Why Take Nutritional Supplements

Why Take Nutritional Supplements?

Imagine you get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated, and eat all your fruits and vegetables in a perfect world. You may ask yourself, “Why does my body need extra supplements? I have all the vitamins and nutrients I need, right?”… I wish it was that easy. Here are some of the reasons you may want to consider taking dietary supplements, no matter how healthy your lifestyle may be.

1) Filling That Nutritional Gap

90% of people don’t get the recommended amount of essential nutrients from food alone. We fail to meet dietary recommendations due to strict dieting, poor appetite, or changing nutritional needs. Supplementation is intended to bridge the nutritional gap to maintain the proper balance of nutrients from food and supplementation. This will enhance the nutrient density of your diet and make sure you are obtaining the right amount of nutrients to achieve optimal health. 

2) Exercise Increases Nutrient Demand

Are you an athlete, or do you exercise frequently? Athletes and regular gym-goers require a lot of energy and nutrients to stay in shape. As you exercise, your body uses up the energy and nutrients that have been stored in your body. It is vital to replenish these essential nutrients, fuel your energy levels, and promote recovery after an intense workout. On top of the benefits of increasing recovery, targeted supplementation has improved exercise performance.

3) Nutrient Absorption Declines with Age

As you age, malabsorption becomes a problem because your body doesn’t have the same capability to break down and absorb nutrients as it used to. The production of digestive enzymes, which break down and absorb nutrients from your food, naturally begins to decline the older you get. You may also be taking more medications than you did when you were younger. Many modern medications deplete essential nutrients. Supplements can help restore this imbalance.

4) Soil Depletion

Modern high-density farming techniques use methods that deplete the soil and rob the plants of essential nutrients. Fertile soil is a crucial agricultural element for absorbing the proper amounts of minerals. Without this, the plant cannot form essential vitamins. Due to this occurrence, it is good to supplement those nutrient deficiencies accordingly to allow your body the nutrients it needs.

The following is a list of supplements that may help some everyday issues that we get asked about in the office. If you are interested in taking a deeper dive into supplementation, most of our recommendations are from www.Examine.com. They provide unbiased research and peer-reviewed studies on multiple supplements and even have targeted supplement options for many issues that you may face in everyday life.

DISCLAIMER:

Any product or supplement recommendation on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other health care professional. 

You should consult with your physician or healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, or supplementation program, before taking any food supplement. Some supplements may interfere with medications and cause internal complications.

Suppose you use any pharmaceuticals prescribed by a doctor or undergo medical therapies. In that case, you must consult with the doctor in question or an equally qualified Health Care Professional before using any nutritional supplementation. 

Top 4 Foundational Supplements:

1. Fish Oil

Fish oil consists of omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation, increase brain function, and strengthen metabolic signaling pathways while providing benefits, including lowering triglyceride levels and decreasing depressive symptoms. The body is not efficient in producing its supply of omega-3, and they cannot be made from omega-6 fatty acids that are seen more often in our diets. Fish oils are safe to take in proper doses with few side effects such as bad breath, burping, and heartburn, although eating food with these supplements can help prevent side effects.

Fish high in omega-3:

      • Mackerel, Herring, Tuna, and Salmon

For those seeking general health, it is recommended by the American Heart Association to take 1 gram daily. As with all other supplements, consult with your physician before starting supplementation, and once approved, start with low dosages, gradually increasing over a period of time.

Recommended Brands: The following brands can be found on Amazon or at your local Costco

      • Nature Made Fish Oil
      • Kirkland Signature Wild Alaskan Fish Oil (Costco)
      • Nature’s Bounty Fish Oil

2. Turmeric

One spice quickly gaining popularity in the supplement industry is known as Turmeric. Turmeric is often found in curry and appears bright yellow due to a bioactive substance known as curcumin that aids in decreasing inflammation and alleviating chronic pain along with symptoms of depression. 

While Turmeric has been around for quite some time, it has recently shown its face in the supplement market. Recent studies show that turmeric supplementation can also lower triglyceride levels, prolong the onset of osteoarthritis, reduce injury risks, and prevent fat build-up within the liver for those who do not abuse alcohol. Therefore, studies are still being completed to learn how Turmeric can be beneficial to an individual.

Dosage recommendations for Turmeric often range from 500-2,000mg per day, depending on the supplement and its potency. As with all other accessories, consult with your physician before starting supplementation, and once approved, start with low dosages, gradually increasing over some time.

