What Supplements Should I Be Taking?
By Dr. Sutton
I am often asked by patients about supplements and what they should be taking. Different patients have different needs and so there is variability to this answer depending on the situation at hand. In general there are a few supplements that most patients should take or have checked. Vitamin D and Omega 3 oils are two of those, while a multi vitamin or other vitamin/minerals are necessary, Vitamin D and Omega 3 are essential and often overlooked. Below is a brief description of these two supplements.
I have also found three other valuable products that you probably have not heard of but should be aware of: Cortisol Manager, Theracurcumin and Trace Minerals. I have included a brief description of these below as well as their uses.
I would encourage you to ask us about any of these products if they are of interest to you.
Vitamin D is a nutrient (in fact it is a hormone precursor) found in some foods that is needed for health and to maintain strong bones. It does so by helping the body absorb calcium (one of bone’s main building blocks) from food. People who get too little vitamin D may develop soft, thin, and brittle bones, a condition known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
Vitamin D is important to the body in many other ways as well. Muscles need it to move, for example, nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and every body part, and the immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis. It has been shown to reduce the affects of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and depression. Vitamin D is found in cells throughout the body.
To properly determine an individual’s need for Vitamin D a blood test should be done. Without knowing a person’s total blood Vitamin D levels it is difficult to determine the proper dosing and for how long. This test can be ordered by our office or through your primary care provider.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)
The three principal omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The main sources of ALA in the U.S. diet are vegetable oils, particularly canola and soybean oils; flaxseed oil is richer in ALA than soybean and canola oils but is not commonly consumed. ALA can be converted, usually in small amounts, into EPA and DHA in the body. EPA and DHA are found in seafood, including fatty fish (e.g., salmon, tuna, and trout) and shellfish (e.g., crab, mussels, and oysters).
Commonly used dietary supplements that contain omega-3s include fish oil (which provides EPA and DHA) and flaxseed oil (which provides ALA). Algae oils are a vegetarian source of DHA.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for a number of bodily functions, including muscle activity, blood clotting, digestion, fertility, and cell division and growth. DHA is important for brain development and function. ALA is an “essential” fatty acid, meaning that people must obtain it from food or supplements because the human body cannot manufacture it.
Below is a brief summary of some of the benefits from Omega-3 fatty acids:
1. May help with depression and anxiety
2. Improve eye health including macular degeneration
3. Crucial for brain growth in infants – reduced ADHD and behavioral issues. Increased communication and social skills
4. Improves risk factors for heart
5. May reduce insulin resistance and acts as an anti-inflammatory
6. Maybe beneficial in reducing age related mental decline
7. Improved skin health
Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone,” is produced by the adrenal cortex in response to signals from the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, as part of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Cortisol is perhaps the most important hormone involved in the adaptation process.
Upon exposure to acute stressors, cortisol secretion can generally help maintain stabilty in the body. Because of its capability to regulate multiple critical physiological functions, cortisol is often seen as the bridge between stress and its health consequences.
Variations of cortisol secretion can be an indicator of how well a body is coping with stress. Cortisol production is generally at its peak in the early hours of the morning and then gradually declines over the course of the day.
Cortisol Manager was formulated using stress-reducing ingredients and botanicals to promote relaxation, help alleviate fatigue, and support healthy cortisol levels. Balancing cortisol levels can help reduce stress, which supports a restful night's sleep without diminishing daytime alertness.
Theracurmin is a preparation of turmeric that utilizes technology to enhance bioavailability and dramatically increase curcumin levels in the blood. Unlike other forms of curcumin, Theracurmin is water-dispersible, meaning it dissolves quickly and maintains solubility over time, thereby improving curcumin’s overall absorption.
Theracurmin is over 27 times more bioavailable than standard curcumin extracts.1 This high absorbability can maximize curcumin’s biological effects in the body
Curcumin has been shown to:
1. Strong anti-inflammatory affect without side effects
2. Increases anti-oxidant capacities in the body
3. May be an effective anti-depressant
Naturally occurring inorganic elements having a characteristic crystalline structure and chemical composition. Trace minerals are those minerals which the body requires less than 100 milligrams of per day. They are essential to the normal functioning the neurological and chemical processes that occur in the body. These are expended by your body throughout the day and require replenishing.
Recent studies indicate that trace minerals improves joint health and increased walking distances and allows partial withdrawal of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee. In addition to better recovery from dehydration and exercise, we have found the use of trace minerals maybe helpful for reducing the symptoms of restless leg and nighttime leg cramps, as well fatigue.