The research on nutritional supplements continues to impress me each year. That being said, when I start patients on a supplement regime for the first time, I don’t want to overwhelm them with dozens of pill bottles. That’s why I compiled this list of my top 14 favorite supplements – to make getting your nutrition in a simple task. Here are the supplements I wouldn’t let slide from any supplement routine.
1. Constant Health Daily from Cell Nutritionals
Constant Health Daily is an all-in-one cellular support formula, which has a base of low-allergen rice protein, antioxidants, glutathione and liver builders, detoxification agents, fiber, and other essential nutrients for joints, collagen building, and heart health. Many of my patients do not like to swallow dozens of pills, so I recommend this combination supplement as an easy way to get most of the nutrients you need in one drink. If you were to take just one thing on my list, this would be it.
Given the quantity of probiotics I sometimes recommend, a high-quality yet affordable product is extra important for my patients. Cell Nutritionals does testing on each of its batches, which is especially important when dealing with live bacteria; many much more expensive brands deliver dead bacteria or significantly lower live bacteria counts. Toxins tilt the balance of bacteria in the gut in favor of the bad guys, and probiotics reverse this imbalance. Probiotics cannot be underestimated in switching off Cellular TOIL as they support digestion, nutrient absorption, and detoxification while also mounting defenses against pathogens.
3. Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3s)
In 2003, the American Cardiac Association recommended that all people with heart health problems should supplement with essential fatty acids. The typical American diet does not include close to enough heart-healthy omega-3s. And, since your body can’t make them on its own, Dr. Rodier finds omega-3 supplements (like fish oil, krill oil, & flaxseed oil) vitally important.
Research has continually supported the use of omega-3s for supporting a healthy heart and reducing irritation underlying chronic diseases. Essential fatty acids also provide support for healthy joints, muscles, and skin, and help soothe the gastrointestinal tract. Interestingly, omega-3’s are also thought to encourage healthy, happy moods and improve symptoms of depression.
4. Vitamin D3
Did you know almost every single type of tissue and cell present in the body contains crucial vitamin D receptors? Though the body absorbs vitamin D from sunshine, a shocking 75% of teens and adults lack this essential vitamin for cell and tissue function. Vitamin D is celebrated for its ability to fight collagen buildup in the arteries, encourage healthy moods, bolster muscle function, and more.
Several studies demonstrate at least 2,000 IU per day is needed to reach optimal levels of vitamin D in the blood, while others suggest that doses closer to 1,000 IU per day are sufficient for supporting bone density in older women. My goal is to get blood levels of vitamin D3 up to between 50 and 75 ng/mL. Additionally, experts agree that vitamin D3 is the most efficient form of vitamin D, found to increase levels of vitamin D in the body more rapidly than other forms.
5. B Complex Vitamins
Unsurprisingly, studies report that around 20% of the U.S. population is deficient in vitamin B12. As we age, our intestinal ability to absorb B vitamins decreases. B vitamins are also involved in the methylation of proteins, which helps avoid DNA and/or gene dysfunction. For these reasons, I heartily recommends B vitamins for the young and the old.
Additionally, B vitamins are thought to help regulate homocysteine levels in the blood stream. Homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood that comes mostly from eating meat, has been associated with countless health problems, namely cardiovascular complications. As an added bonus, B vitamins encourage healthy moods and help support detoxification of the liver and kidneys.
This popular weight management supplement earns its place among my top supplements for its ability to protect cells against environmental damage and toxins. Touted as a potent ally for weight control, resveratrol works by reducing the prevalence of the protein SIRT, which tricks the body into restricting calories. Found in red wine, red grape skins, mulberries, and in small amounts in peanuts, resveratrol may also prevent against oxidative damage and help maintain healthy levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol.
7. Alpha Lipoic Acid
An abundant antioxidant found in broccoli, spinach, liver, and kidney beans, alpha lipoic acid (ALA) increases muscle metabolism and can reduce insulin resistance in cell membranes, thus earning recognition as a weight management supplement.