Brands: The following brands can be found on Amazon or at your local Costco

      • Nature’s Lab Turmeric Extract
      • Now Turmeric
      • Nature’s Bounty Turmeric
      • Qunol Turmeric capsules (Costco)

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D is one of the most heard of vitamin supplements; however, many do not know what a proper intake should look like. While skin exposure to sunlight is an initial vitamin D generator, many people do not receive enough sunlight to ensure optimal levels. 

As we age with low vitamin D levels, synthetization levels begin to decrease and prevent food nutrients from being absorbed, causing them to be stored in the belly fat that often develops in aging individuals. Two of the most common vitamin D supplements are D2 (from plants and fungi) and D3 (from sun exposure).

Foods Rich in Vitamin D:

      • Fatty fish
      • Fortified Foods: Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Breakfast Cereal, Bread, Orange Juice, & Margarine

Vitamin D is one vitamin that should not be taken over the suggested limits due to a toxicity risk that can lead to hypercalcemia and kidney stones. Daily doses change with age, and values received from food should be calculated into the supplemental intake. Before beginning supplementation, consultation with a health professional should ensure that precise needs are met.

Average recommendations for those aged 1-70 suggest consuming no more than 600 IU’s (15mcg) daily and no more than 800 IU’s (20mcg) daily for those over 70. Supplementation should be taken with a portion of food containing fat for optimal absorption.

Recommended Brands: The following brands can be found on Amazon or your local Costco.

      • Nature Made Vitamin D3
      • Nature’s Bounty Vitamin D3
      • Now Vitamin D3
      • Kirkland’s Signature D3 (Costco)

4. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) or a B-Complex 

Vitamin B12 is found in high concentrations within animal products, making it hard for vegans and vegetarians to ensure adequate intake. Deficiency from vitamin B12 can result in a variety of health problems including, nerve damage, mood disorders, anemia, and cognitive impairment. Absorption of the vitamin also decreases as we age, making supplementation essential for maintaining optimal health.

Recommendations suggest that 100-400mcg should be taken per day. Those with absorption issues taking the medication Metformin should aim for the higher end of the range. Your body will not absorb more than it needs; therefore, excess amounts will not affect it.

As with all other supplements, consult with your physician before starting supplementation, and once approved, start with low dosages, gradually increasing over some time.

B-Complex contains all of the water-soluble B vitamins. If you would like to get all of them with no specific aim of supplementing just one possible deficiency, then B-Complex may be your best choice.

Recommended Brands: The following brands can be found on Amazon or your local Costco.

    • Nature Made Vitamin B12
    • Nature’s Bounty B12
    • Kirkland Signature B12 (Costco)
    • Now B12

Top 3 Supplements for Heart Health:

1. Cocoa

Often individuals hear the word chocolate and immediately begin to think of junk food, but what if we told you that choosing the right type and form of chocolate could potentially improve your health? Cocoa has been shown to positively support nitric oxide levels that result in increased blood flow and a decrease in blood pressure for those who have hypertension. It is possible that cocoa also helps reduce inflammation within the blood vessels, preventing internal blockages and assisting in heart disease prevention.

Recommendations for taking cocoa polyphenols is 1 gram, which can be achieved by consuming 30 grams of unsweetened cocoa powder or 40 grams of dark chocolate (75% or more cocoa content). Milk chocolate and white chocolate are not good sources of cocoa, and health benefits will not be received.

Recommended Brands:

      • Powders:
        • Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
        • Ghirardelli Unsweetened Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
        • Navitas Organics Cacao Powder
      • Bars:
        • Hu Simple Dark Chocolate
        • Lindt Smooth Dark Chocolate
        • Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate

2. Garlic

Just another cooking staple? Think again. The daily consumption of garlic has shown significant health benefits by boosting the immune system, reducing internal inflammation, increasing cardiovascular health, improving hair and skin health, protecting from food-borne illnesses, and aiding fungus treatment. Garlic tends to increase the nitric oxide signaling, which lowers blood pressure, prevents high cholesterol, and protects against atherosclerosis.

It is recommended to consume 3-6 cloves of garlic over the course of each day to receive maximum health benefits. The cloves should be chopped or crushed so that the bioactive compounds may be activated. The garlic should then be consumed raw or cooked below a temperature of no higher than 140 degrees Fahrenheit; otherwise, the compound’s pH levels will change, leaving them unable to fulfill their roles of desired health benefits. 

For those who do not like garlic, an extract can be taken daily between 600-1,200mg. It is essential not to exceed the daily recommendations of garlic consumption to avoid the risks of low blood pressure, increased bleeding times, and reducing the efficacy of other medications.

As with all other supplements, consult with your physician before starting supplementation, and once approved, start with low dosages, gradually increasing over a period of time.

Recommended Brands: The following brands can be found on Amazon or your local Costco.

