The Big 4: Supplement Combinations

While consuming whole foods is the ideal source for micronutrients- numerous diet and nutrition surveys and scientific studies show that people eating a typical Western diet are often deficient in several micronutrients. In order to support your health in 2020 we are focusing on 4 daily supplement combinations that could up your game!

Multi Vitamin/Mineral

This is the cover all your bases supplement. We need all minerals and vitamins in balance, as they work in synergy to improve and maintain our health.

Vitamin D & Vitamin K


Typically, we received our Vitamin D from sun exposure. Canadians typically have lower levels, especially in the winter when we are outside less. Vitamin D has been conclusively shown to help with bone health, mood, immunity and has the potential to reduce the risks of some cancers and MS. Magnesium works synergistically with Vitamin D, as it is needed to activate it. Therefore, we encourage you to also ensure your magnesium intake is present (see below). It is also interesting to note that Vitamin D also helps with the absorption of Calcium; while Vitamin K works in tandem with Vitamin D to reduce and potential arterial calcification (see below).

Vitamin K1 can be obtained through dark leafy greens but is generally not converted well to K2. Vitamin K2 comes in various forms and is present in fermented vegetable dishes like sauerkraut, natto and miso, and is present in high fat animal foods. Most of the benefits from vitamin K come from vitamin K2

Optimal levels of vitamin K are associated with improved bone circumference and diameter. Vitamin K also serves to protect cardiovascular health; as it reduces the calcification and stiffening of arteries, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular- related mortality. Vitamin K may also have a role to play in cancer therapy and anti-aging treatments. If you are taking blood thinners, please consult your practitioner in before adding Vitamin K to your regime. In relationship to vitamin D- vitamin D helps absorb calcium and vitamin K helps send it to the right place.

Magnesium & Vitamin B

Magnesium is an essential mineral we need to get from our diet and is the second most important electrolyte in the human body. Food sources of this nutrient include nuts and leafy vegetables.

Deficiency in magnesium has the potential to increase blood pressure and reduce glucose tolerance. Having a healthy magnesium level has also been associated with a protective effect against depression and ADHD as well as aids good sleep and reduction in stress. Some studies have shown that people with higher magnesium levels have a decrease in all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer death. In human cells in culture, magnesium deficiency leads to mitochondrial DNA damage, and accelerated signs of aging

The standard dose of magnesium is 200-400mg. Any form of magnesium works, except L-threonate which should primarily be used for cognitive enhancement. Forms like magnesium oxide or chloride are less absorbed and contribute more to gastrointestinal side-effects. Taking larger amounts should be done with magnesium bisglycinate.

The power of magnesium is enhanced when taken with other vitamins; particularly, the vitamin B line up. The B’s are involved in ATP synthesis (energy for our cells), nutrient metabolism, the health of our cardiovascular & nerve system, along with stress management and mood regulation.

Omega 3’s

Omega 3’s are essential for our health, yet they are not something our bodies produce naturally. Therefore, we need to get them from food or supplement sources. EPA and DHA are involved in regulating various biological processes such as the inflammatory response, various metabolic signaling pathways, and brain function. Fish oil causes a potent reduction in triglyceride levels and has potential to increase HDL cholesterol (the good stuff). It appears to also notably improve mood in people diagnosed with depression. EPA, in particular, seems to be the most effective omega-3 fatty acid for this purpose which suggests that the effects of fish oil are significant in reducing neuroinflammation.

250mg is the suggested minimum intake of combined EPA/DHA, with the American Heart Association recommending 1g daily. Many studies use amounts up to 3-4g or more of DHA/EPA a day. Supplemental DHA above 350mg appears to be effective in reducing ADHD in children. Nearly all official guidelines recommend adding 200mg of DHA during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Because the ratio of omega 3 to 6 is important, consider taking more omega 3 if your 6 intake is high.

Note, as with any fish (food or supplement) sourcing is important. Look for sustainability initiatives like Friend of the Sea and for certifications and testing around contaminants and heavy metals (e.g., mercury). Fish oil is very sensitive to light/heat so most supplements have added anti-oxidants to aid freshness.

Honourable Mentions

Ashwagandha- Powerful in reducing cortisol levels and aiding with stress and sleep

Probiotics- Supporting gut health which impacts many other systems of the body

Plant Sterols- Cholesterol regulation and increases or calms your immune system.

*If you are currently on or planning on taking any medications, please consult your health care professional before consuming in order to explore possible interactions

~Amaranth Whole Foods Market, Wellness Team