What supplements should you take? It can be darned confusing, and there are no shortage of opinions, advertisements and hype about supplementation. So, I’m here to shed a little light from the perspective of a Wellness doctor on this common question that we in the office get all the time… here goes.
Keep in mind – We wellness doctors understand that the best leadership is by example, so we try our absolute best to “walk the walk,” if you will, and so I will let you know exactly what I do and take when it comes to supplements. When it comes to being healthy and living the wellness lifestyle, what is good for one is good for all. We are all human, with same genetic requirements for nutrients to be healthy, and as long as we are sufficient in those nutrients and not toxic in others, we will express our natural right to be healthy. I do NOT take the following supplements to treat anything, I take them because based on what I have read, all human beings living in the western/modernized world are deficient in these nutrients, and I, fitting into this category, wish to be sufficient in all areas of my nutritional life… I take the following every single day,and these are my serving sizes:
Fish Oil (Innate Choice) – rougly 3.5 grams (3500 mg). The serving size on the bottle is 1 teaspoon and equals roughly 1,700 mg of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, but I’m a reasonably big guy, weighing 200lbs, and I’m very active, so based on what I’ve read, that puts my requirements for omega 3 fatty acids in the 3-6 gram category. So, after the fish oil, I get the other 1-3 grams a day of Omega 3 via grass-fed meats, fish or in the vegan-friendly form, which is ground flax seeds (another great brand of fish oil is Nordic Naturals, same guidelines on dosage).
A 120 lb. female should shoot for between 1.5-3 grams of Omega 3, with at least 1.5 grams of it from fish oil.
Children should be taking roughly 1/2 teaspoon for every 40 lbs. of body weight (800mg Omega 3/40 lbs.).
Probiotics (Innate Choice) – 2 capsules (15 billion organisms/capsule): one in the morning and one in the evening, taken with food (fruits, veggies) because that is the way we would have ingested them in our hunter-gatherer past. These are designed to supply healthy bacteria to your digestive system. It is important that your source of probiotics is chilled and contains certain strains of bacteria.
Children 2 and up 1 capsule / day. Under 2 years old the infant should be breast feeding and mom should supplement.
Vitamin D – 5,000 IU’s (international units): This one is trickey because I recommend sunshine 1st. 2nd is supplementation and only in the winter if you live above (or below) the 35th paralell. I started supplementing this last winter because I now live in the 41st paralell and because the information out there on how vital D is, was just too much to ignore. When I was living in Southern California or now during the summer here in New England, I rely on my skin to produce my vitamin D via sunlight. The winters in New England make it impossible to get enough D, so as soon as October hits, it will be back to 6 months of Vitamin D supplementation. I believe the RDA is 400 IU’s, which I just do not think to be adequate at all. Your skin can produce 10,000-20,000 IU’s of vitamin D in 10-45 minutes in the sun, and toxicity (impossible via sunshine on your skin) doesn’t begin to show signs until supplementing with 30,000+ IU’s daily for an extended period of time (weeks and weeks).
120 lb. females and teens should be supplementing with 3-4000 IU’s.
Children 1 year old and up should be supplementing with 2,000 IU’s, and infants (less than 1 year) should be taking 400-800 IU’s. Keep in mind the more sun you get, the less D you have to take. And the natural way is always the best! To find out exactly WHY I take vitamin D, see my blog posts dated July 9 & 16, 2009.
Multivitamin – (Standard Process Catalyn, although I will probably switch to Innate Choice soon) – 1 serving: I eat very clean and congruent, and so I am still only taking it sporadically. When trying to find a good multi, focus on whole food-based, meaning that it IS NOT SYNTHETIC!
I feel that if you are eating a truly sufficient and pure diet that this is the least necessary on the list. You should be able to get everything you need from your foods. However, this is very difficult to do in today’s world, so I feel that a whole food-based supplement could only help address any deficiencies that I may have missed. Basically I may be wasting money, but money is not as important to me as health, and a multi will only help my health, not hurt it. The absolute best way to supplement vitamins into your diet is to blend real fruits and veggies, then drink or add them to a smoothie (that is essentially what a multivitamin’s purpose is), but it is just a lot of work to do that every day, so now I sporadically juice and/or take the multi. Hope that helps.
Supplement 4 Health!
Your Health Coach & Buddy,
Dr. Nicholas Araza DC CCWP