There's a growing awareness that we don't get enough nutrients from our food and that it's necessary to supplement, and I agree with this position. However, I believe that there are some foundational supplements that everyone should be taking; I believe some supplements may do more harm than good; and I think some supplements need to be individually applied, because they can exacerbate a problem in one person while addressing a different situation in someone else.
There are thousands of specialty supplements, and some may be useful for specific health concerns. But again, addressing the needs of the general population, this is what I recommend everyone take:
- A broad spectrum multivitamin and mineral. I don't recommend one with iron unless you know you need it. Hair mineral analysis can help you determine more personally what you need. Otherwise, I would avoid tablets (these rarely break down) or anything with ingredients like artificial colors. I prefer liquids or capsules. Click here to save $10 on your first order of an affordable one I like. (Look for "Advanced Immune Defense.")
- 125 mcg (5000 IUs) of vitamin D3 if you don't get outdoors much or during the winter in the north, since the sun is then unable to help your body produce enough. (You can take lower amounts if you get sunshine / are in the south.) There's evidence that colds and flus may represent a lack of this vitamin. After researching the topic, I do NOT recommend products with vitamin K included, even though these are synergistic. Vitamins K1 / K2 are easy to get from your diet and, in spite of its benefits, there are also downsides to taking them in combination, and people on anti-coagulant medications should avoid the Ks anyway. Here's one I like on Amazon -- a year's supply for under $20, and 5 stars after an incredible 20,000 reviews. Real people seeing real results from it.
- At least one gram of omega 3 fatty acids each day. There is a lot of debate about flax or hemp seed seed oil versus fish oil versus krill oil. Animal oils seem to already be converted to a usable form by humans, and the argument says that the vegetable oils are hard for us to convert. But others swear by the vegetable oil. While Dr. Mercola strongly promotes krill oil, one of my other trusted sources suggests that it is toxic. If looking to fish oil, make sure the label tells you it is mercury free. Being very small, sardines minimize the mercury problem, so they're a good source of omega 3s ... but many people don't want to eat them. Here are some options on Amazon.
- Kelp. There's extensive research showing that virtually no American gets enough iodine, and this causes a lot of thyroid problems of course. Kelp provides iodine and actually works as a mineral supplement, as it literally has hundreds of minerals and trace minerals, including bioavailable calcium. And kelp doesn't have problems of other green powders like chlorella and spirulina. Other greens may be toxicity or go rancid easily, or even remove useful minerals from the body. I highly recommend you ONLY buy from Solaray or Nature's Way, and the latter is under $20 for a 2 to 6-month supply: Buy at Amazon. (6-month supply on the label. If you study kelp and iodine, you may feel that you want to build up to using more each day.)
- High-quality proteins and fiber. These come through your diet, and while some argue against powdered shakes, I personally feel very good choosing from the best of these. (Avoid those with artificial flavors and sweeteners, and in my opinion, avoid those based on soy protein.) There is a ton of research on the importance of fiber and its ability to prolong your life; and proteins are the builders of your body. You can get both of these by supplementing with certain powdered shakes / smoothies that you mix with water or almond milk or other dairy alternative. (I recommend avoiding processed dairy, and don't believe that consuming a lot of soy is good for you.) What's more, many meal replacement shakes are loaded with greens, probiotics, and other things that are hard to get in your diet without supplementation. Two I love are Ample Meal and Orgain Organic Meal. (That Amazon link for Orgain, especially with Subscribe & Save, is the best price I've found.)
- Digestive Enzymes. Over 40? Studies suggest that we've lost 25% of our enzyme production by age 40, yet enzymes are critical to breaking down and absorbing nutrients. (Kind of pointless to take supplements if you're not absorbing nutrients.) It can be beneficial especially in later years to take these, and the one I take is the only one I'm aware of clinically proven to increase protein absorption; it does this through their proprietary enzyme blend. You can save big on your first order by clicking here. (Look for "Premium Enzyme Complex.")
- Prebiotics and probiotics. I am a big fan of promoting healthy bacterial flora in our bodies, because bacteria in our bodies outnumber human cells 9 to 1. They act as additional organs in our body, and keep our human organs functioning correctly. In the intestines and colon, they help produce vitamins, help us absorb nutrients, and are the foundation of a healthy immune system. Prebiotics are food sources for these bacteria, and probiotics are actually bacteria -- troop reinforcements so to speak.
I don't personally take a pre- or probiotic because I get so many from my daily meal replacement shake and my digestion is in good shape. However, if you're looking for a solid option, I recommend this -- 25,000+ reviews at 4.5 stars with people seeing excellent digestion results in a matter of weeks.
- Original Glutathione Formula. Your body has its own antioxidant system, which is way more important than any antioxidant you could get from food. Glutathione is the king of this system, benefiting pretty much everything in the body. It defends the cells, helps with DNA protection and repair, detoxes the cells, and is pretty much a workhorse everywhere. 150,000+ references to just about any condition (along with virus research) in response to glutathione in the National Library of Medicine.
Trick is, it's hard to raise the body's glutathione levels, which plummet as we age. So again, over 40, I would seriously consider this one product. Straight glutathione supplements and even food sources don't raise the levels in your body much. But this one gives your body the ingredients and support to produce its own. It was clinically shown to raise levels by more than 200% and offers many other benefits. It's the only supplement I've taken where I distinctly saw a difference, both in my immune system and in muscle recovery from workouts. You can read more details from me here. Or buy it with $20 off your first order from this link.