I get a lot of questions about supplements. Some of which are “What supplements do you take?”, “What supplements should I take?”, “What brand supplements do you recommend?”, “What is your favorite supplement?”, “What should I take if I only want to take one?”
I can tell you that my supplement routine regularly changes. It changes in times of stress, in times of illness, in flu season, and changes when I get new labs drawn. It can also change if a symptom pops up or if I get an injury.
Here are some reasons you may want to adopt a good supplement regimine:
- Our food source isn’t as whole as it once was, and our daily requirement for fruits and veggies is not being met by most people. I recently did a talk on phytonutrients and 80% of Americans do not eat purple (good for brain health) colored produce daily.
- Supplements are a natural way of boosting your immune system and a cost effective way of keeping yourself healthy.
- Supplementation helps to counter any minor or major deficiencies you may have. A common one being Vitamin D due to lack of sunlight and overuse of sunscreen.
- They can help to keep your body and hormones balanced.
- Supplementation provides anti-oxidants (like vitamins A,C and E).
- Most medications deplete essential nutrients and in this age of pharmaceutical drugs, supplements help to restore balance.
- Supplementation may aid in preventing some health issues like high cholesterol, help to regulate blood sugar, and help to balance gut flora.
- Supplements are generally in a form that is easy for your body to absorb and utilize if you purchase from a reputable company.
- Supplementation, diet and exercise are the fountain of youth.
This is my routine as of today:
Phytomulti: I always take this. This never changes. It is the base of a good supplement program and it is my favorite mulit by far! Take 2/day. Eveyone in my family takes this one. I take the one w/o iron, in table form. I always buy the largest bottle. Should you take a multi?
Probiotic: The brand and supplement changes regularly but I consistently take a probiotic. Brands I love are Metagenics, Pure Encapsulations, Thorne, and Ortho Molecular. I also eat fermented foods regularly.
Vitamin D3: I take 10,000iu daily (the liquid pictured 1 drop = 1,000iu and 5,000iu pill is pictured). I take the 10,000 iu pill for convenience, my husband takes the 5,000iu pill and my son takes either the pill or liquid. I try to get in the sun and I get my D tested regularly. When I get my D tested, I adjust my dose if needed but I am usually laying on the lower end of normal which is why I keep my dose higher than normally recommended. And if someone is sick in my house or it is flu season, I might double up for a couple days. Everyone in family takes this one.
Omega 3: This is amazing and one of the most researched supplements to fight inflammation. It is very difficult to get the amount recommended from food (unless you eat salmon daily). We take this too. I take 1-2 / day
SPM: A great pain mediator and inflammation fighter. Those with Insulin Resistance, like myself, don’t make as much of this naturally as the rest of the population. I take 2 / day. This is expensive but so worth it. It is the liquid gold part of the omega that is fractioned out. I took for a while when I injured my shoulder and stopped when it got better. I injured it again and decided it was best to keep taking it and stay on a maintenance dose. I usually buy the larger bottle.
Turmeric: This is my favorite turmeric formula. It features highly bioavailable CurQfen® (curcumin and fenugreek) and XNT ProMatrix® (xanthohumol), which may help support the body’s response to oxidative stress and other stressors. It also offers boswellia and ginger extracts, which may help support the body’s immune response. I take 1-2 / day. This is also a highly researched supplement and a good general one for most people.
Ashwaghanda (this can be purchased from Wellevate) or other stress formula: To help handle stress better. 1 / day of ashwaghanda or 2-4 of other stress formula. I alternate depending on what I have available or which company I am ordering from at the time.
B vitamin: You use up B vitamins in times of stress. I take B to replenish AND because I need these special B vitamins for proper methylation. 1-2 / day depending on stress level. Phytomulti provides lots of B vitamins so this is extra and I need it!
B12: I take B12 daily as metformin depletes B12.
Digestive Enzymes: I used these a lot in the beginning of repairing my gut health. I still use these but not as intensly. They are key in repairing gut health and can be used long term for maintenance and to help take the stress off of the gut so it can heal.
Mag Glycinate: I take 2-4 daily. See why this is so important here.
Vitamin C: I use the powder and add it to my morning or afternoon smoothie. I use the recommended dose, 1/4 tsp, but I up the dose in times of stress or illness.
Ultra Potent-C® Powder is a proprietary, patented vitamin C formula that features a buffered delivery system designed to help prevent the potential stomach upset sometimes associated with high vitamin C intake. Ultra Potent-C Powder may help support healthy immune function and is a good source of antioxidants from vitamin C. Preliminary scientific research suggests that vitamin C in the form of Ultra Potent-C may result in improved uptake of the vitamin by white blood cells when compared to regular ascorbic acid.*
DIM or I3C to balance estrogen and estrogen metabolism.
