Updated: Aug 31
A Common Sense Approach to Healthy Vitamin and Supplement Usage
Ideally, you wouldn't ever need to take a vitamin or a nutritional supplement. In an ideal situation, we would get all the nutrients we need from a healthy and balanced diet full of complete, whole foods that are nutrient-dense.
Unfortunately, we don't live in ideal circumstances. Our diets are far from ideal. The soil has been decimated by decades of industrial farming practices. The average American adult eats far more sugar per day than our ancestors did 100 years ago. Refined carbohydrates continue to be a significant percentage of the average American's diet.
To add to this dilemma of malnourishment, we live in a toxic soup of chemicals in our food, microplastics in our bloodstreams, and more stress than ever before that lead to nutrient depletion and inflammation.
Taking vitamins and supplements can be a powerful tool for improving health, feeling better, and preventing future sickness and disease. Even when we are intentional about eating a healthy diet, there may be nutritional gaps, and supplements can help fill those needs.
But where to start? There are hundreds of different supplements, vitamins, and herbs and just as many brands to choose from. As one mom recently told me "I don't have the budget to buy every supplement that I want to take, so I have to focus on the couple that are the most important.
Here, we present a common sense approach to the three most important supplements that you can take.
If you're only going to take one supplement, let it be Vitamin D. Vitamin D is the single most important supplement you can take for many reasons:
90% of American adults have below-optimal levels of Vitamin D.
There are few dietary sources of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is actually a form of hormone, and nearly every cell in your body has Vitamin D receptors. Cells wouldn't have Vitamin D receptors if the function of that cell weren't affected by Vitamin D. This means that optimizing your Vitamin D level has the potential to have a body-wide benefit.
Life on Earth is dependent on the sun. Humans evolved/were created to need sun exposure. Vitamin D is one of the reasons we need sun exposure. In the modern day, we don't spend enough time outside, and many people have come to fear the sun in the past several decades.
Even people who are intentional about sun exposure may need a supplement because stress and inflammation may deplete the supply of vitamin D that comes through sun exposure.
2. Omega 3
Omega 3 is incredibly important for regulating inflammation in the body. Nearly all disease involves out-of-control inflammation.
Omega 3 is important for healthy brain and nervous system tissue. Brain health is mental health, and Omega 3 is important for brain health.
Omega 3 is hard to get from diet. There are great sources of dietary Omega 3, but if you're not eating wild-caught, Alaskan Salmon every day, you'll likely not be getting enough.
Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in over 300 body processes.
Magnesium is important in muscle relaxation and body relaxation, meaning it plays a critical role in rest, sleep, and pain relief.
Roughly 50% of people are deficient in magnesium.
Magnesium is utilized in the metabolism of sugar. This may help us understand why magnesium deficiency is so rampant because most people eat too much sugar.
These three supplements are a solid foundation for healthy supplement success. There are dozens of other vitamins, minerals, and supplements that you could take and that may possibly be very important for your particular biology.
These three, especially Vitamin D and Omega 3, are fundamental to health and difficult to get from a healthy diet. Without a foundation of these three as a daily routine/regimen, is there any point in taking anything else?