Each day I’m in practice, women ask me what supplements they should be taking. While I don’t consider myself a “supplement pusher”, I do think we should all be taking a few specific nutrients to stay healthy, age well, and, ideally, prevent disease.
Here are my Top 5 Supplements for (Perimenopausal) Women:
- Food-based, organic multivitamin
- Choose one specific to your age (I like the brand Garden of Life, but New Chapter and Rainbow Light are also good ones). Take the recommended dose each day.
- Fish oil or algae oil
- These are important sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which our bodies can’t make. You MUST either eat fatty fish several times per week or supplement. You want 1000mg of EPA +DHA per day, minimum (reputable brands include Nordic Naturals and Carlson’s as well as the professional lines on this link)
- We continue to learn more about the “good bacteria” in our gut (the microbiome) and the roles they play in our health. These bacteria improve our immune system, make certain vitamins and improve absorption of other vitamins, have impact on our brain hormones, decrease risk of diabetes and are key to keeping the bowels moving regularly. You want a refrigerated product that is at least 20 billion units in potency and contains 10 or more strains of bacteria. Rotate the brand you use at least every year. Double up for a month after a course of antibiotics.
- Vitamin D3
- If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you should take 5000iu (125mcg) of Vit D3 daily, year round. Have your levels tested periodically to make sure you are absorbing your supplement; your lab goal is 60-80 ng/mL.
- Medicinal mushrooms
- These powerhouse foods are so valuable for our immune systems. They are cancer fighting, improve your ability to fight bacteria and viruses and prevent infections. Many mushrooms also have a normalizing effect on our stress response. My favorite product is “Mycommunity” by Host Defense. You take 1 daily and increase to 2 if you are ill or know you’ve been exposed to an illness like the flu, strep, etc.
This is a long list, especially if you are starting from scratch. You’ll feel like an old lady taking all her pills (really step in to this granny role and buy a pill organizer that you put together each week!).
Why do we need to take so much stuff? It’s a cruel world out there, ladies. We are living longer than ever, exposed to more environmental pollutants and social stressors, trying to be super moms/super wives/super daughters/super professional career women…Our bodies need support if we are going to make it through this.
Although I consider these the basics, I’m always impressed by the changes women notice by starting these simple steps.
Of course, and I hope it goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway—none of these recommendations are replacements for healthy living! I’ve noticed though, that once the habits of taking nutritional supplements is established, and a woman is feeling a bit perkier, the really important diet and lifestyle changes become easier to tackle.
Oh, and check with your doc to make sure these suggestions are safe in combo with your med list and in your specific health condition. Want my opinion? I do phone and email visits! Call for information and to schedule: 206-525-8012.