by: Stephanie Pichan
We are constantly being fed information about how to be healthy. Friends share their tips, social media posts flood our news feed, and so on. Walk down the supplement aisle at your local health food store and you’ll see a thousand different options. It can be overwhelming, to say the least. While I believe that nutrition should come mostly, if not wholly, from what you eat, it’s not always feasible to get everything you need in order to attain optimal health. Taking supplements helps to fill in the gaps to keep your body functioning effectively.
So where do you start? The following are some basic supplements to get you started that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine.
A good multivitamin will cover a lot of bases. Look for a high quality one that has 100% daily recommended value for at least the main vitamins and trace minerals. Some might have other added antioxidants, amino acids, etc. I personally like O.N.E. Multivitamin by Pure Encapsulations.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
DHA and EPA from omega 3 fatty acids are important for brain health, your cardiovascular system, and even helps with joints and inflammation. Our bodies don’t make these fatty acids so it’s important to either get it from diet or take a supplement. You can get these fatty acids from fish oil, but there are other sources. Ask your local health food store what they have available.
You have probably heard a lot of talk about vitamin D lately. That’s because many people have become deficient in this important vitamin. Vitamin D helps with many health functions and conditions including inflammation, immunity, cancer prevention, depression, fatigue. It’s an important vitamin that affects almost 2,000 genes in our body. It’s helpful for anyone to take the recommended daily dose of vitamin D which may be included in your multi, but if you are unsure if you are deficient, see your doctor to test your levels. If you are indeed deficient your, doctor will most likely recommend a higher dose until your levels increase to a normal level.
VItamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants to support and boost your immune system. This antioxidant has so many benefits including combating free radicals, repairing and regenerating tissues, helping your body absorb iron, and even lowers LDL and triglyceride levels. Make it part of your daily routine and if you feel like you are coming down with something or have been exposed to someone who has been sick, increase the dosage to help fight it off. Keep in mind that some chewable C vitamins you may find at grocery or drug stores contain unnecessary and harmful dyes, especially red, don’t forget to read the ingredients!
Our intestinal systems are inhabited by lots of bacteria, good and bad. Good bacteria is important to keep the bad bacteria at bay and helps with things like fighting off infections, increasing immunity, digestion and absorption, and synthesizing certain vitamins (Vitamin K and B12). We should have a larger number of good bacteria than bad, but unfortunately with poor diet, stress, medications (antibiotics, NSAIDs, and antacids, to name a few), antibacterial cleaning and personal products, and many other things, the balance of bacteria is commonly disrupted and the amount of good bacteria decreases. Taking a probiotic supplement daily will help to restore and replenish the balance of good bacteria and keep you healthy.
This one is for those that are on a statin. Statins deplete CoQ-10, which is important for heart muscle function, therefore supplementing with this important antioxidant is essential and will help keep your CoQ-10 levels where they need to be. If you are taking other medications and are worried about other nutrients that may be decreased or depleted as a results of taking the drug, check out this website: http://mytavin.com/
Word of caution: Look carefully at the ingredients for dyes, additives like titanium dioxide and natural flavors, or any allergens you may need to be aware of, such as wheat or yeast. Look for a supplement that is from a natural source as opposed to synthetic – your body will better be able to utilize a supplement in it’s natural form. Your best bet is to purchase supplements from a local health food store or from your physician or chiropractor. Cheap typically means low quality in the case of supplements. Invest in your health – you’ll be happy you did!
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About the author:
Stephanie Pichan is the Health and Wellness Coordinator at Whitaker LaChance Agency in Portage, Michigan. She’s a graduate of the Community Health Education program at Western Michigan University where she worked on an innovative team for 10 years developing health technology behavior-change interventions. She has a specific interest in the area of holistic health and believes in the healing power of food and its role in disease prevention. Although she strives to get at least 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, she believes it’s important to indulge from time to time; ice cream is usually the winner. Whether through work, volunteering, or every day connections, she’s passionate about helping others live their best life possible. Stephanie is developing the health and wellness area at Whitaker LaChance and using her creativity to contribute to the vision of the marketing team. She’s excited to be an integral part of helping the agency grow and expand.