Our patients often ask us what we recommend for vitamins and supplements to support their adjustments and treatment for their musculoskeletal conditions. To this we often answer: an overall healthy body will be able to heal it’s health conditions, whether it may be a low back sprain/strain or lacerated finger, much quicker than a toxic, sluggish system that is not in balance, has inadequate immune system functioning and poor digestion.
We are aware that many feel there is a daunting amount of information, positive claims and even research for a whole host of supplements, but … we could go broke trying to take all of them. What to do?
Below is a list of the supplements that we feel most people should consider taking on a daily, regular basis to provide better health for their bodies (hopefully) in motion.
1) A good quality multi vitamin and mineral supplement.
The supplement should be “packed” with all major vitamin, minerals and digestive enzymes with amounts far exceeding the “% daily value”. Why do we need to take such a supplement? Because our US soil content is significantly depleted of the mineral and soil microorganisms compared to the 1930’s, AND because of the creation of genetically modified plants which are commonly less nutritious than heirloom plants (Scientific America, April 27, 2011). Of major significance: when “minerals go down, disease goes up” . As an example, bone deformities are associated with calcium, copper, fluoride and magnesium deficiencies (Nutrition Security Institute, “Human Health, the Nutritional Quality of Harvested Food and Sustainable Farming Systems”).
2) Probiotic supplements – A probiotic bacteria complex of several “good flora” bacteria along with FOS (fructooligosaccharides), 3-6 capsules/day.
Probiotics (and cultured, fermented foods) help to keep our gut or GI system (our intestines) properly functioning via the good bacteria that are in probiotics helping to crowd out the bad bacteria. Food then passing through our GI system can more properly be digested and the nutritional content extracted from the food. Bacteria in the GI tract are responsible for the operation of the mucosal immune system that resides in the GI tract lining (Peyer’s Patches). They also aid in antibody production to antigens and help to differentiate between harmful vs non harmful antigens. It is said that 70-80% of our immune system stems from our GI tract. This is exactly why we need to keep our gut functioning as optimally as possible.
3) Omega 3 Fatty Acids– in particular Fish oil or krill oil – 3,000 IU/day
However this recommended amount is misleading. One must look at the label on the back of the bottle and look at how much EPA and DHA is actually in each capsule. EPA and DHA are the compounds in Omega 3 Fatty Acids which are responsible for the positive benefits of fish oil, such as: decreasing the risk of stroke, increasing LDL and lowering triglyceride levels, decreasing clot formation, prevention and improvement of coronary heart disease, improving circulation, important in infant brain and eye development, reduces risk of premature birth, may help with depression, may reduce pain and inflammation in those with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and autoimmune diseases and decreases joint swelling and inflammation (Colorado State University Extension, No 9.382). Therefore, if the label read 1,000 IU of Omega 3 fatty acid but the back label reads 200 mg of DHA and 300 mg of EPA, one would only receive 500 mg of the active components of the capsule =the capsule is 50% bioavailable. This information along with the supplement being produced from wild caught fish, that the heavy metals have been extracted from the oil and that the capsule is enteric coated (which reduces stomach upset and fish “burping”) are other important factors in choosing the correct supplement.
4) Vitamin C – 1,000 to 3,000 mg/day
Vitamin C is one of the safest, least toxic, yet highly effective antioxidant, antinflammatory supplement. And…it is cheap! Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin and therefore the body is unable to store it. What we are unable to use at any given time will simply be excreted in the urine. The following benefits are attributed to Vitamin C: lowered blood pressure, decrease plaque build up in arterial walls, maintain the vascular integrity of the blood vessels, provide protection against cancer, prevent oxidative damage from smoking and overall decreases inflammation in the body.
5) Vitamin D3 – 1,000-3,000 IU/day
The medical doctors are now all over this vitamin. The northern states residents (Vermont!) are especially at high risk for Vit D deficiencies because our sunlight is so weak in the winter time. Vitamin D can be found in a few foods, however approximately 80-90% comes from our skin’s absorption of vitamin D. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include: general tiredness, muscular and joint aches and pains and frequent illnesses or infections. Those at the highest risk for D deficiencies are: dark skinned people, the elderly, those who stay inside the house commonly and those who cover up completely or use total sunblock when outside. It’s as simple as getting a screening blood test for Vitamin D to determine if you are one of the many who are deficient.
That’s it, our list. However, if one has a particular health issue they are trying to combat, improve or change there are many wonderful supplements and herbal preparations that can help you improve your health. Please consult with your doctor, chiropractor, acupuncturist or naturopath for the best supplement for your condition and the recommended amounts.
Here’s to a healthier body for every “body” this year!