When we are asked about nutritional supplements, a lot of questions arise:  Are they really necessary if I eat well?  Which ones do I need? Should my children take supplements too? Where do I begin when there are so many options?

Assuming there are no specific health considerations, we tend to keep supplements simple. We generally recommend beginning with the following four foundational supplements for you and your children. 

We believe that supplements are never intended to replace a healthy diet and lifestyle. In fact, the word supplement means “addition” or “extra”. You can think of the Foundational Four as a complement to your healthy diet and lifestyle—to help ensure that all nutritional needs are being met.

Multivitamin

A good multivitamin & mineral supplement is a great place to start.  Nearly everyone can benefit from a good multi that provides a variety of nutrients that are hard to get through diet alone. You can’t possibly supplement with each and every nutrient individually—so a good quality multi is helpful. 

In general, with multivitamins you get what you pay for. Cheaper ones contain cheaper forms of vitamins and minerals, which are less absorbable.

Omega 3’s

Fish oil contains a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. There are two main constituents you want—EPA and DHA.  In adults and kids, we typically look for a balanced EPA to DHA ratio. For pregnant women and infants, you may choose a slightly higher amount of DHA since it is very important for brain development.  Essential fatty acids also support the skin, mood, immune system, cardiovascular system and many other systems of the body.

Probiotics

A large portion of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. Since we have many more bacteria in our bodies than we do actual cells, we want to make sure that bacterial environment is as healthy as possible. 

Poor nutrition, high-sugar & refined diets, antibiotics and stress can all deplete our healthy gut flora and allow unhealthy bacteria to proliferate. Probiotics help replenish the gut with good bacteria.

The word probiotic actually comes from the words “pro” meaning “promoting” and “biotic” meaning “life”. Probiotics can support optimal health by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, improving digestion, boosting immune function and increasing our resistance to infection.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is more than a vitamin—it actually acts as a hormone. Vitamin D plays many roles in the body, including maintaining healthy bones and teeth and supporting the brain, immune system and nervous system. Vitamin D has also been shown to help regulate healthy insulin levels. Having adequate Vitamin D levels may support lung function and cardiovascular health and downregulate the expression of certain genes involved in cancer.

Vitamin D deficiency is actually more common than we would think, even here in sunny Colorado. We recommend testing to determine the precise dose necessary, because sometimes the need is greater than the standard dose.

SHOP THE FOUNDATIONAL FOUR KITS

We have put together four kits to assist you. For children, please choose your kit based upon their age or preference (liquid vs. chewable vs. pills). Our age-appropriate dosing recommendations will be listed within each kit when you view the products or purchase them.

Be well!

About Dr. Roy & Debbie Steinbock

Mindful Family Medicine is the practice of Dr. Roy Steinbock, M.D., Board Certified & Holistic Pediatrician, and Debbie Steinbock, HHC, Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor. Mindful Family Medicine combines science and evidence-based medicine with a holistic and integrative approach.

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