Nutritional Supplements


On this week’s episode of my television show ‘Living Well’, we discussed Nutritional Supplements.  I asked the questions, do you take your vitamins?  If so, what do you take, and if not…why not?


Ryan Meloche shared his expertise with me on this episode.  He is the National Accounts Manager for Douglas Laboratories and Pure Encapsulations.  He also has vast knowledge from a clinical perspective as a Homeopathic Doctor.


There was so much great information in this episode that I couldn’t include it all in one post, so today’s post is part II.  If you didn’t receive part I or if you would like to review…check it out here: Nutritional Supplements Part I.


We started our discussion on nutritional supplementation by asking why should someone use supplements.  There is a lot of great information answering this question in Part I.


The next question that I asked Ryan was:


Which supplements should we be taking?


As a bare minimum recommends people use:

  1. 1) a quality multivitamin/mineral
  2. 2) an essential fatty acid 
  3. 3) and a probiotic 

A multivitamin supports dietary insufficiencies of essential nutrients for optimal health and supports various functions in the body. It is a good insurance policy to health and may put out “fires” that we do not even know exist in the body.


A good quality multivitamin can provide an antioxidant activity equivalent to 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are important for quenching free radicals that are linked to chronic disease.  


The second supplement that Ryan recommends everyone should be taking is an Essential Fatty Acid product.  This is also known, in most cases, as a fish oil product.


There are varying Essential Fatty Acid products on the market. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are especially important to supplement with as we don’t get a lot of them in our diets. (especially if we don’t eat fish regularly) We have high exposure to Omega 6 Fatty Acids in our diet from the oils we cook with. 


Be sure to look for an Omega 3 sourced from small fish such as anchovie, mackerel, sardine, and herring. These small fish are at the start of the food chain and because they haven’t been in the water long and because they are then eaten by bigger fish, eating them, or having a supplement that is made from them may reduce common fish contaminants such as PCBs, dioxins, furans and mercury.


A responsible company will also take initiatives such as performing micro filtration and molecular distillation on their product to further reduce that risk of heavy metal, and environmental contaminants. 


Essential fatty acids are important in heart health, neurological health, skin health, inflammatory conditions, cellular communication and MANY more health conditions.


The third supplement that Ryan recommended was a Probiotic.  Probiotics help to normalize the bacterial flora in your gastrointestinal system and are essential for optimal GI health to prevent gas, bloating, and indigestion that are all too common.  


It’s hard to believe but 80% of your immune system is in your guts, which is why it is soooo essential to promote optimal health through proper GI bacterial balance. 


For general health, consider a probiotic product delivering 8-12 billion count per day divided over several strains of friendly bacteria. Look for a human strain. 


There are many other reasons that taking a probiotic will benefit your health.  Ask yourself, do you experience or have exposure to any of the following?:


antibiotic use

bladder infections

yeast infections

oral thrush

frequent colds and flu

food allergies

skin rashes and eczema



GI disturbances such as diarrhea

Crohn’s and Colitis 


If you answered yes to any of the above, you could benefit from supplementing with a probiotic.


If you think that your gut health is fine and you don’t need a probiotic…think about this:


If you regularly eat meat that is not organic, it has likely been raised with antibiotics that destroy our natural gut flora when we eat it.


How early one can one begin supplementation?


We see the importance of nutritional influence even in utero …moms are recommended to take a good prenatal multivitamin to cover all bases and EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids) are also recommended and shown to improve sleep of newborns.


EFA’s (Omega 3 fatty acids in particular) are good fats that are important during pregnancy for both Mom and baby for neurological development as well as efforts of preventing post-partum depression for the new Mom. 


New mothers should continue consumption of a quality prenatal multivitamin and essential fatty acids post birth to support infant nutrition through the breast milk.


Looking at oral supplementation for kids, Multivitamins generally starts at 3-4 years old. These might include a liquid or chewable multivitamin directed for kids. 


Omega 3 supplementation is important as well and there are products on the market directed for kids. 


As noted, a breastfeeding mother would normally consume an Omega 3 to support the infant however oral supplementation for children can commonly be seen at 2 years of age and up. 


Essential Fatty Acid Doses of 500-600mg of EPA with accompanying DHA are readily acceptable for this age range. 


When shopping for a multivitamin for your kids, look for a quality product that doesn’t have any sugars or artificial sweeteners.


How do I know that the supplement I’m taking is a good quality supplement?


Many patients come into my office and when we discuss vitamins and supplements, they tell me they are taking a brand that they bought at the local grocery or drug store, or even a brand that they bought at a Big Box store.


Remember that with supplements, you get what you pay for!


Be sure to do your due diligence as a consumer when researching a product to use. 


This is an important concept as quality of a product equates to safety and effectiveness of a product. Using quality companies usually means you will have the best ‘forms’ of the vitamins and minerals and well researched raw materials, so that the individual weakness in peoples biochemistry may be offset with more ‘body ready” forms of each nutrient. 


Many health care providers, (myself included!), have professional grade supplements available for purchase.  You will know that the quality of your supplement is good when you purchase it in this way.  Alternatively, you can usually find pretty good supplements at your local health food store. 


How long do I need to take supplements to start seeing and feeling effects?


Many of us have been scripted to take a pill and expect to feel a relief of symptoms within 20 minutes.  That is not the way that it will work when you take nutritional supplements.


Think of the nutrients in your supplements as building blocks of your cells.  It will take longer than 20 minutes to get a positive effect!


Be sure to give your supplements fair chance to work. It is recommended to take supplements for 3 months time to see optimal effects. 


Supplements are a holistic approach and addressing the route cause of the problem with corrective care so this will take time rather than simply masking a symptom. However, with some supplements you may see effects prior to the 3 months.


Ultimately, supplementation is for everyone


Your health status and health goals ultimately play a role in what supplement combination is best suited for you as an INDIVIDUAL. 


I suggest working with a qualified health professional such as a Naturopath, Chiropractor, Homeopath, Integrative MD, or Pharmacist to ensure that one safely uses supplements congruent with their overall health picture including consideration of pharmaceutical prescriptions and existing health conditions. 


I hope that you have learned lots about nutritional supplementation and you now realize that taking your vitamins is an important step in taking control of your health.


Live Well,






Dr. Peggy Malone is a Chiropractor and an Athlete who helps other athletes to overcome injury and get back to their sport. Her weekly Television Series 'Living Well" inspires people from all walks of life to take control of their health to be as happy and as healthy as they can be.

A former varsity Basketball and Rugby player, she has since entered the world of endurance athletics where she has completed 2 Ironman Triathlons, 3 Marathons, several Half Marathons and many other Triathlons, Road Races and Off-Road Adventure races of varying distances.

Her own athletic endeavors and injuries have given her valuable insight into working with athletes in her practice for both the care of injuries as well as for the improvement of athletic performance.

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