One of the most common questions I’m asked is “should I be taking daily supplements and if so, which ones are best?” If you’ve worked with me or read my other posts, you know that I say “you are what you digest (and absorb), more than what you eat.” In an ideal world, your diet would be filled with whole, real foods and your gut would be in perfect shape to absorb all of the nutrients you need. Unfortunately, our modern world doesn’t look like that anymore.
The Perfect Storm
The world we call home these days has nutrient-deficient soil (thus nutrient-deficient crops), and our Western diet is filled with calorie-dense and nutrient-poor processed foods, GMOs and pesticides. We are continually exposed to toxins in our food, water, air and even personal care and cleaning products. As if that weren’t enough, our stress levels have skyrocketed and many people are dealing with gut imbalances, such as Candida and SIBO, which get in the way of proper nutrient absorption.
This combination of a decline in nutrient-dense food and an increase in stress, toxins and gut imbalances is why we can no longer get all of the vitamins and minerals we need from our diet alone. It’s what I refer to as “the perfect storm” and why I believe everyone should use a few essential supplements to maintain optimal levels of nutrients.I believe everyone should use a few essential supplements to maintain optimal levels of nutrients. Click To Tweet
As we are all unique individuals and biochemically different, the answer to which supplements are best for your body is not always easy to discern or obvious. Given the world we live in, I do believe that everyone should be taking supplements of some sort, but the best regimen for you may be different than what is best for your spouse, or sister or daughter. That being said, there are a few crucial supplements that I recommend for everyone to take.
4 Crucial Supplements Everyone Should Take
1. High-Quality Multivitamin
Even if you are eating a healthy diet filled with a variety of whole foods, it’s likely you may be deficient in some vitamins and minerals due to the decreased nutrients available in modern foods, increased stress levels and toxin exposure and the increasing prevalence of gut imbalances. Since there is no way to know exactly which nutrients you’re deficient in without proper testing,I recommend a high-quality multivitamin to all of my clients and their families.
The multivitamin I recommend from USANA Health Sciences, Inc. is high-potency and designed for optimal absorption and bio-availability, because as I said before, you are what you digest. The multivitamin, The CellSentials, is more than just a multivitamin- it’s a cell renewing powerhouse.
Formulated to not only prevent deficiency diseases, the CellSentials provide advanced levels of micronutrients to retain optimal health and energy levels. The CellSentials are a four-part formula that contain essential vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, other beneficial building blocks and cofactors for the body and a unique InCelligence complex that helps activate the body’s own natural defense and health mechanisms. I personally take the recommended dose of USANA’s CellSentials every morning and night.
2. Omega 3
The benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids are widely known. They reduce inflammation and may help lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Plus, because they are highly-concentrated in the brain, Omega-3 fatty acids are also important for memory, cognition and behavior.
Maintaining sufficient levels of Omega 3 is important, but just half the story. It’s also important to ensure you have a proper Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio in your body. You need both of these fatty acids to stay balanced and healthy. Problems arise when your body consumes more Omega-6 fatty acids (which are often inflammatory) than Omega-3 fatty acids (which are anti-inflammatory).
Researchers say that humans evolved on a diet consisting of an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ration of 1:1. The modern diet, which is full of processed foods, refined oils and not enough fruits and vegetables, provides an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio of 15:1 to 17:1. You can see why this ratio is a problem and can be a recipe for disaster (i.e., dis-ease in the body). This is where Omega-3 supplements can help.
You want to be particularly careful about the source of your Omega-3 supplements because they are extracted from fish, so many of them contain mercury. The high-quality, ultra-pure fish oil supplement that I recommend is purified using high vacuum molecular distillation. USANA distills this BiOmega supplement twice to ensure a maximum level of purity.
Molecular distillation removes impurities (heavy metals, dioxides, etc.), saturated fats, and other undesirable organic compounds, leaving only the key beneficial components of the fish oil. Plus, this Omega-3 is a whole-body oil (not a liver oil) made from wild caught anchovies and sardines – small fish with short life spans which are naturally much lower in contaminants than larger fish (such as salmon, tuna, etc.). I personally take 2 capsules of USANA’s BiOmega per day.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is unique in a couple of key ways. First, your body can make its own vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Second, vitamin D is converted into a hormone in your body. Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers, they travel through your blood to your tissues and organs activating chemical reactions that control everything from metabolism to growth and development of mood. Is this the MVP of supplements, or what?
