Quarantine survival…can supplements help?

Maintaining our health and beauty under normal circumstances is a big enough job in and of itself.  Once Covid19 was thrown into the mix, self-care became a sticky situation and the idea of taking care of our minds, bodies, and souls took on an unruly life of its own.
Making the most of our time at home has in many ways made a mess of our wellbeing, not the mention of the way we look.  From stressing about everything to eating just about everything; from the inevitable FOMO over what we would be doing if not for the quarantine and the fear of what the future will look like when it’s over, there is no shortage of examples of the chaos unleashed on the mind.  Add to that the inability to access and benefit from our regularly scheduled health, beauty, and fitness practices, and what’s left is a society of individuals not maintaining a damn thing!  Putting one foot in front of the other feels like leaps and bounds. The whole situation is incredibly scary but as the Beatles so eloquently put it, we can all get by with a little help from our friends…and by friends, I mean dietary supplements (and by we can all get by, I meant might, I’ll explain).
Dietary supplements are exactly what their name suggests they are. They’re oral remedies that contain ingredients meant to enhance, complete or offer assistance to your regular intake.  Supplements are not food and should not be considered food or nourishment – their intention is to supplement, not replace what you eat.  DISCLAIMER: supplements are not magical miracle workers, they are not one size fits all and they definitely should not be taken lightly or without a conversation with a credentialed healthcare professional.  Why? Because there is an abundance of supplement options on the market and even the most “all natural”, “herbal”, “homeopathic”, “plant based” offerings can have seriously unfriendly if not outright harmful side effects. Since the purpose of taking supplements should be to improve some function of the body, it’s important to make sure that what you’re taking is right for you so that you don’t end up causing damage.
Personally, I’m a big fan of and daily beneficiary of dietary supplements. I used the word “beneficiary” because I have physically benefited (digestion-wise, energy-wise and weight maintenance-wise) from the ones I take, all of which were prescribed for me by my clinical nutritionist, the brilliant Alyssa Cellini who I confidently trust with my LIFE – because after all, trusting someone with your health IS trusting them with your life.  Please let that sink in btw and once it does, remember to take the time to properly vet anyone you take health advice from and BEWARE not to confuse inspiration with instruction. Meaning: what your favorite healthy girl/guy on the gram is taking (or might recommend you take with a coinciding engaging photograph, witty post, and branded hashtags) should not be your deciding factor when taking supplements. Their suggestions should become your questions. The choice to begin taking a supplement should be made with informed direction, preferably from a licensed, formally educated healthcare professional who knows your health history…but I digress. As far as my supplement intake, I definitely feel my best when taking my prescribed regimen on schedule and I can honestly say that I notice a difference, and not for the better when I don’t.
Nutrition isn’t the only area of well being that can be aided from dietary supplements.  In fact, many of the wellness challenges we’re facing as a result of being in isolation could very well be prime candidates for supplemental assistance. From the beauty and fitness restraints caused by the closing of gyms, spas and salons to the mood related difficulties caused by the entire ordeal, there are potential supplement solutions for many quarantine related problems. Deciding on whether or not to take any type of dietary supplement should be prefaced with lots of research and prompt many questions.  I personally have nothing more than my personal experience with the few that I take so I’ve tapped some of my favorite health pros to help me supplement this story.
This group of power players are at the peak of their professional fields and had a lot of interesting tidbits about supplements as well as their own individual quarantine survival skills.  These ladies really know their stuff and now you will too so without further adieu…your note-taking should begin NOW!

