Question of the Day – What supplement(s) should I take?

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I received a great question about supplements/multivitamins. Supplements can be very overwhelming but let me help break it down.  I like to think of supplements like an insurance plan, get the best nutrients from food each day and take a multi-vitamin as back-up. In addition to a multi vitamin there are a couple of other nutrients that are showing some significant research that I also like to recommend.  

1) Take a multi-vitamin – a basic multi is just fine, providing and adequate amount of nutrients.


2) Extra Vitamin D – most multi’s contain about 200-400 IU of vitamin D but higher levels have been shown to benefit the immune system and even  ward off a number of disease: diabetes, colon, prostate and breast cancer.   However, there is still more research necessary to increase the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA’s). Currently the RDA for vitamin D is 600 IU for those ages 19-50 years.  But many experts suggest increasing the daily amount to 1000 IU for children and 2000-3000 IU for teens and adults because of the latest research.

Vitamin D sources: Sunlight is one of the best sources of vitamin D but if you live in the Midwest like myself, we haven’t seen much of the sun during these cold snowy days. Vitamin D is also found naturally in foods such as cod, fish liver oils, salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, shrimp, egg yolks, beef liver, and mushrooms.  Vitamin D is also fortified in foods such as milk, some yogurts, cereals, and orange juices.

Here is a supplement that I really like and easy to take since it is a gummy vitamin.  I have been supplementing extra vitamin D with my kids and let’s just say we haven’t had a cold since we have started the extra supplementation, nor have we been sick (knock on wood!)since November!

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For more information about Vitamin D and its health benefits, food sources and upcoming research check out this link:

Office of Dietary Health National Institute of Health- Vitamin D fact sheet


3) Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement – Omega-3’s have a number of health benefits from heart health to increasing IQ’s in children.  During the past 100 years, omega-3 fatty acids in the diet has declined while the intake of omega-6’s has increased.   An omega-3 fatty acid is an essential fatty acid meaning the body is unable to produce them and must obtain them within the diet. They are so beneficial for the body, especially the heart from decreasing the risks of atherosclerosis, inflammation, thrombosis, blood pressure, triglycerides and so much more! Generally the recommendation for an omega-3 supplement is 1 to 3 grams, however, depending upon other conditions (meds, etc.) please talk to your doctor.

For more information about omega-3 fatty acids check out this link:  US National Library of Medicine

Here is one of my favorite omega-3 supplements! Don’t be afraid, it tastes like a lemon smoothie, not fish oil!  Plus supplements in liquid form are better absorbed than pill form.


Here is a nice little tip:  Look at amount of EPA and DHA, together they should add up to 1,000 milligrams.



Here is a supplement that contains both fish oil and vitamin D.  The only downfall with this supplement is that it does not identify the amount of EPA and DHA. 



So hopefully this gives you a little insight on supplementation.  There are so many more supplements to talk about but here are the basic in addition to a wonderful nutritious and balanced diet!

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