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Nutrition Month: Supplements

Nutrition Month: Supplements

In a $30 billion a year industry, you can buy a supplement for just about anything. From weight loss pills to collagen powder, there’s something on the market for every deficiency you can imagine, and some you’d never think of. The sheer number of different supplements available today can be overwhelming. While many supplements will be unique to the individual, there are a few experts recommend everyone takes.  

Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely beneficial to cognitive function and heart health. Unlike other fats, your body cannot produce polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3s), and the standard Western diet does not provide a substantial amount of the nutrient. For those reasons, it’s recommended men and women take approximately 250–500 mg of omega-3 per day from a supplement.

Multivitamins: While the subject of multivitamins has become a controversial one, research has shown filling in nutritional gaps with multivitamins has been proven effective. The best place to get micronutrients is from your diet, but if you need an extra boost a good multivitamin should suffice. When choosing a supplement to add to your daily routine, remember not all multivitamins are created equal. A multivitamin supplement that passes the test of quality and effectiveness includes an ingredient list of calcium (2,500 mg), folate (400 mcg), iron (8-14 mg), magnesium (300-420 mg), vitamin D (15 mcg) and B-12 (2.4 mcg) and zinc (8-11 mg).

Probiotics: Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that help your body to work more efficiently. Bacteria and yeast are already present in your gut, but when the balance of these cells is off, that’s when illness ensues. Probiotics help to restore gut health and ensure things are working properly not just in your gut, but throughout the body. Probiotics can be derived from fermented foods such as kombucha, kimchi and fermented sauerkraut, but if these items are not part of your diet, consider taking a probiotic supplement – usually in the form of a pill or liquid – to reap the benefits. Look for a supplement with 10-15 billion colony-forming units (CFU) per daily dose for immune and digestive support.

Knowing which supplements your body may benefit from can be a process of trial and error, but exploring omega-3 fatty acids, multivitamins and probiotic supplements is a good place to start.

If you’re unsure of which supplements to take, talk to your doctor – they may suggest a vitamin panel blood test which will allow them to see your current vitamin levels and pinpoint deficiencies that may be affecting your health.