Should I take them? Which ones are most important?

Today we talk supplements!

We get asked about supplements on a daily basis. While we of course recommend that everyone eat a high quality, whole, real food diet, we also believe that supplements are important as well. So to help you out, we have collected a list of supplement rock stars that we feel just about everyone can benefit from. They will not make up for a bad diet, but rather think of them as health-boosters that can help fill in nutritional gaps or protect you when you fall off the nutritional wagon.

So let us introduce you to the Essential Six! These six supplements can help keep your gut flora in balance, insulin levels stable, energy levels high, and reduce heart disease risk.

1) Multivitamin

Think of a multivitamin as a the most basic way to help protect your body against the vitamin and mineral shortfalls that can occur even in diets that are rich in healthy foods.

Living Your Personal Best Tip:

  • Look for an easily absorbed enteric coating rather than a harder-to-digest tablet.
  • Take with food to assist with absorption and prevent an upset stomach that can sometimes occur on an empty stomach.
  • If you’re on medications, review your multi’s contents with your health care provider to make sure there aren’t any contraindications.
  • As there is currently little regulation of supplements in the US, be sure to buy from a reputable company.

2) Vitamin D3

Vitamin D actually acts more as a hormone than a vitamin. It’s involved in just about everything –muscle strength, builds bone, has anti-inflammatory affects, decreases insulin resistance and bolsters the immune system. Most of us (especially living in the North) come up short the majority of the time leaving you at risk for diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. Vitamin D is almost impossible to get from food, supplements and safe sun exposure is your best bet.

Living Your Personal Best Tip:

  • Generally 2,000 – 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 is a typical maintenance dose, but if your levels are low, you may need more – but don’t DIY the appropriate dose. Have your levels checked by your health care provider to determine your needs.
  • Ideally, your levels should be in the optimal range of 50 to 80 ng/ml.
  • Buy from a reputable company

3) Magnesium

Sometimes called the gentle mineral, magnesium is used by over 350 enzymes in the body. Leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, spinach, black beans, pumpkin seeds, and even dark chocolate are good sources. Magnesium can help with sleep, manage blood pressure, decrease muscle tension, and promote relaxation.

Living Your Personal Best Tip

  • There are many types of magnesium. Your wellness goals will determine which form is appropriate for you. Make sure to ask your health care provider.

4) B Complex

As a complex, the B vitamins are essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system and are perhaps the most important nutritional factor for healthy nerve cells. B vitamins also play a role in the conversion of carbohydrates into energy, the metabolism of fats and protein, and the maintenance of muscle tone in the GI tract. The B vitamins support the integrity of the skin, hair, and liver. It is easy to see why being deficient can leave you feeling unwell.

Living Your Personal Best Tip

  • B vitamins are especially important if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
  • 50% of us are unable to process some of the B vitamins, so look for one with methylated forms of folate and B12.

5) Probiotics

Our intestinal tract hosts more than 100 trillion friendly bacteria that spend their time aiding digestion and boosting your immune system. They manufacture key nutrients and limit the growth of yeast and unhealthy bacteria. When they aren’t busy with that they also help reduce bouts of lactose intolerance, poor digestion and diarrhea. Poor diet, stress, pollution and antibiotic use can wipe out the good guys – so we need you to fortify and repopulate your gut with healthy bacteria – which is where probiotics come in

Living Your Personal Best Tip:

  • Buy a reputable brand either through a health food store or health care provider’s office.
  • Make sure the daily dose has a high enough live bacteria count and important strains are included.
  • Side effects are rare, although some people may initially experience some gas and bloating, which usually subsides within a few days.

6) Fish Oils

Fish oil supplements are rich in the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. They support your body’s ability to prevent chronic diseases and help protect it against inflammation. Fish oil helps to promote a strong immune system, promotes cardiovascular, joint and vision health, strengthens skin, hair and nails, enhances nutrient absorption, and supports metabolic function as well as attention, mood, and memory skills. Fatty fish and fish oil supplements are your best sources.

Living Your Personal Best Tip:

  • We recommend a dosage of 1 to 2 g of EPA and DHA (combined) daily, but make sure you choose a good quality fish oil to ensure purity and the removal of heavy metals, pesticides, PCB’s and other contaminants.

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