      • Any Fresh or Store-Bought Garlic
      • Kyloc Aged Garlic Extract One per Day Cardiovascular Formula
      • Now Garlic/ Garlic Oil supplement

3. Nitrates

Nitrates are chemical properties found in food that break down into nitrites when consumed. The body then uses nitrites to form nitric oxide, increasing blood flow and lowering blood pressure. The best way to obtain sufficient amounts of nitrates comes from various foods, specifically beetroot (supplemented as powder or juice) and leafy greens.

Recommendations claim that individuals should strive for 6.4-12.8 mg of nitrates per kilogram of body weight which converts to 2.9-5.8 mg per pound. As with any supplement, it is vital to check the dosage listed on the back of the label and consult with a medical provider before starting any supplementation.

Foods High in Nitrates: Arugula, Turnip greens, Dill, Collard greens, Spinach, Swiss chard, Turnips, Rhubarb, Beetroot, Celery, Mustard greens, Radish, Lettuce, Watercress, Bok choy, Kale, and Parsley

Recommended Brands: The following brands can be found on Amazon or your local Costco.

      • Nature’s Bounty Beet Root Extract
      • HumanN Super Beets Powder
      • Love Beets (Powder or Juice)

Top 3 Supplements for Healthy Bones & Joints

1. Glucosamine & Chondroitin

Glucosamine is a supplement derived from shellfish and most commonly sold as a supplement for joint health. Research has shown that supplementation glucosamine sulfate can slow the onset of osteoarthritis by reducing the rate at which collagen deteriorates around the joints. Glucosamine is an excellent supplement for all individuals and is especially beneficial for athletes or those who participate in high-impact events daily. 

Studies have shown that supplementation during these activities is likely to slow joint degradation. All research proves that glucosamine is safe to take with minimal side effects such as bloating or gas. It is important to understand that glucosamine does not have the power to prevent osteoarthritis; however, it may significantly reduce the rate of its onset.

The recommendation for glucosamine supplementation is to take 300-500 mg three times a day for 900-1,500mg. Along with proper dosing, it is critical to ensure that the appropriate form is supplemented. When shopping for a supplement, it is essential to purchase either glucosamine sulfate salts or glucosamine sulfate as other forms will be ineffective. Supplementation should be taken with food to ensure optimal absorption, and an upset stomach should be avoided.

As always, be sure to consult with your physician before starting any new form of supplementation. Some supplements may interfere with medications (especially Warfarin) and cause internal complications, including bruising or bleeding. Those allergic to shellfish should be cautious of possible allergic reactions as a response to supplementation.

Recommended Brands: Cost-effective and reliable supplementation sources can easily be found on Amazon or at your local Costco.

      • Live Well (Move Well)
      • Now Glucosamine and Chondroitin
      • Kirkland Signature Glucosamine and Chondroitin (Costco)

2. Boswellia Serrata

Boswellia serrata is a plant used in Ayurvedic medicine to alleviate joint pain. Research suggests that it could effectively relieve joint pain and improve knee flexibility in people with osteoarthritis. More evidence is needed before being recommended for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Studies on Boswellia serrata use one of two patented extracts: 5-Loxin and Aflapin. Take 100–250 mg once a day with food to supplement either. Alternatively, you can try taking 1,800 mg of the plant’s gum oleoresin three times a day (i.e., 5,400 mg/day).

Like curcumin, Boswellia serrata has been combined with lipids to increase its bioavailability (the same company that makes Meriva for curcumin makes Casperome for Boswellia serrata), but further research is needed to determine dosage for joint health.

Recommended Brands: Cost-effective and reliable supplementation sources can easily be found on Amazon.

      • NOW Boswellia Extract
      • Thorne Boswellia Phytosome
      • Nature’s Way Boswellia

3. Magnesium

Aside from calcium, magnesium is one of the major minerals found in bones. A deficiency of magnesium can result in bone loss, an increase in blood pressure, and a reduction in glucose tolerance. Because of the western diet, it is not uncommon to see magnesium deficiencies among American’s; however, this can be improved through a proper diet and supplementation. Food sources containing high magnesium levels include whole grains, legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts, seafood, and dark chocolate (+75% cocoa).

For those unable to meet magnesium requirements through whole foods, it is recommended that individuals start with 200mg once a day while keeping in mind that the upper limit level is 350mg. Excessive amounts may cause gastrointestinal issues to occur. Magnesium can impair the absorption rates of other nutrients and medications; therefore, it is important to take magnesium at least six hours apart from other medicines. One suggestion is to take magnesium before going to bed since it does create feelings of sedation and might allow for a better night’s rest.

As with all other supplements, consult with your physician before starting supplementation, and once approved, start with low dosages, gradually increasing over a period of time.