Over 50,000 of the chemical reactions in your body require the presence of adequate amounts of vitamin D in your blood. The vitamin contributes to bone strength, heart health and cancer prevention. Vitamin D also plays an important role in your immune system and can be a determining factor in whether or not you develop and autoimmune disease.
Conventional medicine defines vitamin D3 levels of 30 to 100 ng/mL as normal, but I recommend keeping your vitamin D3 levels around 60 to 90 ng/mL for optimal health. If your vitamin D3 levels are low, you can take 5,000 to 10,000 IU per day until you reach the ideal level. USANA’s Vitamin D product is intended to supplement the dosage contained in the CellSentials (mentioned above) for those who require more vitamin D than what those products provide. I personally take 6,000 IU per day of vitamin D between the CellSentials (see link above) and this product.
What my Doc wants me to tell you: Those supplementing greater than the UL of 100 mcg (4000 IU) per day should only do so under the supervision of a medical provider, and undergo regular blood tests to determine vitamin D status.
The future of wellness (and medicine) is turning toward your microbiome, the ecosystem of bacteria and other microbes that live in your gut, to prevent and reverse many diseases. We now know that nearly 80% of your immune system is located in your gut and up to 95% of your serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood) is produced in your gut.
This means that if the balance of bacteria in your gut is out of balance, it can lead to a whole host of problems, including autoimmunity, depression and anxiety, to name a few. Taking a daily probiotic can help your microbiome stay balanced, which promotes a healthy GI tract, relieves digestive issues, promotes normal bowels and supports overall well-being.
While probiotics have known benefits, there are many factors to consider when choosing a specific probiotic supplement.
First, note that different probiotic products utilize different bacteria strains. Numerous probiotic strains are available, many of which have very little to no clinical data regarding their benefit or physiological activity.
Second, stability is a huge problem with most strains of bacteria. Shelf-life for most strains is very short and many strains need refrigeration. Even refrigerated products can have poor viability and very short shelf-lives. In addition, many strains that have good data in culture or in vitro show no viability when exposed to the actual human digestive process. If a strain does not make it through digestion all the way to the intestine to colonize, its benefit is questionable.
The probiotic supplement I recommend from USANA is the result of many years of research and combing through data in search of a product unaffected by these potential roadblocks. The two strains used in this product have extensive clinical and human data to support benefit and viability. Most commonly used strains do not.
I recommend 100 billion units daily for healing gut damage, infections and imbalances and 30-60 billion units daily for maintenance. I personally take this probiotic every other day blended with my smoothie.
Where Should I Purchase Supplements?
Supplements are an unregulated industry and not all products are created equal. This is why I spent months researching supplement companies and products before I chose my product partner for my wellness business. I wanted to know I was recommending the best products to my clients, family and friends- plus I want the best for myself. I even toured the manufacturing facility of USANA in Salt Lake City in August of 2016- see this instagram post from that day.
Not only are the products I recommend personally vetted by me, they are pharmaceutical grade, meaning higher quality and often higher dosages than over the counter. They have been tested by third-party companies to ensure that the ingredients are what they say they are and that they are free of gluten, dairy, soy and corn (unless otherwise marked).
You certainly do not have to purchase your supplements from my online store, but if you do buy them elsewhere, always make sure to purchase supplements that meet Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) standards. The GMP seal means that the manufacturer has evaluated the purity, quality, strength, and composition of the supplement, that the supplement is safe to take, and that it’s exactly what the manufacturer says it is.
If you’d like individual support from a health & transformation coach, look no further. I’d love to support you on your health and healing journey. I create a deep and transformative coaching experience to my clients who are ready to heal and move on with their lives–which, surprisingly, may start with healing your gut! To see if we are a fit to work together, schedule a complimentary health goals and strategy session with me here.
To Your Health,
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Disclaimer: My blog provides general information and discussion about supplements, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.