I’ve received a flood of questions about supplements after posting about iodine on Facebook last week, so I wanted take a quick moment to give you some super important info about supplements.
I could talk for hours about this topic but I’ll keep it short and sweet and skip right to the answer:
Yes, you absolutely need to take a multivitamin.
But not just any multivitamin—many of the cheap ones are just rice powder. A high-quality multivitamin will cost a little more, but you’ll get WAY more for your money.
It’s also a good idea to take a few other key nutritional supplements including a pure, distilled fish oil (or flaxseed oil if you’re vegan), a probiotic with at least 10-12 billion live cultures, vitamin D in non-sunny months, and possibly a few others based on your own specific needs.
I studied for a year with the world’s leading experts in the field of nutrition and not a single one of them said to skip the multivitamins. In fact, most said that they were completely necessary.
Even the Journal Of The American Medical Association (JAMA) has stated, “[…] Suboptimal intake of some vitamins, above levels causing classic vitamin deficiency, is a risk factor for chronic diseases […] it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.” (Read the abstract here.)
A Few Key Points:
Nothing replaces a healthy diet. Our bodies need a healthy, balanced diet filled with fresh, whole foods to thrive. But in reality, it’s nearly impossible to get optimal levels of nutrients through food alone. You can get the “basic-keep-you-alive” amounts, but not the “optimal-thriving-healthiest-you-can-be” amounts. Stress, exercise and hectic lifestyles also increases the amount of antioxidants the body needs; the basic RDAs just aren’t enough. Think of the supplements as insurance against nutritional deficiencies + a boost to help propel your cells to optimal functional levels.
Not all supplements are created equal. The reason people think supplements don’t work is because, in truth, a lot of them don’t. The giant bottle of 1,000 daily once-per-day-tablets that you buy the same place you get your tires mostly likely won’t hurt you, but they sure aren’t helping anything. Even worse, and sad, many supplements on the market today aren’t “clean” (aka fish oil can be highly contaminated with mercury if not distilled properly.)
My philosophy with supplements is to buy only from companies who specialize in making them and are recognized for being the best in their field, because, in my opinion, if we don’t have our health, we don’t have anything.
I’d rather spend a few extra dollars to get something effective and potent instead of save a few dollars on something that doesn’t work. Saving a few extra bucks might feel like you’re making a great financial decision, but you’re really just flushing money down the toilet and not coming out ahead. In short, stop buying the cheapest supplements you can find on the clearance rack and get them from a company that is known for their research & development and high-quality manufacturing processes.
In the long run investing in high-quality saves you money. Marketing for all health products is cleaver and most companies outsource the production of their supplements, so turn the bottle around and do your research (the book The Comparative Guide To Nutritional Supplements is an excellent 3rd party study–you can get it on Amazon for around $20).
My criteria for choosing supplements:
Extra potent and complete so I’m not wasting money
Clinically tested for absorbability; no point in taking it if my body can’t absorb it
Clinically tested for pureness and safety
Manufactured by a legit R&D company
Well-priced for what I’m getting
I’ve chosen USANA as my exclusive product partner because they fit the bill for the criteria I listed above, including a 5-star rating in the Comparative Guide To Nutritional Supplements, pharmaceutical-quality manufacturing standards, excellent customer service, and great prices.
Interesting fact: you’d have to eat 22,000 calories per day and spend more than $33 per day to get the same amount of nutrients found in a daily dose of the USANA CellSentials Multivitamin alone!
I started using supplements from USANA Health Sciences nine years ago when I was 25 and I wouldn’t go a day without them; I can truly feel a difference in my skin, immune system, energy levels and overall health & wellbeing.
There are a few stand-alone supplements that USANA doesn’t manufacture, like extra iodine, and I still use the criteria above to choose what to take. The CellSentials multivitamin contains the maximum amount of iodine that the FDA currently allows in a multi, but most experts in the field have determined we need even more. Since the FDA doesn’t allow optimal amounts of iodine in multis and I live in the middle of the country (low iodine in food), I supplement with organic kelp flakes. (Again, see last week’s blog post for more info.)
Back to getting the right supplements for you.
If you’re just starting out, simply taking the USANA CellSentials Multivitamin will go a long way to helping you get optimal levels of nutrients.
If you don’t eat omega-3-rich foods every day (e.g. salmon, flax, chia seeds) then add in the BiOmega Fish Oil.
The USANA Probiotic is routinely tested for survivability. If probiotics die in transit (e.g. the truck was hot or they were left outside), they don’t work. USANA has a patented formula that is dairy-free, stays alive, and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. I take one every day.
Proflavonal C 100 is a powerful anti-inflammatory and was created for heart-health, but we quickly realized it’s amazing for your skin and collagen production. I heard a biochemist call it a “facelift in a bottle.) Take it for your insides, but your outsides will thank you.
Hepasil Liver Support is safe for every day use and helps with Phase 1 liver detoxification. Anyone who consumes alcohol or sugar should be on this.
Co-Enzyme Q10 helps your cells produce more energy. It’s also great for your skin.
Vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin, it’s a hormone! It’s critical to just about ever system in your body. Vitamin D deficiencies can cause depression, hair loss, bone loss, fatigue or muscle pain. You want your vitamin D blood levels to be between 50-100ng/mL. Your doctor can test this and it’s really easy to fix with a vitamin D3 supplement. USANA’s is 2000IU per tablet, high-quality, and inexpensive. I take one extra per day if I’m not in the sun that day. There is some vitamin D in the multivitamin, and some people find that is enough. Simply have your levels tested to determine how much you need.
On a daily basis, I personally take the following USANA products:
You can add all the supplements on the lists above to your cart at once by clicking here.
If you’re new to supplements, that might sound like a lot, but trust me, it’s not. If you’ve been a supplement junkie for a while, you’re probably thinking I run a lean ship! And I do, I like to keep things streamlined and clean. Instead of having 100 bottles of unused supplements in my cabinet I have what’s listed above; no need for things like extra b complexes or vitamin c – it’s all in the CellSentials. Every now and again a few things might come and go from the rotation, but all in all that’s what I take each day.
I hope this helps! I’ve been meaning to write this post for ages so I can refer people to both why supplements are necessary and what I personally take. I’ll do another video blog on this soon to answer more of your specific questions, I just waned to get this one published to cover the basics.
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