These key supplements to take everyday are the essentials I keep in my cabinet, check them out!
I do my best to eat primarily a plant-based diet as much as I can, but sometimes life happens and my schedule doesn’t allow for me to spend time prepping meals or cooking everything from scratch. Like everyone, I have days where I end up eating nothing but 4 slices of pizza followed by pasta and dessert. Typically this occurs when I don’t get enough sleep – man my sleep deprivation cravings can get large and in charge!
I’m human, this happens.
Because of this I make sure that I take daily supplements to support a healthy body + mind so that I’m always getting essential vitamins and minerals in my system when my diet doesn’t cut it. I primarily make an effort to get all my essentials from the foods I eat, so supplements are just to fill any gaps. The supplements I recommend to take everyday do change since my needs evolve from time to time, but I still have the essentials that I take no matter what, which I’m sharing with you below!
I hope sharing these supplements to take everyday will help educate you on what you should include in your cabinet. Oh and the best part? I have Kelly Heim, Ph.D. from Douglas Laboratories here to comment on everything supplement based! If you have any questions for Kelly after reading this you can ask questions in the comments, and I can forward his way to answer. This is your chance to pick another expert’s brain!
Before we dive in I asked Heim if supplements were safe in general, and he emphasized that you should look for brands that are healthcare provider-recommended. Heim suggests that, “These types of brands can be trusted to produce quality supplements that are beneficial to one’s health, which is why supplementation should be part of an overall wellness program that is coordinated by your healthcare provider. Consumers should also always look for the GMP seal on their nutritional supplements to know that products are produced in compliance with good manufacturing practices. ” So let’s get to it!
What’s In My Cabinet: Key Supplements To Take Everyday
Omega 3 Oil: I take Omega 3 oil twice a day, in the morning and night. This is hands down an essential that I take all year round. Why? Because it supports a healthy heart, helps my hair skin and nails stay lustrous, lowers inflammation, and more. I especially like it because it helps ease the inflammation I experience from my chronic lower back pain, and I know that it contributes towards supple healthy skin. If you are strictly vegan you can opt for Algae oil instead. I talked about the benefits of algae oil on TV here! I asked Kelly Heim about the benefits of taking omega 3 daily and here is what he had to say:
“Omega-3 fatty acids are critical nutrients that are generally low in typical American diets. Found mostly in fish and flaxseeds, these fats are critical for cardiovascular, metabolic, musculoskeletal and brain health. They also maintain healthy hair and skin. The typical diet has a ratio of 15:1 omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, but research indicates that we evolved consuming a ratio closer to 1:1.7. Increasing your intake of omega-3 through supplementation will easily correct that ratio and support the many organs that depend on it.* ”
Vitamin D3: I live in Chicago and as many of us know Chicago can have horrific winters which results in locals hibernating for 4-5 months. This obviously decreases the natural vitamin D we can get from the sun, so I make sure that during the winter months especially that I take a vitamin D supplement. Even during the summertime when I’m in doors for a majority of the day, it helps. Did you know that vitamin D is a pre-hormone and not a vitamin? It’s also extremely hard to get from food, so a supplement is essential! Vitamin D supports healthy bones, muscle strength and even helps protect from disease like cancer. The recommended daily allowance for vitamin D3 is 2,000 IU.
Probiotics: I always talk about probiotics and many of you know how crazy I am about gut health. I take probiotics daily because I want to make sure that I have healthy levels of bacteria in my gut. This helps keep my immune system high, my digestion in tip-top shape, and even my skin blemish free. Taking daily probiotics also helps us break down the foods we eat so that we can have a higher level of absorbing nutrients through our digestive system. The probiotic brand that I’m currently testing out is Family Flora which uses 3 probiotic cultures and has clicinical studies to support their product, which I always like! Their product, Daily Balance is a powdered blend that you mix with water and the powder is a blend of prebiotic and probiotic cultures.
Kelly Heim also informed me that there are approximately 100 trillion bacteria that naturally inhabit the human body, comprising 1-2% of the body mass of an adult. Kelly also says that, “Nearly every aspect of digestion is affected by the composition of bacteria living in the small and large intestine. These friendly bacteria help us break down food, absorb nutrients and sustain immune defenses. Systemic, indirect effects of gut bacteria extend to diverse organs, including urinary tract health, liver detoxification, metabolic homeostasis, mood and memory. You can support healthy gut bacteria by eating more fiber-rich vegetables and fruits, which help feed these organisms, and by supplementing with multi-strain probiotics.*”
Powder Green Blend: For the days that I’m not getting enough greens in my diet, I like to take a power green blend in the morning to give me energy and a boost of veggies in some shape or form. I typically like to blend a super green powder in with almond milk as a semi-sweet snack. When I make sure that I’m adding powdered greens to my day, I know that I’m adding more alkalizing foods to my system that will lower my pH levels from stress and what not. This isn’t really a vitamin supplement per-say, but it’s something I add to my diet every day to make sure I’m getting enough greens.
