Anyone who is interested in improving their health has probably thought about what supplements they can take to optimize their wellness. With so many products out there, and so much information (and misinformation!) to try and wade through, choosing what you need can be a daunting task! We here at the clinic have our own list of what we consider the "Foundation Supplements". These are vital nutrients that, no matter how good your diet, your exercise regime, or your stress management strategies are, are helpful in gaining and maintaining health and wellness. As with all supplements and products, make sure you are involving your clinicians in decisions on what to take, and including supplements you do take on all medical paperwork.
Always start your routine with a good quality multivitamin that has excellent absorption and availability. While a very good and healthy diet should provide your essential daily nutrients, it is often hard to maintain such a diet every single day. And unfortunately, several studies have shown the American diet in particular is pretty horrible when it comes to giving us the things we need. Your body needs a certain amount of specific vitamins and minerals, such as iron, zinc, and folic acid, to complete body processes, and they must stay within a certain range in order to do so optimally. Taking a multivitamin assures that your body has safe amounts of the nutrients it needs for these body processes to be completed.
2. Fish Oils
Fish Oils provide the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are healthy fats (lipids) that are needed for good cardiovascular health and brain function, and are also powerful anti-inflammatories. Lipids are found in the membranes of cells in our body, and help with communication between cells. Anyone who wants protection against heart disease and stroke, lower cholesterol, mood stabilization, or help maintaining memory, should be taking a fish oil. Typical dosing usually is between 2-3 grams/day. Again, quality here is important, so make sure you are getting your fish oil from a reputable vendor who's product is tested for purity.
Probiotics are the "good" bacteria we need in our GI system. Having a healthy population of this bacteria helps inhibit "bad" bacterial growth, and helps with nutrient absorption, which thereby boosts immune function. They can also help with inflammation, detoxification and fat loss. Make sure you are buying a high quality, guaranteed product that ensures you are getting the millions and billions of live bacteria you need. Many strains of bacteria have been well-studied, and are available together in products (which come in both refrigerated an shelf-stable options). Larger doses may be needed during and after antibiotic use, which can kill off both the good and bad bacteria in your system.
Antioxidants are one way your body defends against cell damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals, which we are exposed to in a variety of ways, lead to poor cell function and oxidation, which is the common pathway for aging, cancer and a variety of other diseases. Antioxidants are found in lots of fruits and veggies, even tea and wine! Common vitamin antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E. Taking a combination of antioxidants is best, as your body utilizes different ones in different ways and places.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D gets a lot of press and is often billed as a "miracle" nutrient, but there is good reason for the hype. Vitamin D affects metabolism, bone health, immune function, brain/mood disorders, and even has been shown in studies to impact certain cancers. Blood levels of Vitamin D should be between 50-80 ng/ml, and your body makes it as it is exposed to sunlight. But very few of us, especially those who live in northern climates, get enough exposure to make consistently adequate levels of Vitamin D, so testing should be done periodically to assess levels. Generally, supplementation levels are between 2000-5000 IU/day, but more may be needed if blood levels are low and your clinician recommends it.
Did you know that this little mineral is part of over 300 processes in your body?! And because of the way our diets have changed, and changes in soil and farming practices, deficiency in this nutrient affects nearly everyone. Exercise can deplete levels even more. Magnesium has a calming affect on muscles and the nervous system, making it great for headache treatment, sleep and stress management, and mood support. It can also affect insulin and cortisol levels. It is recommended to get anywhere from 400-1200 mg/day depending on body weight. Taking magnesium oxide can lead to relaxation of the bowels, so it is often used for constipation issues. Taking high quality magnesium in the forms of citrate, malate, glycinate, threonate, etc. will provide much better absorption and results.
These are just six supplements that we consider the "foundation for better health and wellness". If you are suffering from a particular condition or disease process, other nutrients may be added as well. Talking with your clinicians regularly about all your health concerns and supplement needs/use is important.
Still have questions? Don't hesitate to ask us! We pride ourselves on stocking a wide selection of only the highest quality products from the most trusted companies and vendors. If we don't have what you need, we can find it for you or help point you in the right direction!