Supplements for the Holiday Season


Lights? Check.
Decorations? Check.
Presents? Check.

With the holiday season upon us, our list of things to do, people to visit and gifts to give can grow ever longer.  Often, our health gets relegated to the bottom of the list. But this holiday season, put your health first, with the top three supplements for holiday wellness and a happy start to the New Year!

Supplement 1: Probiotics

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The holidays are often full of rich food, lots of snacks and sugary treats, not to mention questionable leftovers. How can you help your digestive track deal with holidays? Adding a high-quality probiotic supplement to your regimen can help deal with the gastrointestinal misgivings you might come across.

A growing body of research is exploring the critical role that probiotics, the good gut bacteria, play in our overall health.  First and foremost is their role in supporting the health of our digestive tract.

One of the emerging gut concerns is “intestinal permeability” sometimes called “leaky gut”. This is a condition characterized by a weakening of the interior lining of our intestines that allows toxins and pathogens to get into our bodies.  Intestinal permeability can increase with a high-fat diet, typical during the holidays, and can also disrupt the growth of normal gut bacteria.  A recent study found that supplementation with multi-strain probiotics was associated with a forty-two per cent decrease in endotoxin infiltration, a process where toxins “leak” into our blood supply through our gut wall.  These benefits provided by probiotics are thought to be due to improvements in the strengthening of the walls of the intestinal tract to reduce permeability.

Other digestive benefits of probiotics include helping to reduce diarrhea and may help with relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression, though more research in this field is needed.

Supplement 2: Aromatherapy


Keeping up with the stress and strain of gifts, hosting and scheduling, maybe even travel, can leave anyone feeling mentally exhausted.  In fact, the holidays often see an uptick in rates of anxiety and depression.

There are a range of natural approaches to help relieve anxiety, including the use of essential oils to promote relaxation called, aromatherapy.  This practice uses the aroma from plants or other natural products to diffuse into the air for a desired wellness benefit.

A wide variety of plants have been found to be useful for use in aromatherapy, including tea oils, chamomile, lemon balm, and rose oil.

The most common method of use is through inhalation; however aromatherapy can also be practiced using alternative methods of application including massage, bath, direct inhalation or steam inhalation. One recent study found that inhalation of rose water fragrance significantly reduced symptoms of anxiety in hospital patients.

This holiday, give the gift of calm with an aromatherapy set or gift certificate.

Lifestyle Tips to help reduce stress

  • Take a vacation from work. Many people have unused vacation days. This is critical to rest and rejuvenation

  • Spend time with family, play with your pets and get active. Do something fun a few times a week

  • Aim to get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep

  • Take 10 deep diaphragmatic breaths at three distinct times throughout the day

  • Make more "me time"

Supplement 3: Liver detox with milk-thistle extract


Help your body’s detox systems deal with the craziness of the holidays, whether that’s from a few too many night caps or recovering from poor sleep and questionable food choices.

A safe and effective liver tonic is milk-thistle extract.  This herb gets its name from the milky white sap that comes from the leaves when they are crushed, and it has long been used medicinally to protect the liver, and help support liver function.

The active compound, scientifically known as “silymarin”, is an extract from the seeds of milk thistle, with liver-protective qualities.  It may help the liver repair itself by promoting the growth of new liver cells, especially from damage caused by excessive alcohol intake.


Keeping it natural this year during the holidays can help your body (and mind) embrace the season with vigour. Support your digestion with probiotics, help keep anxious thoughts at bay with aromatherapy, or keep your liver poised and ready to recover from the festivities with a milk thistle extract. No matter which of these top supplement picks you go for, speak with your health care practitioner about which products are right for you.

Have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season!

Emily Arsenault