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Dr. Nick's Recommendations: Vitamins & Supplements

There are so many vitamins and supplements available today. Here Dr. Nick highlights his recommendations based on what he's found in good research and his personal experience.

I make these general recommendations based upon what I have found in good research and my personal experience. These 4 supplements are, I believe, among the most important for the initial work of bettering our health. They are relatively cheap, easily obtained, and don’t require special testing to begin use.

As with any advice, please read this and research any health decision you make for yourself. You are smart enough to understand and make wise decisions regarding food and nutritional supplements. This is designed to give you an introductory look at a few supplements that I feel are an important and easy place to start. Good luck!

Vitamin D3:

Vit. D is a steroid hormone that your own body makes in the presence of sunshine. To make an adequate amount of Vit. D yourself, some suggest you need to be exposed to good sunshine, with enough skin exposed (shorts & tank-top) for at least 30 min. Since most of us may only come close to that during summer months, it is suggested to supplement, even year-round.

Suggested Dosage: 4,000-5,000 I.U. (I.U. means International Units). Infants/Kids: 1,000-2,000 IU. The best way to know is to have a simple blood test. Ask your doctor or search on Google for more info. Some people need to take more than 5,000 IU if their blood levels are really low. I give my daughter a liquid version, basically 4-5 drops per day of Vit. D in olive oil (~2,000 IUs). Also, it is recommended to take Vit. D with meals/food, specifically foods that contain Fat (good oils, avocados, etc.) and vitamin K2 (in eggs, spinach) to help maximize absorption. Suggested Quality: Since Vit. D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is important to get a supplement that is combined with a healthy oil. Some contain soybean or safflower oil, which is less than optimal. We recommend one that contains Organic Olive oil.

Vitamin C:

This has been well known for years as “the cure for the common cold.” Since humans can’t make Vit. C, we have to find it in food sources. Ideally, having a healthy diet should be able to provide enough, however, most don’t get enough in their diet, and even higher doses of Vit. C seem to provide a significant boost to health levels, even helping against certain disease processes like Cancer and degenerative illness, due to it’s function as an Antioxidant. Suggested Dosage: 2,000 mg (2 grams), and up to 10-15 grams per day when dealing with significant illness or disease. Kids should also take somewhere between 500 and 1,500 mg per day. If dealing with a

significant health problem, patients can also get Vit. C intravenously (IV), directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive process. This process requires a nurse or doctor, and should be monitored by a healthcare provider. Also, research shows that Vit. C, used before surgery, can significantly reduce post-surgical infection. I would do 2-3 g daily for 1 week prior to surgery. Suggested Quality: The easiest is in pill or tablet form. Some are chewable and some require swallowing. Avoid the chewables that contain added sugar/flavors to improve taste, if possible, as that goes against the reason you are taking it. You can get Vit. C powder, which you can easily mix into a drink/juice. Additionally, I have started taking Lyposomal Vit. C, which comes in an orange gel, that is more bioavailable than regular Vit. C. (~3 times more effective). It costs a bit more, but it is worth it. This is what some cancer patients are taking as part of their healing process.

Omega 3 Fatty Acid:

This is an essential fatty acid that every human body needs to function normally. However, due to poor diet, the ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids has been dramatically changed for the worse. In part due to industry raised meat (cattle, etc.) there is too much O-6 compared to O-3 in the typical american diet. We do not eat enough natural, plant foods and eat too many processed foods, and we have epidemics of heart disease and metabolic disorders as a result. Additionally, Omega 3 fatty acid is needed to have normal brain function, and through supplementation, research has shown how we can repair and heal damaged brain physiology. Suggested Dosage: 900-3,000 mg of EPA and DHA per day * Not simply 3,000 mg of ‘Fish oil,’ but it needs to be specifically EPA and DHA. Please read the product label carefully. Kids should also consider supplementation. However, I will be impressed if you can get a 4-8 yr old to take a large pill. My

daughter is happy taking a teaspoon of liquid Norwegian Cod Liver Oil. * Most products I’ve seen contain only around 150-350 mg of EPA/DHA in 1,000-2,000 mg of Fish oil. This is not enough!! You should find a supplement that has 600-900 mg of EPA/DHA, per regular serving. When you look into research for clinical treatment using EPA/DHA for conditions like heart disease, Cancer, or Ulcerative Colitis, they often use 2,000-5,000 mg of EPA/DHA. Each person should consider WHY they are taking this and determine how much is appropriate. This might also determine which product you purchase. Suggested Quality: CAUTION! If your fish oil supplement smells or tastes ‘fishy,’ then it has already started the process of breaking down and is rancid. Even if you have a capsule form, you should chew up one capsule to taste the oil, and it should not taste fishy. In addition to capsules, you can also find sources like Norwegian Cod Liver Oil, which comes in a liquid. It doesn’t smell fishy and can be a good choice. You will typically pay for what you get.

Probiotic Supplement:

A healthy GI system (gastro-intestinal) contains about 100 trillion bacteria, or approx. 3 lbs of bacteria, that live symbiotically with your body. These bacteria play an important part of your normal, functioning immune system. However, if you have ever had even 1 treatment of antibiotics, then you potentially caused damage to this community of bacteria (aka. microbiome). Antibiotic treatments can be effective at killing off the ‘bad’ bacteria, but it also kills the ‘good’ bacteria as well, leaving your body at risk. Sadly, most people have been on numerous antibiotic treatments throughout their life. This can cause untold damage to multiple systems of your body. People with autism, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, immune disorders, and digestive problems (just to name a few) are likely to have damage to their microbiome. This is why a ‘pro’-biotic supplement of healthy bacteria can help restore your gut to proper functioning, at least in the short term. Suggested Dosage: 20 - 100 Billion CFU, per day. A CFU is a colony-forming-unit, which is a unit of measure for probiotic supplements. For Infants/Children, please purchase a children’s probiotic, as they are more tailored to a children’s GI-tract with unique bacteria. I would suggest starting with a smaller amount (20 CFU) and increasing if there is need for more (either no reaction or due to having a more serious condition). Additionally, there is new research showing that there are specific bacteria that are good for a person’s gut with certain conditions/diseases. Suggested Quality: This should not typically be purchased at [Walmart, average grocery store, etc]. I suggest purchasing this from a doctor, health food store, or another good health source (i.e. website, etc.). Some supplements also require refrigeration to protect the bacteria colonies.

Reminder about Supplements:

Please remember that supplements by themselves cannot be the sole source of nutrients in your diet. You can’t eat junk food, fast-food, and restaurant food and expect to just take some supplements and be healthy. It doesn’t work that way. You need to eat a diet that is MOSTLY vegetables, fruit, and whole foods. Additionally, don’t worry if you can’t buy organic produce.

Organic produce is best, due to the fact it doesn’t have the pesticide exposure that conventional produce has. However, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) states that the benefits from eating conventional produce (pesticide exposed fruits/veg) still outweighs the negatives of the pesticide exposure. So, eat all your veggies, even if they are not organic. If you have a few bucks to afford the organic produce, then start with the Dirty Dozen, which is the EWG’s list of the 12 most pesticide-exposed fruit/veg.

1. Strawberries

2. Apples

3. Nectarines

4. Peaches

5. Celery

6. Grapes

7. Cherries

8. Spinach

9. Tomatoes

10. Bell Peppers

11. Cherry Tomatoes

12. Cucumbers

Purchase these Organic, if you can, cause these have the most pesticide residue.

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