“What Vitamins Should I Take?” – Getting the Essentials
When I see a new patient, I always ask about vitamin usage. I find that many of my patients are not taking the fundamental essentials – so they end up asking me “What vitamins should I take?” Although everyone benefits from the basics, I often find my patients already have conditions related to a lack or low level that showed up in previous blood work. Some have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes for which omega 3s are extremely important, and even cramping or constipation, which is often a reflection of low magnesium. Everyone needs a healthy nutrient foundation – and few people get enough of the proper nutrients from their food. So here’s my approach to the question of “what vitamins should I take?”
Start With The Multivitamin
Most patients WANT to take a high quality multivitamin. Unfortunately, many indicate on their new patient forms that they are taking a low quality brand! While better than nothing, I’d prefer patients start with a brand I know is of excellent quality. The truth is, most probably just don’t know where to start, so they grab a multivitamin readily available from their local grocery or drug store.
So my typical first step is to recommend a high quality, daily “pack” that includes a multivitamin but also omega 3s, magnesium and D3. I typically suggest the Essential Nutrient Pack from Anabolic. I prefer Anabolic because:
- They make all of their products in a pharmaceutical grade lab
- Prices are reasonable prices
- They package the daily essentials in a convenient package you can throw in your purse, backpack or briefcase
- There is excellent education for doctors regarding the biochemistry behind their products.
I also appreciate their high quality patient educational materials that provide study references and easy to understand explanations about what they products do. Here’s a pdf flyer that you should find very helpful: AnabolicLabs_EssentialNutritionPack_Flyer. While we don’t sell the pack on our website, we do sell them at the office.
Add On Vitamins as Needed
Once we have the basics covered including essential nutrients and eating a healthy anti-inflammatory diet, if a patient needs more specialized products down the road, we go from there. However, it makes no sense to start on products designed for special problems like arthritis, indigestion, inflammation or pain when the basics aren’t even covered. Sometimes simply getting a good nutritional foundation addresses this issues, and there is no need for any other products.
Getting the Proper Dosages
People are confused about vitamin dosages. You should know that the RDA, or recommended daily allowance, is the minimum requirement to prevent a vitamin deficiency disease. It is not the recommended daily amount to promote health. So RDAs are not a good guide to know how much to take.
On the other hand, Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble and stored in the body which means you can build levels that are too high. I don’t like to give blanket dosages of vitamins, as different people have different needs. My recommendation for vitamin D will completely depend on the patient’s blood work. Sometimes, people need a higher dosage of a vitamin for only a short period of time and then can go to a lower dosage. As an example, I might recommend high dosages of omega 3s for four weeks and then lower the dosage later if someone is trying to get their cholesterol down.
Research causes thinking on vitamins to change rapidly – which is why having a doctor stay on top of your vitamin regimen is helpful. For example, high dosages of calcium used to be recommended for women for bone health. We now know that the dosages were way too high and, in fact, too much calcium can be harmful. The best standard now is to test the vitamin D in the blood, get the Vitamin D level in the appropriate range and give a much lower dose of calcium.
So did you increase your vitamin IQ? Can you now answer the question “what vitamins should I take?” I hope I’ve given you at least a start – and inspired you to start thinking a little differently about your health essentials. As always, I’m happy to give my opinion on vitamins and/or dosages for you as an individual – just stop by the office.