People ask me all the time what supplements they should take. While I do believe you can get all the nutrients you need if you eat a healthy diet, I also know that most of us are not perfect with what we eat. Today, I thought I would share my top 5 choices that most people would benefit from taking. I have included images of my favorite brands of each supplement. Click on the images for more information.
First on the list is Vitamin B-complex. I recommend B-complex to everyone in my practice who is experiencing stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue, memory difficulties, and more. B-complex will not give you immediate energy like caffeine, but will provide more sustained energy over time. All the Bs are important. Here’s a little more information on a few of them. B-3 can help to lower cholesterol, B-6 is important for the neurotransmitters in the brain, B-7 keeps your hair, skin, and nails healthy, B-9 prevents birth defects, and B-12 is involved in processes in every cell of your body. The B vitamins are water soluble, so you will urinate any you don’t need on that day. Be warned that your urine will be bright yellow due to the presence of B-2 and does not mean you are not absorbing the vitamins.
The next supplement I recommend for most people is vitamin D. Vitamin D is a steroid hormone, not really a vitamin. We get vitamin D from direct sunlight and supplements. In order to make vitamin D from the sun, the sun has to be at at least a 90 degree angle to the earth. Here in Indiana, we cannot make vitamin D from about October to April. This is why many of us need to take supplements. We know vitamin D is important for our bones, but it is also proving to play a role in treating depression, fighting illnesses, and even cancer prevention. Because vitamin D is fat soluble, there is a possibility of taking too much. It is important to have your level checked by your healthcare provider before you start taking larger doses and after 3 months of use. Most people do fine on 2000iu daily, but some people will need more.
Number 3 on my list is Fish oil. Fish oil has been proven to treat high triglycerides and is often used for the prevention of heart disease. I recommend fish oil for many conditions I work with in my practice, including joint pain, skin conditions, painful menstrual periods, high blood pressure, and more. It is imperative that you buy a high quality product and one that is checked for heavy metals. Fish oil must contain a good balance of the omega-3s. Most people should take 700 to 1,000 mg of EPA and 200 to 500 mg of DHA daily. Of course, if you are eating salmon and other omega-3 containing fish 2-3 times per week, you should not need to take fish oil.
My 4th favorite supplement is magnesium. Magnesium is helpful for many symptoms, including muscle aches, PMS, migraine headache prevention, pain syndromes like fibromyalgia, and much more. The dose depends on size of the person and the condition being treated. For general body aches and pains, I recommend 120mg of magnesium glycinate twice daily. Magnesium citrate is more widely known for the treatment of constipation. This is not a form of magnesium I recommend people use regularly due to possibility of dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Forms of magnesium such as glycinate, fumurate, and malate will have less effect on the bowel and are usually tolerated better. It is possible to overdose on magnesium, so always use the least possible amount to treat the symptoms and no more.
Last in my top 5 is a good quality probiotic. In my work, adding beneficial bacteria to the gut has helped diarrhea/loose stools, constipation, “upset stomach”, skin conditions, chronic yeast/candida and more. Beneficial bacteria support the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which helps to maintain the GI barrier function. Good bacteria can prevent over-colonization of the gut with pathogenic organisms and may decrease the risk of some GI diseases. They have been found to ward off yeast infections, allergies, and might even reduce stress, depression, and anxiety. Probiotics can be particularly helpful with irritable bowel disease.
I always recommend getting our nutrients from the foods we eat. A better diet is always the answer, but realistically for most of us, it is hard to be perfect all the time. These 5 supplements are on my “go to” list for most people I work with who are not eating properly or who are showing signs of deficiencies. Please share this with anyone who may benefit from the information. I would love to hear your comments and questions below.