Sunday, June 26, 2016

Supporting a Healthy Pregnancy (PT-4 What supplements am I using?)

During conception into pregnancy our female bodies are miracles upon miracles being used by the Lord as vessels to create life and then grow it. Wow! It's just awesome! It is a beautiful natural, healthy process. It is our role as Mommas to provide a healthy inner environment for our growing darlings inside of us. This includes eating the best foods, reducing stress, staying active, resting frequently, as well as supplementing our nutrition when needed with the highest quality natural supplements.

Yes, I do believe in some supplementation for the body during pregnancy and otherwise. Our food system has been so traumatized and stripped that even in organic foods, we lack nutrition as in earlier days. We are also inundated by all types of pollution that affect our bodies physical, mental, and emotional wellness. I feel really blessed to have access to and knowledge about high quality supplements from self-study over 7 years, working in a natural food and supplement store, working as a demo rep for natural supplements, as well as attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where not only food and dietary theories are studied, but natural lifestyle maintenance as well. *Always be sure to check with your healthcare professional before adding any supplementation.

Our babies receive their nutrition from us, so often if we as Mommas are not careful, that can leave us empty handed in the nutrition department. Natural supplements can assist in this area. Truth be told not too much of my regular supplementation routine has changed. Keep in mind supplements can never replace healthy habits and whole foods, but it is where we lack, that they can support. So you cannot expect to run through the drive thru all of the time and your pre-natal vitamin to make up for the loss of nutrition. Sometimes even with our best efforts to eat healthy supplementation is still necessary, so your job Momma is not to feel badly, but to find the best options. In this article I will simply share what I've been doing throughout my pregnancy. Keep in mind everyone's body is different and needs will vary. My choices for supplementation have been approved through my midwife and staff at the birthing center. Make sure you are to do the same with your pre-natal care provider.

I opted to not do a pre-natal vitamin. I'm really not a proponent for a multi-vitamin and this is what a pre-natal vitamin is, so let's talk. When I look at the way the Lord designed our foods, He didn't put every nutrient into every food. We have multiple foods to choose from for a reason. We are to eat a varied diet, lots of vegetables with every color of the rainbow, healthy fats, some high quality animal products, some fruits, and some nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes if you can tolerate them and they are prepared well. We must listen to our bodies needs at the time. All that to say, I'm not so sure a multi-vitamin or pre-natal is the best way to utilize funds. Also when packing every vitamin and mineral known to man into a tiny pill, I wonder how it is we are really getting enough, especially in something that says one a day. I find it to be more promising to supplement individually with what we need. While I realize this can sometimes be more expensive and a nuisance to swallow so many pills, I see more benefit to our bodies, and after all isn't that what we want? We also need to be aware of what minerals and vitamins are absorbed better or poorly together as well as what foods are best to eat while taking certain supplements.

Supplements I Have Been Taking and Why

This is one of my favorite parts of my day....taking my Young Living Ningxia Red. I love the delicious healthy supportive  citrus essential oils included. In the beginning of my pregnancy I only took two ounces. Now in my third trimester I've boosted it to 4 ounces. It really improves my natural vitality, supports my mind, and my digestive system, I really feel a difference.

The core secret are the wolfberries (goji berries) grown in the Northern Province of China. Ningxia Red contains a wolfeberry puree, so it's the whole berry and not just the juice. For centuries wolfberries have been a source of natural longevity. Superfood and raw food speaker and expert, David Wolfe, says, "The goji berry is an adaptogen, a term used in the world of medicinal plants to describe a substance with a combination of therapeutic actions on the human body." Basically, most adapotgenic herbs are able to give the body what it needs on the scale that it needs it. Goji berries or wolfberries, support the immune system, healthy hormone function, vision, neurological health, and cardiovascular health. They are packed with antioxidants so when we eat them we are supporting our body's function to ward off cancer inside our cells.