Collagen in my tea daily for gut health. I use about 1 scoop / day for maintenance although I used more when I was working hard to heal my gut. Purchase Collagen Here
To support Immune System when illness is going around.
Elderberry You can purchase Elderberry via Wellevate.
I take the liquid or caps and so does my son when it is flu season, viruses going around or we need an immune boost. I can say we haven’t gotten the flu or anything else that has gone around in the last couple of years.
I love Phytoganix for travel. I don’t get to eat all of the fruits and vegetables I normally eat at home when traveling and Phytoganix helps me stay on track!
Collagen Creamer: for my morning tea.
Vital Proteins’ Vanilla Collagen Creamer is a healthy, delicious addition to your morning cup of joe. It has healthy fats from organic coconut milk, plus 10 grams of collagen peptides sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine. Paleo-friendly and Whole30 Approved, our Vanilla Creamer is free of dairy, soy, carrageenan, gluten, artificial sweeteners, and added sugars.
To purchase any of these supplements (most at a discount), click the picture to go to the site directly. OR, alternatley, the Metagenics and other supplement brands can be purchased by creating an account with Wellevate where you can shop for many different products. As always, please contact me for help.
- Discounted pricing as a patient of Caroline Gilmore, RD
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Is your supplement safe?
Patients want to know 3 things about products they purchase:
1. That the products are safe
2. That the products work
3. That the products are worth the cost
FDA regulations do nothing to ensure any of these things.
The responsibility to ensure safety and efficacy falls on individual product manufacturers, which is why the choice of product really does matter. In a quick conversation with every new patient, make sure all of your patients are aware of the following 3 points:
1. The FDA does not test dietary supplements for safety or efficacy before marketing.
There is a law called the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) that defines how dietary supplements are regulated. The law states that it is the responsibility of each manufacturer to show that a product is safe and effective before marketing that product. The FDA has no authority to do its own safety review before a product is made available to the public.
A commonly cited study that brings into question the quality of supplements was conducted by authorities in New York in 2014. They analyzed 78 bottles of dietary supplements from major retailers and found that 4 out of 5 products did not contain evidence of the herbs that were stated on the label and many contained contaminants not listed on the label—things like houseplants, powdered radish, and even wheat in products that were labeled “gluten-free.” Some have argued that the type of testing used was not a valid way to identify herbs, but the presence of so many contaminants cannot be dismissed.
Some companies do their own testing of raw materials and final products, but some do not. Product analyses are completely voluntary. High-quality companies will pay for third-party testing to confirm the presence of ingredients, the potency of ingredients, and the absence of contaminants. Common contaminants that are tested for include heavy metals, solvents, pesticides, and microbes.
Voluntary third-party certifications include the USP Verified Mark, Consumer Labs, UL, International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS), and the Emerson Quality Program℠.
2. The FDA does not certify supplement-manufacturing facilities.
The FDA requires companies to follow current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs), but it does not offer any certification for this. cGMPs require that the manufacturing facility be clean, climate-controlled, and run with good quality-control procedures. cGMPs have to do with how products are made—they have nothing to do with what is actually in the final product.
Quality companies go above and beyond the requirements of cGMPs and get third-party certifications related to their manufacturing practices. Voluntary certifications for good manufacturing practices include NSF International and NPA (Natural Products Association). The Emerson Quality Program℠ ensures that all companies distributed through Emerson Ecologics and Wellevate meet or exceed the standards of cGMPs.
3. The FDA does not standardize dosages or forms of ingredients in dietary supplements.
Vitamins and minerals can be sourced from many different places and can be provided in many different forms. Pyridoxine hydrochloride is the cheapest form of vitamin B6, but pyridoxine-5-phosphate (P5P) is the most biologically active form. Niacin can lower serum cholesterol, but only at a dosage of 1000 mg per day. Iron sulfate causes the common side effect of constipation, whereas iron citrate formulated with vitamin C is most readily digested and absorbed.
The form of the ingredient, the dosage of the ingredient, and the formulation of the entire product all influence whether or not a dietary supplement will be effective. High-quality companies rely on a team of medical experts and evidence-based science to formulate products that offer patients the greatest benefits. Part of the Emerson Quality Program℠ is an evaluation of product formulations of all companies distributed through Emerson Ecologics and Wellevate.
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