Magdalena Cadet, MD NYC rheumatologist, Associate Attending NYU Langone

www.maggiecadetmd.com, @drmaggiecadet on IG and Facebook

TBB
Where are you currently quarantined?
MC
I am currently quarantined in NYC (Manhattan) in my apartment with my child.
TBB
What parts of your daily routine are you missing the most as a result of the stay at home order?
MC
I am a runner and a fitness enthusiast. I love being at the gym and being surrounded by music, people and weights so I miss that.  I also miss going to live kickboxing and Peloton classes.
TBB
Are there any parts of your daily routine that you are considering/have decided not to resume when the quarantine is lifted?
MC
When a quarantine is lifted I won’t resume eating out at restaurants as much because cooking at home is healthier and saves money.  I also will stop running around for social engagements and take more time for myself. Also, I don’t need as much clothing so shopping will be put on hold for a while.
TBB
What has been the hardest physical adjustment to quarantine?
MC
The hardest physical adjustment is not going out for basic tasks. I’ve been anxious about receiving food or item deliveries, mail and having to really be focused on the disinfectant process. I have always washed my hands thoroughly so that has not been difficult to do. Also when I do step out for fresh air, I may maintain social distancing but I’m anxious about other people not maintaining their distance. Some people do not wear masks and maybe don’t recognize how easily contagious this virus is.
TBB
What has been the hardest emotional adjustment to quarantine?

MC
The hardest emotional adjustment is maintaining the balance of being a home school teacher while being a parent. They are two different roles. I love doing it but it is more challenging during quarantine when children are on the screens all day. It is also difficult to see how hard this quarantine has been emotionally on children…they can’t understand the full scope of the pandemic and may not be able to handle the uncertainty of not seeing friends and their teachers.
TBB
What did you stock up on when you first heard that quarantine was imminent?
MC
I have to admit that when I first learned about quarantine, I did stock up on pasta, oatmeal, cereal…as well as cleaning supplies. Surprisingly, there was always fruit available.
TBB
In your professional opinion, what parts of quarantine are the most detrimental to our physical health?
MC
Being stagnant and not moving can be detrimental to your health! I do know many people who have never left their apartment during quarantine. There was a 2 week period when NYC was reaching its peak of cases that I didn’t leave either because of fear but I always tried to stay active. I believe that we should stay active because there are benefits to cardiovascular and muscle/joint health, fighting obesity and promoting mental and emotional well-being. If you don’t have a treadmill or bike at home, pick up some weights, jump on an online class, do jumping jacks and butt kicks, squats, or use a jump rope. Just get that heart rate up and move your body!
TBB
What aspects of the stay at home order have taken the biggest toll on your lifestyle?  How are you working to combat?
MC
The things I love about NYC are going to museums and shows – which have all been shut down for months. I used to see shows frequently. It was my escape! It has been hard not to attend these cultural events that I truly love. I’ve been listening to my favorite Broadway show soundtracks and watching performances on PBS. So many celebrities and stars have also been singing their favorite tunes online and I’ve participated in virtual gallery and museum tours.
TBB
Have you taken any herbal supplements to help with your quarantine challenges? 
MC
Currently, I don’t personally take any supplements. I take a multivitamin. I try to incorporate vitamins and minerals into my eating regimen/meals. I stay hydrated and try to eat well. I will take folic acid because I have a type of anemia that requires it.
TBB
Are there any supplements you recommend to patients?
MC
As a physician, I am always open to hear what patients want to do or try concerning their health. But I am hesitant to recommend supplements because I don’t know how the individual’s body will react to a herb or supplement especially given the other drugs that person may be on.
I recommend eating healthy, incorporating foods low in sugar, drinking plenty of water, reducing red meat intake, eating foods with fiber, grains, and omega-3 fatty acids as well as ingesting fruits and vegetables. It is a lifestyle choice and commitment to ensure that your body gets adequate nutrients. I don’t believe in quick fixes and many supplements and herbs may have side effects or unknown effects on the body. It is someone’s choice to take them and there is no judgment on my part.
TBB
What natural practices would you recommend for helping with quarantine related challenges such as body aches/stiffness, lack of exercise, sleep deprivation, lethargy, moodiness, loneliness, etc.?
MC
I think our bodies need at least 8 hours of sleep, plenty of hydration, fruits and vegetables, reduced sugar, high fiber content. Ensuring our bodies get adequate electrolytes, minerals, and supplements do help combat lethargy, fatigue, sleep deprivation. We also have to keep moving. Meditation is a great tool upon waking up and before going to sleep to relax the muscles and mind. Yoga is great for helping with back pain and muscle aches.
TBB
Would you recommend someone who has never taken supplements before to start now?
MC
I would not recommend taking supplements now if you’ve never taken them before. If you have an unexpected reaction or allergic response or even severe anaphylaxis, it may be difficult to get immediate medical attention given the COVID 19 pandemic. If you do have to go into a medical office, you are also exposing yourself to coronavirus.   I personally don’t believe this is the time to experiment but speak with your personal physician and have a discussion.

