Supplements and Diet
As part of my general physical, I have come to value testing 5 key nutrients as a tool to better understand a persons health problems. The 5 nutrients I most often test are magnesium, folate, vitamin b12, iron, and vitamin D. I think of these as clues to learning more about underlying deficencies that could be contributing to a patient's symptoms. These are often overlooked in most general physicals.
In my approach, I often use supplements to begin correcting deficiencies, while recognizing that incorporating the foods contain these nutrients naturally and working on creating healthy digestion for optimal absorption, is part of a long term solution.
Below are explanations of what these key nutrients do in your body, possible signs of deficiency, and how to go about optimizing your levels for better health including some specific supplement recommendations.
My patients frequently come back talking about how much magnesium has mad an difference in how they are feeling. They report improvement in areas from sleep, to digestion, to mood and energy. If I had to pick one supplement that I most commonly recommend, it would be magic magnesium!
Vitamin B12 has always been a popular supplement for mood and beauty, but patients often don't realize they are at risk for deficiency because of digestive issues and medications. All the B vitamins work together to support mood and hormone balance, so I usually recommend a B complex vitamin to support healthy B12 levels.
Folate is one of the most crucial vitamins in your body. It helps build your DNA, neurotransmitters like serotonin, and your immune cells. It's best known for ensuring healthy pregnancy, but also is vital for your mood, energy, and ability to fight infection.
Many patients have been told they are iron deficient when it comes time to donate blood. What most people don't realize is how much this impacts how they feel everyday. From how hard you can exercise to how well your metabolism functions, our bodies work better with optimal iron.
Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common if you live an urban lifestyle, especially in New York City. Deficiency is associated with immune problems including frequently getting sick, autoimmune disease and allergies, poor bone health, and low thyroid function. We are designed to get vitamin D from the sun, however, vitamin D supplementation and ideal levels remain controversial.