If there was ever a time to pay attention to a vitamin and supplement routine, this past year has been it. We’re doing our best to keep our households happy and most importantly, healthy. With COVID hitting two out of the three of us, we were in need of guidance to make sure we were dosing the most important vitamins to create as much immunity and well-being as possible.
We wanted help and were looking for a clear roadmap of which vitamins and supplements everyone should or could be taking which led us to a (virtual) sit down with Functional Medicine Consultant of Your Pharm Assist, Lindsey Palmer. Follow her on Insta @your.pharm.assist.
Lindsey brings several years of experience as a traditional Pharmacist before she transitioned into Functional Medicine. We couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say when it came to maintaining optimal health for ourselves, our husbands and our kids. As always, we couldn’t wait to share the knowledge with you!
Q & A WITH LINDSEY PALMER
JTI: Can you explain briefly what Functional Medicine is and how you become involved in it?
LP: Functional medicine is a model of healthcare that considers the many factors that play into overall health and wellbeing, including nutrition, stress, sleep, relationships, mindset, exercise, etc. It aims to address the root cause of chronic health conditions rather than masking symptoms with medications or other remedies, and it is based on the belief that what affects one tissue or organ can have downstream effects in other parts of the body.
JTI: What services do you offer to your clients?
LP: I work with a collaborative team of pharmacists and physicians to provide one-on-one health consulting in functional medicine, medication optimization and disease state management via a telehealth platform. Through this platform, I can order both general labs (regular bloodwork) and functional labs (hormone testing, food sensitivity testing, etc.) to get a more thorough look at what is at the root of chronic health conditions and then develop a path to improved health and wellbeing. I personally turned to functional medicine years ago to find relief from anxiety and insomnia, and it is my passion to empower others to take back their health effectively and sustainably.
JTI: What are the benefits of taking supplements and vitamins?
LP: Supplements are great for providing the key vitamins and minerals we need to feel great and thrive! It’s important to remember however, that supplements do not take the place of the nutrition you get from food. Broccoli, as one example, contains only a short list of vitamins and minerals that are commonly found in supplements…but it contains hundreds of phytonutrients and antioxidants, which are plant compounds that are crucial for maintaining cellular health in the human body.
JTI: Is it ok to buy supplements and vitamins on Amazon?
LP: Amazon is great for convenience and often comparable (or even the best) prices for supplements. The only point of concern is that the storage and handling conditions are not tracked or regulated. This is really important for maintaining the integrity of supplements, especially with probiotics or fish oil. However, for some people, Amazon is the only feasible option to purchase supplements, and that is ok! In most cases, you’ll still receive benefit from the added nutrition.
A quick note about how to use this blog: We have linked each individual vitamin and supplement to Amazon for your convenience. However, as Lindsey said, keep in mind storage and handling conditions are not regulated there. If you would like to buy any of these from Lindsey at Your Pharm Assist, or do a deeper dive in another aspect of your health, please click the button below. By purchasing through her, temperature control and handling is regulated. She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to hormones, pain and inflammation and many other things!
If you’re like most, you find it difficult to slow down, and often you’re so busy keeping up with your family and work that you forget to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, too. For that reason, taking a few key high-quality supplements that include a variety of vitamins and minerals is a good idea for everyday maintenance. It is important to stay on top of your health with regular exercise, nutritious food, fresh air, and plenty of sleep, but supplementation can help to fill in the gaps in our nutrition and keep us operating in tip-top shape. With that, let’s take a look at a few key supplements that you may want to consider adding to your regimen.
THORNE Basic Nutrients Multivitamin: Multivitamins contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that are crucial to many different biochemical processes. Some vitamins have specific roles, while others perform 100s of different functions. Vitamins and minerals are important for immune system support, neurotransmitter and hormone synthesis, cellular metabolism, detoxification, blood clotting, and supporting the health of all our bones and tissues.
pure encapsulations Magnesium: Most people are deficient in magnesium, which is involved in the functioning of over 300 enzymes in the body! Deficiency can result in a variety of symptoms, like constipation, brain fog, anxiety, muscle cramps, high blood pressure, and headaches. Magnesium can be found in supplements in a variety of forms, each which specifically pinpoints certain symptoms. Magnesium citrate, for example, is commonly used for relaxation and relief from constipation…but for some people, it can lead to loose stools. Many multi-nutrient supplements contain magnesium, but often, additional supplementation (300 to 500mg total daily) is necessary. Speak with your doctor before supplementing with magnesium if you have any type of kidney impairment.
THORNE Zinc: A well-known key player for almost every function of the immune system. On top of that, zinc helps to maintain a healthy gut lining for the proper absorption of other nutrients as well as plays a role in proper thyroid functioning. Check to see that zinc is included in the list of active ingredients in your multivitamin, and aim to supplement with 15 to 30mg total daily.
Carlsen Elite Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): EFAs are important for cardiovascular health, brain health, hormone function, and blood sugar control, and they are potent anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. Deficiency is common, and symptoms can manifest as dry skin, low energy, weakness, depression, vision problems, poor nail and hair growth, digestive problems, and more. It is particularly important to use only reputable brands of fish oil for supplementation to ensure adequate potency and purity.
Ortho-Biotic Probiotic: Well-known for balancing the microbiome in the gut to relieve symptoms like diarrhea and constipation. However, so much of our body’s total health is linked to the gut. Our microbiome has a far-reaching impact and can affect our immune system, neurotransmitter balance, hormone balance, and nutrient status. It can easily be thrown off-kilter by environmental toxins, stress, and processed foods. Choosing a probiotic can be complicated, and some varieties are specifically targeted for certain conditions. In general, use a good quality brand with a high concentration of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. If you have symptoms of irritable bowl syndrome, it is important to speak with your provider before starting a probiotic, as it can exacerbate at symptoms when you first begin taking it. Probiotics have a transient effect, which means you need to take them regularly to see continued effects. It is especially important to take a probiotic during a course of antibiotics and for a couple weeks after. Metagenics UltraFlora Acute Care is a good option to recover from antibiotic use.
