How to choose the right supplements

In the effort to lead a healthier lifestyle, food is the best place to start. A diet emphasizing vegetables and fruits, lean protein, healthy fats and unprocessed ingredients provides countless unique compounds. These natural substances improve your health by reducing inflammation, supporting immunity, maintaining vitality and adding to longevity.

Unfortunately, diet isn’t always enough. With the abundance of toxins we’re exposed to, along with increasing stress levels and Western lifestyle influences, we often need extra support. That’s where natural, food and botanical-based dietary supplements play an essential role.

Every so often, however, the mainstream media sensationalizes reports from conventional researchers, stating that multivitamins don’t help health or claiming that supplements cause more harm than good.

These flawed analyses are often based on limited or skewed data. The researchers cherry-pick a handful of limited research results to make sweeping generalized statements. In the past, consumers may have been confused about such statements, but it seems that people are recognizing that these messages are nonsense. This is especially true when people can see and feel the benefits for themselves.

The truth is that many clinical and preclinical studies, along with countless clinical and anecdotal observations, have demonstrated that herbs, food-based nutrients, botanical extracts and other high-quality nutritional supplements can play a key role in promoting and maintaining long-term wellness. Combined with a nutrient-dense diet, exercise, healthy stress relief and other healthy habits, targeted supplements can give the extra edge needed to optimize wellness. Of course, everyone’s health needs are different.

Identifying Goals

Supplement choices and needs vary with each individual. There are many factors to consider: These include health status, age, gender, family health history, occupation, diet, stress levels, exercise habits, location, environmental influences and lifestyle. People should consult with their doctors, especially if they are taking any medications. Even the most innocuous supplement can, on occasion, react with a pharmaceutical drug. For more information about potential drug/supplement interactions, go here.

When building a supplement plan, consider the many different aspects of health. Here are some areas that can often use an extra boost, along with some versatile supplements that can protect and support multiple areas of health simultaneously.

Immunity And Inflammation

Our biological systems perform a careful balancing act between resting and taking action (and sometimes even overreacting).

Nowhere is this more apparent than during immune responses. A tepid reaction can allow pathogens to gain a foothold in the body, leading to chronic disease. An overreaction, by immune cells and/or the inflammatory response, can have a similar result.

We want to help the body find the perfect balance that avoids these destructive extremes.

With decades of clinical research behind it, a Tibetan herbal formula is a top recommendation. This ancient formula moderates healthy inflammation in numerous inflammatory situations. It also has natural antimicrobial properties that can help maintain dental health and help protect against occasional gingivitis, periodontitis and other acute infections.

Another versatile supplement that supports immunity and healthy inflammation responses is modified citrus pectin (MCP), derived from the pith of citrus peels and modified for enhanced absorption and bioactivity. MCP has been shown to combat unhealthy inflammation and fibrosis of organs and tissues by blocking the pro-inflammatory protein galectin-3. It also modulates immune function and safely chelates heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. MCP has also been shown to be supportive for cellular and cardiovascular health.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also highly useful for supporting support immunity and healthy inflammation. These fats are in flax seeds, chia seeds, salmon, sardines, walnuts and grass-fed beef. A high-quality omega-3 supplement can also help.

Cardiovascular Support

Again, the Tibetan herbal formula is a top recommendation. A number of studies have shown that it supports healthy clear arteries and circulation. In addition, its antioxidant and healthy inflammatory properties can help blood vessels remain free flowing.

Here, MCP makes the list again. Because MCP binds to galectin-3, an inflammatory protein implicated in both cellular and cardiovascular health, it has been shown to promote healthy arteries and may reduce risks of congestive heart failure.

Maintaining good cardiovascular health has the added advantage of supporting cognitive health. There is a proven relationship between a healthy heart and an active mind, in part because brain health relies on strong circulation and blood flow.


Science is only beginning to understand how different bodily systems interact. Research now shows that the gastrointestinal tract is critically important for nutrition absorption, hormone signaling, immunity, cognitive acuity and emotional health. These relationships are well known in traditional healing systems like Chinese medicine, and now modern science is confirming these critical links.

Each one of us has a colony of symbiotic bacteria that influence many aspects of health. For that reason, I recommend taking both probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics supply friendly microbes, and prebiotics feed those colonies. Healthy intestinal flora can improve digestion, reduce inflammation, improve immunity, combat infections, support respiratory health and even influence mental health.

I also recommend a digestive formula that helps improve digestive function and alleviate occasional discomfort. Look for a formula containing digestive herbs, such as pepper fruit, ginger root and cassia bark. It should also have nutrients such as zinc as well as digestive enzymes to support nutrient breakdown and assimilation.


Our body’s natural detoxification mechanisms often have trouble keeping pace in an increasingly industrialized environment. We’re constantly exposed to dangerous heavy metals, pesticides, air pollutants and more. These health-robbing toxins fuel inflammation and threaten DNA and cellular integrity, while damaging the neuro-endocrine system.

Again, MCP is a top recommendation because of its well-deserved reputation for gently chelating heavy metals and other toxins. Alginates derived from seaweed also help remove harmful toxins from the digestive tract. Together, MCP and alginates are an excellent solution to help address increased toxic body burden. Importantly, these two agents can remove toxins and heavy metals like lead, mercury cadmium, pesticides and radioactive particles and others without leeching essential minerals like magnesium and zinc.

Vitamins And Minerals

I strongly recommend gender-specific multivitamins. Look for products that contain food-based nutrients along with plant-based enzymes and botanicals to aid absorption. Emphasize vitamin C (at least 5,000 mg per day) and vitamin D-3 (at least 1,000 IUs per day). Also, look for multi-nutrient formulas containing blends of herbs and other botanicals to enhance vital energy, balance hormones and aid digestion, immunity and detoxification.

As you can probably tell, I place high value on supplements with maximum versatility. Optimal health requires that we support the system as a whole. A carefully designed supplement plan can go a long way toward preserving health, addressing chronic conditions and helping the body thrive over the long term.

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Dr. Isaac Eliaz

By Dr. Isaac Eliaz

Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a renowned integrative medical doctor, licensed acupuncturist, researcher, product formulator and frequent guest lecturer. He has been a pioneer in holistic medicine since the early 1980s, and has published numerous peer-reviewed research papers on several of his key integrative health formulas. He is the founder and medical director of Amitabha Clinic in California, an integrative health center specializing in cancer and chronic conditions. Dr. Eliaz is an expert in using highly strategic, synergistic protocols to address numerous areas of health including metastatic cancer, immunity, digestion, detoxification, diabetes, cardiovascular health and more. His approach integrates modern science with traditional healing wisdom for optimal health and wellness. To download any of Dr. Eliaz's comprehensive wellness guides, click here.