Supplements: where do I even start?
Erin Stokes, Naturopathic Doctor, MegaFood Medical Director | April 2020
That’s the question for many people as they search for supplements. It can be overwhelming just to know how to get started!
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves and dive into supplements, let’s remember, “food first.” As a Naturopathic Doctor, mom, and a self-proclaimed “foodie”, I believe that the food we eat is one of our most powerful tools for health and wellness. But for most of us (myself included), it’s very challenging to get enough of all of the vitamins and minerals we need from our diets alone.
Why? It may have something to do with the possibility of declining amounts of nutrient content in fruits and vegetables.Footnote 1 In addition, we see common nutrient deficiencies in the United States population. Findings reported in 2015 by the Center for Disease Control showed that 66 million people have Vitamin D insufficiency, 30 million are deficient in B6, and 18 million are deficient in B12.Footnote 2
In addition to the issue of nutrient density, people often find themselves eating on the run or skipping meals in order to keep up with their busy schedules. The fact is that life happens. I know that when I look at what I’ve eaten over the last 24 hours, it’s healthy, but it’s not perfect.
To help fill in the gaps caused by our modern pace and diet, consider these four key supplements as a strong starting point:
I believe a high-quality multivitamin is the best place to start to fill the potential gaps in your diet. Not convinced? Check out our blog "Why you need to take a multivitamin". Once you’ve decided to start taking a multi, how do you choose the one that's right for you?
The MegaFood doctor-formulated multivitamin collection was formulated by our Chief Medical Advisor, Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., an internationally recognized expert on dietary supplements. One of my favorite things about this collection is that there are gender and age-specific options to get the best option for you. All of the multivitamins contain methylated forms of vitamin B12 & folate and active forms of B2 and B6. This entire multivitamin collection also has choline, an integral member of the B vitamin family that is often missing in the diet and from some multivitamins. According to the National Institute of Health, “Most people in the United States consume less than the AI (adequate intake) for choline.”Footnote 3
If I had to choose the top two supplements that I generally recommend, it would be a multivitamin and a probiotic. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that can be found in food or in supplement form. An optimal probiotic community (aka our microbiome) supports intestinal health and immunity.*
Probiotic foods include yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut and miso. If you’re not eating these foods on a daily basis, you may want to consider supplementing with a MegaFood probiotic, because gut health = good health. Learn more about “What's the perfect probiotic for me?”.
3) Vitamin D
Another vitamin I consider foundational to supplementation is Vitamin D. It’s an important fat soluble nutrient that supports many functions in our body. It’s needed for optimal bone health, immune health and more! It also happens to be one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the United States.Footnote 4 Our bodies manufacture vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight, but with many people living at northern latitudes and spending increased time indoors, it can be challenging to rely solely on our own manufacture.
Bottom line is that it’s valuable to get your vitamin D levels checked to see if you are one of the millions of people in the US who could benefit from supplementing with this vitamin.Footnote 5
And the great news is that like most of the supplements MegaFood offers, we have choices for you! Our D3 Wellness Gummy is a personal favorite with its non-GMO Project Verified certification and 1 gram of sugar per serving. You can also check out MegaFood 1000 IU or 2000 IU of vitamin D3 in tableted forms.
Last but not least, is turmeric! I take this ancient root daily, especially post-workouts. This bright yellow- orange root is a cousin of ginger. Also known as the “golden spice” it has been ingested for thousands of years, and is thought to have originated in India. Today, turmeric is one of the most widely used herbs in our country, and is a key player in helping your body support a healthy response to inflammation.*
Give our blog post “3 ways turmeric can help support your health” a read to help decide if you need whole body, joint, or liver support, and learn more about our gummy alternative!
One step at a time
To make it as easy as possible to get your supplement rhythm going, consider starting with the multi and then build over the course of a couple of months, as you incorporate these 4 foundational supplements into your daily routine.
Always speak to your healthcare provider before beginning any new supplements.
1 Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is The Evidence? HortScience February 2009 vol. 44 no. 1 15-19 2 The CDC Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition in the U.S. Population 3 NIH Choline Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. 4 The CDC Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition in the U.S. Population 5 The CDC Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition in the U.S. Population