Top 5 Supplements Everyone Should Be Taking
Fish oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). We cannot produce these in our bodies so it is essential that we receive them through our diet or supplementation. Krill oil is the best form, but cod liver oil is also effective. There is solid evidence to show that omega 3 fatty acids are necessary for a healthy heart and brain, aid in joint lubrication and play a role in reducing inflammation throughout the body. (1) It’s almost impossible to eat TOO much omega 3’s. Doses of 6-10 grams a day can even be modest, depending on the individuals needs and health concerns. If you eat out more than twice a week, it’s important to take fish oil to balance the higher omega-6 unstable fats in the oils that are commonly used in the cooking process in many restaurants like soybean, corn, canola, peanut, grapeseed, sunflower, and safflower oils.
This Krill oil by Onnit also contains Astaxanthan (200 mcg), which is a potent antioxidant and is responsible for the pinkish red color of salmon and shrimp. Since oils can go rancid fast, astaxanthan protects the fish oil from going rancid as well as has protective antioxidant to cell membranes, as a benefit to you. Since fish oil is concentrated from everything a fish consumes, be sure to find a company that sustainably sources their fish oil, avoids toxicants and organic pollutants like Mercury and protects from oxidation while on the store shelf with astaxanthin.
Vitamin D + Vitamin K2
There are at least 17 types of cancer that have been shown to be linked to low vitamin D levels, including breast cancer, prostate and colon cancers (6). Another study showed that more than three-fourths of people with a variety of cancers have low levels of vitamin D. (1) Keeping ample Vitamin D stores in the body (as it’s a fat-soluble vitamin), especially in Northern climates is important for overall prevention of sickness during cold and flu season.
Like Vitamin D, Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin and plays a central role in calcium metabolism. It is advantageous to combine these two because while Vitamin D maintain adequate calcium levels in the blood Vitamin K determines where calcium will end up in the body.
All that said, if you’re not taking Vitamin D and more importantly, haven’t had your levels checked recently…you need to! Find a naturopathic doctor or other functional medicine doctor who can run this lab for you.
It’s true -- about 80 percent of adults suffer from a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is needed for estrogen metabolism as well as mood regulation. Suicidality is associated with low cerebrospinal magnesium (3). Also, one study showed that Magnesium can improve clinical depression in as few as two weeks (4).
A quintessential cofactor for over 300 enzymes in the body and has been depleted in our food supply due to modern agricultural farming practices, so it’s something that is beneficial to supplement.
Magnesium loss is worse with additional medical conditions, physical exertion, perseration, urination and defection as well as period of up-regulated stress hormone production. There are many forms of magnesium. My favorite form for anxiety and muscle tension, nerve pain and leaky gut is magnesium glycinate. This form is very well absorbed. This is one of the best magnesium supplements for those with a deficiency or who simply want to boost levels due to stress.
Multivitamin or MVM (with Vitamin C and Minerals)
Taking a multi-vitamin everyday is insurance that you are getting the micronutrients you may be missing out on in food — even if you eat a vegetable and produce-rich diet, the soil is depleted in these micronutrients. Linus Pauling, a world renown scientist who changed how we know nutritional medicine forever, was quoted as saying “Every sickness can be traced to a mineral deficiency.” Especially true in skin conditions, there is usually a micronutrient deficiency. Providing these in a multivitamin in sufficient amounts can address this deficiency. To discover what micronutrients you may be deficient in, get in touch with a Naturopathic or Functional medicine practitioner who can run a NutraEval test to pinpoint which nutrients you are depleted in, so as to really address the root cause.
What should you look for in a MVM? It should contain Zinc picolinate, selenium (as L-Selenomethionine), Copper, Magnaese, Chromium and Molybdenum. It’s also optimal if the minerals are chelated, which are easier for the body to absorb. I like NatureWise Women’s Stress Support Multivitamin which has all these trace minerals, adaptogenic botanicals, plus digestive enzymes & probiotics. It can be found here in a Women’s formula and Men’s Formula. This multivitamin also has Ashwagandha for Stress Support. This arguably, was one of the most important supplement strategies I used in medical school to offset stress.
B vitamins are the cofactors needed for critical biological building processes in the body, such as making mood-balancing neurotransmitters, which are important when wanting to help with anxious or indecisive cognitive states. B vitamins are water soluble, along with Vitamin C and must be replenished daily.
Vitamin B-3 (Niacin) is effective at opening up capillaries and blood vessels, Niacin allows the restorative power of oxygenated blood to cleanse and detoxify the system.
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B-6) is one of the body’s most widely used vitamins, involved in an estimated 101 chemical reactions. One of it's primary tasks is to aid in the manufacturing of amino acids and neurotransmitters, including serotonin (see image) which helps to regulate mood.
B9 comes in several forms, as folate or folic acid or methyl folate. Methyl folate is a more preferred form if you don’t know your methylation status. Folate is next best. Fol’ic' acid is “ick” and you want to avoid it because it is not as easily converted to the active form.
B12 is commonly deficiency in a condition called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak. The vitamin helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA in every cell in the body. The process to absorb this vitamin is more complex than the others. Two steps are required for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from food. According to a study from 2016, "Metabolic B12 deficiency is common, being present in 10%-40% of the population; is frequently missed; is easily treated; and contributes importantly to cognitive decline and stroke in older people."
Photo credit: Onnit.com
Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA and DHA: Health Benefits Throughout Life https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/3/1/1/4557081
Vitamin D deficiency common in cancer patients https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111003132353.htm
Cerebrospinal fluid magnesium and calcium related to amine metabolites, diagnosis, and suicide attempts. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2578829
Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0180067
Metabolic vitamin B12 deficiency: a missed opportunity to prevent dementia and stroke. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26597770
The Role of Vitamin D in Cancer Prevention https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470481/
Dr. Amber Krogsrud
Functional Medicine | Naturopathic Doctor | Speaker | Naturopathic Director | Co-Founder & Medical Advisor |
I use diagnostic testing with a functional medicine lens to uncover the root of a health problem. In addition, I utilize a blend of naturopathic treatments including nutritional counseling, targeted supplementation, detoxification therapies, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, intramuscular injections, and in office, intravenous (IV) therapy. My areas of expertise include digestive disorders, hormone imbalances, and allergic conditions of all kinds. I welcome men and women of all ages into my practice. I have a passion for teaching (“docere” means doctor as teacher) and I take my time to ensure that each patient fully understands our approach and walks away with a comprehensive treatment plan.
You can connect with me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/drambernd
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