Peta Teuma is a living testament to the power of natural remedies.
After discovering the benefits of alternative medicine when suffering from endometriosis 25 years ago, Peta kissed the banking world goodbye and became a naturopath.
“I’d suffered from the pain of endometriosis for years, and I only found relief when I started seeing a really great naturopath,” says Peta.
“I was hooked on natural therapies from that point on and wanted to learn more and help others. So, I went to Western Sydney University and enrolled in a Bachelor of Health Science, Naturopathy.”
Peta and her husband had also decided to start a family, so it seemed the perfect time to switch gears.
The mother-of-two has now been practising naturopathy for well over a decade and joined the premium New Zealand and supplements brand GO Healthy their in-house naturopath and product manager when they entered the Australian market earlier this year.
Natural and complementary medicines aren’t a “one type fits all”, Peta explains, and it’s always valuable to seek expert guidance on what your individual supplement needs may be. “This depends on a person’s diet. We always recommend trying to obtain all vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids from the diet first but if the diet is lacking or there is an increased need, vitamins may be necessary,” she adds.
Caveats aside, what are the top five supplements we most often need?
“When I conduct training sessions I always ask the group who consumes the recommended three serves of fatty fish per week, and out of a group of 60 recently only two did. Fish provides essential fatty acids (EFA’s) necessary for our heart, brain, nervous system, eyes and for reducing inflammation. They are called “essential” as our bodies cannot manufacture it so we have no choice but to seek it from our food or supplements. With so few people consuming the recommended amount of fatty fish, a supplement can be of benefit. GO Healthy’s GO Fish Oil 2000 Compact Odourless is a convenient high strength supplement to help those not getting EFA’s in their diet.”
It is surprising, considering that we live in a sun-drenched country, that approximately 30 per cent of Australians are now presenting with Vitamin D deficiency. That’s why it’s number two on Peta’s list.
“Vitamin D is necessary for bone density, blood calcium levels, immune support and a healthy mood. We are aware of the dangers excess exposure to sun has on increasing the risk of developing skin cancer so are applying sunscreen or avoid exposure. But by applying sunscreen we limit the absorption of Vitamin D by 90 per cent! We would not advocate anyone stop protecting themselves from the sun but would suggest if you are not getting a minimum of 10-15 minutes of sunlight on uncovered skin daily you may benefit by taking a Vitamin D 1000 IU supplement every day. Many people who work indoors go straight from the car in the garage at home to the garage at their work place and stay indoors without ever being in day light.”
CO Q10 is a potent antioxidant and helps produce energy at a cellular level, making it a strong contender for the third spot on Peta’s list.
“As we age we produce less of it. I would recommend this supplement to anyone over the age of 40 feeling fatigued, who has a family history of heart disease and anyone on cholesterol lowering medication such as statins. It can help increase energy levels and support cardiac output. For those on statin medication it may help alleviate some of the common side effects, such as fatigue and muscle pain. Our body uses cholesterol to manufacture CO Q10, cholesterol lowering medications therefore impact on the amount of CO Q10 produced leading to common side effects such as fatigue and muscle weakness in the legs.”
Ask any naturopath about Magnesium and you’ll often hear about their love for this fabulous mineral. “Magnesium is involved in over 300 processes in the body including muscle contraction, the nervous system, energy production, blood glucose regulation, and the regulation of heart muscle contraction. When we are stressed we use up higher levels of magnesium and in today’s world many people operate in a stressed state constantly,” Peta says.
Magnesium is found in green leafy vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, legumes and dark chocolate. If you don’t have enough of these in their daily diet it can result in magnesium deficiency. “Signs of Magnesium deficiency may be muscle cramps and spasms, eye twitches, poor sleep, chocolate cravings and high stress. I would recommend a high strength magnesium supplement that is provided in a well absorbed amino acid chelate form,” Peta says.
“The final product I would recommend is a good quality probiotic. The research is conclusive that probiotics offer support against the side effects of antibiotics and help to maintain immunity, digestive health and may help support a healthy weight. This might be particularly beneficial in the lead up and aftermath of Christmas indulgence!”
The widespread use of antibiotics, changes in the diet and the cleanliness epidemic result in us having less exposure to beneficial bacteria that offer so many health benefits. There are numerous different strains, but Peta says some a better researched than others. “I often recommend using the highly researched Dupont’s Howaru probiotic strains. It can be taken once a day and doesn’t need to be refrigerated which makes it a little easier for those who travel a lot,” she says.
There are many supplements brands now on the market which is fantastic for consumer choice, but quality and potency are important considerations when making your purchase, says Peta. “I would definitely suggest consumers check where the ingredients are sourced and manufactured, and that the product doesn’t contain unnecessary fillers and is a high-enough potency that just one or two capsules a day will suffice,” she suggests.
“And of course, it’s important to eat the best diet you can and get out enjoy the fresh air – these supplements, as their name suggests, are part of your support team, your lifestyle still has to do the heavy lifting.”
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