KATIE  from Washington, United States  asks:

I’m new to dietary supplements and I don’t know where to begin. Where should I start?

Lynn Green, Integrative Nurse and Master Herbalist:  IN Wellness9/18/2020 6:32:00 AM

Before I answer this, I want to preface that you should always work with your healthcare professional before starting a new dietary supplement.  

Now that that’s out of the way, the first thing I would ask is, what are you looking to do with a supplement? What’s your lifestyle like? Do you eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, or do you eat one vegetable a day? What do you consume for beverages? All of these questions help determine specific supplement for your journey, however, there are several supplements to consider that will help lay a good foundation.  

Let’s start with a multivitamin. Taking a multivitamin is a great “insurance policy.” You may have a busy schedule and can’t always eat healthy. Or you might find it difficult to get the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals each day. A multivitamin can help fill in the gaps.  

When it comes to multivitamins, you should consider two things: 1) your age and 2) how often you want to take your multi. For your age, depending on different milestones, you would likely benefit from a specialized multivitamin. For instance, if I have a young lady of childbearing age who is interested in starting a family, I recommend a prenatal vitamin. Or if I’m working with adults over 50, I would suggest a formula that delivers the nutrients needed as you age. Nature’s Way Alive! Multivitamins offer options for everyone in the family: kids, women, men, adults over 50, even teenagers! 

Now, think about how many times you want to take your multivitamin. Some varieties you take one a day, others six times a day. Think about what you are actually going to be able to commit to. You can have the best intentions in the world, but if they stay in the bottle, the multivitamin isn’t going to work. Your multivitamin should be tailored to your preferences and luckily there are a lot of different forms and formulas – tablets, powders, ultra potency, gummies, once daily, and more so find which one is best for your lifestyle and needs.  

If you aren’t eating fermented foods, I recommend taking a probiotic. The gut microbiome plays such an important role in your general health.* It doesn’t just process food; it is also linked to the immune system and the brain.* Even if you take a probiotic, I also preach adding fermented foods to your diet. 

Fish oil is another good place to start. Our lifestyles are so fast-paced and it’s difficult to eat enough EPA and DHA, especially for those on vegetarian diets. (EPA and DHA are most commonly found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines.) I also especially recommend pregnant women supplement with DHA to support healthy eye and brain development.* 

Vitamin D is underrated. It has been linked to bone health and density, but also to immune health.*  When looking at the entire body, this vitamin is involved in so many different pathways and functions. In the northern region of the United States, many people have low vitamin D status due to the lack of sun in the winter months. I recommend getting your vitamin D levels checked first and supplementing appropriately.  

To get the best out of your supplements, you also need to implement lifestyle changes, including eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and staying hydrated. If you’re going to take supplements, you might as well make the best of them. Take the best quality you can afford. Nature’s Way partners with TRU-ID, an independent testing program that uses cutting-edge DNA biotechnology to ensure the authenticity of both our herbal and probiotic products. With TRU-ID validation, you can be sure that the ingredients listed on our labels actually match what is in our products. 

I recommend starting one supplement at a time to gauge potential reactions and see what your body responds to. It’s so important to listen to your body. 
Lynn Green, Integrative Nurse and Master Herbalist
Integrative Nurse and Master Herbalist

Lynn Green

Lynn Green’s interest in health and wellness began as a child, and she channeled it into a fulfilling career as a nurse practitioner. Lynn works onsite at Nature’s Way, assisting employees on their journey to health. Her focus is on primary prevention, and she blends Western medicine with herbal wisdom, mind-body techniques, and lifestyle changes to help her patients achieve overall well-being and good health.

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