As for the heart, ALA is thought to reverse damage incurred by the arteries, lower blood pressure, and support healthy circulation. But my favorite trick up ALA’s sleeve? It’s detoxification powers. ALA increases the body’s stores of glutathione, an absolutely vital antioxidant that binds with toxins like heavy metals and escorts them out of the body.
8. Digestive Enzymes and Bile Salts
As we age, our ability to secrete digestive enzymes and bile salts, which help break down food, decreases. The result? Leaky gut and malabsorption of nutrients. Enzymes are present in high concentrations in raw fruits and vegetables, two food groups most Americans don’t eat enough of. What’s more, cooking fruits and veggies depletes their enzyme count. I emphasize these digestive helpers for people who suffer from gastrointestinal issues or those who have lost their gall bladder.
9. Whey Protein
I love whey protein for its tissue-repairing amino acid power. A complete protein, whey contains all nine essential amino acids and is often used to improve lean muscle mass. Made up of proteins extracted from dairy sources, whey is thought to boost immune function and increase glutathione production, an essential antioxidant for detoxification. Moreover, whey protein feeds heathy intestinal bacteria, thereby assisting gut repair.
10. N-Acetyl Cysteine and Glutathione
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a derivative of the amino acid L-cysteine and a precursor to an amino acid you’ve already read about on this list: glutathione. Because NAC is more stable than L-cysteine, it is quickly metabolized into glutathione once it enters the body. Used to thin mucous in the respiratory tract and to treat Tylenol overdoses, NAC is a potent cell and liver detoxifier. For those suffering from leaky gut, N-acetyl cysteine can help strengthen the protective lining of the stomach and intestines. Extensive research on the use of glutathione for treating Parkinson’s disease has shown dramatic improvements in mobility.
This powerful glutathione precursor is found in all sorts of fruits and veggies, including cherries, grapes, peaches, apricots, spinach, carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and cruciferous vegetables. But what’s this super supplement’s major target? Cancers. By increasing glutathione levels, I3C helps rid the body of toxins, specifically xenoestrogens, which can cause damage to sexual tissues.
A mighty micronutrient, I3C can help the body get rid of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which has been linked to cervical cancer. I myself witnessed my prostate-specific antigen, present in high amounts in men with prostate cancer, levels decrease from 3.0 to 2.0 after supplementing with I3C. How’s that for an endorsement?
Even though this trusty sleep aid gets a lot of attention around Thanksgiving, L-tryptophan is the least abundant amino acid in our diet. When our bodies are functioning properly, L-tryptophan is converted first into 5-hydroxytrytophan (5-HTP), then into the mood-boosting neurotransmitter serotonin, which ultimately becomes melatonin (all with a little assistance from B vitamins).
L-tryptophan takes the place of pharmaceutical sleep aids by naturally stimulating feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and beta-endorphins that help relieve stress and rock you to sleep.
13. Curcumin (Turmeric)
Turmeric, the spice loaded with its active compound, curcumin, is the only herb that I take. That’s right, the only herb! In recent years curcumin has dominated headlines and trumped pharmaceuticals as a super supplement for over 600 preventative and therapeutic uses. A celebrated spice in India for thousands of years, turmeric curcumin is a precursor to none other than my favorite amino acid, glutathione. Turmeric is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to fortify the body’s cells against threats like mutation, plaque buildup, and irritation.
DHEA is a precursor to the sex hormones testosterone and pregnenolone secreted by the adrenal glands (located above the kidneys). Because aging and stress put potentially harmful strain on the adrenal glands, DHEA is one of my favorite supplements for sexual health. DHEA increases estrogens for men, while increasing androgens for women. As a result, DHEA is thought to support a healthy menopausal state in aging women. I recommend a daily dose of 10mg for women and 25mg for men.