7 Effective Natural Plant-Based Supplements For Better Clarity, Focus, and Overall Health and Wellbeing

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If you’re like many Americans, you’re incredibly busy with a lot on your plate each and every day – sometimes, too much. This means it’s only natural to prioritize certain things over others, and, unfortunately, sometimes this might include getting enough balanced, nutrient-dense fresh, whole foods. The solution? Quality plant-based supplements that give your body all the vitamins and minerals it needs, without the time and effort it takes to prep and cook.  [This article, “7 Effective Natural Plant-Based Supplements For Better Clarity, Focus, and Overall Health and Wellbeing” was originally published in NewsHealthWatch]

Now, it’s important to know that not all vitamins and minerals are equal, and your body can absolutely tell the difference between synthetic and plant-based supplements. There’s good reason you likely won’t notice much change in your energy or appearance after taking some cheaper, synthetic supplements – many of them contain fillers, chemicals, or other artificial substances, and the good stuff that’s left may not sufficiently absorb into your body.

This is where plant-based supplements can be a game-changer. And no, they’re not just for those on vegetarian or vegan diets. It just so happens that many plant-based supplements contain natural, organic, whole-food sources your body needs daily. So, take the time to read labels, just as you would with the food you buy. And, in the meantime, read on to learn more about plant-based supplements and how they can truly benefit you.

What are plant-based supplements?

Plant-based supplements are dietary alternatives made from non-animal products like fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, bark, spices, leaves, flowers, and other ingredients. These types of supplements are often initially created from a plant or ingredient that naturally contains a high amount of the nutrient being sought. Then, different methods are used to extract that nutrient and create a supplement offering the complete Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of many vitamins and minerals.

You’ll find plant-based supplements come in different forms – just like their synthetic supplement counterparts. These include powders, swallowable capsules, chewable tablets, gummies, liquids, and more. Each supplement will have its own specific instructions for method, frequency, and quantity of consumption, so be sure to follow the instructions explicitly on any supplement you choose to take.

Plant-based supplement ingredients

There are way too many possible ingredients to include in plant-based supplements, but we’ve provided a few of the most common ones along with some background information, below.

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Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

Vitamin B12 is needed for our normal nervous system function, DNA synthesis, and homocysteine metabolism. When we don’t have enough vitamin B12, blood cells change and hematological and neurological symptoms can occur, like neuropathy and anemia. Since B12 is most often found in animal products, those on a plant-based diet need to find it in B12-rich foods like nutritional yeast, non-dairy milk, or vegan supplements.

Typical dosage for adults (over 14): 2.4 mcg

Possible side effects: High doses over 1,000 mcg have been linked to complications in those with kidney disease. As well, very high blood levels of B12 in pregnant women were later connected with high autism risk in their kids.

Lion’s mane (Hieracium Erinaceus mushroom)

The lion’s mane mushroom grows wild throughout much of the world in a group of small, white tubes resembling a hedgehog. Their origin is traced back to ancient China where they were brewed into a tea made to maintain mental clarity or sharpness. This mental power comes from the β-glucan polysaccharides, water-soluble compounds.

According to studies, these polysaccharides have anti-cancer, antioxidant, immuno-modulating, hypolipidemic, anti-hypertensive, anti-microbial, anti-diabetic, neuro-protective, and wound-healing properties. They support the brain and improve memory by keeping damaging compounds out while maintaining or boosting neural connectivity, and they’ve helped to improve motor control in areas of the body that suffered nerve damage.

Typical dosage for adults: Undetermined (follow product label), but potentially safe in a dose of 1 gram per day for 16 weeks.

Possible side effects: Any side effects are mild and can include stomach discomfort.

Omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3 oils, ω−3 fatty acids, or n−3 fatty acids)

The omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) benefit the heart and the brain, by improving cardiovascular health and reducing inflammatory and chronic disease. You’ll find plenty of omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon, walnuts, flax, chia and hemp seeds, seaweed, and flax, walnut, and hemp oils. Omega-3 supplements, like algae oil, are great for anyone looking to avoid these foods or with high inflammation levels.

Typical dosage for adults: Most health organizations agree that at least 250–500 mg daily of EPA and DHA combined is healthy for most adults.

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Possible side effects: You might experience nausea, an upset stomach, loose stools, and/or a fishy taste in your mouth or smell on your breath.

Ginkgo Biloba tree leaves (maidenhair)

For thousands of years, Ginkgo biloba tree leaves have been used in Chinese medicine mainly for cognitive support in ADHD, autism, anxiety, addiction, dementia, and schizophrenia, along with support for asthma, circulatory disorders, vertigo, and tinnitus. Ginkgo acts as an antioxidant, and its benefits to the brain come from the trigger of multiple compounds increasing the blood flow, along with the monoamine oxidase inhibitor kaempferol.

