Dr. Harris’ Top Five Supplements For Optimal Health
Supplements are everywhere. Walk into your local health food store, and you will be inundated with choices. Take this supplement to help strengthen your immune system. Take that one to help maintain energy. Take yet another to make sure your hair and nails are strong. There are supplements which claim to keep you young, keep you sharp, clear your skin, and calm your nerves. There are also, unfortunately, supplements easily available which may be detrimental to your health. Deciding which ones you should take – and which you shouldn’t – can be overwhelming. It is important to realize that everyone is an individual. Your biochemical “signature” – that which makes you unique – is different from everybody else’s. Your age, health concerns, medications that you take, environmental exposures, and symptoms – among other factors – will all play a role in determining the correct combination for you. This simple fact is often forgotten in the marketing push to sell you supplements.
Despite this, there are 5 supplements which I always encourage my patients to consider. Of course, no supplement – no matter how great the health claim – should be taken without a conversation with your health care provider about your unique health status. My list represents only the most basic supplements. In addition, there are tests that can measure your specific nutritional deficiencies. The results will help determine which supplements you specifically need so you can achieve, and maintain, the best of health.
1) Essential Fatty Acids:
This is the active ingredient in “Fish Oil” we’ve all heard so much about. Essential Fatty Acids, or EFA’s, are anti-inflammatory, help lower triglycerides, help thin the blood, are vital for heart health, and are even implicated in memory and mood. They can also help reduce the discomfort of menstrual cycles. They are called “essential” because humans cannot produce enough of them naturally – they must be consumed. Natural Sources: Fatty Fish, Walnuts, Eggs, Edamame.
2) Vitamin D:
Vitamin D’s “claim to fame” is bone health, since low levels are associated with osteoporosis. But there is an abundance of research about this vitamin’s role in supporting the immune system, prevention of diabetes, and decreasing the risk of cancer – including breast and colon cancer. It is extremely difficult to get enough Vitamin D from foods or sun exposure, so supplements are often needed. Levels should always be measured before starting, since everybody’s specific requirement will be different. Natural Sources: Dark green leafy vegetables, fortified almond milk, raw almonds and other nuts.
3) A Multivitamin:
Having a basic multivitamin is important. However, everyone’s needs are different – so a vitamin regimen should be customized to your individual requirements. There are ways to tell which vitamins and minerals you need. But if you are unable or unwilling to undergo such testing, a well-rounded vitamin supplement should be considered.
These are responsible for cultivating and maintaining the beneficial microflora (“good” bacteria) in the digestive tract that work with the body in the digestive process, detoxification, elimination, nutrient production and absorption. Natural Sources: Cultured Greek yogurt (goat’s milk yogurt is better than cow’s milk yogurt), sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and other fermented foods.
The often forgotten mineral, magnesium helps your body absorb calcium and works in partnership with that mineral to aid in growth and development of healthy bones and teeth. It is also vital for maintaining brain health. Studies indicate that this mineral reduces mood swings associated with premenstrual syndrome and may help prevent premenstrual migraines. Natural Sources: Halibut, legumes, nuts and spinach. Remember, it is always better, if at all possible, to “eat your way to better health”. That is, it is always best to try to get vitamins and minerals through food first, which is why I’ve included some natural sources of the nutrients I listed. Unfortunately, we can’t always eat the “perfect” diet. Adding these 5 supplements to your daily regimen is a great first step toward optimal health and well-being.
Wishing you the best of health!
Should you have any questions, or would like to learn more, please call our office at 561-826-3800