Naomi Whittel Talks CBD, Collagen, Prebiotics, and Why You Should Care About Nutraceuticals
The best-selling author has dedicated her life to discovering the healing power of nature through science.
Here, she shares her path towards becoming a nutraceuticals expert, dispels some confusion around CBD, and shares the two nutrients she thinks are most important to ingest.
What got you interested in nutriceuticals?
"Growing up, my arms and legs were covered in the most embarrassing, painful eczema. In my 20s, though, I discovered some Chinese herbs that got rid of almost all of it. That’s when I became obsessed with nutriceuticals.
Seven or eight years later, I wanted to get pregnant, but my doctor told me I had superhigh levels of certain heavy metals. After asking about my diet, we figured out it was from those Chinese herbs.
I love that nature can heal, but some products are dangerous. Knowing where things come from became my passion." (Related: Why This Dietitian Is Changing Her View On Supplements)
Do you still see that kind of confusion today?
"Absolutely. Take CBD [cannabidiol]. We hear about all these amazing benefits. But a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that almost 70 percent of CBD products online are mislabeled. This just underscores for me that consumers still have to be rigorous when choosing products.
One thing you can do with CBD is look for companies that offer a Certificate of Analysis. That shows the product was third-party tested and confirmed to contain the amount of CBD it claims." (More here: How to Buy Safe and Effective CBD Products)
Is there any particular nutrient you would recommend to someone who eats pretty well but wants to boost her health?
"Honestly, collagen. I became fascinated with it 15 years ago on a trip to Singapore, where women eat it all day—as supplements, bone broth, and so forth. What I love about it is that you get, like, five benefits in one. It plumps up your skin. It supports gut health. It’s anti-inflammatory. It’s good for the bones and joints. Science shows that when you combine collagen with resistance training, you can increase lean muscle and decrease body fat.
I drink a 25-gram hydrolyzed collagen shake every day. It’s the best kind of protein because you get all the benefits without the allergens found in other types of protein. (Related: The Best Collagen Powders for Women, According to a Nutritionist)
Is there anything else you do daily?
"I take a prebiotic. I am just as excited about prebiotics as I am about collagen. Probiotics get a lot of attention, but because everyone has a different microbiome, it’s tough to know which ones are best for us.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are our microbiome’s favorite food. I get prebiotics from artichokes, asparagus, and dandelion greens, which are wonderful in salads. I also take Pre-Biome [a product she created], a daily nutritional powder that I add to my probiotic yogurt or sprinkle on my food."
Where does fitness play into all this?
"I’ve stopped focusing on the scale and started focusing on body composition, how much lean muscle I have. Lean muscle mass has an effect on your energy, your bone density, your hormones. It’s everything!
One of my favorite ways to improve body composition is by building core strength and upper-body strength through handstands. You get that rush of blood to the brain, and that makes you feel less stressed and happier.
For a while, I hadn’t been able to do one. But then I worked with my strength-and-conditioning coach, and I learned within two weeks."
Shape Magazine, November 2019 issue