Stumped By Supplements? What To Pick For Your Starting Lineup This Winter

confused-woman.jpg

Let's face it, there is a lot of stuff out there. As a physician, one of the most frustrating things I experience is over-supplementation. I see a ton of new patients in my office who unnecessarily supplement different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and herbs, sometimes taking up to 15 different things a day! 

During every first visit, I go through what supplements a person takes and why, what dose, how long they've been taking it, who prescribed it and most importantly, if they've experienced a benefit from taking it. Believe it or not, most patients are unsure why they take what they take, they can't remember how long they've been taking it, they are unsure of their dose; some don't even know what the supplement is, or what it does in the body. When prompted, they usually report taking something because a friend told them to, or they read on the internet it was supposed to be good for you. This always shocks me, you're going to put something in your body every day, and you don't know what it is and what it's doing?

Supplementation is supposed to be just that. Added nutrients or botanical support for an individual who may not be getting enough from their diet or who has a medical condition that warrants their use. Supplements can absolutely be harmful if taken inappropriately, so the best way to ensure you're being safe is to talk to your physician, preferably a naturopathic physician who is well-versed in nutrition and supplementation. 

In the age of over-doing it, I always encourage people to follow the tried and true philosophy "less is more". Talk to your physician before you start any protocol, have a plan so you know when to re-evaluate your protocol, and if you've been prescribed something, take it as prescribed. Supplements work just like drugs, you have to take them when you're supposed to take them in order to get the proper effect. Because I get a ton of questions every month from patients curious about what supplements I use regularly, for healthy individuals who have a goal of maintaining daily health while avoiding getting sick this cold & flu season, I often prescribe the following three supplements during the winter months, and I always continue to evaluate my patients to ensure these protocols continue to be effective and appropriate. If you have a health concern you would like to discuss with respect to nutrition and/or supplementation, please book a visit with me!

Probiotic

  • Probiotics support intestinal and immune health in adults and children. During the winter months, especially the holiday season when we may not be nourishing our body as adequately, and come into contact with higher volumes of people via holiday functions or in crowded shopping malls, probiotics are a staple defence. As a general dose, I recommend 20 billion CFU to be taken at bedtime for adults, and half the dose for children.  

Omega 3 Oil with Vitamin D

  • Healthy omega-3 oils and vitamin D are often lacking in our diet, especially during the winter months. Both of these nutrients are important for your immune system, heart heath, skin and mood, all things that could use a boost during those cold grey winter days. As a general dose, I recommend 1000mg of EPA, 1000mg DHA and 1000IU Vitamin D taken daily with food, half the dose for children. Professional line omega oils are of better quality than drug store brand, so I always recommend getting your omega oils through your physician.

Magnesium

  • Another nutrient that is often short in our diet, magnesium helps to relax muscles, lowers blood-pressure, and promotes sleep. The holiday season is often a stressful time, as a general dose I recommend 400mg of Magnesium glycinate, to be taken twice a day with food or at bedtime for sleep. Talk to your physician before giving your child magnesium. 

If you have questions or would like to get started on a winter health plan, book your appointment with me.

In Health,

Dr. Alaina