Kelp is much safer than iodine-only products. It contains some mercury, as do all products from the sea. However, kelp also contains plenty of alginates that bind the toxic metals that are in the kelp.
Dosage. Most adults need about 4000 mg of kelp daily. This may seem like a lot, but that is my experience. It is best to begin with less and slowly increase the dosage. Most people need to take kelp for life, in my opinion, as there are so many iodine antagonists in the food and water today.
A Japanese form of kelp called kombu is found in health food stores, and it can be eaten in this form, as well, but it is inconvenient because it must be cooked for a few hours.
Other iodine products. I do not recommend other iodine products such as Iodoral, Lugols, or Prolamine Iodine. All of them can accumulate in the liver, and none of them supply all the minerals found in kelp. Other sea vegetables such as nori, hiziki, dulse or Irish moss are good sources of minerals. However, they do not contain enough alginates. As a result, the toxic metals in the sea vegetables will build up in the body if one uses them regularly.
Children over the age of about seven also need some kelp, usually one-fourth to one-half the adult dosage.
Problems with kelp. Do not take kelp if you have Grave’s disease or hyperthyroidism. Also, a few people with low thyroid problems and general toxicity have difficulty with kelp because it causes healing reactions. It rapidly removes iodine antagonists from the body such as fluoride, chlorides, and bromides.
If you have difficulty with it, start with a small amount and build up slowly. I disagree with doctors who say that kelp damages the thyroid gland, as that is not my experience with it, at all. In fact, it often helps rebuild and normalize the thyroid gland. Just begin slowly with it if you are not sure how well you tolerate it.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These perform a number of critical functions:
- They keep cell membranes flexible and able to transfer nutrients and waste products in and out of the cells correctly.
- They do the same thing for the skin and mucus membranes as they do for cell membranes. Many rashes and other skin problems are due to a fatty acid deficiency. These include rashes in newborns and breastfed infants due to deficiencies in the mother’s diet during pregnancy and afterwards.
- They help with nerve transmission and other vital nervous system activities. Many nervous system disorders today may respond to more omega-3 fatty acids, such as ADD, autism and delayed development in children.
- They help prevent excessive inflammation in the body. This is an important indirect cause of many illnesses today. Instead of taking statin drugs, for example, some people could substitute food supplements with many fewer side effects.
Why are most Americans deficient in omega-3 fatty acids?
- Grain diets for animals. These are much lower in omega-3 fatty acids than the natural diet of these animals – grasses, leaves and small insects.
- Insane laws in most states require dairy products to be pasteurized and homogenized. This destroys the little omega-3 fatty acids left in most dairy products today. Grass-fed and free-range dairy products are still excellent sources if they are not pasteurized and homogenized.
- Vegetarian diets often are low in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Refined food diets make things worse because most are high in vegetable oils. These come from items like French fries, other fried foods, chips and almost all baked goods. These omega-6 rich oils compete with the omega-3 oils for absorption and utilization in the body.
- Overcooking also destroys omega-3 fatty acids, in all cases. Fats such as butter, cream and flaxseed oil should ideally be eaten in the raw state. Eggs and meats should be cooked lightly to preserve the fatty acids. However, I don’t recommend raw meats or raw eggs because they often contain harmful bacteria that are killed by light cooking.
Food sources of omega-3 fatty acids are few. They include eating lamb, wild game, sardines and perhaps raw dairy products. However, these will not supply enough unless you eat 3-4 cans of sardines weekly. Tuna and salmon also contain plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. However, they are much too high in mercury to be recommended for regular consumption, no matter what any health authority claims to the contrary.
If you do not eat 3-4 cans of sardines weekly, then all adults need a supplement of about 900 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day. Fish oil is probably best. However, you may use flaxseed oil, hempseed oil or krill oil. Make sure that flaxseed and hempseed oils are either in capsules that seal out the air, or that they are very fresh and always kept in the refrigerator. Otherwise, they become rancid very quickly and are harmful.
Infants and children. No time in life is more important than childhood for omega-3 intake. Otherwise, children grow up mentally stunted. An omega-3 supplement for all pregnant women should be a prominent part of prenatal care. The fact that it is not is just another indicator of the backward nature of so-called modern medical care. Please follow these rules for all children:
- Breast-feeding mothers must take 900 mg or more of omega-3 fatty acids each day.
- Fortify all baby food and formula with fish oil, or flaxseed oil or hempseed oil. Do not trust labels that these foods are enriched sufficiently. A little more will not hurt. Most baby foods are not enriched with enough omega-3 oils. This is a crime against our children.
