4 Important Supplements Most People Should Take and Why?

The way you think, what you eat and consistent exercise habits are the most important factors when it comes to optimal health for sure. Which is why I have devoted my career, as a fitness trainer and holistic nutritionist, to helping others achieve great things through this practice. But most, if not all of us should also be supplementing with some key nutrients if we want to make certain we’re covering all the bases.

Before we get to the what, let’s start with why. Why do I think we need to supplement? Firstly, because we don’t eat enough nutrient dense foods that contain the necessary elements for good health. Although some of us may be extremely health conscious when it comes to our diet, most of us just don’t take it seriously enough. Now I would never advocate someone taking supplements to make up for a crappy diet, but realistically if that’s what’s going to get it in you, then I would say continue to work on your diet until your need for supplements is reduced. Sort of like wearing a knee brace while you strengthen your joint, and then eliminating it once the knee has healed completely.

Another troubling fact is the quality of the food we consume today is vastly inferior to the food that was grown a century ago. The commercialization of the food industry continues to demineralize the soil as highlighted in the book Empty Harvest by Dr. Bernard Jensen and Mark Anderson. Factors like transportation, packaging and processing only add to the deteriorating quality of the food we eat. This has resulted in less-nutrient-dense food which means if we didn’t supplement, then we’d have to eat more just to get the desired quantity of nutrition and would likely still fall short of our recommended targets.

empty harvest

For most people, a diet that is largely plant-based with some animal products worked into the rotation should just about get the job done, and the need for supplementation would be minimized. The list of supplements to follow represents a basic plan that will provide the extremely-health-conscious individual a great nutritional foundation and will provide the aspiring-to-be-extremely-health-conscious individual a great place start.

Now because we’re all unique flowers, every individual’s need for supplements differs. It’s important to make sure not only your specific needs are being met, but that you’re not inadvertently going above and beyond those needs in a way that could be harmful to you. The best way to understand what your unique needs are is to have your diet evaluated by a registered nutritionist.

In no particular order, the supplements I recommend to people most are:

  1. Omega-3 fatty acids – These are polyunsaturated fatty acids consisting of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It is an essential nutrient that must be obtained from our diet, the best sources are fatty fish oils.
  2. Vitamin D – 70% of us are deficient in this fat-soluble vitamin that our skin is capable of making from the sun’s UVB rays. Inadequate levels of vitamin D increase our risk of depression, immune dysfunction, learning impairments, cognitive disorders and cancer just to name a few. A good rule of thumb if you live at latitudes above 37 degrees north is to supplement with vitamin D most of the year. Provided you are getting a good amount of daily sun exposure you may not need to supplement during the summer months.
  3. A multivitamin – This is a good safety net for everyone since multivitamins contain a wide range of nutrients we may not be getting in adequate amounts from our diet. Choose a good quality brand and one that is formulated for your needs (ie. 50+, active adults, etc.).
  4. Probiotics – These will help restore balance to the microflora that inhabit your intestinal tract especially if you’ve been put on course of antibiotics. Taking these will help to top you up but they are considered transient, meaning just passing through. You must also work to promote the health of your resident bacteria by consuming prebiotics which are mainly obtained from plant-based foods. These plant fibres feed your gut bacteria and promote balance which is vital for optimal immune function.

A digestive enzyme supplement possibly containing hydrochloric acid and bile may also be wise for many of us. Your health depends on the nutrients you eat but without an optimally functioning digestive system, those nutrients may not always be getting absorbed into you body to be assimilated. Choose a natural supplement or have your digestive strength assessed by a professional.

Contact me here to book your assessment.

Registered Holistic Nutritionist (R.H.N) – Canadian School of Natural Nutrition

Certified Personal Training Specialist – CanFitPro

Functional Movement Screen Certified

Biomechanics Specialist

Steve Maxwell Level 1 Kettlebell Instructor