You walk into any health food store, pharmacy, or supermarket and see thousands of bottles of vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies making numerous promises and health claims. Which ones are right for you? Do you even need to take any supplements? Feeling confused?
Should You Supplement?
Supplements can play an important part of any wellness plan as it’s pretty difficult to get all of the nutrients you need from your diet, even a perfect one. There are certain supplements, like Vitamin D, probiotics, and Fish oil, that are impossible to get enough of from food alone. We know how important these supplements are to a healthy body and mind:
- Fish Oil: The two important Omega-3 fish oils are EPA and DHA, vital for decreasing inflammation in the body, heart health, brain development, brain function, and retinal (eye) health. The typical diet is very low in Omega-3s, as your best sources are wild Alaskan salmon, wild Pacific halibut, black cod, herring, sardines, and lake trout. Unfortunately, most people do not eat enough of these to supply the body with sufficient amounts to provide the health benefits. Daily supplementation with a high-quality Omega-3 fish oil can fill in this nutritional gap.
- Probiotics: Did you know that 70% of your immune system is in your gut? So, if you’re not healthy on the inside, how can your immune system be up to par? Supplementing with a quality, multi-strain probiotic will help to colonize your GI tract with the healthy strains of bacteria (and outnumber the unhealthy bacteria) and boost your immune system.
- Vitamin D: This vitamin has been getting a lot of press lately, and for good reason. Current research has implicated vitamin D deficiency as a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more. Most people are vitamin D deficient, even those who live in latitudes that provide strong enough sun rays to help the body produce vitamin D. We recommend that you get your vitamin D levels measured via the 25-OHD blood test to find out your current level. Always consult with a health professional, such as a medical doctor, naturopathic doctor, or Registered Dietitian, who has experience in supplementation. The learn more about vitamin D, check out http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/
There are also plenty of supplements that you probably don’t need, but it’s hard to say what the correct supplements are for you unless you consult with a trained health professional, who can analyze your current dietary program, medical conditions you currently have, and assess your disease risk based on family history and current lifestyle habits.
The other thing to consider is this: with so many supplements lining the shelves, how do you distinguish one from another? Which companies make safe and reliable supplements? The supplement industry is an unregulated one, so there are no standards for purity, quality, and quantity. If you are looking for some guidance on better supplements, check out the Consumer Labs website http://www.consumerlab.com/ or look to the U Rock Girl line of supplements to help you achieve your health and wellness goals.