- Low dose aspirin (81mg). Although a recent study did not recommend women take aspirin as a preventive medication, there are others that show its benefit for preventing heart attack and stroke in both men and women. A recent study reported in The Lancet showed low-dose aspirin taken for 5 years or longer reduced mortality from esophageal, pancreatic, brain, stomach, colorectal, prostate and lung cancer. If you are over age 40, I recommend one low dose aspirin a day.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acid (fish oil). The benefits of Omega 3 have been reported for years for depression, hyperlipidemia, heart health, ADHD, clotting disorders and even arthritis. The newest study published in The American Journal of Cardiology, showed that patients with heart failure improved their exercise duration and left ventricular ejection fraction by taking 12 months daily Omega 3 FFA. Yes, you can get this by eating fish and flax seed and certain vegies, but our modern diets are deficient in Omega 3 so an extra supplement is easy.
- Vitamin D. This vitamin is essential for a number of body functions including bone health, autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease and cognitive function. I have no idea why there seems to be an epidemic of low Vitamin D levels in Americans, but there is. It might be dietary because we need the right mixture of amino acids to convert Vitamin D in the body. I am still checking all patients 25 OH Vit D levels by a blood test. If mid or high normal range, great. If they are low, I recommend 1000 IU a day. It is cheap and easy.
- Calcium. Calcium is needed for good bone and heart health, especially as we age. Women especially may be deficient in dietary calcium unless they drink milk, eat yogurt or cottage cheese. Any women with a family history of osteoporosis should be making sure she gets at least 1500mg of calcium per day. One cup of cottage cheese contains 1, 300 mg calcium. Unfortunately the blood test for Calcium is not an accurate way to see if you need supplements because the body will steal calcium from bones to keep the blood level steady. If you smoke or are a thin woman past menopause, you probably need Calcium supplements.
We all want to live long and healthy. Use the money you would spend on supplements for organic fruits and vegetables.