A Breakdown of 5 Popular Nutritional Supplements
Part 1 of this 2 part series covered six quick tips about nutritional supplementation…a proverbial 30,000 foot view if you will. Part II digs in for a closer look at 5 different popular supplements. Let’s roll!
The following bullet points are based off peer reviewed studies and are intended to be talking points. Use these points to produce educated questions for the next time you meet with your doctor or registered dietitian as some supplements may have adverse reactions with prescription medications and/or pre-existing health conditions. Resources and references available upon request.
1.) Omega-3’s (fish oil)
- A natural anti-inflammatory that has been shown to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
- Landlocked citizens consume less fish than our coastal dwelling neighbors. Supplementing with Omega 3’s has been shown to assist in alleviating dry skin, as well as frizzy hair and brittle nails. It also plays a role in building healthy bones!
- As with most supplements, it’s ideal to take during or after meals to increase absorption rates.
- Highly regarded brand: Nordic Naturals.
- Omega-3 food sources: Flaxseed oil, salmon, chia seeds, walnuts.
2.) Vitamin D (hormone)
- This supplement is actually classified as a hormone more so than a vitamin and hormones can have extremely powerful effects on the body!
- Low levels of Vitamin D can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) aka sour mood & low energy levels. Vitamin D is also essential for optimal calcium absorption.
- Research shows that as much as 40+% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. Optimal blood levels are between 40-60+ng/ml.
- If you suspect that you may be low in Vitamin D or are curious of what your level is you can request a test from your physician.
- Sources of Vitamin D: Sunlight, fatty fish (salmon, trout, mackerel), canned tuna fish.
3.) Magnesium (mineral)
- There are many types of magnesium supplements, common ones being: Glycinate, Carbonate & Citrate.
- Glycinate helps promote muscle relaxation and lower overall body anxiety.
- Citrate can act as a natural laxative
- Carbonate has antacid properties
- Some research shows that upwards of 80% of Americans have low magnesium levels.
- Since this mineral plays a role in over 300 chemical reactions in the body, low magnesium levels can lead to an array of implications including muscle cramps, spasms, irritability & irregular heart rhythms.
- Sources of Magnesium: Green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts & seeds.
- I tell inquiring minds that multivitamins are kind of like an insurance policy in the outside chance you don’t consume all the daily recommended servings of fruits & vegetables:)
- Also, many foods are nutritionally deficient due to processing, over-farming, GMO practices in conventional farming.
- Quick tip: it’s important to choose a multivitamin that will dissolve fairly quickly upon ingestion. Many mass market supplement brands such as Centrum, GNC Mega and One-A-Day produce vitamins that are so rock hard your body may only absorb 10-20% prior to it passing thru your system.
- Sources of vitamins: Fruits & Vegetables! Nuts, seeds & beans.
5:) Calcium (mineral)
- Similar to magnesium, calcium has several different types, two main ones being Carbonate and Citrate.
- Calcium Carbonate is unfortunately the most common (supplements & antacids) because it’s the cheapest and therefore the least likely to absorb.
- Calcium Citrate, a much better option in the research I’ve read, has much higher quality and absorption ratings.
- Calcium absorbs best combined with Vitamin D.
- Personal experience: Since I feel much better without it, I’ve virtually eliminated dairy from my diet. However I ran into fairly intense lower leg muscle cramping. I tried just about every therapy & remedy I knew to no avail. In talking to my chiropractor he suggested I try a calcium supplement and low-and-behold my muscle issues were cleared up within 2-3 days.
- Sources of calcium: Leafy greens, seafood, legumes.
The aforementioned supplement breakdowns are all researched and study-backed statements. Once again, this list is comprised to give you talking points when you meet with your doctor, registered dietitian or nutritionist.