Monday, 11 December 2017

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Maximum Health: Which Supplements Do I Take, Doc?

By Rosie Main

Have you ever found your cupboards to be overflowing with vitamins and nutritional supplements? I have people walk in with these giant bags — sometimes three or four bags — and ask me to go through them all, one by one. I thought I would tell you the top nutritional supplements I feel are truly needed. I hate seeing people waste money on what are usually “bargain basement” nutrients that in the long run drain your wallet and potentially damage yourhealth. I hope this article helps you begin your journey to health.

Take these nutritional supplements

These foundational nutrients provide basic nutrient support you’re probably not getting from food. They can optimize nutrient status, reduce inflammation, and provide many other health benefits. For nearly everyone, I recommend some basics.

1. A full-spectrum multi-vitamin/mineral: A quality whole food that is plant-based, containing optimal nutrients in their most absorbable form in the correct ratios the way God made them. They usually include vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, all B vitamins, calcium, iron, phosphorus, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, and potassium. Higher-end multis might also include things like alpha lipoic acid, inositol, grape seed extract, Gingko biloba, and N-acetyl-L-cysteine. Among their many benefits, studiesshow a daily multi can contribute to the prevention of cancer and osteoporosis.

2. Fish oil: Inflammation plays a role in nearly every disease on the planet, including obesity. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are “essential” by definition because your body cannot make them. EFAs fall into two categories: omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3s are mostly anti-inflammatory and omega 6s are usually inflammatory (with a few exceptions). Whereas our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed about an equal ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, today we consume up to 50 times more inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids.

Wild-caught fish becomes an ideal way to get more of these crucial essential fatty acids, but most people don’t regularly eat fish. Even if you do, you could benefit from taking a fish oil supplement. Among the numerous benefits of taking omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) include brain, eye, heart health, joint health, and cognitive function.

Quality especially becomes paramount here, as many commercial fish oils can become quickly rancid and contain mercury as well as other toxins. From a dietary perspective, don’t forget there’s one other way to balance out your omega 3s and omega 6s — starting with reducing consumption of omega 6-dominant grain-fed beef (as opposed to grass-fed beef) and most farmed fish (as opposed to most wild fish).

3. Vitamin D: Many people are deficient in this vitamin that’s actually a hormone. Darker-skinned people such as African Americans and Hispanics especially have deficiencies, but if you’re not living in a sunny-most-of-the-year climate (most of us aren’t), you’re probablydeficient. Overall, researchers estimate about half the world population carries vitamin D deficiencies. Among its roles, vitamin D contributes to immune system function, brain health, digestion, cancer protection, hormone production, and bone formation. Researchers link deficiencies to many chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

To determine exactly how much vitamin D you should be taking, ask your doctor for a 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D Test. Individuals who test deficient can take a higher-than-typical dose of vitamin D (for example, 10,000 IUs per day) until falling into an ideal category, and then shift back to 2,000-5,000 IUs daily to maintain ideal levels in the body, which can be monitoredthrough this testing.

4. Probiotics: You are probably not surprised that the number one health complaint and reason people visit a doctor is because of gut issues. Gut health’s connection with overall healthhas become a hot nutrition topic, and rightly so: a healthy gut participates in brain function, digestion, vitamin and mineral absorption, immune function, and overall health. There are a number of factors which can contribute to the depletion of good gut flora — everything from the overuse of antibiotics to chronic stress — so, a quality probiotic is crucial for most people. Look for one that has billions of microorganisms with several bacterial strains. (In comparison, basic yogurt at the grocery store might only offer 1 or 2 bacterial strains and far fewer overall microorganisms.) Shelf life particularly matters here: these are live bacteria that can die out quickly. Therefore, keeping your probiotics in the fridge is a good idea.

5. Magnesium: Over 300 enzymatic reactions require this underrated mineral, in which upwards of 80 percent of Americans are deficient. Besides not getting enough magnesium in foods (nuts, seeds, and leafy greens are good sources), everyday culprits like chronic stress and caffeine can deplete what little magnesium we do get. Magnesium is a bulky mineral, so even agood multi will contain some but probably not optimal amounts — that’s why magnesium on its own is a good idea. I recommend a chelated magnesium supplement or powder. Start gradually and increase, since taking too much at once might leave you running to the bathroom.

You MIGHT also need these

Beyond the basics, a few supplements can step in and provide support for certain conditions; hence, we call these “conditionally essential nutrients.”

1. Digestive enzymes: Post-meal gas, bloating, and “running to the bathroom” become cues you aren’t completely breaking down your food. Chronic stress and age are among the culprits that reduce your body’s digestive enzyme production, making supplementing worth a shot. Research shows digestive enzyme supplementation can help digestive and absorption disorders,something I often see in people over 30 or people with chronic stress — which is a lot of people. This said, there are other ways to spark your body’s enzyme production on its own, by addressing food sensitivities and, as simple as it sounds, chewing your food, eating it slowly, and being careful what other foods you combine it with.

2. L-glutamine: In addition to its popularity for leaky gut syndrome, research shows this conditionally essential amino acid might benefit patients with weak immune systems — L-glutamine can help strengthen the immunity. For trauma of major surgery, glutamine can potentially speed up healing and recovery time. Athletes might also benefit using L-glutamine to speed up recovery times.

3. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): This powerful antioxidant particularly benefits heart muscle health. It is well-recognized that statin drugs (to reduce cholesterol) interfere with the production of mevalonic acid, a precursor of CoQ10 in the body, making CoQ10 supplementation crucial for individuals taking these types of medications. CoQ10 also works within your energy-producing mitochondria, so fatigue sufferers might benefit. CoQ10 also becomes ideal for vigorous athletes. Like fish oil, quality matters here, since most CoQ10 supplements are poorly absorbable. You’ll want to find one in a lipophilic carrier to enhance absorption.

4. Glucosamine: This naturally occurring substance helps synthesize and maintain cartilage and other connective tissue. Glucosamine supplementation can protect joints against athletic wear-and-tear and aging. Studies show supplementing can increase the amount of cartilage and fluid that surrounds the joints to prevent joint deterioration and reduce pain. Some supplements combine glucosamine with other joint-protecting, anti-inflammatory nutrients like chondroitin and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). These are perfect legit additions that might provide more benefits.

5. Curcumin: The primary compound found in turmeric can provide powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. Curcumin can benefit many chronic illnesses, including brain, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, and autoimmune diseases. Like CoQ10, find a curcumin supplement in an optimal lipophilic carrier.

As always we hope you begin taking action on maximizing your health. Feel free to text or email me directly at 208-859-6170 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Rosie Main, DC, owns Main Health Solutions at 2300 W. Everest Lane, Suite 175, in Meridian. She is also the host of Maximized Living Radio on 94.1 The Voice and KIDO 580 AM. For more information, visit

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