What supplements are the most important depends on your gender and your age. If your diet is lacking, a basic multivitamin is a good idea, which simply assures that you are getting the recommended daily doses of a number of essential vitamins. Beyond this, if you are a woman, I recommend you consider both calcium (600 mg twice a day) and magnesium (200 mg twice a day). Calcium is needed for bone health, and while we need approximately 1,500 mg a day, the average American woman has approximately 500 mg a day in her diet. The good news is that if you do not like to take pills, you can get your calcium in the form of chocolate chews! Magnesium is needed for bone health, and it also counteracts the constipating effects of calcium. If you are premenopausal, you will be glad to know that calcium and magnesium have been shown to improve menstrual symptoms, including cramping, breast tenderness, mood swings, and even food cravings. (Chocolate is actually rich in magnesium, and it has been hypothesized that the need for magnesium may be why women crave chocolate around their periods.) Men do not need to supplement with calcium but should try to get 1,000 mg daily in their diet.
There are two other supplements for both men and women, and fish oil is one of them. Generally in this country, our diets have far more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. Oversimplified, omega-6's are the bad fats and omega-3's are the healthy fats. If your diet is not rich in fish and other omega-3's, you should consider supplementing with 1,000 mg of fish oil a day, being certain that each pill contains at least 200 mg of DHA and 200 mg of EPA. Increasing omega-3's decreases inflammation in your system, which can affect everything from heart disease to cancer.
Lastly, we are learning that many Americans are actually deficient in vitamin D, and this can cause a huge variety of symptoms including muscle aches and fatigue. You can ask your doctor to check a vitamin D level to know specifically if you are deficient. It is also safe to supplement with vitamin D3, 1,000 mg a day. Vitamin D is also critical in bone health, and seems to be associated with cancer risk as well. Supplementing at these levels poses no risk of toxicity.
Health Advice Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for the general information of the reader and to help patients become better informed to consult with their own physician. It does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship, and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating… Read more >>