With thousands and thousands of nutritional supplement out there on the market, and with all of the outrageous health claims trying to sell these supplements, it’s often difficult to figure out which ones are worth it and which ones are right for you. I always recommend starting with the following basics. After that, it depends on your particular situation.
Please note, these will not replace a healthy diet. If you’re eating poorly and taking these supplements in the hope of being healthy, that’s not the way it works. It’s like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound.
With that said, here are “The Basics”.
1. A high quality multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplement – Our body requires a variety of vitamins and minerals in order for it to function correctly. When we do not get these through diet or supplementation, the body cannot function at its best. It’ll compensate and we’ll feel OK for a long time, but at some point things will start to fail. So, ensure that you give your body what it needs to function correctly by taking a daily vitamin and mineral supplement. Also, I’d recommend staying away from the Centrums or One-A-Days that are sold in most grocery stores. They are the bare minimum and not always the best quality. I’d go with a higher quality supplement that has a wider range of nutrients and high concentrations of nutrients that our body needs most.
2. Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) supplement – In addition to vitamins and minerals, our body also requires something called fatty acids. These are used for a variety of purposes in our body including building hormones, neurotransmitters, and controlling the amount of inflammation. Common sources of these EFA’s are fish, flax, and borage oil. I usually recommend either a fish oil or mixed supplement. Note that these EFAs are not found in multivitamin and multimineral supplements. Also, go with a reputable company and stay away from the bargain basement brands or generic brands. These oils are fragile and can spoil easily. Therefore, you need to know that the supplements are fresh and have been handled properly. Personally, I would not buy any oil supplements that are not refrigerated.
3. Probiotics – We have all sorts of bacteria living in and on our body. These bacteria are actually good for us and help protect us from ‘bad’ bacteria as well as other potential invaders such as mold, fungus, etc. They also help us break down the food in our digestive system and absorb various nutrients. In order for all this to occur, we need the right mix and proper concentration of good bacteria (click here for post on probiotics and children). With medication use, poor diets, and other factors, the proper mix and concentration of good bacteria can be thrown off. Therefore, it is wise to take a probiotic supplement (if you have immune issues, consult with your doctor before taking). When looking at probiotics, look for ones that contain a variety of bacteria and a high enough concentration. For general health, 20-60 billion cfu’s (colony forming units) is ideal. Don’t let price fool you either. We sell a probiotic that is $50 for 90 capsules of 50 billion cfu per dose. It seems pricey, but another brand we sell is only 900 milion cfu and contains 30 capsules. It’s $30 so it seems cheaper, but you’d need to take over 50 of them to equal the dose of one capsule of the $50 bottle.
That’s it for “The Basics”. Depending on your condition and any health issues you may have or stress you might be under in your life, there are also many options of supplements you can take in addition to these three. For guidance on these supplements, ask a health care provider that is familiar with the use of natural supplementation.
(Dr. Touchinsky is a chiropractor in Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County. He helps people develop strategies to improve their health and overcome issues through changes in diet and other lifestyle factors. For a free consultation to discuss your issues and determine if he can help, call the office at 570-366-2613.)