Judith Fiona Joseph, M.D., M.B.A, clinical assistant professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center

http://drjudithmd.com/ Instagram: @drjudithjoseph

TBB
Where are you currently quarantined?
JJ
I am in Manhattan and because I am a child and adult psychiatrist who provides medications both orally, by injections and intranasally to my patients as well as talk therapy…I am an essential worker and I’ve been working harder than ever.
TBB
What parts of your daily routine are you missing the most as a result of the stay at home order?
JJ
I miss seeing my routine patients in the office.  Although many of my adult patients used telemedicine before the pandemic, many of my younger patients especially those with cognitive challenges like autism and ADHD do not like telemedicine because they cannot engage in play therapy with me.
TBB
Are there any parts of your daily routine that you are considering/have decided not to resume when the quarantine is lifted?
JJ
I am a very warm person and I tend to hug and use physical affection with my friends and family. I think it would be hard to resume this post-quarantine because the risk is still there and there will be a second wave.
TBB
When you first heard that quarantine was imminent, what products/items did you stock up on/fear running low on?
JJ
I run a medical practice so I had all of the medical essentials in stock like hand sanitizer, gloves, goggles, gowns, masks, etc, and since my office also has a lab for collecting specimens I was already prepared with protective equipment. However, I don’t cook as much as I’d like to because of my busy schedule and I definitely stocked up on canned goods and frozen foods at home when I saw that stores were running out of food. People were trying to feel prepared and thankfully NYC did not experience food shortages.
TBB
In your professional opinion, what parts of quarantine are the most detrimental to mental health?
JJ
This pandemic is the perfect recipe for a mental health crisis. We have massive deaths, social isolation, economic depression, and an uncertain future.   Additionally we know that coronaviruses may have effects on the central nervous system and the brain in severe cases so even on a physiological and neurological level we are under siege.
There is already funding in place for people in NYC to access mental health care services at home because of the increase in stress, however, there needs to be federal funding to prevent the mental health epidemic that will certainly follow Covid19. The 2003 SARS epidemic was associated with a 30% increase in suicides in people over the age of 65,  29% of health workers experiencing “probable emotional distress,” and 50% of recovered patients remained anxious.
TBB
In your experience, what parts of quarantine have been the most emotionally challenging? How are you working through them?
JJ
Personally, I truly miss my extended family. Not being able to see my family members, siblings, nieces, parents, in-laws has been difficult. My mother-in-law and my mother are like second and third mothers to my daughter. My husband and I are both physicians and we heavily rely on the grandmas to help out and provide our family with emotional support and childcare and we have had to refrain from seeing them almost entirely.
We have started weekly family Zoom parties and talk on the phone daily however it is hard to replace that one-on-one in-person interaction. My family is very affectionate and I miss hugging them.
As a provider, not being able to check the “mental health pulse” of my patients in the office has been difficult. I am already planning and preparing my patients for the second wave and asking them to anticipate that you will have increased stress and start implementing strategies now. The CDC  and VA PTSD research center have a great list of resources for dealing with stress based on previous pandemics which you can find here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html#risk
TBB
How are you advising your clients to combat pandemic-related stress?
JJ
I encourage my clients to destress using their five senses

Sight:   Try your best to put things in your environment that are calming and pleasant to look at.

Touch: Opening the blinds to let the sunlight in to feel that warmth on your face, or touch soft items like a blanket or a soft sweater.

Smell: put an oil diffuser on that helps you stay calm and focused. 

Taste: Drink or eat Savory things that have health benefits, like coffee, or spices, when you’re working at home.

