Question: I have always been interested in natural remedies and I enjoy watching your show.
I have to admit I am just getting around to inquiring about what I should be doing for prevention, as I am pretty healthy at 45 years old and not on any medications. Are there standard supplements you recommend for most people?
Answer: As a naturopathic doctor, I do look at the individual before making an automatic recommendation, but there are certain supplements that get recommended most of the time.
Vitamin D would be at the top of the list best in an oil capsule or liquid oil form and taken at meals because we are not exposed to enough sunlight. For adults, I recommend from 2000iu of vitamin D per day and up. Individuals who have had their gallbladder removed or who struggle with fat digestion should especially get their vitamin D levels checked, as in both these cases bile needed to absorb vitamin D may not be secreted at the optimal time.
Currently, 25 per cent of Canadians supplement with vitamin D, yet only 10 per cent are at the optimal vitamin D levels associated with a lower incidence of chronic disease.
Omega 3 would be another supplement to consider unless you eat one of the following daily: two free range eggs; kipper snacks; wild salmon; halibut; mackerel; 4 tbsp of hemp hearts; 1 cup of raw walnuts; 2 tbsp flax seed oil or hemp seed oil.
Omega 3 is linked to skin, cardiovascular, joint and mental health. It reduces inflammation, which is the root of many conditions. When you look at a bottle of fish oil divide the mg of omega 3 by the total mg in the serving to get a percentage of omega 3.
The best available is just one capsule per day at over 90 per cent omega 3 with 70 per cent of omega 3 as EPA. This matters because if it is not high quality omega 3 the rest of the capsule is saturated fat and cholesterol and studies have shown that your omega 3 is less well absorbed at concentrations below 80 per cent.
Also, remember high temperatures and oxygen damage omega 3 oils, so there are products that do not use no oxygen and 400 per cent less heat in their manufacturing.
The minerals needed by the body, in theory, can come from diet alone. However, in my experience most people are not that consistent with their intake with many not being optimal on any single given day, let alone on a regular basis.
Magnesium is the most common mineral deficiency between decreased intake and drug-induced depletions. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include fatigue, muscle twitches, muscle spasms, muscle tension, anxiety, constipation, high blood pressure, angina, palpitations, arrhythmias, poor sleep and asthma.
Magnesium rich foods are nuts, seeds and leafy greens, in particular organically grown as the soil has better magnesium content. However, stress, birth control pills, diuretics, stomach acid inhibitors and many other medications deplete magnesium.
So, if supplementing I use magnesium amino acid chelate for optimal absorption. The dose ranges from 200 to 600mg of elemental magnesium. Do not take magnesium if you have kidney disease. Stay tuned and I will finish answering your question in two weeks.
Kali Simmonds, ND, is a doctor of naturopathic medicine who practises in Charlottetown. The information provided is not intended to diagnose or substitute the advice of your health-care professional. Please consult with a health-care provider before making any changes. Simmonds welcomes questions for this column, which is published every second Tuesday in The Guardian. She can be reached by mail at 34 Queen St., Charlottetown, C1A 4A3 or by email at email@example.com.