There are a lot of conflicting messages swirling around us when it comes to supplementation. It makes it hard to know what we really need to be taking and if any supplements are even worth the money. We have a vast pharmacy at Longevity, and over the last year I’ve been learning about our hundreds of products and what they do. I still have a long way to go in this department, but I think I’ve gotten the fundamentals. No matter the reason for a patient’s visit to our office, we always start with the basics, looking at ways to boost the person’s immune function, improve digestion and correct nutrient deficiencies.
So I thought it would make a good post to talk about the four supplements that I believe everyone should be taking, even if you are in perfect health (aka denial).
Whole Food Multivitamin
You might already take a multivitamin to make sure your body gets all the necessary nutrients. Many people faithfully take Centrum every day, but the problem with it and other brands you might see in the grocery store is that they are synthetic and very difficult for our bodies to absorb. That’s why a whole food multi is a better option (They can come in a liquid, chewable or powder form as well.). Our bodies can recognize and use them because they are real food, not some concoction created in a lab. Even if your diet is packed with organic fruits and veggies, a whole food multi can provide added benefit. Since our air is so polluted and our soil so depleted, our food supply is about ten times less nutritious than it was just 100 years ago. In addition to eating as whole and healthy as we can, we have no choice but to adjust by supplementing with a high-quality whole food multivitamin (If you’re taking pre-natal vitamins, go for a whole-food version as well!).
Believe it or not, your digestive tract contains about 400 different types of bacteria that promote a healthy digestive system by reducing the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast. Since Americans are eating so many processed foods and taking so many antibiotics these days, we’re lacking in beneficial bacteria. That’s why it’s important that we support our digestive systems by eating foods high in probiotics and taking a probiotic supplement. Many people notice positive improvements in their digestive and immune function when they start taking a probiotic on a regular basis!
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
I’ve already talked a bit about the importance of getting plenty of good fats into our diets. With a quality fish oil supplement, you can get all the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids (healthy levels of cholesterol, heart, brain, joint and skin health) from fresh fish, without potential exposure to mercury and other heavy metals. You can also get your essential fatty acids from vegetarian sources such as flax seeds, hemp hearts and Primrose Oil. The classic American diet is devoid of Omega-3s, so once again it’s important that we take a supplement.
Free radicals are electrically charged ions or molecules that have an unpaired electron in their outer shell. This makes them unstable and very destructive to nearby molecules. Free radical damage can lead to cancer, bone, joint and tissue deterioration, premature aging, organ decline and immune dysfunction. Antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium and Beta-Carotene combine with and deactivate free radicals. We can get antioxidants by eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies (Think green veggies like spinach, broccoli and kale and fruits like berries.). Once again due to the depletion of our soil, it’s also necessary to supplement with an antioxidant. We need all the help we can get to combat free radical damage.
Obviously, there are tons of other supplements that are beneficial, but I really think these should be everyone’s staples. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Have a great weekend, and stay cool!