Hearing: Try listening to calming music or open the window if you like the sounds of nature…: Utilize anything that engages the senses and helps you focus and feel less stressed.
TBB
Do you believe in supplements (dietary/herbal/homeopathic)? Are there any that you recommend/prescribe to patients?
JJ
The field of nutritional psychiatry focuses on modifying your diet to promote brain health. However, changing one’s diet has its challenges and some studies suggest that about half of people with mental illnesses try to modify their moods and emotional states by using supplements.
Two of the supplements that I commonly see in my practice are: Folic acid (found in many foods like leafy greens) which is a brain vitamin that helps with depression and S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) which helps with depression and it is already found in your body. Sometimes I prescribe both along with an antidepressant.
Omega-3-fatty acids, found in fish, nuts, and other foods, can be taken along with antidepressants to help mood and depression related to major depression or bipolar depression. St. John’s wort is helpful for mild depression but be careful because it reduces the efficacy of certain antidepressants so again always consult your psychiatrist. Valerian root may help with anxiety and sleep and melatonin is already regularly used for sleep issues in children and adults. Ginkgo Biloba may help with mild dementia.
TBB
Do you or have you ever taken any supplements?  If so, which ones?
JJ
I try to get my supplements thorough the foods that I eat. Eggs, bananas, walnuts, cherries, almonds, fatty fish, spinach, and berries are all a part of my daily diet. I try to have omega-3-fatty acids, B vitamins, folate, zinc, calcium and vitamin A, C, E, and D in my foods. I have found that when I eat better and stay away from processed and greasy foods, my mood, energy, and sleep are all improved. Many supplements on the market are not FDA approved so if I recommend a supplement I ask my patients to go for the ones that are reputable.
TBB
Would you recommend someone who has never taken supplements before to start now?
JJ
Supplements should only be taken under the advisement of a licensed professional.

Bianca Jade, Health, Wellness Beauty TV Host, Fitness Trend Expert and Founder of Mizzfit.com