Typical dosage for adults: There isn’t a standardized dosage for ginkgo, but many health experts deem 120–240 mg in several doses throughout the day to be safe.

Possible side effects: You could experience dizziness, headaches, nausea, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, or a rash or allergic reaction. As well, Ginkgo might interact negatively with some medications including by causing bleeding, so be sure to consult with your health practitioner before taking this supplement.

Iron (Fe)

Iron produces energy, facilitates oxygen movement, and contributes to our development and growth. In fact, those with iron deficiencies can suffer from fatigue, weakness, or anemia. it’s important to note you won’t get as much iron from plant-based diets as you would from meat products – in fact, vegans need about 1.8 times the amount of iron that non-vegans do. females need more iron than males, as well, since they lose more iron during menstruation.

Typical dosage for adults: Adult females need about 18 mg of iron per day, while the amount for adult males is 8 mg daily. Iron dosage varies by person, so you should talk to your doctor about the right amount for you. Some people need a supplement daily while others get better absorption every other day.

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Possible side effects: You might experience side effects from iron supplements such as vomiting, nausea, constipation, dark stools, or diarrhea.

Sage (salvia officinalis)

Sage dates back to the Mediterranean Sea area during pre-Roman times. Used as a diuretic, local anesthetic, and way to stop bleeding, it was widely known as the “holy herb” when Romans appeared on the scene. The herb’s rich flavor from various compounds is what caused the shift from medicinal to cooking ingredient. Over the years, sage has been found to help with memory, attention, reasoning, evaluation and judgment, decision making, and problem-solving. The compounds in sage produce anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, neurotrophic, cholinergic, antioxidant, and anxiolytic, effects on the brain and reduce damage from amyloid-β peptide clusters of Alzheimer’s.

Typical dosage for adults: In supplements or medicine, sage is usually taken in 280-1500 mg doses.

Possible side effects: Sage is potentially unsafe if taken in high doses or for a long time. This is because some sage species, including common sage, have a chemical called thujone which, in large quantities, can damage the nervous system and liver and cause seizures.

Protein (polypeptides)

No matter who you are or what type of lifestyle you lead, you need a certain amount of protein – which is the main structural aspect of the body’s cells. Protein comprises amino acids, which are small, organic compounds used for many of the body’s functions like muscle repair and growth. You’ll find protein in many plant-based foods like beans, tofu, and tempeh, but protein supplements are a quick, simple way to get the protein level your body needs, especially if you’re quite active.

Typical dosage for adults: For the average adult who’s at a healthy weight and doesn’t exercise or lift weights too much, about 0.36–0.6 grams per pound is about right.
Possible side effects: Intaking a reasonably high amount of protein hasn’t shown to have adverse effects on healthy adults trying to maintain or improve their health.

Natural Plant-Based Supplements, health, focus, supplements

Why take plant-based supplements?

You’ll find many benefits from taking plant-based supplements that are minimally processed, particularly instead of synthetic minerals and vitamins. Here are just a few.

Good bioavailability

The ease with which your body absorbs certain nutrients is called bioavailability, and it’s been found that healthy, whole plant foods provide a great base for this – supplements included. Our bodies are well-equipped to handle plant-based supplements because they’ve evolved to easily identify and use nutrients from plant sources found in nature over many centuries, and the body naturally distinguishes between synthetic and natural ingredients. This study, for example, found that natural supplements sustained longer than synthetic ones and decreased levels of oxidative stress.

Reduced risk of toxicity

Sometimes, there can be too much of a good thing, including minerals. The great thing about plant-based supplements is they often have a lower mineral toxicity risk than animal-sourced or synthetic equivalents. For example, this is the case with plant-based iron supplements.

Source of nutrients that may be lacking

Many vegetarians and vegans suffer from vitamin deficiencies because they don’t get the many minerals and vitamins found in eggs, meat, and dairy. So, it’s a good idea to take plant-based supplements. Here’s how this works: Plants have a full range of vitamins, phytonutrients, minerals, and aromatic oils, which often work together to be effective. By not isolating compounds, you’ll benefit from the properties and nutrients of many plant-based compounds at once, which you often won’t find in synthetic supplements. These include plant pigments like flavonoids and chlorophyll, aromatic compounds like sulforaphane, enzymes like protease, and many others.

Totally natural

A huge benefit of plant-based supplements is there’s no mystery to what’s inside them as they typically don’t contain toxic chemicals, synthetic fillers, or artificial sweeteners, unlike what their synthetic counterparts are often made with. Often, you’ll recognize the natural scent of a plant-based supplement’s center.

