Optimizing your diet and lifestyle choices is the foundation to look, feel, and perform your best.
No amount of supplements can negate the harmful effects of a poor diet, lack of exercise, and poor lifestyle choices.
With that being said, certain nutritional supplements can absolutely provide many benefits to your health and longevity.
The key is sourcing the highest-quality nutritional supplements and learning which options are best for you.
While there isn’t exactly one “best supplement” for everyone, since we are all unique and have different needs, there are essential nutrients virtually everyone can benefit from.
These are the 5 essential nutritional supplements you should consider to optimize your health.
1. Multiple Vitamin/Mineral Complex
A good multivitamin will provide you with a solid foundation of many essential vitamins and minerals to avoid deficiencies.
Multivitamins have gotten a bad reputation because pharmaceutical companies have created products that are widely advertised and use synthetic, low quality ingredients and toxic additives.
The truth is that if you are using a high quality product, it is safe, effective, and an excellent idea.
Unfortunately, even the best multivitamins don’t have adequate levels of every essential nutrient for people to reach optimal health and therefore we must also take extra amounts certain nutrients.
Additionally, you can’t press oils into a tablet, and since most multivitamins are in tablet form, it is challenging for formulators to fit in fat soluble nutrients since many of them are oils and the tablet would fall apart.
SuperNutrition Perfect Family Multivitamin, Iron Free, 240 Count Price: $38.20
2. Omega 3 Fish Oil
The imbalance of omega 3- omega 6 fats in our population is horrendous.
People are over consuming the wrong kinds of fats and not enough of the healthy fats has become a massive issue.
Although there are plenty of healthy omega 6 fats, such as avocados and nuts/seeds, most people are getting their omega 6 fats from consuming processed foods containing toxic vegetable oils.
Very few people eat wild-caught fatty fish on a regular basis and therefore don’t get adequate amounts of the healthy omega 3 fats DHA and EPA.
Supplementing with a high quality fish oil is a good idea for everyone, even if you do have wild-caught fish on a weekly basis.
Since omega 3 to omega 6 imbalances can cause chronic inflammation in the body, I’ve found that supplementing with a good fish oil can provide a powerful anti inflammatory effect and lead to a decrease in multiple problematic symptoms.
It can also improve your skin & complexion, help with weight loss, support good eyesight, and improve your overall mental health.
I get the best results in my practice with Carlson’s lemon cod liver oil and a dosage of 1 teaspoon for each 40-60 pounds of body weight, making the dosage for the average 120-180 pound person 1 tablespoon per day.
Carlson Labs Cod Liver Oil Nutritional Supplement, Lemon, 16.9 Fluid Ounce Price: $32.94
Many people gag at the thought of putting a spoonful of cod liver oil in their mouth. Carlson's lemon cod liver oil actually does taste bad at all!
Everyone I work with are surprised that it’s fairly palatable.
If you prefer to have capsules rather than an oil, the omega 3 capsules I recommend are called “Elite Omega” and are also made by Carlson Labs.
Carlson Elite Omega-3 Gems, Norwegian, 1,600 mg Omega-3s, 90 + 30 Soft Gels Price: $24.43
3) Vitamin D3
Vitamin D is an extraordinarily important Fat-soluble vitamin and sadly the vast majority of people are severely deficient in this nutrient.
It is responsible for numerous biochemical processes in the body and deficiencies in this nutrient has been shown to massively increase your risk for many diseases.
This is due to lack of direct sunlight on adequate skin area, poor absorption, lack of adequate food sources, where you live in relation to the equator, and the epidemic of fear tactics from the sunscreen industry causing people to be afraid of the sun and misleading the public to think it is a good idea to lather copious amounts of sunscreen on their bodies before going into the sun.
The amount of vitamin D needed varies greatly from person to person so the only way to know is to have your 25 hydroxy-vitamin D levels tested.