- Avoid vegetarian diets for children. These can be horrendous for your children, no matter what anyone claims.
- Avoid junk foods. These include most cold cereals, lots of chips, French fries, ice cream, sauces, pizza, many salad dressings, white flour products, all wheat products, baked goods and other sources of vegetable oils. Most of these are also overcooked and contain other harmful chemicals.
- Always use real butter and real eggs, and not substitutes.
Adequate vitamin D helps protect against rickets, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, infections, cancer, and other diseases, as well. Recent research indicates that most people need far greater amounts of vitamin D than they obtain from food or from sun exposure. The exact reasons for the great need for vitamin D today are not well understood. However, there is no question that much more is needed than is provided by our food or even by sunbathing.
The best supplemental form is vitamin D3, usually made from cod or other fish liver oil. However, just taking some cod liver oil or butter oil does not provide enough vitamin D. Almost all adults need 5000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. Pregnant women must take this much or more. Children over the age of about 12 also need some extra vitamin D, in most cases.
Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc And Selenium
Most everyone needs more of these vital minerals than they can obtain from food. Few good sources of these minerals exist in foods today. Calcium is found in raw dairy products, carrot juice, sardines, bone broth, and a little is found elsewhere. However, most people do not obtain nearly enough from food alone.
Magnesium is only found in whole grains, and a little in other foods. Very few people get enough from their food. Zinc is found mainly in meats, but one must eat a substantial amount to obtain enough. The correct form of selenium is found in blue corn, organic yellow corn, sardines, kelp and a few other foods, but most people need a supplement.
I suggest that every adult take a supplement of about 750 mg of chelated calcium daily, about 450 mg of chelated magnesium daily, about 30 mg of chelated zinc daily and about 200 mcg of selenomethionine or yeast-based selenium daily. This is not costly and they are readily available.
Children over the age of about 5 may need a supplement as well, based mainly upon their weight.
A Powerful Digestive Enzyme
In my experience, digestion is weak in most people, even the young and supposedly healthy. For this reason, I suggest a diet of 2-3 cups of cooked vegetables with each meal, some animal protein daily, some whole grains if tolerated, and some raw dairy products if well-tolerated. In addition to simple meals of only two or three foods, at most, every adult needs to take a digestive enzyme supplement to absorb the most nutrients from our depleted food supply.
The best digestive aids contain ox bile and pancreatin. Others that can be used contain vegetable-based enzymes or betaine hydrochloride and pepsin, although they are not quite as good. Others, such as papain or bromelain, are less powerful and not as recommended. Take at least one tablet per meal, and more if you wish. Children have less of a need for a digestive enzyme supplement, although it will benefit many children, as well.
What About Anti-Oxidants?
I did not include a lot of anti-oxidants, bioflavonoids and other supplements that some doctors highly recommend for several reasons:
- Supplements such as zinc, selenium, TMG and kelp have anti-oxidant properties.
- If one ingests enough good food, uses natural herbs and spices such as mustard, turmeric, ginger and others, and takes the minerals suggested above, this will be sufficient for many people.
- Too much of other anti-oxidants tend to be very yin in Chinese medical terms. This is an important concern with anti-oxidants, in particular, which can unbalance the body.
What About a Multi Vitamin-Mineral Supplement?
Another step in healing and maintaining the body for many people is to add a multiple vitamin/mineral supplement. It must be in addition to the supplements described above, not in place of it. It should contain a wide variety of nutrients including vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. It should also contain essential trace minerals such as chromium, selenium, zinc, manganese and others.
The basic supplements above will not always supply all of one’s needs. However, they are a wonderful start toward obtaining the many vital nutrients needed by our bodies today. These nutrients are not easily available from food, even if one eats only organically grown locally produced food. Combining this with an excellent diet and a very healthful lifestyle can enhance anyone’s health and joy in life.
End of Basic Supplements by Dr. Lawrence Wilson © September, 2019
Getting Started with the Basic Supplement Program
Even when you know what supplements you want to take, you still have to consider the various brands that offer the supplement. Each brand varies in potency, quality, ingredients, price, and so on. Sorting through these variables can be confusing and time-consuming.
If you are interested in starting the basic supplement program, you can download a printable supplement schedule below. The chart includes:
- preferred brand
- product name
- how to follow the program
- how to order supplements
Most of the supplements I use come from Endomet Labs in Phoenix, Arizona. Their products work well and I’ve been using them for many years. Endomet specializes in producing nutritional formulas for different patterns and imbalances found on a hair mineral analysis, but they also have most of the supplements for the basic supplement program.