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Natural Supplements to Support Overall Health

Healthy Living

Naturopathic Doctor with AdventHealth Shawnee Mission

Natural supplements can be a safe way to support your overall health by giving your body the extra boost it needs to function well and ward off illness. Not all supplements are created equal, so talk to your trusted provider on what brands or quality control measures to look for.

We can use supplements to support our bodies in multiple areas, including sleep, pain, immunity and brain function. Here’s how.


L-theanine amino acid (found in green tea leaves)

This amino acid has a very safe profile and a midrange price point. It offers a non-sedative nutrient that supports relaxation for quality sleep. Patients find it helpful for both falling asleep and staying asleep. Because it is non-sedative, it can also be used for daytime stress/anxiety relief and won’t cause the grogginess that some anti-anxiety options can cause.

You can make this a regular part of your daily supplement routine or save it for when you’re having trouble sleeping, though you may not experience the full benefits until you’ve been taking it consistently for a few weeks. I recommend taking it an hour before bedtime in order to give enough time for the relaxation mechanisms to work.

Supporting studies



Think of magnesium as the relaxing mineral. When attempting to get relief from many pain conditions, getting tense muscles to relax is critical. Taking the right type and dose of magnesium on a daily basis can help with pain management and relief.

When shopping for magnesium, it’s important to know what type to look for. You will see 10+ options in the supplement aisle. The right option for you depends on what you need help with.

For muscle relaxation and other pain conditions, look for magnesium glycinate or magnesium citrate. Stay away from magnesium oxide, as this magnesium isn’t well absorbed in the digestive tract but instead works mainly to help with constipation.

Most people do well on a daily dose of 200-500 mg, either taken all at once or throughout the day. If you are running to the bathroom (loose stools) after taking magnesium for a few days, that is a sign to decrease the overall dose or break it up into smaller doses throughout the day. Too much magnesium can cause issues, so more is not always better. Talk to a knowledgeable practitioner on what dose is best for you.

Supporting studies
Yousef AA, Al-deeb AE. “A double-blinded randomized controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component.” Anaesthesia. 2013 Mar., 68(3):260-6. doi: 10.1111/anae.12107. Epub 2012 Dec. 17.


Elderberry—Sambucus nigra

Elderberry is a safe, cost-effective herb for combatting viral infections. It can reduce the duration and severity of both the cold and the flu, providing a natural alternative to drugs and antibiotics. It can be used by adults, children and pregnant women, but like any supplement, it’s still a good idea to check with your doctor before using.

I recommend taking it in the form of a concentrated liquid, ideally one without added sugar. If you take too much, you could experience diarrhea, so stick with the recommendation from your provider on dosing.

Andrographis is another supplement you can take when you start to feel a cold or flu coming on. It can decrease the duration and severity of symptoms if taken within the first 24 hours. Pregnant women and those taking blood pressure/blood sugar medications are advised to be cautious using Andrographis, as studies during pregnancy and lactation are lacking and the supplement can lower blood pressure/blood sugar.

Supporting Studies

Brain Function

Lion’s Mane—Hericium erinaceus

Lion’s Mane is a medicinal mushroom known to support brain function. It’s currently being studied for use with cognitive impairment and some neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

In-vitro studies have shown neuroprotective activity and delay of nerve cell death, and animal studies have shown significant improvements in short-term and visual recognition memory. Human studies in adults diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment showed oral intake of Lion’s Mane was associated with marked improvement in a dementia scoring system called Hasegawa Dementia Scale, compared to controls.

The recommended dosage is 750 mg to 5 grams daily, taken in divided doses. Lion’s Mane is generally well tolerated with few reports of adverse reactions. However, it’s an expensive supplement, and quality is important for its effectiveness.

Supporting Studies

If you’re interested in learning more about natural therapies, the AdventHealth Whole Health Institute offers a holistic approach to understanding how our bodies function. We work with you to determine what lifestyle, environmental or nutritional factors might be impacting your health and help you create internal and external environments that will allow you to be your best self. Visit us online or call 913-632-3550 to learn more about our services.

Natural supplements can be a safe way to support your overall health by giving your body the extra boost it needs to function well and ward off illness. Not all supplements are created equal, so talk to your trusted provider on what brands or quality control measures to look for.