The key though is compliance and in the world of vitamins, it can be very difficult to find a decent product within the sea of options.
I like Costco for their relatively low price, convenience and for the fact that they sell in bulk. On a recent trip, I took out my iPhone camera and produced a cheat sheet that I give to my patients when I am recommending vitamins or "natural" products to supplement their treatments. The list below constitutes my personal favorites based on dose, cost, and convenience of use.
If a patient doesn't have a Costco membership they often have access through a friend who can use this cheat sheet or they can use the cheat sheet to shop elsewhere. I simply make copies of this (now in black and white) grab a black sharpie pen and circle my recommendations and write down the dosing instruction.
It works like a charm and my patients love it.
Here are some of my recommendations based on this Costco Cheat sheet:
- For all my patients on a Statin I recommend supplemental CoQ10, and so should you.
- For many patients with arthritis, both inflammatory and non-inflammatory, I recommend either higher doses of a fish oil supplement (my favorite is Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega tabs) the addition of krill oil and if they are open to the idea I love to place them on Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil which is considered by many to be the gold standard. I have seen wonderful results with this combo.
- For diabetic patients, I usually recommend supplemental potassium, magnesium and B vitamins as well. I also like alpha lipoic acid (not available at Costco). We can get many of these vitamins/minerals through food of course, but it is not always possible (or a sure thing) so I will recommend them often in supplemental form. I sometimes prescribe a simple multivitamin for its ease of use.
- Glucosamine has proven effective in about 30 percent of my patients and if a patient has not had good results in the first 30 days there is no need to bother with more of this.
- Also, on the list is Melatonin which I have used with some success to treat sleep disturbances. Approximately 20 -30% of patients will respond to this. If there is no benefit in one month with Melatonin I move onto other options.
- I like to use higher than the recommended dose of vitamin D3. I usually recommend 5000 IU or possibly 4000 IU depending on the circumstances. I recommend 400 IU in babies and small children. I perform serum tests on most patients.
- I put the Aller-Tec on the list because it is a dirt cheap generic form of Zyrtec and comes in almost a year supply at Costco.
- I also quite often add aspirin and a calcium supplement if necessary. Make sure to check the guidelines, they have changed.
A side note on fish oil:
I personally don't take Costco fish oils (for reasons I may discuss later) but I am a big fan of two companies:
- Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil: Nordic Naturals makes the best and purest cod liver oil around! The liquid form is better and a more effective way to take your Omega 3’s but a bit difficult to stomach. It has to be refrigerated.
- I use the Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega tabs. No odor, amazing flavor and a great EPA/DHA ratio. I tried these the first time at a sample booth after finishing a half marathon. I couldn't believe the flavor. They have had me ever since.
- Another option and one I have been leaning to lately secondary to cost are Carlson labs. They are high quality, better priced although not as tasty as the Nordic Naturals brand. Too bad, but I may be making the change in order to put the money I save in my children's college funds.