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4 Supplements You Need To Take

by Mark Davis on Jun 23, 2022

4 Supplements You Need To Take

One of the most common questions I get from my patients is, "Should I be taking a nutritional supplement? And if so, what do I need? And what type should I be taking?" And with so many options out there and so much information both good and bad on the internet, the entire process of figuring out what you need and what you don't need can be completely overwhelming. As a result, a lot of people either give up and take nothing, or they go for what's convenient at the grocery store and grab some low quality, once-a-day. I'm going to cut through all that confusion, break it down, and make it easy. And I'm going to share with you the four main supplements I feel every American would benefit from taking every single day to improve and maintain their overall health and wellness.


Multivitamin

So what are the four main supplements that Americans should be taking? The first one is a multivitamin. A multivitamin should contain essential vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. They're called essential for a reason. They're just that, they're essential. And your body absolutely needs these in order to function properly.


If you're deficient in any of them, your body's not going to work optimally.  When you're deficient, you're not going to notice it on the first day. Rather, it's the cumulative effect of this deficiency over time that departs us from health. Ideally, we would be getting all of our nutrients, all our vitamins, all of our minerals from foods that we eat. Unfortunately, the standard American diet, which we refer to as the SAD diet, is nutritionally deficient. Most of our food in the United States is highly processed and as a result, many of these foods don't have the nutrients in them that they should have or they would've had in their natural state. In fact, you can often see this on the box of these types of foods. You might see the words vitamin A, B, Z, whatever, fortified. What this means is the food that's in there, in order for the process to make it stable for long times on the shelf, it's been stripped of the nutritional benefits that were originally in that product. Therefore, synthetic vitamins needed to be added back in order to have it have any nutritional value. That definitely is not as good as having it in its original form.


What if you're the person that's not eating any of the boxed or processed foods? Maybe you're the person that shops on the outside aisles of the grocery store and eats more greens and vegetables and healthy food. Do you still need a multivitamin? Well, the likelihood is yes, and here's why. Due to a multitude of practices from higher per acre yield, genetic modification, increased herbicide and pesticide use, soil depletion, our food is less nutritionally dense than it was just a generation ago or a generation before that. In fact, I've read one report that suggests that in order to get the same level of nutrition that you would've gotten in a single cup of spinach in 1950, you would need to consume over a pound of today's harvested spinach.


If you're eating a healthy diet, it's likely you're still not getting all the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that you should. As a result, you might want to consider adding a high quality multivitamin. When I say high quality multivitamin, there's a couple of things you want to look for. First, I am not a big fan of the one a day multivitamins. It's because this type of vitamin is in a hard tablet form that's designed to dissolve slowly as it passes through your digestive system, it slowly releases a mix of these vitamins and minerals as it's digested. The problem with this is some vitamins and minerals are only absorbed in the stomach or the top portion of your intestinal tract. This makes no sense at all to be releasing these at the bottom portion. They're never going to be absorbed, and that's assuming that the tablet even fully digests in the first place.


Sewage treatment plants are reporting that they're having to deal with tons and tons of partially digested one a day tablets every single day. So you're going to want to take something that's actually digestible and you're not just throwing your money into the toilet. My suggestion to all of my patients is to take a capsule that immediately dissolves in the stomach. It should not be a one-a-day. It should at least be twice a day, half in the morning and half in the evening. You're actually getting all your nutrients in the same way that you would if you were getting those from a whole food source. 


Remember, when looking for a supplement, quality matters. Many popular, inexpensive brands contain fillers or unnecessary, even sometimes harmful ingredients. Things such as dextrose, fructose, maltodextrin, artificial colors, all these things that you don't need. 


Fish Oil

The second supplement I recommend is a fish oil. Fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids are good fats. The body needs this type of good fat. In fact, you actually need good fat to burn bad fat. That's why I'm not a big fan of low fat diets that are fads, because they also cut out the good fats. The problem with the standard American diet is it's very high in omega-6 fatty acids and very low in omega-3 fatty acids and this imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids causes someone to experience what we call cellular inflammation. Cellular inflammation is the precursor to many types of diseases and that's why studies have shown that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids has such a huge impact on cardiovascular health by decreasing things like bad cholesterol, while increasing the good cholesterol. It's also been shown to improve brain function, cognition, memory, recall, even slowing the development of dementia. It's even been shown to promote healthy skin, hair, and nails. Who wouldn't want all these benefits?


Vitamin D

The third supplement I recommend is taking vitamin D. Keep in mind the amazing thing about vitamin D is that our bodies make it from the sunlight. Our livers literally convert sunlight into vitamin D. Therefore, without question, the best way to get your vitamin D is from the sun. So if you can get your skin exposed to sunlight at least 30 minutes every single day, your body is likely going to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. But if you're living in higher latitudes, regularly wear sunscreen, or cover up to protect your skin, then you may want to consider supplementing vitamin D. In fact, one study showed that nearly 75% of the American population is deficient right now in vitamin D, which is the reason why I personally recommend it for nearly all of my patients.


"But what's so important about vitamin D?" Vitamin D has a huge impact on your immune system and now more than ever, it's imperative to pay attention to how well our immune systems are functioning and how well they're fighting off viruses and infections. Vitamin D also plays an important role with brain function. It works synergistically with omega-3 fatty acids to improve cognition, mood, concentration, and depression. Not only that, vitamin D is critical in getting calcium into the bone to maintain good bone density as we age. Most vitamins are what we call water soluble. That means they break down and are absorbed with water, and if you take more than your body needs, you'll simply urinate it out. The thing to pay attention to when taking vitamin D is it's not water soluble. Rather, it's fat soluble, all fat soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K, need to be in the presence of fat in order to actually be absorbed into the system. So you're going to want to take it with fat. That's why I also recommend taking it with the fish oil so that it's properly absorbed. 


Taking fistfuls of vitamin D every single day is not necessary and in fact, it's not beneficial. Taking too much is going to be stored in your fat cells, and it'll eventually become toxic if you continue taking excess. So keep that in mind when deciding how much you should be taking regularly based on your geographic location, exposure to the sunlight, and your overall lifestyle. An important note I want to make about vitamin D is I always recommend you find one that has vitamin K2 in it as well. This is going to ensure that it's absorbed properly into the body and can be utilized to drive calcium into the bones so you can have those strong healthy bones as we age.


Probiotic

Finally, the fourth daily supplement I recommend is a probiotic. Simply put probiotics are good bacteria that occur in our gut and they aid in the digestion and nutritional absorption. They help break down the food that we're eating and also help absorb the nutrients within those foods. But that's not all. They even help and support the immune system and help keep infections under control. So as you can see, they play an important role in your overall health. 


You must have a proper amount of good bacteria in your gut for these things to occur. If you have too much bad bacteria or too little good bacteria, it can have a significant impact on your overall health. Good bacteria work as gatekeepers, allowing nutrients to pass through the lining of the digestive system and into the blood vessels, while at the same time keeping toxins from passing through.


When we don't have enough good bacteria in our digestive systems, things that shouldn't be getting through get absorbed into the blood and they can have a cascade of problems that follow. 


Until next time, remember, health is by choice, not by chance.