by Lu-Jean Feng, M.D.
Are Vitamins and Supplements Necessary? This question is often posed to me by my patients following surgery. All of our patients are given a thirty day supply of all-natural, high potency multi-vitamins to take before and after surgery. They’re also given two very important supplements to help with inflammation, swelling and discomfort; Bromelain and Arnica Montana. These medical-grade vitamins and supplements help to prepare the body for surgery, strengthen the immune system, provide energy and aid in healing. So, do I feel that vitamins and supplements are necessary on an ongoing basis? Absolutely!
If we lived in a perfect world where everyone ate fresh, local, organic, non-genetically altered food that has been grown in virgin, nutrient-rich soil, and has not been transported over long distances and stored before reaching the supermarkets, then maybe we wouldn’t need vitamins and supplements. Moreover, if we all worked outdoors and breathed clean, unpolluted air, only drank pure, clean spring water, slept eight to nine hours everynight, were free from chronic stressors and exposure to toxins, then vitamins and supplements would also not be necessary.
Supplementation is almost always necessary to promote optimal health. As a result of drawing blood and doing lab testing in our clinic, we have first hand knowledge how common it is for adults from the early twenties through the eighties to be seriously deficient in certain key essential vitamins. This information enables me to make recommendations to my patients. The single most important vitamin which many people are deficient in is vitamin D. It is shocking to see how many people have dangerously low levels of this essential vitamin, and even those who live in sunny climates. People who get cancer and Parkinson’s Disease have very low levels of vitamin D in their body so I warn all of my patients about this important vitamin.
I encourage everyone to routinely have your blood drawn and your labs analyzed by a physician. When considering vitamins and supplements, here are my recommendations:
1. Multi-Vitamin – Must be a high quality product which offers split dosing. Your body cannot absorb everything in one pill so avoid One-A-Day as they are almost worthless. The multi-vitamin you choose must have vitamins A,B,C,D and K with morning and evening dosing.
2. Vitamin D – This is becoming the miracle vitamin of our time. It must be a high quality product as some drug store brands are not effective. Be sure to buy D3 not D2 and strive for 2000iu to 6000iu per day. This is necessary to optimize your levels to between 60-100. A multi-vitamin alone typically cannot advance your levels that high, nor can spending extra time in the sun.
3. Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Fish oil contains EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which is very effective for cardiovascular health and brain function. They are necessary for the body to work properly as they reduce inflammation, particularly in blood vessel and joints. Not all omega-3 or fish oil supplements are alike.
4. Co-Enzyme Q10 – This supplement boosts the way your cells use energy, particularly the heart muscle. It is absolutely essential for anyone taking statins, as they deplete the bodies natural production of co-enzyme Q10. It also helps your body to burn fat, improves cholesterol ratios, boosts your physical energy level, and improves thyroid and pancreas functions.
5. Vitamin B-12 – An essential vitamin for vegans, strict vegetarians, heavy drinkers, smokers, pregnant and breast feeding women, and the elderly. It keeps your nerves and red blood cells healthy, increases energy production, protects against heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancers. A deficiency is usually indicated by symptoms of fatigue.