Multi-Vitamin: I take a multi-vitamin to ensure that I’m filling the gaps of vitamins and minerals that I don’t get from food. When I do take a multi-vitamin, I don’t take the supplements listed above such as the magnesium, calcium blend, or vitamin D3. Then I’d be taking more than the recommended daily allowance for each vitamin. So my word of advice, don’t take vitamin supplements in addition to a multi-vitamin! You don’t want to be bombarding your system.
I’ve been taking the Douglas Laboratory brand (Ultra Preventative 2 Daily) for a while and am impressed with the efforts they put into ensuring that their line is of the highest quality it can be by producing science-based supplements and to ensure it exceeds the standards that the FDA sets. This multi-vitamin also contains an organic fruit and vegetable blend to ensure that you’re getting antioxidant dosage as well which is a step above others!
Since it seems as if multi-vitamins should be at the top on our list for key supplements to take every day, I asked Heim if everyone needs a multi-vitamin. Heim’s states that “due to the quality of the modern food supply and our busy lifestyles, today’s diets are depleted of many critical nutrients. Modern lifestyles typically involve juggling work, family and other activities. This leaves little time devoted to quality food choices and meals, leading instead to selections based on convenience. These options tend to be higher in fat, refined carbohydrates and sodium, and usually involve extensive processing to enhance taste, which can destroy or remove nutrients. Nutrition surveys show shortfalls in many nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K.”
Heim also noted that the nutrient content of fruits and vegetables have decreased over the years, and that incorporating multi-vitamins into your routine can help fill the gaps of intake of micronutrients required for good health.
So as you start to consider what types of supplements you should be taking daily, it’s also important to note that it could be possible to take too many vitamin supplements.
Heim says that, “Too much of any single nutrient can be harmful. For most nutrients, supplemental intakes must be quite high and sustained over a long period in order to be ‘too much of a good thing.’ A good manufacturer will formulate and advise dosage in agreement with a balanced, up-to- date review of the published medical research on both safety and effectiveness in the general population.”
Heim suggests that it’s also a good idea to find a nutritionist or medical professional who can guide you and perform any necessary testing. He or she can clarify what supplements you need, and which ones you don’t. Over time, this can save money, reduce trial and error, and enhance the success of your regimen, particularly if you have a specific health objective.
To add a bit more expert advice to help you figure out what supplements are ok for you to take, I asked Kelly Heim, PhD a few more questions…
BB: Can medications change your vitamin requirements?
Certainly. Acid-suppressing drugs, which are among the most commonly used medications in the U.S., can inhibit the absorption of calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin B 12 and magnesium. Antidepressants and antipsychotics can deplete riboflavin (B2), and certain blood pressure medications can compromise magnesium, potassium, zinc, thiamin and vitamin B6 status. Oral contraceptives and drugs used for hormone replacement therapy, including Premarin and Prempro, can reduce vitamin B6 status. Given the widespread use of these medications, depletions of important nutrients may be pertinent to a large proportion of the population.
BB: How do our vitamin requirements change as we age?
After 50, many of us become less efficient at absorbing certain nutrients, such as B12, folate and zinc. Even if your diet provides adequate amounts, you could be falling short. Multivitamins that deliver B 12 , folate and zinc are versatile across many adult age groups, including the elderly, who are more likely to have difficulty obtaining or absorbing these key nutrients.*
Many people don’t realize that the dietary patterns in their 30s and 40s affect their health in their 50s and beyond. For example, maintaining healthy vision is not typically high on the list of priorities for people in their 30s, but this is when you can support long-term eye health through eating carotenoid-rich foods, which protect the macula from harmful wavelengths and free radicals. Supplements like Macu-Support provide the macular carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, along with other key antioxidants that have been vetted by published clinical research.*
BB: How often should we reevaluate our supplements and make changes?
This depends on the supplement, the intended benefit, and the method by which effectiveness is determined. With any supplement, health benefits are not attainable overnight. Cells and tissues need to incorporate the supplemented nutrients on their own timeline of renewal and regeneration. Some cells, such as red blood cells and the gut lining, turn over faster than tissues like cartilage, neurons and bone. Often, three months is a reasonable interval for reappraisal of joint health. For bone health, one year is adequate. Levels of some nutrients, like magnesium, cannot be easily measured, so subjective evaluation of mood, sleep quality and stress should be considered in the reassessment. The type of assessment, interpretation of results and translation of that data to dose adjustment or changes to the regimen should be determined by a health care professional.
All in all:
If you’re going to look into these types of supplements to take everyday, take a multi-vitamin that has important vitamins such as vitamin D, Vitamin B complex, and more. The only other supplements I take on a daily basis besides that is a super green blend, probiotics, and omega 3. Find a multi-vitamin like Douglas Labs that is packed with all that you need, so that you aren’t downing 7-8 pills a day.
Disclaimers: Douglas Laboratories and Family Flora compensated for my time to create this article. ALL thoughts and opinions are my own. Please consult your physician before adding any new supplements to your diet. *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Main photo source: pond5