I am asked about supplements on a regular basis. There is a whole world of vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanicals that are hard to keep up with. It is important to be as cautious with supplements as you are with prescriptions. Beyond all of the benefits, supplements can also do harm if not taken appropriately or when necessary. For now, I am going to stick to basic supplements for the generally healthy individual.
Most common question I get: Do I need to take supplements?
Most common answer: Yes.
- The produce we eat today isn’t grown in the the same nutrient-rich soil that it has been historically. Modern day agriculture, and the high demand for food, has depleted the nutrient density of our crops. In addition, food travels longer periods of time from farm to your table. The longer it is off the vine, the more nutrient depletion.
- Most people don’t eat the amount, or the variety, of beneficial foods that are necessary to support their health. I suggest that at all meals, half your plate are vegetables. Do you eat vegetables for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack? Are you getting at least 2 servings of vegetables at each meal? Are you eating a variety of vegetables and fruits? If not, a multivitamin will definitely be beneficial.
- We live in a stressful environment. Lets be real… we are all stressed. Driving is stressful. Finances are stressful. Family, work, emails, health… the list goes on. We ALL have stress. Stress takes a toll on our body. We need to support our heart health, digestive health, adrenal health, nervous system, and immune system with nutrients to keep them resilient and functional.
- Its an insurance policy. Unless you are doing micronutrient deficiency testing or even better, intracellular micronutrient testing, you don’t know what you are deficient in. As a health practitioner, I can take an educated guess, but in the meantime, why not give your body all the essential nutrients it needs to support overall health, well-being and function.
Supplements I recommend for almost everybody:
Note: the quality of the supplement matters. Don’t get these from your grocery store or mega vitamin store. Buy professional-grade supplements that opt into a third party assessment of quality and sourcing. I have linked each supplement to my top brand recommendations.
MULTIVITAMINS are foundational nutrient support. If you only take one supplement, let it be a high quality multivitamin. Thorne Research provides a variety of multivitamins based on your gender, activity level, and stage of life. All Thorne multivitamins are designed for optimal absorption. Which multivitamin will be best for you?
Basic Nutrients 2/day is a comprehensive formula supports high-performance individuals.* NSF Certified for Sport®
Basic Nutrients III is formulated for individuals at low risk for iron deficiency, including men and postmenopausal women.
Basic Nutrients IV is designed to support the active lifestyle of women who have not gone through menopause or anyone needing additional iron.*
Basic Nutrients V is formulated without iron and iodine for men and postmenopausal women.
Multi-Vitamin Elite provides highly bioavailable nutrients for athletes and others looking for additional support. The A.M. formula promotes energy production, while the P.M. formula enhances rest and recovery.* NSF Certified for Sport®
Basic Prenatal is designed to be gentle and effective for women who are trying to conceive, pregnant, or lactating. It contains none of the additives found in mainstream prenatal supplements. Even if you aren’t trying to conceive, a prenatal is great for your overall health, hair, skin and nails.
Al’s Formula is a complete multi that contains support for prostate and cardiovascular health.* It contains no iron, which is not necessary to supplement in most men.
Children’s Basic Nutrients is an excellent way to be sure picky eaters get the essential nutrients. It features small, easy-to-swallow capsules that can also be opened and mixed with food.
B VITAMINS are often referred to as the ‘energy vitamins’. If you have taken a good B-complex, you may have witnessed this benefit. B vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, B6 and B12. These are essentials vitamins, meaning they must be obtained from our food.
Your body requires Bs for a number of vital functions, including metabolism of food for energy, blood formation, DNA and RNA synthesis/repair, and synthesis of neurochemicals and signaling molecules… so basically they are essential for optimal neurological and physiological functioning.
Basic B Complex contains active forms (or otherwise known as methyl forms rather than synthetic) of the vitamins for enhanced availability to the tissues. It is estimated that about 30% of the population isn’t able to ‘activate’ B-vitamins, so the blood levels will be normal or optimal, but the vitamins may not make it into the cell where it is necessary to do work. If you are starting an ‘active’ or ‘methyl’ form of B vitamins for the first time, start slowly so you aren’t flooding the cell.
Stress B-Complex is a complete complex with an optimal balance of B vitamins with extra B5 to support adrenal function, immune response and stress management. If you have higher levels of stress in your life, this will be the best B-complex option for you.
PROBIOTICS are the good and healthy bacteria in our digestive tract. These living microbes are colonized by the billions. They are essential not only digestive health, but immune support and mood support. I recommend probiotics for 99% of my clients. If you are taking antibiotics, then you MUST consider a probiotic (the antibiotic doesn’t care what bacteria is kills, it will kill the good and the bad… so replenish the good). It is important to know that probiotics are live microbes that are sensitive to heat and light, so the quality of the brand as well as the bottling, shipping and handling are all very important. Below are a few recommendations for brands and formulas that I like based on basic to specific needs.
COENZYME Q10 (COQ10) is a vitamin-like substance that is made naturally by the body and used in every cell. CoQ10 is used by all energy-demanding organs such as the heart, brain, liver and kidneys cells to produce energy for cell growth and maintenance necessary to function at optimal levels. CoQ10 is considered to be a strong antioxidant. Individuals on statins should strongly consider taking a CoQ10 supplement since statins actually reduce the production of CoQ10. I personally take CoQ10 for the antioxidant benefits and to support my mitochondria (the powerhouse of cells). As always, consult your physician when starting a supplement!
Q-Best 100 supports normal heart rhythm and can help maintain already normal blood pressure.
Now you may be thinking, but what about fish Oils, vitamin D, calcium? Yes, all are great supplements and definitely important for many people. And I promise, I will write about those too. There are more considerations when choosing other vitamins, such as current blood levels, medications and vitamin dosage. So stay tuned or feel to contact me for a personal consultation.