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Let’s Talk Nutritional Supplements

At this point in my life, I don’t have much time for magazines. I used to subscribe to tons, but decided to cut back when stacks of unread magazines started to take over my bedside table. For the past year, I have subscribed to two magazines, US Weekly (What? It’s my Friday night mindless reading ritual and has been for years. I sense judgement…) and Martha Stewart Living. I read both cover-to-cover; well, I actually read US Weekly three-quarters of the way until it gets to all the television/music/movie reviews and 49 diet pill ads, but what I’m saying is I (mostly) enjoy them.

About a month ago, I got an email advertising a special on Martha Stewart’s magazine Whole Living. It was, like, 10 bucks for the entire year so I subscribed.

(See? No bedside stack!)

I just can’t get enough of this magazine. I read every printed word on every single page. It’s totally holistic wellness and beauty and food, but not over the top. Love it, and I’m pretty much on board with most of it, except I’ve noticed lots of advertising for vitamins and nutritional supplements. (I even saw one for a pill that supposedly boosts collagen production. What the what?) I don’t take any nutritional supplements regularly. Occasional zinc for colds, probiotics, and chia seeds in my smoothies are the only supplements I use, but not on a daily basis. However, I am intrigued by Omega-3 supplements in pill form and have heard a lot about sea buckthorn for skin, hair and nails.

Should I incorporate nutritional supplements into my daily regimen? Do you? If so, what do you take?

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38 Comments
  • Aleigh

    March 12, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I was really skeptical of the whole supplements thing, too, until I started to notice I was shedding so much hair that it was starting to thin (SCARY!). I’ve been seeing Omega-3 supplements everywhere, so I tried the ones with Evening Primrose from Nordic Naturals and at my last salon visit, my stylist had to thin my hair. That’s…six weeks worth of daily supplements and a drastic difference. Here’s a link to the post I wrote about it: http://indigoandcanary.com/2012/02/beauty-obsession-nordic-naturals/

    I’m a believer now.

    -Aleigh

    • Lynne

      March 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      I also take Omega-3’s by Nordic Naturals and I highly recommend them.

    • whoorl

      March 12, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      Nordic Naturals is the brand I hear about the most; and I actually use the kids version for my kids. Time for mama to try!

  • Kristen

    March 12, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I don’t take supplements, but I’ve been rethinking it lately. In the past, I’ve avoided them because I’ve been really careful about eating plenty of fruits and veggies. But, when life gets extra hectic and I find myself eating more of what’s on hand rather than planning out my meals (like it is now), I realize that I’m missing out on nutrients. So, I think they have their place, but if you’re eating lots of good, whole foods (and drinking those smoothies), there’s probably no real need.

    • whoorl

      March 12, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      Totally agree!

  • Beth Anne

    March 12, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I never took supplements until Blissdom this year, when Centrum gave me a TON of samples – multivitamins, etc. I started taking them & I’m a believer – I feel better, my skin is glowing, I have more energy. I also started taking a “pronutrients fruit & veggie” because I KNOW I don’t do a great job with eating them.

    I’ve always been told that I need Omega 3’s & stuff…but I’m deathly allergic to fish. So that’s a no-go.

  • Loa Page

    March 12, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Life Extensions all the way. They are a high quality vitamin, and they are continually doing research to back their studies. I make an effort to put high quality food-organic and pesticide free-in my body whenever I can, why would I buy the cheap vitamin at costco-and expect it be as good?

    • whoorl

      March 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      I’ll check them out, thanks!

  • sizzle

    March 12, 2012 at 10:34 am

    I think I need to read that magazine. Sounds right up my alley. I’m a huge fan of Real Simple- it and a Seattle magazine are the only ones I subscribe to.

    I take a daily vitamin, B12, vitamin D (PNW is graysville if you haven’t heard and I get the SADS)plus flax, glucosamine, and sometimes acidopholis.

    Man, that list makes me sound like a granny.

    Where’s my metamucil!?

    • whoorl

      March 12, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      You will LOVE the magazine, Sizzle!

  • Candi

    March 12, 2012 at 10:39 am

    I am the exact same way with my US magazine! I am so bummed when it doesn’t come on Friday, it messes up my entire evening :) I don’t take any supplements, so can’t help ya there.

  • AC

    March 12, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Vitamin D and omega-3

  • Lana

    March 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Vitamin D and omega – 3’s are my nightly vitamin go-tos. Sometimes take a ginseng supplement for energy in the morning.

    I have no idea if they help, or what they do to be honest….

  • Mary

    March 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Anyone know of an Omega-3 that doesn’t make you burp or that smells like fish? I’ve tried some and they really upset my stomach. Actually many vitamins sort of upset my stomach so I take none which I know can’t be a good thing.

    • Ninabi

      March 12, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      Coromega packets (they look like ketchup packets) don’t cause problems. They also come in lime or orange flavor (natural) with no fishy taste.

