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This is a common question I am asked on a daily basis. It usually includes some variation of:
What supplements should I be taking?
What supplements do you take?
Do I need a multi-vitamin?
My philosophy, and what research shows, is that your daily habits like eating lots of fruits and vegetables and getting enough sleep are most important to your health. But, supplements can be a nice addition to fill in the gaps and support optimal health. Here is what we are taking in the Malone household these days and why.
Amazon links are included for easy viewing but the most cost effective way to purchase any of these supplements (at a 20% discount) is through my trusted supplement platform.
Supplements for the Adults
1. Multivitamin/Mineral Formulation
This is a combination of essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to fill in dietary gaps. I like Metagenics Phytomulti because it incorporates important phytonutrients that repair cells, reduce inflammation and support gut health. You're likely familiar with phytonutrients like curcuminoids in the spice turmeric, resveratrol in red wine and lycopene in tomatoes. Cancer prevention research points directly to these compounds for their ability to repair DNA damage that is done to a cell, restoring it to its healthiest potential.
2. Vitamin D
Living in a dark, cool climate like Cleveland means very little regular sunlight to promote production of vitamin D. As such, most people will need a supplement. In my clinical experience liquid vitamin D seemed to work best at increasing levels of serum vitamin D3 to normal. Its also the most cost effective form and easiest to incorporate into your daily routine. 1000-2000 IU per day is a good maintenance dose for most people although a blood test will help you dial that in for your needs specifically. As a rule of thumb every 1000 IU should raise your serum level by 10 ng/dL, although there is some individual variation here.
Probiotics are good bacteria that transiently colonize your gut to metabolize nutrients, support immune health, reduce inflammation and heal the gut lining. Currently we are taking BIOHM but I also like Pure Encapsulations Probiotic GI and Megasporebiotic. All three formulations have significant research behind them.
4. Magnesium Glycinate
Magnesium is known as the relaxation nutrient. Most Americans aren't getting enough, even by conservative standards. Magnesium oxide is the most often recommended and the cheapest but has the LEAST bioavailability meaning you need to consume more of it for the benefits. Magnesium glycinate is relatively inexpensive, easy on the digestive tract and helps promote relaxation without drowsiness. A good starting dose is 200-300 mg with a full glass of water about an hour before bed. If you'd like to avoid a supplement, an Epsom salt bath is also a way to up your magnesium intake (you absorb the magnesium from the bath through your skin).
5. Immune Support
Pure Encapsulations Pure Defense with NAC is a new supplement to our regimen in light of the pandemic and flu season. It is a mix of immune boosting nutrients like elderberry, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin C and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). You are probably familiar with some of the other nutrients in this mix but NAC doesn't usually get much attention. NAC boosts cellular production of antioxidants (for cell protection) and also seems to increase production of important immune mediators.
6. Omega 3's
I like Pure Encapsulations ONE Omega or Nordic Naturals Liquid Omegas. Omega 3 fats are a type of unsaturated, anti-inflammatory fat found most commonly in wild fish. Unless you eat wild fatty fish twice a week, you probably aren't getting enough. I skip this one on days we do eat fish. Its important to note that omega 3's tend to thin your blood. That doesn't mean you can't take them if you are on a blood thinner, it just means you'll need to work with your doctor to determine what dose and frequency makes sense for you.
Supplements for Kids
The kids also take a multi, I like Smarty Pants Multi because it also has the omega 3's and vitamin D. The fewer they have to take the better! These are in gummy form and they do have sugar, but I've tried other formulations with less sugar and I found them half eaten hiding in bookshelves and houseplants! So I'd rather them have a bit of sugar if it means they will actually take it :)
2. Immune Support
The Smarty Pants Kids Immunity is another combination formula that includes the same immune boosting nutrients like elderberry, zinc, vitamin d and vitamin c but also some probiotics. Again, the fewer they have to take the better.
Yes! The kids get magnesium too. Natural Vitality Calm gummies are perfect about an hour before bed to help them relax and wind down.
Why Brands Matter
Supplements are not regulated like drugs. Products are not independently tested by the FDA before they hit store shelves. The safety, efficacy, potency and purity are essentially up to the manufacturer. If something goes wrong, then the FDA gets involved. But until then, we are at the mercy of the manufacturer.
So, its important to select brands that test their products in house and also employ independent third party testing to make sure the products are safe and pure. All the brands I've mentioned here as well as those I recommend in my private practice have strict quality control measures in place.
In addition the manufacturer, the seller has to have good quality control in place as well. Supplements should be kept in a temperature and moisture controlled environment to preserve potency of the product. If you're shopping on Amazon, try to buy direct from the manufacturer if possible as linked above. And you can also use my trusted supplement platform. You'll get a 20% discount using this link.
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Medical Disclaimer: Information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice or substitute for regular medical care. Please consult your doctor or book an appointment to discuss the development of an individualized plan to meet your needs. It is important to have a provider who knows your unique medical history, symptoms, possible medication interactions etc.