My Two Cents
While I am not a fan of gulping down handfuls of supplements per day, I will occasionally add specific supplements depending on unique deficits or needs. Here is a list of the specific types and brands I most frequently recommend, and some links to find them online.
- Anemia or TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) blood deficiency symptoms
- Menstruating women once every 3 - 6 months
- After childbirth
Because it is plant derived and highly bioavailable, a lower dose of iron in this supplement will build up blood faster than mineral/tablet based supplements. This formulation also has the fabulous advantage of not causing constipation. Something no other iron supplement I know of can boast of. It has been used by thousands of midwives and OBs, and the perinatologist group in the Twin Cities has specifically given their okay for patients to use it. It is great for pregnancy or while trying to conceive, especially if you have thin lining concerns.
Fish Oil Supplements
- Decreasing inflammation
- Thinning the blood for circulation
- 2 - 3 times for anyone who doesn't regularly eat fish
Fermented raw and not heat/cold processed. It Is the brand I take and recommend most. It also has high amounts of vitamin D in it.
This is the brand the American Pregnancy Association endorses. It is ONLY fish oil, not a full prenatal (which I do not generally recommend). Some pregnant women feel more comfortable taking this brand because it is APA endorsed.
Vitamin D Supplements
- For all people living in the Midwest during winter months
- Especially breastfed babies and lactating moms
Vitamin D is fat soluble, so taking it in a medium chain triglyceride oil can be helpful with absorption rates (vs a pill or gummy). I also prefer liquid supplements in general, unless they taste awful and prevent you from actually taking them as I find with most people and fish oil! I put this oil in our family's morning smoothie a few times a week during all except the summer months.
Folic Acid or Folate Drops
- For all women who are trying to conceive or pregnant
- Women who have had abnormal pap results
- Anyone who has or is taking methotrexate or with MTHFR mutation
Folate is the naturally occurring form of folic acid, where as folic acid is actually the synthesized version. Based on the most recent data I've seen, both are actually similarly bioavailable. I recommend, whatever form you take you do not take one with a ton of B12 in it. Many have 5000% and up! Some B12 is good, but no one needs such high amounts, it'll just make your urine flourecent and make your body work harder. Women <30 should take 400 iu/day, 30 - 40 should take 800 iu/day, and 40+ or with MTHFR, abnormal paps, methotrexate should take 1200+ iu/day.
- If you insist - but it's really okay to take just folic
If you'd like to have extra insurance and want to take a prenatal, I'd recommend something food based with moderate amounts of vitamin / mineral content vs synthetic versions at 1000% each. Of course, I'd much rather a person eat well first, but this brand is a good one if you'd like to cover your bases. This company also makes women's and men's general vitamins.
- Anytime you take antibiotics, have a yeast infection, BV
- Those with digestive or anxiety related main concerns
- Anyone every now and then for good measure
I don't actually recommend any one type of probiotics. I would love it if you could choose unpasteurized fermented food first. Did you know only one serving of some sour krauts have a larger variety and number of "probiotics" than an entire bottle of supplements? But in lieu of drinking kefir, kombucha, miso soup and eating kraut, kimchee, fermented veggies and yogurt, I'd recommend rotating a variety of high quality probiotics found at your local co-op or health food store. Shelf life can be a concern, so if you rotate brands you'll get a variety of strains and hedge your bets in case any one brand ends up being a dud.
So those are my most frequently suggested supplements!
Of course I have a huge list of others that are less universal and for more specifics such as blood sugar, cravings, leaky gut and more. But again, I'd much rather people get what they need through food and lifestyle whenever possible, and only use supplements as extra insurance strategically and moderately where there is a specific need that must be addressed.
If you are considering a specific supplement and want to chat, I'd love to! If you'd like to check out the research and hard data on various supplements you can find a lot of good info at Examine.com. This site is a great resource, it not only compiles the research, but rates the studies strength and says how much the various studies agree or contradict one another. Of course, as a holistic practitioner, there is more than just studies to consider. But they are a really great baseline and starting point.