Toward the end of my second trimester I had a blood test at the birthing center. My iron was a little low, which is normal in pregnancy since baby gets the best of our nutrition, and we as the mommas get the left overs (ironic isn't it, that does not seem to change even after baby comes out). After a discussion with my midwife I opted for a liquid plant based iron. I really liked the herbs included in the Gaia Herbs Plant Force Liquid Iron. It is important for iron levels to be stable for baby to keep growing well and to ensure a healthy delivery. Plant food based iron supplements are always better because they tend to absorb more and not overwhelm the system. They also do not constipate like most synthetic iron pills.

For an extra iron boost I also added some more superfoods. Algaes  are wonderful vegetarian sources of iron. I liked this combo by Sunfood Superfoods Super Algae Tablets: Spirulina and Chlorella. I've taken both algaes throughout the years to support my health and wellness.  Dr. Joshua Axe, chiropractor and holistic wellness speaker and personality,  says that spirulina detoxes heavy metals, can help eliminate candida over growth, boost energy, and more.

Chlorella is very rich in iron, and while I'm not taking it to try to detox, it is a natural cleanser of toxins for the body. I am only taken as many as suggested to start on the package and no more. You can add on as your body needs and adjusts, but since I'm going for nutrition and not detoxing, I'm doing the minimum amount. It is a also a support to healthy blood sugar which is wonderful during pregnancy. Blood sugar balance is a topic I've never had any issues with mostly due to my daily in take of vegetables, fermented foods, being mostly grain free and all gluten free,  lots of healthy fats, and consuming mostly low sugar fruits. Despite my past, I was happy to know in this pregnancy there were no issues. Chlorella is also a rich source for protein, and that again is a pregnancy plus.

For daily immune support I've utilized Young Living Thieves Essential Oil blend on my feet and Young Living Thieves Vitality under my tongue. The Young Living Thieves blend is unlike any other type of Thieves blend because it does have  a GRAS rating for ingestion and dietary support. Also unlike most blends with the Thieves name, Young Living does not use Eucalyptus Globulus in their Thieves blend, the strongest of the Eucalyptus family, instead it uses a much milder Eucalyptus Radiata. It is also one of the last ingredients in the blend, as is Rosemary at the end. The first three ingredients are Clove, Lemon, and Cinnamon Bark.

During my first trimester I had a UTI (urinary tract infection). I then added Sovereign Silver for extra support under my tongue 1-2 times a day. Once my midwife tested my urine to tell me I was clear of the infection, I stopped using the silver. I always like to keep this supplement on hand, but only use it as needed for extra support.

For health maintenance and support during the UTI one more supplement I also used was a unique supplement called D'Mannose. I just followed the directions. It is completely safe throughout pregnancy, so after the UTI  was clear I opted to take the powder (much better than capsules) 1-2 times a week for the next few weeks. It's a special kind of sugar that acts like a magnet to the non-beneficial bacteria.

 I take a probiotic daily. I really like Young Living's Life 9 and Dr. Axe's SBO Formula.

It is imperative to keep a happy and healthy flowing eco-system in our gut and throughout our bodies with plenty of thriving beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are so helpful to restore what we lose. I make sure to also eat and drink plenty of fermented and cultured foods and beverages as well as raw fruits and vegetables to provide pre-biotic food to the bacterial strains in my body.

For extra digestive support I also make sure to utilize high quality digestive enzymes. I use and like the brands Enzymedica and Young Living Essentialzymes.

Many people get enzymes and probiotics confused or think they are the same, which is not so. Probiotics as described above are natural strains of bacteria just like the ones in our bodies. These beneficial strains get damaged or depleted through poor daily diet, stress, chlorine, flouride, over showering, aluminum, over the counter drugs, or prescription drugs. We need over one trillion strains of beneficial bacteria to have thriving health and wellness. They are key to good immunity.

Enzymes are important catalysts in the body. In fact every body system has enzymes except the digestive system. The reason for that is we were originally designed by our Creator to eat and thrive in the garden with raw food. Raw foods, being fruits and vegetables in the place of the garden, are the only foods with enzymes. Once we cook any food plant or animal higher than 118 degrees Fahrenheit, the enzymes die, therefore making the food much harder to digest. The digestive system needs those enzymes to work properly. We were so masterfully designed by Yeshua that our bodies are so smart and know how to compensate when something is out of order. So I like to describe it this way: Think of a full bank account that you keep borrowing from and do not replenish. What will happen to the account? The answer is the account will go bankrupt. The same goes for our bodies' enzyme stores. So when we eat cooked food that is enzyme deficient our bodies recognize it. Then what happens is the digestive system borrows some enzyme stores from another body system. After a while our enzyme stores become depleted and that leaves our body systems unable to work properly and can perpetuate illness. Taking digestive enzyme supplements with our cooked food allows for proper operation of the body. You can then also utilize those same enzymes in a therapeutic fashion about 2 hours away from our food on an empty stomach to replace what has been lost.

