Some say there is no need to take supplements because we are getting all the nutrients we need from food. But it’s just not that simple. I honestly feel they are quite important for all of us. Even if you are already eating your fruits and veggies, getting enough sunlight, staying well hydrated, exercising and sleeping well — here are five powerful reasons why getting a supplemental source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients – is downright ESSENTIAL no matter how healthy you think you are:
1. Nutrient depletion in the soil.
Modern farming techniques use fertilizers that deplete the soil, preventing it from absorbing the most needed minerals and other nutrients that should then end up in the plants we eat. 
2. Nutrient absorption decreases with age.
Just as growing children should absolutely be taking a multivitamin to support healthy tissue and bone formation, supplementation becomes equally important for the older population. Sure, you could just eat more food, but this introduces a problem with caloric balance and many medications also interfere with proper nutrient absorption. [2,3]
3. Commercial harvesting, shipping processes, long-term food storage, processing, and preservatives degrade nutrients.
Unless you’re eating a variety of your own home-grown fresh foods, by the time you buy and eat foods from a market, even a health food store, they are all very different than when initially harvested. And many foods end up with MSG, saccharine, NutraSweet, Splenda, colorings, and flavors that increase your body’s need for nutrients to deal with the damaging effects of these synthetic derivatives. 
4. Pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals.
These are found pretty much everywhere in our modern food supply which radically increases our need for extra vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to stop the formation of free radicals and their attack on our metabolism and immune system. [5,6]
5. Genetic weaknesses.
There are higher needs of some nutrients, higher rates of depletion for certain nutrients, and an increased likelihood of genetic expression of some illnesses like cancer, if vitamin or mineral deficiencies are present. 
6. SAD diet.
There is a general consensus that the best way to get our vitamins is by eating a balanced diet that focuses on whole foods. But it is also true that many of us don’t get all the nutrients we need from the food we eat. Whether it’s poor food choices, processed foods, GMO’s, poor absorption of the food we eat, or not enough time or resources to eat well, everyone experiences some nutritional deficit from their diet.
What are dietary supplements?
The term “dietary supplement” describes a broad and diverse category of products that you eat or drink to support good health and supplement your diet and can be one or a combination of any of the following:
- Herb or other botanical
- Amino acid (the individual building blocks of a protein
- Concentrate, metabolite, constituent, or extract
Although some herbal and mineral compounds have been around and used for hundreds of years to treat many health conditions, dietary supplement manufacturers are not legally allowed to state that their products cure, treat or prevent disease. What they can say is a product supports health or contributes to well-being.
Without making any specific claims, I do know from my years in the functional nutrition arena – that my patients who take supplements, in general, do fare better health-wise than those who don’t.
What is the best supplement to take?
This is a difficult question to answer because everyone has individual needs and all supplements are not created equal. And I am sure you have experienced walking into a health food store and becoming overwhelmed by the number of choices on the shelves. From vitamins to minerals to probiotics to weight loss pills and beyond, there are thousands of options to choose from. But do you really need any of them? Do they really work, and if so, which ones are best?
At the very least, look for these things in any supplement you may be considering:
- Highest quality, pharmaceutical grade
- Free of contaminants and impurities of all kinds 
- Accurate labeling
- Trusted brands that have been around a long time
- Reputable supplement brand versus off brands you may find at discount chains or online
- Recommendations from a trusted and knowledgeable healthcare professional
Why take supplements vs food?
It’s important to remember that dietary supplements are designed to enhance your diet where it falls short of your nutritional needs, but not to replace nutritious foods. But research does show that some people may require supplements because the vitamins and/or minerals they need are hard to get in adequate amounts in the diet including:
- Pregnant women
- Nursing mothers
- Strict vegetarians
- People with food allergies or intolerances
- Senior citizens
- Those with diseases such as cancer, or kidney, cardiovascular, or bone disease
So, what are you waiting for? I am so excited to share with you here – some of my very favorite choices and give you insights into why I believe we all need them in our daily lives or at the very least during some of our health critical life’s stages. Let’s get started!
If I Could Recommend Some basic Supplements for General Health, What Would They Be?
What Supplements are good to take?
Here are some of my favorite core supplement choices most everyone can benefit from:
Taking a daily multivitamin with minerals has long been considered nutritional “insurance” to fill in where your diet may be inadequate. Look for the most comprehensive one possible like Complete Multi™ (available with or without copper and iron) which is a powerhouse that includes chelated minerals for maximum absorption and bioavailability and many supportive nutrients not normally found in regular multis, such as alpha lipoic acid, TMG, fruit bioflavonoids, choline, and inositol. This formula also contains high gamma-tocopherol vitamin E, high levels of all the B vitamins.
B vitamins include thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 and are super important to help us with energy levels, hair, skin and nail health and more. A balanced supplement like B-Supreme has it all. Also — we need more B-12 as we get older because we absorb less of it. Vitamin B12 Lozenges taste great and are designed to deliver B12 through the mucous membranes for maximum absorption.
Often taken to decrease the intensity or duration of colds but vitamin C is also an amazing anti-oxidant that works to not only boost your immune system but also protect your veins and capillaries and provides good collagen support for healthy skin, hair and nails. An enhanced delivery of vitamin C is found in my go-to product called Liposomal Vitamin C which offers superior bioavailability.
Chances are, you are not getting enough vitamin D for good health and current recommendations are not adequate to protect you against chronic diseases or prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D levels should be checked from time to time and supplements can help raise them when needed and add many other health benefits. A well-formulated vitamin D product can be found in Vitamin D Complex which provides other synergistic fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, E and K for optimal absorption and balance.
Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids are cardio-protective but most of us don’t come close to meeting recommendations by just eating fatty fish a couple of times a week. Another concern is the levels of mercury and other toxins in our fish, even wild varieties, makes it so that supplements are a better way to go. I can help you find just the right fish oil for your needs as there are many formulations.
