A few days ago I answered some of the hot questions when it comes to supplements and I got a little carried away. This time I promise, we’re definitely going to get to The Big 5 supplements you should be taking 4 Your Health.
We covered in the last blog post why we very likely aren’t meeting our nutrient requirements through whole foods alone. Whole foods definitely have to come first, that’s always the focus for me and my clients, but more often than not it’s just not enough.
“But my blood work always says I’m all good,” I hear you say.
Don’t be fooled. Conventional blood work labs sport an incredibly wide range for acceptable levels of vitamins and minerals. You can be clinically deficient or sub-optimal (meaning you’re functioning is being negatively affected), but still fall within the “acceptable” parameters on any conventional blood work panel. For instance, the acceptable level for Vitamin D on your typical blood work lab is 20-80 ng/mL and sometimes even 20-100 ng/mL. The clinically optimal levels of Vitamin D for comparison are 50-70 ng/mL. So you could test at 21 ng/mL and be given the all clear, the same as if you tested at 60 ng/mL, when really, you’re only 2 ng away from now being “deficient”. That to me is lunacy.
We shouldn’t have to wait until we get these extremes of deficiency or toxicity to then have to take action. You’ve lost so much ground by the time you get outside these ranges on your conventional blood work.
Now that I’ve well and truly covered our need for supplements, lets finally get to The Big 5 you want to be taking to take to ensure you’re getting adequate amounts of essential nutrients to function properly.
1. Multi-Vitamin and Mineral - Ideally we want 100% RDI (recommended daily intake) or close to just so we have that as a safety net. No matter what happens the rest of the day, you know you’ve covered 100% or near of the major vitamins and minerals your body needs. EVERYONE can benefit from this. Don’t believe those people that tell you you’re just buying expensive piss.
A study from the National Institute of Health in America looked at over 20,000 women, over 20 years, and found that life span was increased in those women that took a daily multivitamin versus those that didn’t. There was a 35% lower risk of heart disease over those 20 years for those taking the multivitamin too. These weren’t even the good quality multivitamins I would prefer to recommend to people, just your standard run if the mill multi’s. We do have to consider that people who take multi’s are likely to be more health conscious, exercise more etc. but still, 35% is very significant. Not only that, this study took into account a host of factors such as family history, diabetes, obesity, smoking etc. of it’s participants so the results are not affected that way.
2. Omega 3 - I well and truly showed how effective and necessary these essential fatty acids are in my last blog post. Unless you’re eating wild fish (sardines, anchovies, trout, salmon, mackerel) 3-4 times a week you ARE DEFICIENT. Why not Tuna? While tuna offers some good omega-3, to get the levels we’re after is going to expose us to too much mercury. I recommend 2-3g of omega-3 a day. That’s not the same as 2-3g of fish oil! You need to check the label for the combined amount of EPA+DHA (ideally want more EPA) to get the omega-3 content. Omega-3 is mostly know to help greatly with inflammation, and inflammation is linked to 90% all disease.
3. Magnesium - Energises the brain, regulates the heart, reduces high blood pressure, strengthens muscles, builds bones, balances blood sugar, aids sleep, relaxes muscles, eases pain, improves digestion, helps your body utilise calcium… pretty amazing right? So we have all these amazing benefits, and yet 70-80% of the population is magnesium deficient!
I want you looking for 400-500 mg per day, up to 800 mg for larger people or people with high BP or high blood sugar. It is best taken in the PM as magnesium is a fantastic calming supplement and sleep aid. Personally I take 150 mg around lunch and 300 mg before bed. For people with sleep/stress problems, you can add a little extra at night to help with sleep. Please AVOID the Magnesium Oxide (MgO) from as it is poorly absorbed and basically just an expensive laxative (an example of a case where supplements can be a waste of money). I recommend Magnesium citrate or glycinate.
4. B vitamins - Amazing stress buffers and energy providers. They help power every cell in the body, they give you your energy! You want to get an Activated B50 Complex that contains all the B-Vitamins. The B50 refers to the dosage of the vitamins which is often 50 mcg, so if it’s not called B50, just check the dosages on the label. Best taken once per day at lunch. If you suffer from anxiety/stress or low energy, I can not stress enough how important it is for you to get your B vitamin levels healthy!
5. Vitamin D - The only people this may not apply to are those that are able to maintain a tan throughout the summer. Even then, supplementing during the winter and cooler months is a good idea. Just because you are in the sun does not mean you are getting the Vitamin D! If you are not getting a tan, you are not getting much Vitamin D.
Your Vitamin D supplement needs to be Vitamin D3. If it does not say D3 on the label, don’t bother. Take 4000 IU per day or 35IU per pound of bodyweight. Next time you get your blood done, you want to see 50-80 ng/mL. If you get under 50 but above 20, you’re doc. is likely to tell you you’re fine… kindly nod your head and ignore them.
There you have it, The Big 5!
Multivitamin + Mineral - daily, activated forms best
Omega-3 - 2/3g per day
Magnesium - 400-500mg per day, best in the evening.
B vitamins - B50 complex, 1 per day
Vitamin D - 4000IU daily if not maintaining a tan.
When we look at the amazing benefits of these supplements, the research behind them, the proven results obtained, and we see just how many people are deficient (especially for omega-3 and magnesium), we begin to see how important and effective they can be. Adoption of these supplements can make a HUGE difference to the health of the population.
Take The Big 5. It’s 4 Your Health.