4 Essential Supplements Everyone Should Take
December 11th, 2015
4 Essential Supplements Everyone Should Take
One of the most common questions I’m asked is “should I be taking daily supplements and if so, which ones?” If you have heard me speak you know I always say, “ it’s not what you eat, it’s what you can digest and absorb.” In an ideal world, your diet would be pristine and your gut would be in perfect shape to digest and absorb all of the micro and macro nutrients you need to stay healthy. Unfortunately, the modern world looks very little like that anymore.
Our Western diet is filled with nutrient-poor and calorie-dense processed foods, GMOs, and pesticides. Even our soil has become devoid of nutrients, which means that the food that’s grown in it has declined in nutritional value. We are constantly exposed to toxins in our food, water, air, and even personal care and cleaning products. Our stress levels have skyrocketed and many people are dealing with gut issues, such as Candida and SIBO, which interfere with proper nutrient absorption.
This combination of a decrease in nutrients in our food and an increase in stress, toxins, and gut issues like leaky gut is why we can no longer get all of the vitamins and minerals we need from food alone, and I believe everyone should use a few key supplements to maintain optimal levels of nutrients.
Because we are all unique individuals and biochemically different, the answer to which supplements should you take is not so black and white. In today’s world, I do believe that everyone should be taking supplements of some sort, but the best supplement regimen for you may be different than what’s best for your mother or sister or brother. That being said, there are some essential supplements that I recommend for everyone to take.
1. High-Quality Multivitamin
Even if you’re following The Myers Way®, it’s likely that 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 issues. 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 my patients and their families.
The multivitamin I carry in my store is high-potency and designed for optimal absorption and bio-availability, because like I said before, it’s what you can digest and absorb that counts. It provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals, as well HCL to help with digestion and powerful carotenoids.
2. Omega 3
The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are widely publicized. They reduce inflammation and may help lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. And, because they are highly-concentrated in the brain, omega-3 fatty acids are also important for memory, cognition, and behavior.
In addition to maintaining sufficient levels of Omega 3, 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 healthy, but problems arise when your intake of omega-6 fatty acids (which are often inflammatory) outweighs your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (which are anti-inflammatory).
Research suggests that humans evolved on a diet consisting of an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 1:1. The modern diet, which is full of processed foods, refined oils, and not enough fruits and vegetables, supplies an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 15:1 to 17:1. This ratio is highly inflammatory and a recipe for disease. This is where Omega 3 supplements come in.
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 ones I carry in my online store have been tested and certified mercury-free by a third-party. Each softgel of our Omega 3 supplement provides 1300 milligrams of EPA and DHA – two omega-3 fatty acids that help balance your fatty acid ratio, reduce inflammation, and improve brain function. Those with rheumatoid arthritis or any other chronic pain condition can take up to 4 grams (3 soft gels) a day to reduce inflammation and pain.
The future of 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 thrown off, it can lead to a whole host of problems, including autoimmunity, depression, anxiety, and leaky gut, to name a few. Taking a probiotic every day can help keep your microbiome in balance, which promotes a healthy GI tract, relieves digestive discomfort, promotes a normal bowel pattern, and supports overall wellness.
Not all probiotics are created equal, though. Many probiotics contain a mixed bag of bacteria strains, are often grown using dairy, soy, or yeast, and usually need to be refrigerated, making them difficult to travel with. It’s best to take a broad-spectrum probiotic that includes bacteria strains that are naturally found in your gut, and have been researched and proven to boost gut health and immune response.
The probiotics in my store contain four proven strains, are free of dairy, soy, and yeast, and do not need to be refrigerated because of their special packaging. I recommend 100 billion units daily for healing gut damage, infections, and imbalances, and 30-60 billion units daily for maintenance.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is unique in a couple of important 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 to mood. 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 an autoimmune disease.
Conventional medicine defines vitamin D3 levels of 30 to 100 ng/mL as normal, but I always 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 your ideal level. The vitamin D supplement that I use and carry in my store combines vitamin D with vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin that is necessary for your body to properly absorb vitamin D. This combination D/K supplement is available as drops or capsules.
Never take more than 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day without a physician’s supervision and regular blood testing.
Bonus Supplement: Methylation Support™ (Methylated B-Vitamins)
By now, you’ve probably heard of MTHFR mutations (also called MTHFR defects), but you might not know exactly what having one of these mutations means.
Methylation is the biochemical process that helps turn toxins in safer substances that your body can remove. Basically, methylation allows you to detox effectively. Proper methylation depends on the presence of several vitamins and cofactors, including vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12.
When you have an MTHFR mutation, your body has difficulty converting these vitamins into forms that your body can readily use. If you have one MTHFR mutation, you absorb one-fifth of the amount of these vitamins as someone with no mutations. If you have two mutations, you absorb one-tenth. The vitamins may be present in your blood, but if you can’t utilize and convert them, they’re useless.
Many conventional medicine doctors miss vitamin B deficiencies in those with MTHFR defects because standard lab testing looks at the amount of B vitamins in your serum, rather than functional lab testing which is a better indications of your methylation needs.
In addition to genetics, poor diet, malabsorption of nutrients, toxic exposure, and certain medications can all interfere with proper methylation, so supporting the methylation process is always a good idea whether you have an MTHFR defect or not.
This is why I recommend a daily methylation support supplement. The one that I take and carry in my store contains pre-methylated vitamin B12, vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12, along with magnesium. For those with two mutations (like myself), I recommend two capsules a day, and for those with one or no mutations, I recommend one capsule a day. If you suspect a MTHFR defect, the blood test is offered through conventional labs, or you can use the saliva test offered through 23andMe.
Where Should I Purchase Supplements?
Supplements are an unregulated industry, and not all products are created equal. All of the supplements I carry in my store have been personally vetted by me and are pharmaceutical grade, meaning higher quality and often higher dosages than over the counter. They have also 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 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.
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