“IF YOU’RE ANYTHING LIKE ME, YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT TO SLOW DOWN...AND MAKE SURE YOU’RE TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF.”
STRESS & ANXIETY
Beyond the basic nutrients mentioned above, those of us who are particularly stressed and/or anxious may need extra support to nurture our adrenals (which produce cortisol, the “stress hormone”) and to find relaxation.
THORNE Activated B Vitamins: People with Type A personalities who are always going, going, going blow through their available B vitamins quickly with metabolism, detoxification, and nourishing neural tissue, and they need regular replenishment. Start low and go slow when supplementing with a heavy dose. Everyone reacts differently to a sudden influx of B vitamins, and too much at once can overwhelm your system. Your multi-vitamin may contain hearty doses of B vitamins, but particular formulas are specially formulated to provide an extra boost.
Gaia Herbs Adrenal Health Nightly Restore: A blend of calming herbs that help to nourish the adrenals while you rest.
Gaia Herbs Adrenal Health Daily Support: A blend of herbs that help to balance the body during times of stress and maintain energy by supporting the adrenal gland.
Jarrow Formulas L-theanine: An amino acid naturally found in green tea that modulates brain function by shifting neurotransmitter balance to a more calming state. Particularly helpful at night if you’re having trouble sleeping due to ruminating thoughts.
Jarrow Formulas MagMind: Magnesium threonate is a specific type of magnesium that crosses the blood brain barrier and particularly supports brain health, cognition and memory. Discontinue the magnesium in your daily regimen if adding magnesium threonate for mental health support.
SHORT-TERM IMMUNITY BOOST
If you’re struggling to get over a cold/flu, try a 7-day “Immunity Boost” with high doses of the following supplements:
Vitamin A- Take 10,000 IU (2 drops) daily
Vitamin D3 (with K2)- Take 5000 IU (1 capsule) daily. If you’re already taking 1,000 to 2,000 IU in your daily multivitamin, then add this supplemental dose every other day on top of that.
Vitamin C- Take 1000 to 2000mg total twice daily. Decrease the dose if you experience loose stools, and factor in the dose you take in your daily multivitamin.
Zinc piccolinate- Take 40-50mg daily total. Remember to consider the dose that you’re already taking with your daily multivitamin.
Probiotic- Take in the morning AND in the evening.
Astralagus- Take twice daily on just two days per week.
* One final note about calcium. Women have been encouraged to take calcium supplements for many years for the purpose of strengthening bones. However, calcium supplementation is not as simple as most believe it to be, and oftentimes, many women are taking TOO much calcium. Furthermore, many vitamins and minerals work synergistically in the body, and vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin K2 are equally as important for bone health as calcium. When women over-supplement with calcium and not enough of the other important co-factors for bone health, the body doesn’t always know how to handle calcium or efficiently eliminate it. This can lead to calcium being deposited in soft tissues, like glands and arteries. Over time, this contributes to gland dysfunction (which can cause hormone imbalance) and a hardening of the arteries, which is a key cause of cardiovascular disease. Like any other nutrient, it is important for the body to have calcium, but not TOO much. If you are concerned about bone health, make sure you’re taking a high-quality, multi-mineral formula that includes calcium along with magnesium, vitamin K2, and vitamin D.
Kids require many of the same nutrients as adults to keep their immune system strong and all metabolic processes running smoothly. Vitamins formulated specifically for kids allow them to be given with ease in the appropriate dosing.
Multivitamin- SmartyPants Kids Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin includes a wide variety of key nutrients, including omega 3 fatty acids and activated B vitamins. These gummies are free of artificial sweeteners/flavors/colors. They do have a bit of sugar, and in an ideal world, we wouldn't be giving our kids sugar with their vitamins. However, most kids will readily take these without a fight, and getting the nutrients into their body is the most important thing. The dose is 4 gummies daily, so you do go through these quickly.
You could also try Rainbow Lite NutriStars, which are a chewable tablet (rather than a gummy). My kids took these for years, but my pickiest eater recently started refusing them. They include a wider variety of minerals, herbs, and other nutrients, and they provide a higher dose of many vitamins. However, the vitamins are NOT in their fully active forms, which may mean they are less effective in some people. The dose is 1-2 tablets daily, depending on the child’s age. It’s not about perfection…it’s about finding what works best for YOU and your family.
Vitamin K2/D3 drop- SmartyPants gummies contain an adequate dose of vitamin D, but for some older children, it might not be enough. Vitamin D is so critical for many aspects of health, and many people are deficient. It is best to get a vitamin D level drawn and then discuss supplement dosing with your practitioner. Drops make extra supplementation very simple…you can easily place one drop onto the gummy, into food or drink, or right on the tongue!
Probiotic- When taken regularly, probiotics help maintain microbial balance in the gut. This is important not only for digestive health, but for hormone balance, neurotransmitter synthesis, and so much more.
Immune Fortifier- An herbal blend for those times when you're especially concerned about immune system health or while your child is fighting an illness. This does have a potent flavor, and it is best mixed with a flavored beverage, like juice.
A note from Lindsey: This is a very general guide to supplementation, and I hope you found some helpful tips for your personal use! If you have specific health concerns, be sure to speak to your provider. Personalized testing can look at nutrient deficiencies and guide you to a regimen tailored specifically for your unique body. Wishing you health and happiness as you take on this new year! Head to Your Pharm Assist for more information.
*Informational purposes only; not medical advice.