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The 5 Core Supplement Essentials for Every Health Optimizer

As a health optimizer, a common question is, “what are the minimum supplements I should take?” The answer is boring, yet true.

The word supplement means, “a thing that completes or enhances.” Naturally, this means we should start with our diet, and end with supplements, and not vice versa.

Accepting the reality of modern living comes with accepting the universal truth the majority of us are magnesium and vitamin D insufficient and others deficient in one or more of other micronutrients. And we are seeing the disastrous outcomes of vitamin D deficiency with the current coronavirus/ COVID-19 outbreak.

Beyond basic vitamins and minerals, we are increasingly finding omega-3 deficiencies common, as is the need for some to supplement methylated B-vitamins. Chronic fatigue is on the rise, alongside these various nutrient deficiencies/insufficiencies we are finding in certain modern diet strategies.

For these reasons, supplementing is a cost-effective and meaningful strategy to cover the gaps. As many report various benefits with the supplements you find below, overall you can think of supplementing as the cheapest additional insurance policy no one needs to qualify for.

#1 Multi-Vitamin

With 13 essential vitamins and 16 essential minerals, covering all 29 needed nutrients with the modern diet becomes a full-time job. Even with the most thoughtfully executed diet, the insufficiency of one or more essential vitamins and minerals is seemingly and increasingly possible.

Nearly 10% of Americans have a nutrient deficiency with vitamin B6, iron, vitamin D, iodine, vitamin B12, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, omega-3, folate, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin E, and copper, the most common insufficiencies or deficiencies. A good multivitamin-mineral can be a workhorse for full nutrient coverage of all gaps.

A multi-vitamin should have at least 26 of the 29 essential multi-vitamin-minerals and should include a fully active or fully methylated B-complex. Using a quality multi-vitamin is an easy and cost-effective daily nutrient strategy.

#2 Magnesium-Malate

Magnesium is an essential mineral that, when even included in top-quality multi-vitamin, does not cover our needs. A recent study shows, the modern diet provides us with only 50% of our 320 mg-420 mg magnesium intake needs, which renders vitamin D supplements as ineffective.

The best forms of magnesium are in the amino acid form, which we see as magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium malate, magnesium taurate. Looking at the label, it’s important to remember only 14% of the total dose is elemental magnesium.

As a cofactor in over 300 enzyme systems, magnesium regulates an array of biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure. Magnesium serves a crucial role in balancing calcium in the body, by keeping calcium in bones and thus preventing the buildup of arterial plaque.

While outright deficiency rates are low, studies show magnesium insufficiency rates as high as 75%. Because of the modern diet, among other factors, humans are consuming less magnesium than ever before.

Central to heart health, magnesium keeps our heart beating. In fact, this electrical action which serves to prevent a sudden cardiac arrest could be much more important than its role in managing blood pressure and heart disease.

Containing properties of a natural Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme ACE Inhibitor, Beta Blocker, Calcium Channel Blocker, Diuretic, and Vasodilator, magnesium performs well in studies lowering blood pressure. Some still believe potassium also plays a role in blood pressure regulation and should receive further attention.

The reasoning in using the malate form of magnesium is taking advantage of the benefit of malic acid. In helping create ATP, the body’s central energy source, malic acid can assist the body in creating and using energy more efficiently, which is a critical goal as we age.

#3 Vitamin D3/K2

We call vitamin D the “sunshine vitamin” because we produce it in our skin when it is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, contains a “family” of vitamins in vitamin D1, D2, and D3, from which we consider vitamin D3 as the optimal supplement form.

For the past decade, studies consistently confirm vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency rates to be significantly higher than 50%. Various factors affect vitamin D levels as we see much lower rates according to age, location, underlying diseases, and gender.

Vitamin D continues receiving attention for its role in regulating the immune system. Emerging studies continue showing a strong relationship between vitamin D deficiency and negative coronavirus/COVID-19 outcomes.

Studies also tell us we should take vitamin D3 with vitamin K2, for the protection of arteries, because of arteriosclerosis remaining as the leading cause of death. Some medical doctors and many researchers are questioning whether the traditional vitamin D target blood levels are too low, and the data seems to continue confirming this hypothesis.

#4 Krill or Vegan Algae Oil

Some call omega-3’s building blocks of the human brain. As we are realizing the flaws in previous omega-3 studies, new studies are detailing how omega-3’s, support the endocannabinoid system, while also improving dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine for mood- and memory-related conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, and depression.

Emerging studies show omega-3 fatty acids in algae or krill phospholipid form, delivering phosphatidylcholine and astaxanthin may be superior to fish oil or even cod liver omega-3’s, because of these differences in structural form. This means we can theorize krill or algae oil-based phospholipids offer greater bioavailability and absorption, versus fish oil in triglyceride form, because of matching every single cell phospholipid-based membrane in our body.

In this phospholipid form, omega-3’s, (DHA and EPA), contain much less heavy metal exposure, no fishy taste or smell, greater shelf-stability, and biological sustainability than fish oil, allowing for lower dosages. While we need more studies to confirm these findings, initial studies are promising.

While all omega-3’s lower triglycerides, some studies show only phospholipid omega-3’s lower LDL, while raising HDL cholesterol levels. Omega-3’s have properties of ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and vasodilators, which allows the lowering of diastolic and systolic blood pressure.

#5 Ubiquinol

Providing human cellular energy, coenzyme Q10, (CoQ10), a “vitamin-like” fat-soluble nutrient, is critical to our health. Potent antioxidant activity, the second function of CoQ10, we find strictly in the ubiquinol form of CoQ10, which comprises 90–98% of total CoQ10 in the body.

The other form of Coq10, ubiquinone, is the oxidized CoQ10 form, which must be recycled or reduced into the ubiquinol ultimate form. Our natural CoQ10 levels depend on age, genetic factors, and the use of prescription drugs such as statin medications, causing the ability to convert ubiquinone to ubiquinol to become much more difficult after the age of 40.

Studies show besides mitochondria and ATP, which is our bodies’ central energy source and protection, CoQ10 supplements are effective for lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, all cholesterol markers including HDL but not triglycerides, heart failure, and post-heart attack protection.

Ubiquinol protects LDL from oxidation better than other antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamin E, as we know oxidized LDL, known to cause atherosclerosis, poses a more serious threat over standard LDL. For these reasons, many argue ubiquinol is the superior CoQ10 form with greater activity and bioavailability.

How to Take Supplements

Vitamin A, D, E, K, ubiquinol, and krill/algae oil are all fat-soluble, which means taking them with meals with a fat source and black pepper will increase absorption. While others such as vitamins B, C, and minerals are water-soluble and absorbed with just water, all supplements are best absorbed in divided doses.


1 multivitamin/mineral capsule, magnesium-malate (3–6 capsules), 1 D/K capsule, 1–2 krill or algae softgels, 1 ubiquinol softgel.


Repeat (No D/K)

Your Friend in Health,

Mark Stein

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