I was sorting through the supplement cupboard in my kitchen a few weeks ago and thought it would be a great idea to share with you my foundational supplements. These are the vitamins and nutrients that are part of my year-round regimen to which I might add layers of support depending on season, physical ailment or prevention goal. For example, come October I will often add a daily dose of Elderberry syrup to help with preventing viral infections.
Vitamin D3 – Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for bone health, mood, immune support and even cancer prevention. I recommend a minimum of 2,000 iu/day but, for those who live in more northern latitudes or who don’t spend time in the sun, you may need more. It’s easy to have your levels checked with a simple blood test. If you aren’t taking a gel cap or liquid D3, then make sure to take your D3 with a meal to ensure adequate absorption.
Fish Oil – Also known as omega-3 fatty acid, fish oil is a potent anti-inflammatory for the body. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are many but some of the big ticket items include reducing cholesterol, improving mood disorders, helping with joint pain and decreasing severity of autoimmune disorders. When purchasing a fish oil, look at the EPA and DHA content on the label. You’ll want to add those two numbers together and aim to get around 2,000 – 4,000 mg per day. The goal is to reach this dose in the least number of capsules so pay attention to potency. Quick tip: trouble with fishy burps after you take your fish oil? Try storing it in the freezer and taking it directly from there!
Vitamin C – As a potent anti-oxidant, Vitamin C is a powerhouse when it comes to helping prevent colds and other viruses. It works hard to boost your immune system and has an added benefit of helping manage stress by supporting your adrenal glands. I take an Ester-C which is easier on my stomach. You may want to try this if you’ve felt like Vitamin C is a bit to acidic for you in the past.
Multivitamin – Right now I’m finishing up my prenatal vitamins that I’ve been taking since pregnancy last year. A high quality multivitamin is a great addition to your supplement schedule but not strictly necessary. Food is always the way to go when looking to meet all your daily nutrient requirements BUT we all have cheat days or simply days when our nutrition isn’t ideal. These are examples of when a multivitamin can really support your health. I generally prefer my patients use physician-grade brands sold at “health food” stores versus getting their multivitamin from the big-box chain or grocery stores. It’s a matter of potency as well as getting a product that is free from as many unnecessary fillers as possible.
Probiotic – A daily probiotic is perhaps the one supplement I feel like I can’t live without. A bit melodramatic perhaps, but I personally have noticed improvements in so many areas of my health since sticking to taking my probiotic daily that for me it’s really worth it. Everything from my digestion to the number of times I get the nasty colds that come through my office each year – it’s improved with probiotic use. My three keys to probiotic purchases include: it should be refrigerated, each capsule should have a minimum of 10-15 billion organisms, and look for a mix of several species including Lactobacillus and B. bifidum.
As always, you should consult with your physician if you have any questions or concerns about a supplement you are taking or would like to take.
Here’s a quick video of the run-down above as well as a sneak-peak at my messy supplement cupboard!