Supplements use in the USA are up dramatically. It is estimated that over 70% of Americans are using supplements. There are so many to choose from and so many opinions. It is a multibillion-dollar market and there is a lot of confusion and even fraud. It is hard to know what to believe and whom to trust. In this blog post, I want to discuss three supplements that I think most people can benefit from taking. Please discuss with your healthcare provider before starting any supplements.
Multivitamins are by far the most common supplements used today. There are many to choose from and many excellent products. I think of multivitamins kind of like insurance. I am not sure when I will need my insurance or how much of it I will need. The way we grow and consume our foods today increase the chances that we are not getting the basic vitamins and minerals from our diet. By taking a multivitamin, I think I am covering the basics.
One of the first things to consider when thinking about multivitamins is iron. If you are low on iron or tend to be borderline low, take one with iron. If you have iron deficient anemia, take iron. Most women who are having regular periods would benefit from a MVI with iron. Iron can be constipating and some people have GI sensitivity with iron. If you are sensitive to iron, you may want to try to eat more leafy green vegetables.
There are also different vitamins recommended for different stages of life. You can find vitamins for men over forty that can help with prostate issues. There are multivitamins for menopausal women. There are vitamins for children. There are also vitamins that are designed to support eye health.
It can become confusing to know which vitamins are best for you. For most healthy people, you can pick a good basic multivitamin and be satisfied that you are covering the basics. I have found Thorne.com to be a good resource for information and for products. I take one of their products for men over forty called Al’s Formula.
There are several one-a-day vitamins on the market. I do not believe that you can adequately supplement with just one pill a day. There are so many micronutrients, minerals, and vitamins that we know are beneficial. There is simply no way to combine them into one pill. It would be difficult to swallow that size of a pill.
The bottom line is that there are many good multivitamins on the market. Find one that you like and one that meets your basic needs based off your age and life situation.
Fish oil is another common and popular supplement. Recently there has been some negative press on fish oil. I believe that fish oil is still an important supplement with many positive benefits.
Fish oils are compromised of the essential fatty acids eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexanoic (DHA). These are classified as Omega 3 fatty acids.
With most things in life, you get what you pay for. The higher the quality of fish oil, the fewer side effects, the more it costs. In general, the higher the levels of EPA and DHA, the better the fish oil. Look for around 200mg of DHA and 1,300mg of EPA in your fish oil. The main reason most people stop fish oil is secondary to burping. If you get a high-quality product, it should decrease the burping.
The beneficial effects of fish oil have been studied for over 20 years. Fish oil has a positive effect on triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Fish oil also has a positive effect on platelet aggregation. These effects are believed to improve your cardiovascular health.
Fish oil also may help with other problems. Our brains and our joints are bathed or lubricated with omega-3 fatty acids. In my experience, about 30–40% percent of people get some form of arthritis relief. There is also some evidence that fish oil may help with depression and even Alzheimer’s diseases. I do not think the effects are very dramatic, but any help is appreciated.
There are studies that suggest EPA and DHA help the body in suppressing cancer cells and improve insulin sensitivity for prevention of diabetes.
I would recommend that you start with 2 grams of fish oil daily for a high-quality source. There are lab tests that can be done to measure your omega-3 for more precise dosing. These can get somewhat expensive, and insurance does not always cover it. Eating a good cold water fish a couple of times a week is also a good way to get some added omega-3 into your diet.
Probiotics are bacteria that are good for your intestinal tract. Our intestinal tracts are full of bacteria. They can become overpopulated with bad bacteria, and this can lead to several problems. Supplementing with probiotics helps keep the balance of healthy bacteria in place and helps prevent an overgrowth of bad bacteria.
Probiotics can help maintain the delicate balance of the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system. When the balance is disrupted, disease and inflammation can break out. Normal beneficial bacteria competitively inhibit inflammation and over stimulation of our immune system by pathogenic bacteria.
Probiotics are supportive in the treatment of many medical problems including irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhea, eczema, and maldigestion, to name a few.
Probiotics can also help support weight loss. I recently reviewed a weight loss study of 300 patients all on the same program. The only difference was half took a probiotic and half did not. At the end of the six-week study, the group that took the probiotic had lost 4.6% more weight.
I hope you have found this quick review on 3 supplements that everyone should consider to be helpful. If you have any questions, please drop me an e-mail and I will try to answer as quickly as I can. Wishing you an amazing life.