Supplements for singers can be a minefield. So where should you start? Vocal coach and kinesiologist, Gary Albert Hughes, advises singers on how to get started.
The voice is obviously a singer’s most precious tool and the anxiety surrounding vocal health can often verge on neurotic. I certainly remember early in my career never being able to perform without thinking I had acute laryngitis. However, there are times when there are real reasons to worry.
At The Balanced Performer I specialise in working with performers and the all-time number one issue patients present with is – you guessed it – vocal health.
Working with voice-related issues can be a complicated process as they are often entrenched deeply in emotions. But I have devised the Six Supplements for Singers Emergency Tool Kit, which should see vocalists through almost any vocal health mishap, whether it’s just to get through a gig with vocal cords like sandpaper or more long term maintenance. I use four companies for my totally natural, organic, high grade, non-synthetic supplements: Nature’s Sunshine, Epigenetics, Nutri Advanced and Metabolics. There are links provided throughout this article if you want to get yourself stocked up with anything mentioned. These are the products I use myself and in my clinic for my patients and I know them to be highly effective.
But before we start…
Please remember you should always consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any supplements. This article does not aim to diagnose conditions.
You wouldn’t dream of running a car without oil and water, so why would we run on empty ourselves? We are just a more complicated type of machine and, at the most basic level, we require water and oil to function. It is estimated the human body is made up of 80% water, and a huge portion of our brain, cells and muscle is fat. If we are not watered and oiled optimally we will not function optimally. In order for water to actually be absorbed into the body it requires oil. Most people are under oiled and dehydrated on the whole. As an essential daily maintenance for your whole body, and to keep your voice hydrated and ticking over, I recommend taking some form of Omega oil supplement. Eating fish three times a week and avocado for breakfast just doesn’t cut it.
2. A, B, C
I call this the alphabet army defence kit. In a nutshell Vitamin A in beta-carotene form draws moisture and hydration to all the parts of the body that requires it: mouth, eyes, lungs and throat. The singers I treat swear by dosing up on Vitamin A running up to, during and after a gig. B vitamins are depleted during times of stress and guess what? Gigging and performing is stressful. Supplementing with Bs can aid in stress management helping us to keep calmer. B vitamins also aid hugely in digestion and we all know stress goes straight to our stomach. Vitamin C is an obvious one to keep the immune system ticking over to combat bacteria and viruses.
This is referred to in my line of work as “miracle magnesium”. This is because it addresses and balances so many ailments it’s impossible to list them all. Most general aches, pains, strains and cramps are down to a deficiency in magnesium. This trace mineral is essential for almost every bodily bio-chemic function. If I had it my way almost everyone would be on some form of magnesium supplementation because we are just not getting enough of it from our food. If you are ever stressed (ahem), drink coffee, alcohol, sweat, or take over the counter or pharmaceutical medications then you will probably have a magnesium deficiency.
GET SOME: Magnesium
4. Fenugreek and thyme
Fenu-what? I know, funky name right? Of all the natural supplements I prescribe to my patients, fenugreek and thyme is the top all time wonder herb. It is responsible for (like Vitamin A) drawing extra moisture to those areas that need it most. My patients who suffer from dry, scratchy throats, voice loss or any other kind of ear, eye, nose or throat irritation report miraculous symptom loss after taking these magical herbs. It can be administered for almost any upper respiratory condition involving the ears, eyes, nose and throat. In conjunction with Vitamin A the results can be mind-blowing. I know opera singers who say they owe their careers to vitamin A and fenugreek and thyme.
GET SOME: Fenugreek and thyme
5. Colloidal silver
Colloidal silver is a liquid solution created using electrolysis to suspend pure, metallic elemental silver in groups of particles of 15 atoms or fewer, each with a positive electric charge, attached to simple protein molecules, in distilled water. In simple terms, this wonder solution is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and – well it’s pretty much anti-everything and is my first go to when I feel the dreaded scratch or tickle. A 60 second gargle every few hours usually knocks out any kind of oncoming sore throat or infection. I take a bottle with me everywhere I go. It is also hugely effective for urinary tract infections, cold sores, infected wounds, ear infections, eye infections and most other types of bacterial or viral infection.
GET SOME: Silver Shield Liquid
6. High potency grapine
The part of our anatomy we so heavily rely on is so delicate and affected so easily by external forces such as dust, pollen and smoke. If you’ve ever suffered with hay fever, dust allergies or asthma right before a performance you will know how debilitating it is. Grapine is another supplement I never leave home without. It is nature’s anti-histamine and can eradicate allergic reactions within 20 to 30 minutes. Musty, sweaty, smelly clubs, old dusty dressing rooms and pre-show flowers may never bother you again.
GET SOME: Grapine
And a final note about allergies
Allergies usually indicate an imbalance in the immune system so an appointment with a good kinesiologist is recommended to nourish and rebalance it if you want to get rid of them for good.