  • Emily @ Peck Life

    March 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I would also love to know what everyone thinks! I’ve been taking a little vitamin D (i hear we are ALL deficient, especially in the PNW) but I think I need to up my dose. I try to take a multi-vitamin but usually forget. I kind of want to go to the doctor and get ALL my levels tested so I know what I should be taking. When I was pregnant my iron was low but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s always the case…

    • whoorl

      March 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm

      I wonder if living in Southern California promotes good levels of Vitamin D since we’re in the sunshine all the time….

  • Tina

    March 12, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    So I swore off magazine subscriptions after 2010 because it got ridiculous. (I am a Budget Travel addict myself and I love Real Simple). But I am very intrigued and may just have to check out an issue.
    I take supplements for everyday and also for my hormonal imbalance (it’s fun..loads of fun). I started seeing an acupuncturist awhile back to help with my hormonal issues. (Color the cynic converted. She is amazing). In addition to having a doctorate in oriental medicine, she also practices “nutritional wellness”. Basically she helps guide my diet through food and supplements with the idea that what you put into the body is more important than the needles. She advised me to take glutamine before lunch and dinner to stave off carb cravings and to take Gaba at night to help with sleep. My whole fam takes omega 3s and vitamin D every day in addition to a multi. I also had great results when my son and I were sick and on antibiotics, we took silverbiotics.
    It’s all very intriguing but I certainly don’t want to be one of those people that’s popping supplements all the time. For now though I am having great results.
    Best,
    Tina

    • whoorl

      March 12, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      I think I’m definitely going to start the Omega 3s. Hoping my Vitamin D levels are good due to the California sunshine!

  • Lynne

    March 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I take a daily liquid multi-vitamin called Intramax. I’ve had a lot of success with it as have 2 friends of mine. My hair is super thick, nails grow like crazy and I have more energy than ever.

    I also take a probiotic (Syntol), Omega-3 (Nordic Naturals), and Vitamin D.

    I have my own concerns about our food supply, the soil, and if we are getting the full potential of vitamins & minerals from our food, no matter how healthy we eat. So I take the vitamins.

    Thanks for posting about the magazine, it looks great!

    • whoorl

      March 12, 2012 at 6:09 pm

      Sounds like Nordic Naturals is the way to go! Definitely check out the magazine, Lynne!

  • Ris

    March 12, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I take a daily multivitamin because, as my doctor pointed out, even if you do your best to get all the fruits/veggies/etc you need, everyone misses something here and there. That multivitamin in my insurance against what I may have missed.

  • Carrie

    March 12, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I take flintstone vitamins. They dont have the coating that most adult vitamins do which upsets the stomach.

  • T

    March 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Coming from the medical field, I have a few very specific thoughts on this topic. This might get a little ranty – but supplements are actually medications too & they warrant careful thought before adding to your routine (you wouldn’t add a prescription without a purpose, right?).

    Some things to consider:
    a) the benefits of many supplements are not entirely clear – some studies say they are beneficial, some say they actually INCREASE mortality. I’m not saying you should take ZERO supplements, I’m saying you should take supplements thoughtfully.
    b) the evidence is most clear for supplements’ benefits when a diet is nutritionally deficient – that is, in countries where people are malnourished. In countries like ours, evidence supports that the most appropriate way for people to get the benefits of the ingredients in the supplements is to actually consume them as whole foods in our diets
    c) there are some very notable exceptions – vitamin D and omega-3s being among them
    d) many supplements can interact with our liver in ways that change how our body handles other prescription medications, including birth control. If you take prescriptions, it’s worth checking in with your doctor about them before you add too many supplements!

    And a more fun/useful hot tip! If you’re trying to avoid the fish oil omega-3 burps…try keeping your omega-3 supplements in the freezer! It really helps, and doesn’t change their digestion (since absorption happens in the intestines, not in the stomach where the burps are coming from, it gives the pills a chance to make it through the stomach before thawing in the intestines)

    Sorry for the soap-boxy comment…

    • whoorl

      March 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      Love the fish burp tip! Thank you!

  • Leslie Capron

    March 12, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I don’t subscribe to US Magazine, but I am on usmagazine.com and people.com everyday. It’s a sickness really. (On the plus side, I always win the celebrity-baby-name game at baby showers!). Until recently, the only supplements I ever took were pre-natal vitamins when I was pregnant, but on a whim a few months ago I bought some Emergen-C when I thought I was getting a cold and now I swear by it. I have a glass everyday. I really makes me feel better – especially after I work out. And its a great hangover helper too when I’ve had one too many glasses of wine.

    • whoorl

      March 12, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      Love Emergen-C. We should buy stock in the company with the amount we go through in the winter…never thought to drink one post-workout. Genius!

