If you are thinking about ways to get healthy in 2019, you might consider nutritional supplementation to augment dietary intake of foods. As we continue to advance in our technology at a rapid rate, our food sources continue to decline in terms of what they can offer us from a nutritional aspect.

Some of this relates to the way in which we use the soil. In days of old, soil would be rested for a year, typically planted with some type of crop that replenished depleted nutrients, and specifically nitrogen. Most farmers can no longer afford to rotate crops, and allow resting as there is no profit from that segment of land. Additionally, farmers utilize various water sources that may contain toxins or pollutants that are acceptable levels from a government audit standard but which may still not be good for our health, and which can take away from some of the nutritive value of the food produced. Even more depressing is the fact that air pollution is real, and can also impact the food’s nutrition value. Finally, if the farming source is using chemicals and other toxins, rather than organically farming, those foods will reflect the use of those chemicals.

Enter nutritional supplementation. But what supplements should be taken? What is the right thing for each patient. I recommend each of my patients use the daily big three: 1) a multivitamin, 2) probiotics and 3) fish oil. Depending on the manufacturer will determine proper dose—just read the label. Depending on other health conditions a patient may have, or may be at risk for, supplements are helpful to stratify and reduce their risks. One example is a nutritional supplement known as red yeast rice. Red yeast rice is an excellent and natural way to reduce elevated cholesterol, and some patients opt for this over and above a statin drug, which can carry other risks and have not been truly effective in reducing actual risk of a cardiac event.

Some patients may have issues surrounding their adrenal gland such as abnormally high or low cortisol levels, a hormone which is central to the flight or fight phenomenon. If cortisol levels are elevated for long periods of time, typically caused by mental and bodily stressors, cortisol levels can then drop leaving a person feeling fatigued and listless. Adrenal-modulating supplements are non-medications which can literally modulate the cortisol level to normal, but only after consuming for a period of at least six months, and sometimes up to two years before then allowing the adrenal gland to take over its task entirely.

In the field of dermatology, it is fairly common to see extremely low levels of Vitamin D. We caution our patients regularly to use sunscreen daily and avoid light, and thus we should be simultaneously recommending Vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D is well known for its ability to maintain bone health in conjunction with calcium but it performs a very wide variety of other extremely important bodily reactions including proper immunity and cancer prevention. Although Vitamin D levels may reflect as being within normal range on a lab draw, normal may not reflect optimal value. An optimal Vitamin D level is around 80ng/dl.

It is critical to know your source of nutritional supplementation. Nutritional supplements are not closely regulated by the FDA and some brands may contain little to no bioavailable nutrients which you believe you are taking, based on the label. My recommendation is to utilize a manufacturer of supplements, but one which performs clinical trials on their products, and ensures bioavailability of the nutrients each one touts.

At Dermatology Office, Dr. Ellen Turner carries both Douglas Laboratories and Metagenics supplements. These brands are outstanding, and patients can be assured that if they are consuming these supplements they are receiving best-in-class quality. If you are interested in learning more about nutritional supplementation, and what is right for you, call the office at 214-373-7546 and ask for a medical appointment to review with Dr. Turner.