Instagram @BiancaJade

TBB
Where have you spent the quarantine, in what city?
BJ
At home in my NYC apt.
TBB
What parts of your daily routine are you missing the most as a result of the stay at home order?
Going to events, my favorite fitness boutique studios and well, traveling, which is something I did pretty much weekly.
TBB
Are there any parts of your daily routine that you are considering/have decided not to resume when the quarantine is lifted?
BJ
Not really. Maybe less seamless.com ordering since I cook all the time now and shop every other day for groceries.
TBB
What has been the hardest physical adjustment to quarantine?
BJ
Reduced social interaction has been hard…I also hate the masks.
TBB
What has been the most difficult emotional adjustment to quarantine?
BJ
Feeling a lack of motivation has been emotionally draining.  I recently got sick, not feeling well was scary.
TBB
What parts of quarantine have you found most detrimental to the skin, especially where anti-aging is concerned?  Have your social media followers mentioned are their biggest challenges?
BJ
Well, I miss my Botox, rejuvenating treatments, and I’d love to get my grays covered up. My social media followers commented on [issues with] roots, grays, and the desperate needs for a trim. I do think people are taking advantage of skin being makeup-free.
TBB
What aspects of the stay at home order have taken the biggest toll on your skin personally?  How are you working to combat?
BJ
I have eczema so I have experienced an outbreak connected to stress and of course seasonal allergies. There’s no cure for eczema except calming the F down. LOL.
TBB
How has quarantine affected your beauty regimen and your views on skin maintenance/anti-aging?
BJ
I’ve been doing a mask every night…it’s nice. I enjoy it using all the masking products that were piling up in my beauty closet. I never thought I’d use them all. Now, they’re all getting used and I feel less wasteful and my skin is getting more hydrated or exfoliated depending on the product used.  Also, I think taking a break from makeup is good in terms of anti-aging because it allows the skin to be bacteria-free and breathe better.
TBB
What do you think the effects being under quarantine will have on the skincare industry?  In particular the anti-aging industry (products, treatments, med-spas, estheticians, etc).
I think people [who can] will go immediately back to their derms once quarantine is over.  I think beauty/aesthetics professionals will have very busy schedules and it will be very hard to get appointments since everyone will be wanting them.
TBB
Do you take supplements (dietary/herbal/homeopathic)? Which ones?
Yes, I take Nutrafol for hair, liver, and nails (it’s basically different formulas of vitamin B) but I think they make the BEST hair vitamin out there. I take ZitSticka’s Skin Discipline capsules which are a probiotic for the skin. I also take Omega3’s, CoEnzymeQ10, and Glutathione capsules in the morning. Dietary supplements are powders from Athletic Greens and GoopGlow.
TBB
How long have you taken them?
YEARS! At least the last 5-10 years. I’m always taking some kind of supplement or vitamin. I also take a morning super powder supplement (added to water) called GoopGLow from Goop. It’s basically a mix of Vit C, E, CoQ10, Lutein, and Grape Seed Extract. It tastes good…
TBB
How did you discover the supplements you take?  Were they recommended by a healthcare expert or did you determine use based on your own expert research?
BJ
Some were recommended [by a healthcare professional] and some were sent to me as an influencer to try out. Most things sent to me don’t love but every once in a while I receive something that’s really life-changing. I love the glutathione supplements. I can really feel a difference in my health when I take them. I do my own research too when I find the product or the benefit confuses me and a doctor hasn’t signed off on them as good for you.
TBB
Have any of the supplements you take been beneficial in replacing things your skin/body is missing as a result of the stay at home order?
BJ
I think the Nutrafol has been good for hair regeneration and scalp health, which is a place a lot of people suffer under stress. Also, as long as my roots are growing out, it’s nice to keep my hair properly nourished and healthy before I damage the F out of it soon with highlights, lol.
TBB
Have you started taking or considered taking any new supplements since the stay at home order began?  If so, please elaborate.
BJ
A friend introduced me to Athletic Greens, which is a powder I mix with water. It’s basically tons of greens. I have it here at home but I don’t love powder packets. I don’t hate the taste and just need to mix it up more often and drink it because it’s important to ingest more greens in my opinion. I think if I wasn’t eating plenty of greens already I’d take it more seriously but I generally love vegetables and make salads often so it’s not like I don’t get this food group already. Something I might also consider taking more of is collagen supplements but I’ve read mixed reviews on whether the supplements really work or not.
TBB
Are you aware of any supplements -whether or not you take them- that are known to be helpful for skin/beauty related challenges brought on by quarantine? (blemishes, fine lines, stress acne, dark circles etc).
Yes, this supplement I take called ZitSticka Skin Discipline is wonderful for clearing up your skin from acne. I discovered it this year and fell in love. I also love that you can see what’s in the capsule. Their other products work so well for eliminating acne and blemishes after I personally tried them that when this newer supplement came out, I didn’t even second guess it. I highly recommend it. I actually just took one.
Also, there’s Mbrace CBD oil that is a luxury CBD oil founded by my friend (we became friends after I fell in love with her products). She has 3 levels of her oil. My favorite is the one for sleep as it puts me into a super relaxed state before bed. I’m an insomniac so the fact that it works on me is incredible. She also has one you can take during the day or for pain. I love her products. They are fabulous and the brand is still growing.
TBB
What is the first beauty related thing you plan on doing when the quarantine is lifted?
I hope to get my hair straightened, colored with roots touched up, and then it would be nice to see my dermatologist and tweak some things that may have “fallen down a little”. You know the drill!

Tiarra Mukherjee, wellness and beauty writer-editor
Instagram @tiarraxx

TBB
Where are you currently quarantined?

TM
In my West Village apartment in New York City.

TBB
What parts of your daily routine are you missing the most as a result of the stay at home order?

TM
First and foremost: I miss people! It’s just me and my dachshund Diego on lockdown, and as much as I try to chat, he refuses to cooperate. It’s not just social contact that I miss either.  I’m an extrovert, so even though writing and editing often entails being glued to the computer and phone, I function best working with people around me in an office. Even in pre-quarantine times, when I  “worked from home” that usually meant in a coffee shop or coworking space.

TBB
Are there any parts of your daily routine that you’ve decided not to return to when the quarantine is lifted?