  • tracy

    March 12, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    lady! my coworker asked me if i take supplements today and i was like uhhhh no! Now that I’m reading this tonight, I feel like it’s a sign. Must take them now!

  • Leksaker

    March 13, 2012 at 6:45 am

    No, I don’t. And I think that if you have a healthy diet that should be enough actually. The only thing that I would be interested in trying is probiotics, so maybe I’ll do that some day.

  • Martha

    March 13, 2012 at 6:54 am

    I will fourth or fifth the recommendation for Nordic Naturals. It is what my midwife recommended when I was pregnant. I bought the strawberry flavored ones so that my fish burps weren’t so fishy :) I’m going to try the freezer trick next time I”m pregnant! I really like Sisu vitamins, also recommended by my midwife. My sister found the iron in multivitamins gave her a stomach-ache but Sisu’s iron is vegetable form and is easier to absorb. All this being said, I don’t take vitamins or supplements when I’m not pregnant or breastfeeding. I feel very healthy with my regular diet and am rarely sick, so I haven’t felt the need.

  • Rafaella Rauber Kopper

    March 13, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Hi! I take Biotin (for hair, nails and skin), carthamus oil (it is great for your body, helps to low fat belly etc) and Hyaluronic Acid – Hydraplenish contains the patented BioCell Collagen II.

  • Abby K

    March 14, 2012 at 12:11 am

    I started getting serious about my vitamin intake when we decided wanted to get pregnant. My vitamin taking before then had been very random and misguided. After doing lots of research and consulting with my doctor I came to the conclusion that not all supplements are created equal. It’s not just about what is on the ingredients list for the supplement, it is more about the quality those ingredients and if your body will absorb them. With many lower quality supplements your body doesn’t absorb anything in them so the money you spend on them literally gets flushed down the toilet! Anyway after my research I settled on these supplements based on their quality and my current life stage.

    Rainbow Light Complete Prenatal System (multivitamin)
    Kartzinel Health for Probiotics (because they don’t need to be refrigerated!)
    Moxxor for Omega 3 (One of several good choices)
    ProThera for Vitamin D3 (5,000 I.U. – the more the merrier on this one!)
    After pregnancy I’ll most likely go with Kartzinel Health Vitamins & Minerals as a multivitamin

    Hopefully this helps any want to be Mom’s out there!

  • regan

    March 14, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I take prenatal vitamins (not pregnant, not planning on getting pregnant, I just love what they do for my hair and nails), glucosamine for my knees while I train for long races, B12, and if one of the kids has a runny nose or general kid funk, I toss in an Emergen-C packet to keep me well.

  • Jamie

    March 14, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I used to take the daily combo vita-pack from GNC – the woman’s wellbeing hair/skin/nails,I think. Plus a calcium supplement b/c I hate milk and eschew most dairy just out of personal taste & preference. Now I just take Trader Joe’s prenatals (I am not pregnant!) b/c they’re amazing for shiny, healthy hair and nails. I also love Kirkland/Costco brand chocolatey calcium chews. Yum.

  • Stacey

    March 15, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I take Omega 3 vitamins as well.. I have extremely dry eyes and that seems to help big time. All the rest of it’s benefits are just a plus. My boyfriend is Irish so the brand I like the most is called Seven Seas, he buys them for me because they’re not massive like all the ones I’ve seen in America and I’ve never had the burps from them either.

  • Meg

    March 16, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Okay first it is so funny to be sitting here reading your blog and then your commercial pops up. The timing was too perfect…love it! This post totally has me wanting to give the nordic naturals a try. I’m curious though if anyone’s had any tummy issues with the omega 3. I’ve got a super sensitive stomach and vitamins tend to make me nauseous.

  • Sarah

    March 17, 2012 at 7:27 am

    As far as brands go, I like New Chapter. I’ve tried a few different brands over the years, and are a bit irritating to my stomach. (Sorry. TMI?) I tried New Chapter after seeing their prenatal vitamins featured in a GOOP newsletter. Maybe it’s cliche and easy to pass along whatever Gwyneth recommends, but she’s quite often right, y’know? Anyway, this was a great recommendation. No matter which ones I’ve tried, the pills are easy to swallow, gentle on my system, have an ingredients label that I can comprehend, and they seem to get great reviews on Amazon, too.

    Thanks for the sea buckthorn tip, by the way!

  • lindsey

    April 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    So I’m a grad student getting my phd in pathology, specifically studying cancer. I took a cancer biology class all about cancer treatment and prevention. As people mentioned above, it’s best to get your vitamins from eating well and your body may not absorb all of what is in the supplement. There have also been some conflicting studies because when it comes to trying to determine if something is preventative, you have to look at a very very large group of people, and that’s expensive and difficult and often results come from round about data. (A study looking mainly at calcium supplements found that taking vitamin D daily reduces your risk of cancer (a statistically significant result).)

    bottom line: take a daily vitamin and an additional vitamin D (preferably at different meals)