If you’re considering supplementation, Dr. Erin Stokes, ND suggests first starting with a multivitamin, a probiotic, and a daily dose of turmeric to help fill in the gaps caused by our modern diet and pace of life.
As with most endeavors in life, getting started on the right track is the hardest part - and embarking on a supplement regimen is no exception to this rule. Many people, contemplating what supplements to take as part of their health conscious lifestyle, feel inhibited because of one question: “Where do I start?”
It Starts with a Strong Foundation.
As a Naturopathic Doctor, a mom, and a self proclaimed “foodie”, I think that when you’re trying to build a foundation for your health, food comes first. Yet for most of us, our nourishment from food is not enough, and this is where supplements play an important role in filling the gaps. There is evidence that demonstrates a decline in the amounts of certain nutrients found in fruits and vegetables over the last 50 to 100 years. In addition, with the pace of our modern lifestyles, people often find themselves eating on the run and skipping meals in order to keep up with their schedules.
To help fill in the gaps caused by our modern pace and diet, this is where I suggest to start when first looking at supplementation.
1) A Multivitamin
You want the best multivitamin you can find to fill the gaps in your diet, yet that choice can be overwhelming. With all the options available on the store shelf, do you know how to choose the one that's right for you?
MegaFood’s Doctor Formulated multivitamin collection was formulated by Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., an internationally recognized expert on dietary supplements, herbal medicine, women’s health, and integrative medicine, with a career spanning 35 years. We relied on her expertise to help us update our line with methylated forms of FoodState® B12 & Folate and active forms of B2 and B6. This line also contains Choline, an integral member of the B vitamin family that is often missing in the diet and from most multivitamins.
What we didn’t change with our new MegaFood gender and age specific multis is the delivery form. Yes, that’s right, vitamins and minerals are delivered in whole food!
Things to watch for:
Take note of how your body feels before, during, and after introducing a multivitamin - even jot it down in a notebook so you can compare these points in time. How are your energy levels; have they changed? This is often the first thing people may notice when their body is getting the nutrition it deserves!
Related reading: Why do I need to take a multi?
2) A Probiotic
There’s still some confusion out there about why probiotics are a key foundational supplement. Let’s start with the microbiome: our very own community of bacteria, including the good, the not so good, and the downright bad. Recent research on the microbiome has focused on everything from digestion to immunity to obesity. It’s worth paying attention to, especially in the fall and winter months.
We have the power to shift our microbiome in many ways, from the foods that we choose to eat each day, to the probiotic supplements we take. Intrigued? Perhaps it's time to do a gut check.
Things to watch for:
Again, make note of how you feel before and after adding a probiotic. How is your digestion? Gas and bloating? What about your immune function? Probiotics support all of these things, so they are areas to watch!*
Related reading: What’s the perfect probiotic for me?
3) A Daily Dose of Turmeric
There is a lot of buzz around Turmeric these days regarding the role it can play in daily health and wellness support.* Turmeric is one of the most widely used herbs in the country, and is a key player in maintaining a healthy whole body inflammation response.*
Turmeric has been respected and ingested by people from all over the world for thousands of years, and is believed to have originated in India. A relative to ginger, this bright yellow-orange root has a long and colorful history.
Things to watch for:
Turmeric is well-studied for its role in supporting inflammation.* Some things to note may be how you feel before and after exercise, or any stiffness that you tend to note in joints or muscles.
Related reading: Turning to turmeric: how to select your supplement.
One Step at a Time
To make it as easy as possible to get a supplement rhythm going, consider starting with just the multi and build over the course of a couple of months until you are incorporating all three suggestions into your routine:
If you’re new to supplementing your diet, or even a seasoned veteran re-evaluating your regimen, these individual products are a great trifecta for building a strong health foundation! By incorporating them one at a time, over a wider span of time, it allows you to check in with your body and identify:
- How you’re feeling with each addition
- The effect the products may be having
- Areas where you’d like additional support
A great way to tune into your body, as well as to manage any stress you may be experiencing, is to incorporate a meditation practice into your daily routine. Life can be hard, but supporting your health and finding the right supplements doesn’t have to be. These foundational supplements may be a great way begin (or add to) your journey towards health and wellness!
(1) Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is The Evidence? HortScience February 2009 vol. 44 no. 1 15-19