Natural Plant-Based Supplements, health, focus, supplements

Top 7 plant-based supplements to help boost your brain cells and improve your wellbeing

1. For cognitive health: The Brain Pill

Medicine Man Plant Co.’s The Brain Pill is designed to keep your brain sharp. It includes botanical benefits found from the study of ancient neuro-booster plants and mushrooms and cognitive enhancers, including:

  • lion’s mane mushroom extract (750mg), for memory support, cognition, and neuron health,
  • ginkgo (750mg), which promotes blood flow to the brain and is chock-full of antioxidants, and
  • sage (300mg), which helps with mental alertness, focus, and calm.

This supplement is designed by patent owner Dr. Mark Merriwether Vorderbruggen, Ph.D. chemist, author, and renowned medicinal plant forager. It’s completely harvested and sourced responsibly, non-GMO, and tested for heavy metals and pesticides by a third party. As well, Medicine Man Plant Co. sets out to find the world’s ancient plant wisdom that has kept humans going for hundreds and hundreds of years. With no Tribal affiliation or limit to the plants or world regions they work with, you know that unbiased expertise and experience goes into every supplement.

Now, there’s a good chance this type of supplement is new for you, and you might be unsure about it – which is completely understandable. So, what’s nice is that Medicine Man stands behind their products and is completely confident in The Brain Pill, meaning if you’re not satisfied for any reason, all you need to do is reach out to them and they’ll work with you to resolve any concerns.

2. For protein: Vega Sport Premium

With a whopping 30g of protein from various plant sources, 5g of branched-chain amino acids, and plenty of probiotics, this nutritious protein powder from Vega will help you rebuild muscle and recover fully after those intense workouts. It contains zero added sugar and just 6g of carbs, and with a tasty, natural, and creamy, tart cherry flavor, you’ll almost forget you’re taking a supplement instead of a milkshake!

3. For overall nutrients: One Daily

MegaFood’s One Daily is a multivitamin and mineral supplement designed to deliver the nutrition needed to support your overall health and well-being. The multivitamin comes in a convenient single pill you take daily that contains actual food (e.g. carrots) along with the minerals and vitamins your body needs (e.g. vitamins D3, B, C, E, and others). Bonus: you can take this one on an empty stomach.

4. For anxiety relief: Full Spectrum CBD Oil

If you regularly experience stress, mood swings, or even inflammation, you might not have thought about plant-based supplements as a solution. But you may want to since the Full Spectrum CBD Oil from Nuvita truly helps to balance out your body with ingredients like Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), and Cannabichromene (CBC) along with naturally-occurring terpenes. The non-GMO, CO2 extracted oil contains organically-grown hemp and less than 0.3% THC, and organic coconut oil.

5. For heart, joint, and overall wellbeing: omega-3 potency+

Don’t be one of the majority of Americans who don’t get enough omega-3 in their day-to-day life. Your brain, heart, joint, immune, and overall health is simply too important. What can help is two of Mind Body Green’s sustainably-sourced omega-3 potency+ gelcaps, with their 1,500 mg of the marine omega-3s EPA and DHA. This supplement is third-party certified for authenticity of the fish oil species and origin (and don’t worry – the aftertaste is removed with a bit of organic lemon oil!)

6. For gut health: Prebiotic

The Prebiotic probiotic supplement from Performance Lab is a 2-in-1 probiotic and soluble fiber supplement that helps with metabolic and microbiome performance. It increases the bifidobacterium probiotics in your gut to encourage regularity, digestive health, and overall comfort. As well, the supplement aids with gauging your nutrition and helps with losing fat and boosting immunity.

7. For energy: B12

We all need water-soluble Vitamin B-12 to produce energy from proteins and fats as well as maintain a healthy nervous system. These chewable lozenges from NOW are ideal as a B-12 alternative for those on plant-based diets because when the vitamin is stored in the liver, the only dietary sources available are meat and dairy products. You can rest assured you’re getting a high-quality supplement, too, since NOW has NPA A-rated GMP certification, meaning that all elements of their manufacturing process have been checked, including potency, stability, and product formulation.

So, while there are many highly beneficial ingredients in plant-based supplements, it’s important to understand where you’re at on your health and wellness journey and what your body might be lacking. The ingredients we’ve covered here – Vitamin B12, lion’s mane, omega-3 fatty acids, Ginkgo Biloba tree leaves, iron, sage, and protein – only scratch the surface of what’s out there.

No matter what you determine your body needs, know that a quality, reputable brand like Medicine Man Plant Co. that stands behind its products and cares about its customers offers a wide range of products to support your health and wellbeing. They know where each and every ingredient comes from and why it’s used in their supplements – something not every company can say.

Wherever your health goals take you, understanding the fundamentals of good plant-based supplements and what your body needs in terms of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients is an important foundation you can always come back to and build on.

Further reading:

NIH: Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom

NIH: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Ginkgo biloba in Neuropsychiatric Disorders

NIH: Salvia (Sage): A Review of its Potential Cognitive-Enhancing and Protective Effects

Healthline: Supplements for Vegans

Disclaimer

Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.

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