What supplements does a Nutrition Expert/Registered Dietitian take?
I get this question quite often and for each person the recommendations can vary, but for all of you curious, this is what I take:
A children’s chewable multi-vitamin with iron: I cannot swallow big pills, so a chewable works for me! If you want a more complete multi-vitamin, try Centrum Chewables, they cost a bit more and have more of the trace minerals. Since I am mostly vegetarian, I use it as an insurance policy and want to make sure that my B12 and iron needs are covered, this particular brand has 18mg of iron. I take one in the morning and one in the evening.
1,000 IU of Vitamin D: Many studies have recently shown that a majority of people are deficient in vitamin D, especially those in northern climates in the winter. Some studies suggest 1,000-2,000 IU of Vitamin D daily. I also get a small amount of vitamin D in my multi-vitamin (400 IU) and calcium supplement (200 IU) daily. I was thrilled when I finally found a tiny pill that contained 1,000 IU of vitamin D, most supplements with that much vitamin D are HUGE and I was cutting them into quarters and still gagging.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid: I do try and eat fish 2-3 times per week and eat walnuts and flax, but this is my insurance policy in case I don’t eat enough of those foods. Once again, I cannot swallow those big horse pills, so I take a childrens gummy version or Iceland Health (the softgels are very small). My dose is approx. 600 mg of EPA, 400 mg DHA and 100 mg "other" omega-3, twice daily. It is important to look for the "Certified pharmaceutical grade" to make sure you are really getting what the label says.
Vitamin C: I take 1,000 mg total, but split it up into two 500 mg doses to help absorption and to make sure there are circulating amounts throughout the day as your body cannot store this vitamin. There is also a small amount in my multi-vitamin (60mg).
Calcium: I typically take about 1,000 mg/day (split into 2 doses of 500mg), but I am also a big milk/yogurt/cheese/cottage cheese eater, so figure between my supplement and my diet, I get nearly 2,000 mg/day. My supplement varies between OsCal chewables, Tums and Adora chocolates. Tums is the cheapest and is absorbed well , each one provides approx. 300 mg of elemental calcium. OsCal Lemon is also absorbed well and each one provides 500 mg elemental calcium. My favorite is Adora dark chocolates. These yummy chocolates provide 500 mg elemental calcium and have only 30 calories, they don’t even taste like a chalky calcium supplement!
In the past, I have taken a biotin supplement in hopes of strengthening my ridged, soft fingernails, but really didn’t notice any difference. I also take an additional iron supplement if I am running/lifting more than normal to help with losses. I also tried gingko biloba to help with my Reynaud’s disease (circulatory disease) causing extremely cold feet/hands, but no difference. Anyway, I think supplements work for some and don’t for others and I never discount the placebo effect.