An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Plus some B12, Vitamin C, D, and E, and who knows what we're going to be told to take next month. With so much noise around what to take and when in the vitamin-sphere, especially this time of year, we were beginning to feel like our heads were spinning.
We sat down with Dr. Frank Lipman-fashion's favorite wellness doctor (he treats Gwyneth Paltrow and Donna Karan amongst others)-to figure out what the five most important vitamins/supplements to take are and why in order to kick off the healthiest 2014 possible.
We all need to be energetic. Health-supporting nutrients, like those found in multivitamins, help us fight against the daily damage our bodies get from living in a polluted and stressful environment. Think of a multivitamin as an insurance policy for your body from everything it's not getting naturally. Multivitamins will also optimize cellular function, which helps make all your systems work efficiently and steadily.
Vitamin D is technically a pre-hormone, not a vitamin. It's involved in just about everything - it makes of hundreds of disease-preventing proteins and enzymes, and affects more than 2,000 genes throughout the body. It enriches muscle strength, builds bone, has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects, and strengthens the immune system. It's almost impossible to get the right amount of vitamin D from food, so you have to get it from supplements or sun exposure.
Fish oil supplements are rich in the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are fundamental to being healthy. They help prevent chronic diseases and inflammation. They boost your immune system; bolster your cardiovascular, joint and vision health; strengthen skin, hair, and nails; and enhance nutrient absorption, metabolic function as well as attention, mood and memory skills. Like with vitamin D, you can't make your own omega-3 fatty acids. I urge everyone to indulge in fish oil supplements!
Probiotics are the "good" bacteria that live in your gut and play a huge role in your overall wellness. When you're healthy, your intestinal tract houses over 100 trillion "good" bacteria, which aide in digestion, boosting your immune system and consuming bad bacteria. They create key nutrients and restrict the growth of yeast and unhealthy bacteria. They also limit bouts of lactose intolerance, bad digestion and diarrhea. But as strong as your natural probiotics might be, bad diet, stress, pollution and over use of antibiotics can wipe out the good stuff - so it's your job to strengthen and repopulate your gut with healthy bacteria. A daily dose of probiotics is a great way to improve digestion and boost immunity.
Magnesium helps control hundreds of chemical reactions in the body. It also helps regulate blood pressure, strengthen muscles and bones, keep the immune system strong, and support cardiac and brain function. Research has indicated that as many as 80% of us are magnesium deficient, so supplementing it is an excellent way to support good health. Even if you maintain a good, clean diet, stress, alcohol use, and certain drugs can lead to magnesium depletion despite your best efforts, which is why I recommend magnesium supplementation so often. In general, I suggest taking 300-600mg magnesium glycinate at bedtime, which is easily tolerated.
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