Steven Macari, founder of SLVRBK Health and nutritionist at Drive 495, narrows down the top vitamins to consider.
I am big believer in getting as many of your nutrient as possible from food. While this is great in theory there are a variety of factors which can prevent this from happening:
1) A broken digestive system can prevent you from absorbing all of your nutrients and you may have food sensitivities which require you to avoid certain nutrient dense foods (i.e. eggs, dairy).
2) A strict diet which excludes foods that are nutrient dense.
3) A high stress lifestyle which can increase your requirements for certain nutrients.
4) Depleted soil, meaning the soil has less nutrients so the foods we eat will have less nutrients. Plants get their nutrition from soil and so do the animals who eat the plants.
5) The fact that some people, due to their genetic makeups, require more of certain nutrients than other people—amounts that would be impossible to get through food.
Here are supplements you should consider taking to support some key areas of your health:
1) Digestive Support (Digestive Enzymes and Probiotic) – Digestive enzymes can ensure that you are breaking down your food adequately and can provide rather quick relief from post-meal bloating and cramping (look for a digestive enzyme that have protease, lipase and amylase). This can also help keep your stomach nice and flat. Probiotics will ensure that you are extracting as many nutrients from your food as possible and can help with supporting your immune system (look for spore-based and soil-based probiotics).
2) Stress and Hormones (Vitamin C and Vitamin B5) – Vitamin C boosts your immune system, this is common knowledge, but what is not often discussed is that we need significantly more when under stress. So, during stressful times it is very beneficial to supplement with Vitamin C (look for liposomal formulated Vitamin C.) Vitamin B5 plays a major role in optimizing your hormones—namely your stress and reproductive hormones. During stressful periods you can keep your hormones in check by taking Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid).
3) Healthy Teeth, Bones, Cardiovascular Health (Calcium, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2) – These 3 nutrients work together to support the health and integrity of your bones and teeth. They aid in doing this by keeping calcium in your bones and teeth and out of your arteries. Calcium and Vitamin K2 are found mainly in dairy products so if you do not cosume those you should consider supplementing. The calcium carbonate form of Calcium is the most absorbable. You can purchase this or you can use your leftover egg shells and grind them into a powder (this is calcium carbonate). Vitamin D3 is not found in many foods so supplement a few times a week in the winter and get outside in the summer.
4) Detoxification and Inflammation (Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12) – These nutrients play a role in numerous areas but especially in supporting your liver’s natural detoxification processes. Imagine that, your liver can help you detox if it has the right nutrients. They also aid in keeping inflammation down in the body. Those with certain gene mutations can especially benefit from this combination of B vitamins. To find out of you have this genetic issue, talk with your doctor about testing for the MTHFR gene (and other genes) or order a test kit from some of the publicly available DNA testing sites. Also, be sure to include the homocysteine blood marker in your annual physical.
5) General Support (Magnesium and Zinc) – Magnesium plays a role in so many things in the human body, I will not even try and list them. What I can say is that magnesium is not found in many foods in adequate amounts (mainly due to soil depletion) and the foods it is present in will generally not meet your requirement. You can take epsom salt baths 1-2 times a week to restore magnesium levels or you can supplement, however, I generally recommend both. Zinc is important for digestion and for our immune system. In addition Zinc plays a major role in keeping copper levels in check. Too much of anything is not good but too much copper can have a number of negative impacts on the body and mind. It is hard to avoid copper these days so most have enough and many have too much. Taking Zinc can offset this.