One of the most common questions I get asked by clients, friends, and family is: “What supplements should I be taking?” As with everything health-related, each person’s physiology and needs are unique. Nutrient deficiencies don’t come out of nowhere, there is usually an underlying cause such as low absorption, issues with stomach acid/enzyme production, or chronic infection. So reversing nutrient deficiencies doesn’t just involve supplementing them away, we have to fix the underlying problem.
Once we improve digestion/absorption and clear pathogens like bacteria, yeast, and parasites that deplete these nutrients, the need for supplementation is reduced. However, our modern food supply is also lacking many nutrients due to soil depletion, heavy use of pesticides/herbicides, and food packaging/sterilization techniques. This increases our need for concentrated forms of these nutrients in supplemental form.
As a general rule, MOST people are low in the following four areas and may need to supplement with them long term, even with improvements in diet and lifestyle!
#1- Vitamin D. Most people in Colorado are deficient in this nutrient. People who live in northern latitudes and/or seasonal climates tend to be low, especially during winter months when we’re indoors or covered up. Vitamin D is essential for bone health, immune function, hormonal balance, and energy production. Many people report a “boost” in energy and mood within 2 weeks of starting supplementation. Vitamin D3 supplements should also contain K2 in order to be properly absorbed. My current favorite is Seeking Health’s Optimal Vitamin D3+K2 Drops.
#2- Trace Minerals. Magnesium is one of the most common deficiencies in the US, but other mineral deficiencies are also common. I prefer coupling magnesium supplements with other supporting minerals to keep things balanced. Minerals are cofactors for thousands of different chemical reactions in the body, including ATP (energy) production. My current favorites are Concentrace Trace Mineral Drops and CellCore’s CT-Minerals (practitioner only).
#3- Fish Oil. Most Americans are deficient in Omega 3 fats, found in oily fish like salmon, mackeral, or sardines. There are many whole food sources of omega 3s, but processed, convenience foods lack most of these healthy fats. Benefits of Omega 3s include reduced inflammation; better hormone balance; lower cardiovascular risk; and better blood sugar/insulin control. Fish oil products should always be wild-caught, third party tested for contaminants, and produced without the use of heat/chemical agents. Cod liver oil has the added benefit of naturally occurring vitamins A+D. My current favorites are Rosita Cod Liver Oil and Vital Nutrients Ultra Pure Fish Oil 800 (Pharmacuetical Grade).
#4- Probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that live all over our bodies, but are concentrated in the gut. These bacteria help us digest/absorb nutrients; produce “feel good” chemicals like serotonin; synthesize B vitamins; and maintain a healthy weight. Probiotics can be tricky and you may need to try more than one formula to find what works for you. There may be an “adjustment period” where you experience changes in bowel movements, or more gas/bloating. Temporarily reducing the dose should take care of any uncomfortable digestive symptoms. In some cases, bacterial overgrowths like SIBO or other GI infections need to be taken care of first before probiotics can be tolerated. My current favorites are Klaire Therbiotic complete and Microbiome Labs MegasporeBiotic.