Ideally, levels should be between 60-80 nm/dl. Start with a moderate dosage of 2000-4000 IUs daily, check your levels after 3 months of taking the same dose consistently. If your levels are still low, up your dosage by 2000 IUs per day and have it tested again in 3-6 months.
Experts estimate that around 70% of our immune system is the microbiome in our GI tract!
The major issue in today's world is that the vast majority of people have had large amount of their beneficial probiotics in their gut die off.
This is due to our modern lifestyle, environmental toxins, poor diet, and the overuse of antibiotics. Even just one round of antibiotics has been shown to knock out well over 50% of the good bacteria in your gut.
Many people never recover from this assault to their microbiome.
More and more research on the microbiome is coming out and all pointing to the importance of our gut for overall health and longevity.
The microbiome is now recognized by many health experts as the foundation to our health and vitality and imbalances in the bacteria in your gut can lead to numerous health complications.
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir are an excellent way to get more good bacteria into your body, but often times it isn’t enough on it's own.
If your not eating fermented foods on a regular basis, which many people aren't eating any at all, then probiotics become even more important.
I like Pharmax probiotics since they use human identical strains whereas most other companies are using bovine (cow) strains.
Pharmax - HLC High Potency Capsules - Probiotics to Promote Gastrointestinal Health in Adults and Children* - 60 Capsules Price: $37.50
5. Vitamin E
Researches estimate that over 95% of the population isn't getting enough vitamin E in their diets and are deficient in this essential nutrient.
Vitamin E serves many important functions in our bodies. Due to it's powerful antioxidant properties, it protects dietary fats we consume from oxidation as they circulate through out bodies.
It's also critical for our skin, heart health, immune system, and preventing chronic diseases such as cancer.
Sadly, most supplements are only using one type of vitamin E, alpha tocopherol. In nature, vitamin E complex contains alpha, beta, delta, and gamma tocopherol in a distinct ratio.
The best nutritional supplement that mimics the tocopherol content found in nature making their vitamin E product better than all the others I've come across is appropriately named "Unique E" by A.C Grace.
A.C. Grace Company Unique E Tocopherols 120 Sgels Price: $29.95
Are Supplements Necessary?
If your eating a well-balanced diet, getting sensible sun exposure, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of sleep, your likely thinking, there’s no need for nutritional supplementation.
Well, in today's world that's not the case.
Even if your doing everything right in terms of diet and lifestyle (which very few people are) supplementing with certain nutrients can still be very helpful.
Don’t get me wrong. We should all strive to eat a nutrient-dense diet and obtain as many vitamins and minerals from our food as possible.
Optimizing lifestyle factors (sleep, hydration, exercise, sun exposure, community, etc.) is also a critical component to good health.
In our current way of living we deal with higher levels of stress, rarely have access to truly fresh food, our soils are depleted and therefore our food contains less nutrients, and our bodies require higher levels of many nutrients due to the onslaught of chemicals we are exposed to.
For these reasons (and many others), we can all benefit from additional nutrients through supplementation.
Check out our article on why nutritional supplements are important for optimal health and performance to learn more.
Essential Supplements for Health
In addition to the 5 supplements listed above, many people can also benefit from taking additional vitamin A and vitamin C.
Vitamin A is critical for our immune system, among many other things, and the only good food source of vitamin A is animal liver.
Many people have been mislead to believe that beta carotene (found in carrots & other vegetables) is vitamin A. This is false.
Beta carotene is a pre curser to vitamin A, NOT actual vitamin A. Research shows that the majority of people do not convert beta carotene to real vitamin A in their bodies very well.
Now if you are eating grass-fed beef liver or pasture-raised chicken liver on a regular basis, you are good to go. That is an excellent source of vitamin A and one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet!
But, I don't know many people who like the taste of liver so very few individuals consume it regularly.
If you fall in that camp, then supplementing with a good quality vitamin A supplement is a VERY good idea and extremely affordable!
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that's critical for hundred of biochemical processes in the body. We do get some from various vegetables and fruits, but everyone can benefit from taking additional amounts of this important nutrient.