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Top 3 vitamin/supplement recommendations

One of the most common questions we get at the clinic is “what vitamins/supplements (if any) should I take?” The best answer is “the ones you need!” And the best way to find that out is through functional blood labs, but not everyone has access to or can afford to have functional blood labs run because insurance won’t pay. So, as a general guide, and to improve our overall health (not to cure or prevent any disease), here are our general recommendations for most of us living in a northern climate like Wisconsin.


Our first recommendation is to support gut health. The single best way to do this is with a good probiotic. Your gut (stomach, small, and large intestines) has trillions of microorganisms that dictate your health. Having a healthy population of gut microorganisms is, in our opinion, the single best thing you can do for your health. Having a diverse diet with a generous amount of fermented food is the best way to have a healthy gut, but the Standard American Diet (SAD) does not typically include fermented food. So, a good probiotic supplement really helps. Look for one with diverse cultures (minimum of five strains) and at least 20 billion CFU (colony forming units). If you know your problems are related to the small intestine, then it might be worth going with a probiotic with SBO (soil-based organisms).

Vitamin D

It was well publicized during the COVID-19 pandemic that people who were low on vitamin D did worse than those who had a normal vitamin D level. Furthermore, population estimates were nearing 80% with deficiency of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for the immune system, as well as many other bodily functions. So, our second recommendation is Vitamin D.

Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating calcium levels in your bones and blood stream. Osteoporosis and heart disease are both very common in our culture. Osteoporosis results from calcium being “leached” or taken out of our bones and late-stage coronary artery disease includes a buildup of calcium in the walls of our arteries. In osteoporosis, the calcium is lacking in the bones and in heart disease, it is in excess in our arteries. It’s typically not an issue of “not enough” calcium, rather “misplaced” or “misdirected” calcium.

Our general recommendation for those in a northern climate is a combination of Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2. The addition of K2 seems to further enhance the proper use of calcium. The best ratio of D3 to K2 is 1000 IU to 10 mcg. When people are deficient in Vitamin D, we find that 5000 IU to 10,000 IU per day is necessary to get to an optimal blood level. To get the right ratio of D3 to K2, you would need to get 50-100 mcg of K2 with this amount of D3. There are products that have both, and many of them are close to the correct ratio.

If you are taking a blood thinning medication, you should consult with your doctor/prescriber. In doing so, note that there are many forms of Vitamin K, but the most common for humans are K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is found in “leafy greens”, which impacts clotting and could interact with blood thinners or other medications. Research has shown that Vitamin K2 does not affect clotting or interact with blood thinners, but the research is limited, and this notion is not universally accepted currently.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Our third recommendation is Omega 3 fatty acids. These are “essential fatty acids” which means, NOT OPTIONAL. You must get them in your diet. They are abundant in fatty/oily fish. If you are an oily fish fan and have quality sources (free from toxins like mercury), you might get enough Omega 3s in your diet, but for the rest of us, we need to supplement.

There are two primary Omega 3s in fish oil. These include DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). DHA is helpful for your brain, eyes, and heart, and EPA is helpful for your eyes and heart, as well as being anti-inflammatory. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is high in processed oils which contain Omega 6 fatty acids. The more Omega 6 you consume, the more Omega 3s you need. Thus, the dosing of Omega 3s can be complicated.

Many organizations suggest not exceeding 4000 mg of combined DHA/EPA per day, but other sources, like Nordic Naturals, cite research that suggests doses in excess of 5000 mg are well tolerated and not harmful. Know that the “jury is out” on this subject with the accepted general recommendation of 2000-4000 mg per day for adults. Be sure to look at the combined DHA/EPA and not just the size of the capsule.

The final consideration with Omega 3s is that these oils are sensitive to oxygen and light. When they oxidize, they become rancid and are no longer helpful, and worse, they could be harmful. Freshness is a primary concern, so buying the cheapest brand at your favorite “big box store” is not a good strategy.

My grandfather always taught me that if you are going to do something, do it right. We hope this was helpful, and we always welcome questions.


Michael Buyze, L.Ac. is a healthcare entrepreneur and visionary who has over 40 years of healthcare experience with expertise in acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, functional medicine, clinical exercise physiology, and nutrition. He owns and operates East Wind Healthcare, an acupuncture and wellness clinic with a 25-year history of helping people in the Fox Valley with offices in Appleton, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac. He holds Master of Science Degrees in Chinese Medicine, Business Administration and Exercise Physiology. He and his team offer acupuncture as well as wellness programming for acute and chronic pain, fertility, autoimmune and many other chronic disease states. Acupuncture consultations and wellness consultations are available by appointment. Contact information: East Wind Healthcare, 3000 N Ballard Road, Unit #3, Appleton, WI 54911; 404 N. Main St., Suite 201, Oshkosh, WI 54901, and 180 Knights Way, Fond du Lac WI 54935 (inside Forum Health); Tel: 920-997-0511; Website:

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