Choices of supplements are important since they are eaten regularly. I only use a few supplements and, with the exception of cod liver oil and vitamin D3, I do not bother to take them on a daily basis. Eating real foods with a variety of micronutrients gives me some confidence that regularly taking vitamins is not necessary.
One challenge to eating a healthy diet can be to get enough quality fats. To avoid the standard American health profile, you have to eat differently and not follow the popular high-carb, low-fat consensus of experts. My term for this is Metabolic Syndrome Era Diet (MSED). Following a ketogenic or a low-carb paleo diet that targets 65 to 75 percent of calories from quality fats is much healthier. There is much science that support this although there is also politics, special interests, traditions, and common habits that do not so there can be some challenge in this.
I do not stick with a ketogenic diet, but even when I am more in the low-carb paleo range, there needs to be plenty of good fats. A spoon of cod liver oil gets you is about 50 calories of quality fat. It is not cheap to buy a bottle of fish oil, but really you are not buying an added supplement. Instead, you are buying food at less than a penny per calorie. A container of low-fat yogurt can cost more. So, boom! Add a fish oil supplement and you have made some headway toward getting the fat you need without increasing food costs. This helps dispel the notion that eating real food has to be a lot more expensive than eating the MSED.
We should have a ratio of about one to one of omega-3 to omega-6 fats. With processed foods and the types of fat currently recommended by the USDA, Americans are getting as much a 25 times the omega-6 type of fat to omega-3. Incredibly, the USDA still recommends margarine and soybean oil on their Supertracker website so they are either oblivious to this or they are facilitating the agenda of special interests. Dr. Mercola addresses the omega-3 to omega-6 issue very well in his article Omega 3 Oils: The Essential Nutrients. Fish oil is high in the omega-3 type of fat.
About 70 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D and this is another huge nutritional problem. Of course it is largely ignored because there is not much profit incentive to resolve it. Take a look at the label on the Carlson Norwegian cod liver oil bottle pictured here. With one teaspoon you get 400 international units of vitamin D3. Unfortunately, the daily value recommendation is probably underestimated. From what I have read, 2000 to 5000 IU is probably a better daily target and there would be no toxicity at twice this amount. Cod liver oil supplementation makes a good start to fulfilling vitamin D3 requirements.
The DHA variety of omega-3 fatty acids is critical to health. In his article, Daily Dose of DHA, Dr. David Perlmutter suggests getting about 1000 mg of this per day. This can be taken care of with two teaspoons of cod liver oil.
About 12 years ago, I attended a promotional lecture from a Carlson representative about benefits of cod liver oil. The speaker did a good job as I made sure to use it for a few years after that. Unfortunately, I let the fish oil habit lapse. From what I have been reading lately, I should have continued with it, but now I am getting the Carlson brand locally in a Vitamin Shoppe. To be clear about my motivations, I do not have affiliations with Carlson or Vitamin Shoppe. I just think omega-3’s are an important nutrient and fish oil supplementation is a simple way to get a better ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats.