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5 Supplements to Improve Your Health

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Eric Lebby, MD, is LVHN's Chief, Division of Orthopedics, and an orthopedic surgeon for LVPG Orthopedics. He performs more than 600 knee and hip replacements annually on patients ranging in age from 19 to 94.

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If you eat healthy but are concerned you’re not getting all the nutrients you need from your diet, you may want to consider dietary supplements. They may be an effective way to get nutrients that otherwise are lacking from your diet.

Lehigh Valley Health Network orthopedic surgeon Eric Lebby, MD, is an expert on the use of supplements. “If you’re thinking about taking supplements, find a primary care provider who is knowledgeable and comfortable talking about their benefits,” Lebby says.

Lebby suggests talking to your provider about whether these supplements can help you.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids – The human body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids. We must get them from what we eat. Fish is high in omega-3s, and because the majority of people do not eat enough fish, many people have an omega-3 deficiency. Omega-3 fatty acids lower cholesterol and reduce the risk for heart attack, stroke and death from heart disease. They also are good for eye and brain health, can improve sleep and help prevent symptoms of depression.
  • Vitamin D – Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphorus from the food you eat, which is important for bone health. Vitamin D is especially important for people with osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones are weakened. Vitamin D also is good for your brain and skin health, and it strengthens your immune system.
  • Probiotics – These “healthy bacteria” line your digestive tract and prevent attacks from harmful bacteria. Probiotics promote healthy digestion and may help treat irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea and colitis. They also boost your immune system.
  • Fiber – If you’re not eating enough fruits, vegetables and grains, you’re likely not getting enough fiber. It’s important because fiber improves your digestive health. Fiber also helps keep your cholesterol levels healthy, which may lower your risk for heart disease
  • Red yeast rice – It’s a natural statin that lowers bad cholesterol (LDL). It also helps people with diabetes manage their blood sugar.