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Previously, we interviewed 6 dietitians to find out which whole foods make their grocery lists every time. Now, 7 RDs weigh in with the supplements they take daily. Notice which supplements come up again and again and be sure to consider making these a staple (if you haven’t already.)
CE Advisors Erin Macdonald, RDN, & Tiffani Bachus, RDN, of U Rock Girl
Tiffani: An essential vitamin I take on a routine basis is vitamin D3/K2. Most people are D3 deficient (my levels were below optimal range, which is between 40-100 ng/nl). It’s best to get your D3 levels checked before you begin supplementing. Vitamin D3 works with vitamin K2 to strengthen bones, and promote the health of the heart and arteries.
I am also taking a B complex. B vitamins have a direct impact on your energy, brain function and slow metabolism.
Erin: I supplement with Magnesium, the king of all minerals and a part of over 300 chemical reactions in the body. Especially Magnesium L-Threonate for better brain function as well as headaches. And I take Magnesium Glycinate in the evening because it is a neuromuscular relaxant and can help promote better sleep.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids are also part of my rotation, an anti-inflammatory supplement that has both EPA and DHA that total over 1000 mg.
Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, of BetterThanDieting.com
Bonnie: I take probiotics since I don’t necessarily eat yogurt every day (and I’m not a fan of pickled foods)! Fueling the bacteria in your gut is so important. One gut-healthy supplement I do not take, however, is fiber, even though it’s essential. This is because I prefer to get mine from whole grains, fruits and veggies.
I will admit, I don’t always remember to take my supplements! But when they’re in gummy form, I’m likely to take them throughout the duration of the day. No water needed and they taste pretty good! There are some gummy supplements that claim to be more “natural.” But just keep in mind that sugar is natural and, very often, it’s the first ingredient. Where they might differ is in using natural flavors and colorants instead of using artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners.
Brenda Braslow, MS, RD of MyNetDiary
Brenda: It’s smart to rely on foods as the primary source of vitamins and minerals. But it can be difficult to include a wide variety of foods from all foods groups on a regular basis. This is why I recommend most people consider a daily multivitamin-mineral supplement. It can help you get a little extra coverage of a wide assortment of micronutrients. Personally, I like that it gives me a little extra calcium, iron, vitamin D and vitamin B12, of which my diet can come up short. Think of it as a little extra insurance policy to complement a healthy diet.
Bonus tip for picking supplements: The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is a not-for-profit organization that sets quality, purity, strength, and identity standards for dietary supplements. Supplements that pass their standards will have the USP mark on the product label. Look for supplements with this mark of quality.
Sarika Shah, MS, RDN
Sarika: Studies show approximately 50% of Americans are deficient in Magnesium. So, most recently, I added Magnesium Glycinate to my rotation, associated with calming effects and used to treat insomnia. Ideally, it should be taken about an hour before bed, but I usually take it about 30 minutes prior. I don’t pair it with anything but water. The recommended dose is between 100-350mg but I would not exceed 350mg/day without talking to your PCP or healthcare provider.
Also, I predominantly follow a vegan diet, so a vitamin I consider essential in my routine is B12. Vegans often do not get enough B12 dietarily. This leaves them at risk for anemia, heart disease, damage to the nervous system and infertility. Another essential nutrient for vegans is Calcium. Studies show that most vegans do not consume enough Calcium, which puts one at greater risk for impaired bone health.
Mia Syn, MS, RDN
Mia: My rotation always includes vitamins D3 and K2. Vitamin D3 is found naturally in only a handful of foods like mackerel and trout. K2 can be found in foods less commonly consumed in the Western diet, like fermented foods. Both D3 and K2 are thought to be insufficiently present in the Western diet. Studies suggest that when taken together, D3 and K2 can help support skeletal and cardiovascular health. D3 enables production of osteocalcin, a marker of bone health. K2 allows osteocalcin to bind calcium and integrate it into our skeletal system. This helps prevent excess calcium from building up that can be deposited in the cardiovascular system, where it can have harmful effects.
Jamie Feit, MS, RD of Testing.com
Jamie: I take vitamin D supplements regularly. The body makes vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun but I supplement because it’s hard in the winter months to get enough sun for the body to produce it. Vitamin D is known for promoting the strength of our bones. It also helps our bodies reabsorb calcium from our bloodstream. Both these actions help prevent the development of osteoporosis – a dangerous condition that weakens our bones as we age. With osteoporosis, our bones can become fragile and crack very easily. You could break a leg or a hip just by going about your regular daily routine!
Another supplement I use is in the form of tea. I drink Teeccino tea every a.m. instead of coffee. It’s made from chicory and dandelion, which are prebiotic fibers that are fantastic for gut health. Gut health has recently become a hot topic, although it has been around forever. 70% of our immune system is in the gut, and 80% of hormones that control our mood are made in the gut. Gut health is responsible for keeping us safe on so many levels, from fighting infections to digesting our food to keeping us regular and so much more! The fascinating fact is that the fiber in the food that we can’t digest, called prebiotic fiber, is food for our gut bacteria. Probiotics are good bacteria and together they make substances that are the messengers for our brain, called postbiotics.