General Maintenance Supplements
Summary: Ensure there are no deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, or EFAs by using basic nutritional supplements.
General maintenance supplements include multivitamin, multimineral, and essential fatty acid supplements. These are discussed in detail in their respective sections:
General maintenance supplements help ensure that there are no deficiencies of most common nutrients. These supplements can be especially useful for those with poor diets, and also good insurance for those who eat healthy but should not be used as an excuse to follow a poor diet. Adequate fruits, vegetables, protein, and good oils should still be consumed. See the Diet section for more information. Also see the article Supplements 101 for basic advice in using supplements.
WARNING: General Maintenance supplements may provide circulation stimulation, vasodilation, blood thinning, and other effects that can be dangerous if already on meds for these purposes. Before using any of them, check with your MD or, better yet, a medical professional knowledgeable on supplements and nutrition.
Since the individual supplements are discussed in depth in the articles above, this page is devoted to possible supplement combinations. Multivitamins are typically taken during the day. The B vitamins they contain cause cause sleeplessness if taken too close to bed. Multiminerals relax and aid sleep so they are best taken at bed. Some people need to get adequate calcium and magnesium during the day for conditions like mental disorders, in which case a multivitamin with a good amount of these major minerals might be taken during the day, with a half serving size of the multimineral at night as a booster.
Essential fatty acids can be taken at any time, day or night. They do help mental focus, so some may prefer them during the day, but they are best absorbed at night when the liver is most active, so some might prefer them taken at night. The most often recommended EFA supplements are Jarrow Omega Balance and Enzymatic Therapy Eskimo-3. Again, these are discussed in the EFA Section, along with other supplements that may be more appropriate for some, such as flax seed oil.
These are my favorite low-cost supplements for general maintenance. Choose one from each category. These are all available at iHerb.
Multivitamin: These are two-per-day vitamins.
Now True Balance (contains a lot of biotin to improve hair, skin, and nails)
Life Extension Two-Per-Day (capsules are easier to swallow, tablets are less expensive. Contains mixed tocopherols, apigenin, lutein)
Multimineral. These are 1:1 ratio calcium magnesium supplements. Use at half recommended amount per day to get 50% RDA calcium and 100% RDA magnesium
Now Full Spectrum Mineral Caps (note that the tablet product called Now Full Spectrum Minerals contains a different formula and is not recommended)
Twinlab Cal-Mag Citrate (contains citrate forms of minerals which are best to remove mineral deposits in the body)
Enzymatic Therapy Eskimo-3 (small fish oil gelcaps)
Jarrow EPA-DHA Balance (once known as Omega Balance)