Recommended Brands: The following brands can be found on Amazon.

      • Pure Encapsulations Magnesium (Glycinate)
      • NOW Magnesium Glycinate
      • Nested Naturals Magnesium Glycinate Chelate

Top 2 Supplements for Brain Health and Memory:

1. Blueberries

Blueberries are full of nutritional superheroes, including anthocyanins that help protect the brain and may decrease the rate of cognitive decline. While the working memory might benefit from blueberry consumption, studies show that episodic memory and executive function are most likely to benefit. Episodic memory is the long-term memory that holds all of our memories, from special events to milestones and experiences. 

At the same time, executive function is the set of cognitive processes used when actively making behavioral choices. Nutrient components within blueberries can also increase the activity of the neuronal growth factor (acts as a neurotransmitter) to help neurons grow and branch out, creating a more robust communication system throughout the nervous system. 

Blueberries can be consumed fresh, freeze-dried, powder form, and even as a pure anthocyanin.

Daily Recommendations for each form are listed below:

      • Blueberry Anthocyanins: 0.5-1g/day
      • Blueberry Powder: 12g/day
      • Blueberry Juice: 17oz/day (cheap juices may lack anthocyanins, check the label to be sure)
      • Fresh Blueberries: 60-120g/day
      • Freeze-dried Blueberries: 24g/day

As with all other supplements, consult with your physician before starting supplementation, and once approved, start with low dosages, gradually increasing over a period of time.

Recommended Brands: The following brands can be found on Amazon or your local Costco.

      • Fresh or dried blueberries
      • Trunature Blueberry Extract
      • Zazzee Whole Fruit Blueberry Extract

2. Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa monnieri is a swamp plant used in traditional Indian medicine to improve memory and cognition. While most effective for older adults, it can benefit all age groups, but only after one month of supplementation. 

Bacopa monnieri reliably improves working memory (to use a computer metaphor, your RAM, so to speak, which determines how much information you can keep at the forefront of your mind). Further research is needed to determine whether it affects verbal fluency, word processing, and attention span.

Take a dose once a day with food. Take 150 mg of bacosides, the active compound in Bacopa monnieri, so about 300 mg of an extract with a 55% bacoside content.

To supplement the leaf powder, assuming a 10–20% bacoside content, take 750–1,500 mg. Further research is needed to determine the efficacy and safety of higher doses.

Recommended Brands: The following brands can be found on Amazon.

      • Thorne Memoractiv
      • Onnit Alpha Brain
      • Doctors Best Bacopa

Top 2 Supplements for Sleep

1. Melatonin

In today’s society, long overstimulated days and sitting in front of blue light devices at night (tv, phone, computer), many individuals find it hard to fall asleep when the sun goes down. Melatonin directly controls our circadian rhythm, telling us when to sleep and wake up. The absence of light signals to the pineal gland that it should begin making melatonin to induce drowsiness and promote sleep; however, even once the sun goes down, our bodies do not experience the absence of blue-wave light. This is because we proceed to sit on our phones and in front of our tv until we choose to go to sleep. 

Sleep is not as much our choice as we would like to think, so we often find ourselves restless and unable to doze off. Supplementing melatonin can help alleviate insomnia and restlessness and fight jet lag in frequent travelers by decreasing the time it takes an individual to fall asleep.

Supplement recommendations include taking 0.5mg (500mcg) half an hour before going to bed and gradually increasing the dosage by 0.5mg each week until the lowest effective dosage is reached. Do not take more than 5mg per dose.

Before starting a supplement, please talk with your doctor to ensure that it is safe and not likely to counteract other medications.

Recommended Brands: The following brands can be found on Amazon or your local Costco.

      • Nature’s Bounty Melatonin
      • Nature Made Melatonin
      • Natrol Melatonin

2. Kava

Traditional Kava is a drink prepared from the roots of Piper Methysticum, a plant native to islands in the South Pacific, where it is used for its natural relaxing and enhancing social qualities.  South Pacific Islanders have historically used Kava as a safe, natural alternative to drugs and alcohol because it can bring significant mood-boosting, cognitive improvement, and anxiety-relieving effects. This allows users to loosen up and connect easier during social interaction. However, the main draw to Kava is that it provides these effects without any of the drunkenness that can impair fine motor skills and is non-addictive.

There is no doubt that Kava has become most famous for its anxiety and stress-relieving properties. 

Kava’s powerful effects on the GABA system in the body have also become well known as one of the most effective sleep-supporting agents found in all of nature.

The brand that has been studied, and the above information has been compiled from is https://gettrukava.com

Recommended Brand:

    • TruKava Kavaplex Oil