The Foundational Five: The Top 5 Nutritional Supplements for Optimal Health

Good health is essential for living a long and happy life - learn about multivitamins fish oil omega-3s vitamin D calcium probiotics & more.

The Foundational Five: The Top 5 Nutritional Supplements for Optimal Health

Good health is essential for living a long and happy life, and one of the best ways to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need is to take nutritional supplements. There are many different types of supplements available, but the five most important ones are multivitamins, fish oil with 26% omega-3, vitamin D supplements, calcium supplements, and probiotics. Magnesium is also an important supplement for optimal health, as it is needed for more than 600 enzymatic reactions in the body. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 75% of American adults do not meet the daily intake recommended by the FDA. People who are most at risk of suffering from magnesium deficiency are those who eat diets rich in processed foods, have blood sugar abnormalities or diabetes, drink large amounts of alcohol, take diuretics or proton pump inhibitors, have gastrointestinal conditions, have been taking antibiotics for a long time, or are deficient in vitamin D.

Low magnesium levels can cause problems with vitamin D metabolism, weakening of bones, irregular heartbeats and irregular blood pressure, blood sugar problems, irritability and anxiety, muscle cramps and contractions, and fatigue. It is estimated that 88% of the population receives lower than optimal levels of vitamin D. Although the body naturally produces vitamin D through exposure to the sun, the sun is often not strong enough to meet the body's needs. Many factors limit the body's ability to convert sunlight into vitamin D, such as limited exposure to the sun during the winter months, older age, darker skin pigmentation, and the use of sunscreen and clothing that protects the skin from the sun. Vitamin D is needed to maintain adequate bone integrity, adequate neuromuscular function, normal inflammatory response, muscle strength, adequate calcium absorption, a healthy immune response, and normal blood pressure. Studies have shown that adequate levels of vitamin D are related to a decrease in stress fractures, a decrease in injuries in athletes, and a decrease in the rates of upper respiratory tract infections.

Vitamin D supplementation has also been shown to improve headache and migraine symptoms. According to a survey, nearly 63 percent of people knew that they weren't getting enough omega-3 fats in their diet. However, only 26 percent of those people received omega-3 supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids play a critical role in brain health, as well as in the functioning of nearly every system in the body. Part of their benefits comes from how they affect cell membranes.

When your omega-3 levels are high enough, cell membranes can easily transfer nutrients to the cell and eliminate waste products or toxins. Once you've met your magnesium requirements, there's no benefit in taking more. However, with the many effects that magnesium has on your health, you can see why having a deficiency can be disastrous. You can find many different forms of magnesium on the market which can make it a little confusing to understand which one to use. However, the two best forms of magnesium are magnesium glycinate (which is what Life Time uses in its multivitamins) and magnesium malate. As for the ingredients in supplements, magnesium is great since it takes up a lot of space.

That's why you won't find megadoses in multivitamins and you'll need to supplement them separately. You've probably heard about the health benefits of vitamin D and how many people are deficient in this micronutrient. Vitamin D or cholecalciferol is more of a prohormone than a real vitamin and this prohormone influences more than 200 genes. Digestive enzymes round out the Foundational Five. If there's one vitamin in the world that can help optimize a person's health and immune system it's vitamin D (also known as vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol). Traditionally vitamin D deficiency was associated with rickets a bone disease but since the disease is now rare many assume that vitamin D deficiency doesn't exist. Thousands of studies conducted over the past decade show health benefits when vitamin D intake is optimized.

These studies indicate that people with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood have a lower risk of heart attacks breast cancer colon cancer multiple sclerosis type 1 and type 2 diabetes high blood pressure and other health complications. Vitamin D also appears to be beneficial in preventing upper respiratory tract infections. A study conducted in Germany showed that people with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood were five times more likely to die of sudden cardiac death compared to people with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood. Many other studies have shown similar results. Vitamin D “toxicity” is rare with daily doses of 10 000 IU or less. People with advanced chronic kidney disease high blood calcium levels or lymphoma should check with their doctor before taking vitamin D supplements. Muscles bones skin and tendons are mainly composed of collagen -the most abundant type of protein in the human body.

To be specific collagen is made up of 30 to 35 percent of all proteins in the human body. Collagen protein is also known as connective tissue and is responsible for stabilizing our skin and maintaining joint movement and flexibility. In addition collagen provides elasticity to our skin. As we age our skin loses its elasticity and wrinkles more. There are many reasons why this reduced ability to manufacture collagen is partly responsible while life's stressors and oxidative damage also play an important role. People with more melanin in their skin are better protected from ultraviolet sunlight and damage caused by ultraviolet rays which I call “melanoprotection”.

However people with less melanin are at greater risk of sun damage and a greater risk of premature aging. Collagen is a good option for those who want to make sure they get the right amino acids but want to consume them with gluten-free or dairy-free supplements.Finally collagen helps maintain gut health. One main reason is the high levels of amino acid glutamine or glutamic acid in oral collagen supplements. Glutamine provides “food” for healthy bacteria in our gut Learn more about Leaky Gut and other ways to...

Ernie Levitt
Ernie Levitt

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