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Team photo for dietitian recommended supplements from registered dietitian nutritionists at Cooper Clinic

Ideally, everyone would consume a balanced, nutritious diet and obtain necessary nutrients primarily from the food on their plate. However, the current American health crisis proves most are not achieving this.

Cooper Clinic registered dietitian nutritionists are among the most credentialed and well-informed food professionals in the country. Even though they know the wise food choices to make better than the average consumer, we found vitamins and supplements still play an important role in their personal nutrition regimen.

We sat down with Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE, and Gillian White, RDN, LD, CNSC, and asked them to talk about dietitian-recommended supplements.

Which vitamins and supplements do you take and why?

nutritionist vitamin recommendation image of Elana Zimelman PaddockElana: Though I eat an overall healthy diet, I take a daily multivitamin. Cooper Complete Basic One With Iron contains  50 mcg (2000 IU) of vitamin D3. I take an additional 25 mcg (1000 IU) of Cooper Complete Vitamin D3 to maintain an optimal vitamin D level for bone health and absorption of calcium since I have been told I have low bone density.

I also take 1200 EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids in Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3 to compensate for my fish intake, which varies from week to week.

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nutritionist vitamin recommendation Image of Gillian GatewoodGillian: I strive to eat a balanced diet to minimize my needs for supplementation, but there are some areas where I know I need to fill in the gaps. I routinely supplement with 100 mcg (4000 IU vitamin D for bone health as I was found to be deficient. Vitamin D3 is unique in that it’s not widely available in the food supply and I’m cautious not to get it from the sun because sun exposure is associated with premature aging and the risk of skin cancer.

I enjoy fish but do not eat it regularly, so I also take Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3, which has 1200 mg EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.

On days when I know my intake of calcium-rich foods has been lower than usual, I will supplement at night with 250-500 mg of calcium citrate to help ensure bone health.

Lastly, due to my age and being female, I supplement with folic acid as well as iron and vitamin C as vitamin C aids the iron’s absorption.

Which vitamins and supplements do you give your family?

Gillian: My mother also has a background in nutrition, and I’m fortunate my family is in relatively good health and follows a fairly balanced diet. I advise them to be consistent with supplementing Cooper Complete Vitamin D3 50 mcg (2000 IU) due to vitamin D’s unavailability in the food supply and my desire for them not to rely on sunlight to get it. My family does not often eat fish, so I have them take Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3.

Which vitamins and supplements do you recommend for your patients and why?

Elana: My recommended supplements are specific to the patient’s needs. Generally, our patients have a low baseline blood level of vitamin D, and since food is not a good enough source of vitamin D, they need a supplement to correct this deficiency. The supplemental amount can be 25 mcg (1000 IU), 50 mcg (2000 IU) or greater depending on their vitamin D blood level.

During a patient’s nutrition consultation we can generally assess how healthy their diet is using a three-day Food Record or a 24-hour diet recall. For those who eat a well-balanced diet, a multivitamin may not be necessary. Most vitamins and minerals can be adequately obtained through food, and that is the message I try to stress as their dietitian. Food first! However, if there are obvious food/nutrient deficiencies (for example, if they don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables), I may recommend a multivitamin to compensate.

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If a patient has low bone density and/or if his or her diet lacks the necessary calcium-rich foods, I may recommend a calcium citrate supplement in the amount specific to their needs based on gender, age, and bone density reports.

If a patient has high LDL cholesterol, I may recommend a daily soluble fiber like Cooper Complete Microbiome Fiber that can help reduce LDL. Cooper Clinic Cardiologist Nina Radford, MD, recommends berberine supplements to lower LDL cholesterol, and Michael Chapman, MD, Cooper Clinic Platinum (concierge medicine), recommends the red yeast rice.

Gillian: My recommended supplements for my patients can vary widely based on their blood work, known deficiencies, different disease states and noted inadequate intakes in their food records. I always counsel my patients on a food-first philosophy. However, when certain nutrients are not being consumed with consistency, whether from issues with availability in the diet, food preferences or absorptive capacity of the individual, supplementation may be necessary. Common supplements I may recommend are calcium, vitamin D3, folic acid, B vitamins, and zinc, but again, this is on a case-by-case basis. It is very helpful to work one-on-one with a dietitian to know which supplements are really necessary and which nutrients you can easily and consistently get from whole foods.

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Bonus: The Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services team posed four questions to ask yourself to help determine if you’re getting enough nutrients through your diet alone and if not, what supplements might be best for you.

Article provided by Cooper Complete team.

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