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.
Which vitamins and supplements do you take and why?
Elana: Though I eat an overall healthy diet, I take a daily multivitamin. Cooper Complete Basic One With Iron contains 2,000 IU of vitamin D3. I take an additional 1,000 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 1,200 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.
Gillian: 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 4,000 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 food supply and I’m cautious not to get it from the sun because sun exposure is associated with premature aging and risk of skin cancer.
I enjoy fish, but do not eat it regularly, so I also take Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3, which has 1,200 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.
Which vitamins and supplements do you give your family?
Elana: My husband takes Cooper Complete Basic One Multivitamin Iron Free with 2,000 IU of vitamin D3. He found out his vitamin D blood levels were low. Since adding the multivitamin the deficiency has resolved.
My husband also takes a vegan DHA and EPA omega-3 supplement that is algae-based. He does not consume fish and strongly prefers not to take a fish oil-based supplement; therefore his physician recommended this alternative to him.
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 2,000 IU due to vitamin D’s unavailability in the food supply and my desire for them not to rely on the sun to get it. My family does not often eat fish, so I have them supplement with 1,200 mg of Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3.
Which vitamins and supplements do you recommend for your patients and why?
Elana: My recommendations 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 1,000 IU, 2,000 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.
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 psyllium-based fiber such as Konsyl or Metamucil powders that can help reduce LDL. Another LDL cholesterol lowering supplement is a plant stanol/sterol-based softgel, Nature Made CholestOff Plus.
Gillian: The supplementation I recommend 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.
If you have questions about vitamins and the Cooper Complete line of products, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888.393.2221 to speak with a member of our team.
If you would like to meet with a Cooper Clinic registered dietitian nutritionist, call 972.560.2655 or request an appointment online.
Article by Karen Perkins, Account Executive, Cooper Complete.