Into the mix more and more in recent years, the ingredient in turmeric may help to reduce inflammation and many studies suggest that it might ease the pain of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Many of my patients are getting good results with Curcum-Evail® which is a highly bioavailable curcuminoid formulation. It is truly one of my “must haves” in my vitamin arsenal.
A great energizer for the body, coQ10 is known for helping treat high blood pressure and heart issues, improving immune function and reducing high cholesterol.
This is one of the minerals most often lacking in Americans’ diets. You can get a little in some of your foods like dairy products, fortified foods, dark leafy greens, beans, and fish but I think it is best to consider a supplemental form to help keep your bones healthy.
Magnesium s an often overlooked mineral and deficiency can be the cause of muscle cramps, tremors, chronic fatigue, asthma, high blood pressure, arrhythmia and mental disorders.
You can get both calcium and magnesium in one of my favorites – Cal/Mag 2:1 offers the standard 2:1 ratio because most important is the synergistic effects they exhibit when they are in proper balance with one another.
Supplements for Digestive Support
We can all use a little help with your digestive system. Enzymes are essential for healthy digestion and a healthy body because they work with other chemicals in the body, like stomach acid and bile, to help break down food into molecules needed for many of our bodies for a wide range of bodily functions. My go-to is Digestzymes™ because it is so complete. It not only has a proprietary blend of digestive enzymes along with betaine HCl to support optimal digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, it also has peptides to help digest dairy and gluten better.
Probiotics are also super important, and I can recommend a wide array ranging from basic to those necessary to heal serious gut issues that could be keeping you from feeling your best. Some of my favorite products are Probiofage DF™ which is a specialized formulation designed to support the proliferation of beneficial bacteria throughout the small and large intestines or ProbioMed 50™ which contains robust strains that are capable of surviving the harsh journey to the intestines and are able to attach to the intestinal walls, where they can grow and function effectively to support GI health.
Also as important to gut health are prebiotics such as modified citrus pectin which has been shown to prevent the adherence of pathogenic bacteria, stimulate peristalsis which alleviates constipation and helps to soften the stool (due to water absorbing capacity). Modified citrus pectin as in MCP Synergy™ can help to treat constipation, promote detox, rid the body of heavy metals and boost the immune system. Modified citrus pectin has also been reported to prevent certain forms of cancers such as colon cancer, prostate, skin and breast cancer.
Best Supplements for Weight Loss
Not all weight loss supplements do the work claimed on their labels or advertising. It is also easy to get mislead into trying many that might create uncomfortable side effects like raising blood pressure or insomnia.
I believe in following a steady weight loss protocol which includes a look at individual needs for a truly personalized approach to meeting goals. Contact me and we can go over some important nutrients that you can benefit from including Weight Loss Support Packets designed to assist the body in using fat for fuel and to help support healthy insulin, cortisol and energy levels. They are a great boost for any weight loss program. Another great way to go is the VegeMeal Plus™ Lean Body Program which can support healthy weight loss and successful weight maintenance by helping you lose fat while maintaining lean muscle. I frequently recommend this product along with a well-balanced weight loss program for optimal results.
Supplements for Immune Support
Winter is here and with it cold and flu season. Make sure you are getting enough Vitamin C but also investigate supplementing your diet with the following:
Echinacea – this herb boosts the immune system and reduces many of the symptoms of colds, flu and some other illnesses, infections, and conditions.
Zinc – this is a mineral which is essential for the immune system to fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
Silver – a highly effective antimicrobial that boosts your immune system, fights bacteria and viruses and has also been used for the treatment of cancer, shingles, herpes, eye ailments and prostatitis. Silvercillin™ is a highly effective antimicrobial preparation composed of pure silver complexed with purified water and distinct from other liquid silver products on the market. It’s one product I routinely l use in my supplement protocol.
A favorite immune-boosting supplement that does the trick when the immune system is under attack like during a cold and flu is Immunitone Plus™. I am never without this supplement and when I feel the chills coming on, I take up to six capsules a day for a few days and I’m over it. I highly suggest everyone have this one in their medicine cabinet!
Supplements women should take
Women’s health is distinctively different than that of men in part due to the lifelong effects of hormones — from their first menstrual period until the post-menopausal years. There are many approaches to hormonal balancing and helpful natural supplements.
For general health, FemGuard + Balance™ contains a specialized blend of nutrients that are known for their hormone-balancing abilities while also providing antioxidant and detox support. For extra support during the menopausal years, Progest-Avail™ is a natural topical bioidentical progesterone serum which can help with:
- Correcting hormonal imbalances
- Restoring libido
- Reducing hot flashes
- Decreasing mood swings
- and more.
Supplements men should take
Men have their own unique needs when it comes to supplements but there are four important vitamins and supplements men should consider:
- Vitamin D: a key factor in keeping normal testosterone levels
- Magnesium: crucial for heart health and overall wellness
- Omega-3’s: for anti-inflammatory effects, cardiovascular health, joint health, brain health and more
- Saw Palmetto Extract: a traditional remedy for prostate health. One product that works extremely well for men over the age of 50 is called Prostate Supreme™ as it is a comprehensive formulation for prostate health and function.
The list of supplements is endless. My role as a Functional Nutritionist is to help you decipher it all and make the very best choices for your optimal health goals. It is my passion to do this work so CONTACT ME today and let’s talk about your journey to health and how I can support you.
So, tell me, do you take nutritional supplements? Are they any of the ones I mentioned here? How do they make you feel? Please share in the comments!
Check out the most recent articles on health and wellness.
Sign up for my FREE newsletter.
Bonus: Download my ‘12-Key Tips for Healthy Digestion’ Guide