Basic 3: Starting a Basic Supplement Program

Did You Know?

Basic 3: Starting a Basic Supplement Program

Man taking vitamin
Posted by:
Mary Ann O'Dell, MS, RDN

Between diets, lifestyle choices, body types, and personal convictions, the health landscape continues to change and grow. There is simply not one diet that works for everyone. But there are some basic good choices all of us can make each day:

  • Choose to include fresh fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Choose healthy fats (avocado, olive oil) instead of processed fats (hydrogenated oils, margarine).
  • If grains are consumed, go with whole grains instead of processed refined grain products.
  • Choose grass-fed lean meats or nutritious meat alternatives.
  • Reduce intake of sugar and sugary foods.

And while many American’s say they strive to eat healthy, for most of us it is nearly impossible to eat right at every meal. Busy lifestyles, jobs, kids, stress…they can all affect the way we eat. Because of this, the standard American diet does not provide all essential nutrients in sufficient quantities to maintain optimum health. While supplements do not replace or make up for a poor diet, they can offer a means to fill in the gap where the diet may be lacking daily.

Basic Three

Daily multivitamin/mineral
Nutrition experts agree that taking a multivitamin is a good step for overall general health. Taking a full spectrum multi every day ensures that your minimum nutritional needs are being met when your diet may be lacking or your stress levels are high. When choosing a multivitamin with minerals, consider these questions:

  • Do you want 1-a-day, or are you willing to take 2-3 per day to get higher levels of nutrients?
  • Do you want a gender-specific formula which can offer a more tailored approach for men and for women?
  • Do you want tablets, capsules, gummies or liquid? 

Answering these can help you find the right formula for you. Be sure to choose formulas without unnecessary artificial ingredients or sweeteners. 
Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and bone health. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with cognitive impairment, more rapid weight gain, and increased incidence of depression. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 15 mcg (600 IU for teens and adults), and 20 mcg (800 IU) for adults over 70 years old. Research suggests most Americans do not consume these levels in their diets, and much research done with Vitamin D utilizes levels greater than 1000 IU. 

Omega-3s are essential fatty acids involved in numerous roles in the body.  They provide a source of energy, insulate your body against heat loss, promote heart health, and they are the building blocks of all cell membranes. Deficiencies of Omega-3s can result in dry eyes, mood swings, poor memory, poor circulation, inflammation, and heart problems. If the weekly diet does not include an adequate intake of fish or seeds like chia and flax, supplementation may be a good idea.

These three supplements are suggested for more than preventing deficiencies, they are suggested to help support optimum health. As with all supplements, any new supplements should be discussed with your health care provider.