TM
Being present has taken on a deeper meaning. I won’t be worrying as much about the future.
TBB
What has been the hardest physical adjustment to quarantine?
TM
I’m gaining weight due to lack of movement and unnecessary trips to the fridge.
TBB
When you first heard that quarantine was imminent, what products did you stock up on/fear running low on? 
TM
When I first heard quarantine was imminent I didn’t really stock up the way others did. I tend to not have a doomsday mentality and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but I had faith that I wouldn’t run out of food or hygiene items (aka toilet paper). I wanted to be sure I had fresh produce, so I bought more fruit and veggies than usual and  a few extra bottles of wine that I like, and extra dog food. What I realized is that we need a lot less than we think.
TBB
What do you think the effects being under quarantine will have on the beauty and wellness industries overall? 
TM
I think the already booming wellness industry will increase exponentially after quarantine, especially when it comes to nutrition. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease can all be controlled through food and now that people with these illnesses have a new stigma to tack on “the vulnerable population” I think people will be much more aware of what they eat. I also think quarantine will further affect the “less is more” trend in beauty overall, people will embrace their natural hair, cut back on the makeup,  embrace an overall “relaxed” and undone look.
TBB
What parts of quarantine have you found most detrimental to your health and beauty? 
TM
Being cooped up inside has been difficult because sunlight does wonders – for mood, sleep, and for optimal vitamin d levels, which as a woman of color I tend to be low on anyway.  The sunlight gives me a boost in energy and mood.
TBB
Are you a fan of supplements (dietary/herbal/homeopathic)? If so, do you take any yourself?
TM
YESSSS!! I am a big fan of supplements!! When I wake up I take a teaspoon of Quicksilver’s The One, which supports mitochondria function and overall cell health. Before eating I add a tablespoon of You theory collagen powder to  my coffee in the am, which I’m not convinced haws done anything to my skin, but has certainly helped my knees, which can crunch and ache sometimes when I go up and downstairs. I also take Rhodiola – an adaptogen that eases stress and improves concentration. I take glutathione to fight free radicals, and probiotics to boost immunity. At night I take Ashwagandha, also an adaptogen with multiple properties that support overall health and well-being, and CBD oil for sleep
Check out Tiarra’s piece on beauty supplements for Everydayhealth.com
TBB
How did you discover and/or decide on taking the supplements in your regimen?  Were they recommended by a healthcare expert or did you determine use based on your own expert research?
TM
I discovered these mostly through my own research but some were doctor recommended.
TBB
Have any of the supplements you take been beneficial in replacing things your skin/body/health is missing as a result of the stay at home order? 
TM
Many of the supplements I take support mood health, energy, and sleep, so they have been essential to me during this crisis.
TBB
Have you started taking or considered taking any new supplements since quarantine began?  If so, please elaborate.
TM
I have added one supplement to my routine when quarantine was imminent called Zembrin (which was recommended by my doctor). It’s a South African root that promotes mood. Quarantine has brought about many fears, uncertainties, and stress and I’ve found it to be  truly amazing. It’s the only supplement I’ve ever taken where you can feel the benefits pretty quickly and I love me some instant gratification.
TBB
Are you familiar with any supplements (whether or not you’ve taken them) that are known to be helpful for any beauty wellness challenges related challenges brought on by quarantine?
TM
While bars and restaurants are  crippled from the pandemic, liquor stores have been seeing a lot of action and the term “Wine O’clock” has been used more than. People are drinking more and that takes a toll on your liver, your skin, your weight,  and well, pretty much everything long term. To protect against some of the harmful effects of drinking, glutathione is your best bet …it is the only antioxidant produced in the body that removes free radicals, toxins, and heavy metals from the body.
Glutathione has been around forever but you could really only see benefits when it was administered by doctors intravenously because the supplements would break down in the gut before entering the bloodstream where the magic happens As of late there have been improvements in the delivery systems of oral glutathione supplements. My favorite is called Safe Cell by Tessmed Research. The glutathione is housed in patented molecular cages that survive the acids of the gut. It’s probably the only oral glutathione that truly can fight a hangover because it zaps the alcohol byproducts that do the damage in your body and leave you with a hangover the next day. I’m not saying you should get smashed every night and it’s all good if you pop Safe Cell, but if you do overdo it, it definitely can take the edge off.
For more on glutathione check out Tiarra’s piece for Sundayreilly.com

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