Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Word on Supplements

I get asked daily at work what supplements are recommended. Honestly this is different for everyone depending on your nutritional status and current health conditions. There aren't any recommendations necessary for a healthy male with a varied, healthful diet. If you are a healthy female without any medical conditions I urge you to take a folic acid supplement, or you can take a complete multivitamin. Folic acid can help prevent neuro deficits and conditions such as spina bifida in fetal development; these conditions happen within 12 days after conception before a woman knows she is pregnant. Folic acid combined with B vitamins are also great for your heart and can help with growing healthy hair and nails. Personally I take a Vitamin D supplement (look for D3 ergocalciferol), I only take 1 per day because I get quite a bit of it in my diet. Daily recommendations for Vitamin D are rumored to be changing in the near future. I also take a fish oil supplement daily (look for burpless or coded / enteric on the label) for Omega 3 nutrients. Many of us do not get enough omegas in our diet and they are awesome for your heart as well as for your skin and hair. Depending on what I've eaten each day I might have a calcium chew, I always keep a box just in case. Do not take supplements all at one time. I try and take a multivitamin with a Vitamin C source (ie. orange juice), Vitamin D goes with my lunch, fish oil with my after work snack, and I might have a calcium chew before bed - if taken together they can compete for absorption. Sometimes you have to evaluate your diet to determine what you might need, my system is not going to work for everyone. Please do your research; don't take advice from sales associates that work in health food stores or supplements shops, many make commission from their sales and do not have any nutritional training. It isn't uncommon for me to have patients who have been given really bad supplement advice. Remember - Supplements are not food and they are in no way a replacement for a balanced, varied diet

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