So I was having dinner with some friends last night and was asked to give my top 5 supplements for general health. First off as a disclaimer I’d like to say that I really like to give personalized health recommendations based on testing and individual health needs. Also Ideally all our nutrients should come from a healthy, well balanced diet high in healthy fats, proteins, fruits and vegetables. That being said if I was forced to name my personal top 5 supplements that I would take on a desert island they would be:
1. Vitamin D (with K2) is so important for so many functions in our body. It is produced naturally through exposure to the sun but most people don’t get enough. It helps regulate the immune system and absorb calcium through the gut. Too much calcium is not a good thing however and can contribute to plaguing in arteries and lead to coronary artery disease. That’s where K2 comes in. K2 helps push calcium into bones and away from arteries. I love a product by QuickSilver that is a liquid pump based in glycerin of D3 and K2. A safe low dose is about 1-2K IUs of vitamin D per day. A good functional medicine doctor can check your D levels and suggest an appropriate dose.
2. Probiotics are naturally occurring bacteria that are present in a healthy gut. Having a healthy ratio of good bacteria is paramount to healthy digestion and also systemic health. Healthy gut bacteria not only crowd out the bad guys that cause disease but also produce beneficial compounds like vitamin K and short chain fatty acids like butyrate which are healthy for our hearts and cardiovascular system. Before recommending probiotics to a patient I like to get a lay of the land in their gut and run a test called a GI Map test by Diagnostic Solutions that is a DNA analysis of your stool. It’s a powerful tool in determining what is going on inside the gut. When recommending products I love getting probiotics through food so encourage vegan yogurt options high in healthy probiotics like KiteHill almond milk yogurt and Coconut Cult coconut milk yogurt.
3. Magnesium is naturally found in leafy green vegetables and other fruits and vegetables like mangoes and bananas. Unfortunately due to current modern eating habits we don’t consume enough magnesium. Magnesium is so important for a huge variety of enzymatic and metabolic functions. I love a product called Calm which is a magnesium citrate powder that you mix in a little water and tastes really good. Warning: If you take too much you may develop loose stools.
4. B vitamins Found in high amount in meat, dairy products and certain fruits and veg B vitamins are super important for a host of enzymatic and hormonal functions. Crucially important for energy production these important vitamins are also necessary for proper adrenal function. I love a product called Methyl protect which is a methylated B12, and folate. Some people have trouble methylating vitamins naturally so a methyl form can work better. Also MethylGuard by Thorne is super high quality and comes from a respected brand.
5. Fish oil-There’s some debate now on whether fish oil is really that good for you. It was previously thought to be very heart healthy and anti-inflammatory. There have been a couple of big meta analysis studies come out recently questioning the efficacy of fish oil. I still love it and routinely recommend to patients and take myself. It’s super important to use a good company with high quality controls because fish oil is easily adulterated with mercury and other heavy metals. I love the Nordic natural brand of fish oils. Super high quality and lots of independent quality control testing. I personally use a product called Omega LDL which also has CoQ10 and red yeast rice which is a naturally occurring statin that lowers cholesterol.
What are some of your favorite supplements? Comment below.