I am a big proponent for D3 supplementation. It is the famous vitamin that acts like a hormone in which most of us are deficient and so desperately need for over all body function. I really like this Garden of Life MYKind Organics D3 supplement. It is a vegan spray that tastes good, so the kids can take it too, and its  USDA organic without anything I do not recognize. The vegan source of D3 is lichen.  I spray it under my tongue.

The best source of D3 is of course the sun. I try to get some sun time without sunscreen whenever possible. Osteopathic doctor, health blogger, and speaker, Dr. Mercola says, over showering with soap can actually wash the D3 fatty cholesterol oil that forms on top of our skin when we are in the sun. He says it takes up to 48 hours for the D3 to absorb into our skin.

All the way until my last month here in pregnancy I took cod liver and butter liver oil. This is also a regular supplement for me. Cod liver oil is a wonderful source of support to brain, dental, and heart health. Truth, I prefer taking liquid because the amount you need to take in capsules is very high. Here is a bottle of the capsules though, same brand, Green Pasture Blue Ice, my younger son prefers the capsules. Here is another high quality brand of the liquid. During pregnancy the Weston A Price Foundation recommends a dose of high-vitamin cod liver oil per day to yield 20,000 IU of vitamin A, 2,000 IU of vitamin D, and 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids (about 1 3/4 teaspoon per day). Take the amount you agree upon with your health practitioner. Note: I stopped taking it in this last month because cod liver oil can be known to thin out the blood and during childbirth there is already enough bleeding. I will resume right after the baby is born.

Magnesium is a crucial mineral for the body. Magnesium can only be found in plant foods. It is also one many people are deficient. Deficiency is usually due to a combination of not enough whole plant foods as well as digestive system issues preventing mineral absorption. I do eat a magnesium rich daily diet. During pregnancy though, again, baby tends to take quite a bit of the good stuff, so often we need to supplement. According to Dr. Mercola, magnesium is responsible for the creation of ATP (adensoine triphospate) the much needed energy enzyme, relaxation of blood vessels, muscle and nerve function, proper formation of bones and teeth, as well as the regulation of blood sugar and insulin. I regularly apply a topical magnesium chloride spray that I use before bed. Magnesium is absorbed well transdermally (through the skin).  I have also made a topical magnesium balm. The best way to know if you are deficient is through blood work. During my second trimester I experienced horrible restless leg syndrome, typical in pregnancy, which is a good indicator of magnesium deficiency. Constipation is another indicator that your body is low in this important mineral. My midwife suggested a magnesium supplement, so I added Natural Vitality Calm Magnesium Powder. The best time to take magnesium supplements is at night, since they relax the muscles.

Here are the last two supplements. I've not started using either one yet because it is not yet time.

The concluding supplements are evening primrose oil and homeopathic arnica montana. I'll be using these for the labor process. Evening primrose oil can in some women assist the cervix in softening as it acts like a prostaglandin, one of the hormones responsible for cervical dilation. I've personally decided to start using the capsules on Tuesday when I'll be 38 1/2 weeks along. According to the instruction of my midwife, one can start as early as 37 weeks. She advised taking two capsules, one orally and inserting one vaginally. I purchased mine at my local Whole Foods Market.

During the actual labor I will be using arnica montana homepathic pellets to help reduce pain and bruising during labor and after birth. Once baby is born I will do a write up on what I'm using and what baby is using.

Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Brock, HHC

Health Disclaimer: No medical diagnoses, claims or promises of cures have been made. The information offered is simply for educational purposes. Any addition to diet or supplement routines should be discussed with your regular health professional.

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