Gloria P. Oberbeck, M.D. | Board Certified in Family Medicine | (303) 828-9200

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Nutritional Supplements


  • B Vitamins +

    B Vitamins: There are many B vitamins, from B1 to B12, that are all incredibly important to our body's functioning. A commonly deficient one is B12, a nutrient that helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA. B12 is a common deficiency; some people just have a harder time genetically absorbing it than other people do, some people take medications that inhibit absorption, and others just do not get enough in their diet. Common sources are dairy, shellfish and meat. People who consume a lot of alcohol are also often deficient in B12.

  • Coenzyme Q10 +

    Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an important vitamin, especially for people taking statin medication for high cholesterol. Statins are used to lower cholesterol, but they also block the formation of CoQ10, an essential ingredient used by the mitochondria to make energy. Low CoQ10 can lead to muscle cramps, memory impairment and other complications. If you are taking a statin you should be taking an extra 10 mg of CoQ10 daily.

  • Folic Acid +

    Folic Acid is very important for women, especially during the childbearing years because it helps prevent neural defects in fetuses. From 2003 to 2006, only 34% of women aged 20 to 39 used a dietary supplement containing folic acid—a number doctors would like to be higher. Folic acid is very important for women, especially during their childbearing years, because it helps prevent neural defects in fetuses and is beneficial during the early stages of development. Becuase women often do not know they are pregnant until three or four weeks into pregnancy, folic acid should be a part the diet for all young women. Folic acid is found naturally in leafy greens, citrus fruits, beans and whole grains. If you do not get enough of these, most multivitamins will have enough.

  • Iron +

    Iron not only helps with the transportation of oxygen in the blood cells, it is is an integral part of many of the body’s proteins and enzymes, so it is vital to your overall health. Iron deficiency can cause fatigue, poor work performance and decreased immunity. People who are vegetarian and do not get much iron in the diet should have a blood count to see if the iron is low. Also, women who have heavy menstual cycles can become anemic. You should not routinely take an iron supplement unless you are low because too much is not good for you and can lead to health problems.

  • Melatonin +

    Melatonin: Sleep disorders affect between 50 and 70 million Americans, which is nearly 20% of the population, according to the NIH. While melatonin is not a sleep aide, it can help balance a person's wake-sleep cycle. Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland and it helps regulate your circadian rhythm. Each person is different, but when the lights are off, your body produces it. If you are exposed to too much light, including street lights, night lights, or lights froma digital clock in the bedroom, it can throw the producton of melatonin off. Melatonin is not recommended for people under 18 years of age because they make plenty. For people over 18 years old, you can start with 1-2 mg to help with sleep.

  • Multivitamins +

    Multivitamins: According to the CDC, 40% of U.S. adults take multivitamins, making them the most commonly consumed dietary supplement. If you eat a healthy diet with plenty of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) and do not eat excess amounts of meat, you should get most of the nutrients you need. However, most Americans eat too many grains, not enough vegetables and fruits, and too much meat. A whole food multivitamin or capsule form of multivitamin for your age and gender that contains B vitamins, vitamins A, C, D, E and K as well as various minerals, like calcium and magnesium should meet your needs.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids +

    Omega -3 fatty acids help with cardiovascular health, improve brain function, and decrease inflammation associated with arthritis and other disorders. Marine based omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, is the best source. The recommended dosage of omega-3 fatty acids is 500 mg, which you can get from cold water fatty fish (like salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, trout and mackerel) twice a week,. Wild caught fish is preferable to farmed fish because of the contaminants often found in farmed fish. Fish oil supplements have become popular as people are eating less fish, however, not all fish oil supplements are created equal. You want to look to be sure it is molecularly distilled , which is a process that filters out some of the metals. Some of the high quality fish oils include Nordic Naturals, GNC and Carlson.

  • Vitamin C +

    Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetables and acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage by free radicals, which are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. Because vitamin c is water soluble, it is excreted very rapidly, so taking a high dose in one pill doesn't make sense. Taking 500 mg is all you need to take, but if you feel a cold coming on, then taking 500 mg three times a day is better and more effective.

  • Vitamin D +

    Vitamin D a nutrient found in fatty fish, meat, and dairy and helps build and maintain strong bones by helping in the absorption of calcium. It also is very important in muscle, nerve and immunity functions. Vitamin D is either low or deficient in 50% to 60% of people in the United States. You should take at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day and optimally, whenever you have a physical examination, you should have a vitamin D level checked and supplement accordingly.

    Vitamin D is an absolute requirement for healthy living. There are vitamin D receptors in the bones, intestines, brain, breast, prostate, and blood cells. Therapeutic benefits of vitamin D are numerous: heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, depression, epilepsy, migraine headaches, polycystic ovarian disease, musculoskeletal pain, autoimmune conditions, allergies, asthma, inflammatory conditions, cancer prevention/treatment, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia.

    Disease prevention with vitamin D correlates with higher blood levels as in the chart below:

    Vitamin D

    Vitamin D Blood Level

    Normal dosing of vitamin D depends on your blood levels. While the normal reference range is 20-100, the optimal level is 50-70. Insurance companies do not always cover the blood test – so it is best to call and see if it is more affordable to be billed by the lab with insurance if covered with a certain diagnosis code (if billed to, but not covered by your insurance, the lab could send you a bill for $200!) alternatively, you could choose to be billed without insurance (about $40 with BCH).

    Natural Production of Vitamin D

    Your skin makes vitamin D when it is exposed to a pinking dose of sunlight. How much depends on your age, skin tone, and how much skin is uncovered. Without sunblock and with arms and legs exposed, your skin will make 10,000 – 15000 units of vitamin D in one pinking sun exposure, on average. (Sunblock with an SPF or more than 15 blocks 97-100% of vitamin D production in the skin). Also, the darker your skin, the more sun you need to make enough vitamin D.

    Vitamin D Supplementation

    It is difficult to get enough D from the diet as only a few foods naturally contain vitamin D, such as fish (mackerel, salmon,herring), mushrooms, butter, cream, and egg yolks. Some foods may be fortified with vitamin D, such as milk and orange juice. Most dietary D is in the form of D2 and about one half is absorbed. Reviews have shown that supplementation is most effective with D3 (rather than D2) and since vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, it is most available to your body when taken with food. The level determined for a starting dosage with your blood test may be lowered for maintenance once it is determined by a follow up blood test that the optimal level has been achieved. While this fat soluble vitamin could accumulate and lead to potentially toxic levels, it is very difficult to get too much vitamin D. It is a good idea to have a balance of vitamins which could come from taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement for your age and gender which contains at least 2500 IU vitamin A along with your daily vitamin D supplement.

  • Zinc +

    Zinc is a necessary nutrient found in the body's cells that aids the immune system, as well as helps the body grow from conception and through childhood. Once you've reached adulthood, it is not necessary on a day-to-day basis. Zinc has been shown to shorten the times of colds and flus but in general, zinc deficiency is not a big problem. It is a metal, so I do not recommend daily supplementation.

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