The Core Four: Foundational Daily Supplements

By Emily Dickerson, ND

It is pretty easy for our supplement regimens to fill our entire medicine cabinet, and for some of us, an entire laundry basket. Without knowing exactly what we should be taking on a daily basis, it is difficult to determine what to spend money on, and it is easy to waste money on multitude of supplements with big promises. This is an explanation of the Core Four daily supplements that benefit everyone, regardless of age.

The Core Four are the supplements that most people need on a daily basis. These supplements help us to create a strong foundation for healthy bodies and minds. This simple supplement routine alone can help to improve specific health concerns as well as our overall health. This is the foundation upon which we build additional treatment recommendations, much like the foundation upon which a house is built. Any treatments that I recommend are in addition to the Core Four because they address root causes of illness and treatment plans work better if first the basal health is addressed.


Eating a whole foods diet high in vegetables is the foundation of your nutrition. However, when your diet falls short, your multivitamin can be helpful to cover your essential micronutrient needs.

A multivitamin is an essential component of your daily supplementation. Multivitamins contain important vitamins and minerals required for daily function of the body. Each vitamin plays an important role in normal bodily processes, maintaining health, and supporting cell and tissues structure and function. They play big roles in processes such as making neurotransmitters, which collectively is your brain chemistry.

I recommend the Thorne Brand of multivitamins. These multivitamins contain methylated B vitamins, which are very important for supporting methylation defects we are seeing on a regular basis. There are different multivitamins for every stage of life. For children, I recommend the Thorne Children’s multivitamin. For women of childbearing age, I recommend the Thorne Prenatal, regardless if they are trying to conceive or not. We can help you find the multivitamin that is ideal for your age and health status. Remember to take your multivitamin with food, as taken on an empty stomach or too little food may cause nausea.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is an important nutrient for immune health, mental health, and bone health. It prevents cell proliferation, which means it plays an important role in the prevention of cancer. Vitamin D is considered a hormone moreso than a vitamin because of its myriad of roles within the body.

Our bodies make Vitamin D3 in our skin via ultraviolet rays from the sun, and we often get it through fortified foods in our diet. In Idaho, even though we have lots of sun here, most of us have a Vitamin D deficiency. This is due to a few factors, including wearing sunscreen and our great distance from the equator.

It is important to get Vitamin D tested on a regular (6-12 month) basis to ensure that you are getting enough Vitamin D and not too much. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that has potential to build up within the body. It is best absorbed when taken when eating a fat-containing food, such as avocado, nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil, or butter.

Recommended Dosing:

  • Adults: 1000 to 4000 iu per day
  • Children: 500 to 1000 iu per day


Probiotics are identified strains of beneficial bacteria that are part of a healthy primary immune system within the gut, and are involved with immune function and mental health. Probiotics promote healthy digestion by directly participating in the digestive process and promoting healthy tissues within the gastrointestinal tract. They are involved with healthy brain chemistry because they are one of the ways that our body makes the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. Probiotics promote a healthy balance of microflora within the GI tract by keeping the populations of other gastrointestinal microorganisms, such as Candida, in check. A high diversity in gut flora is associated with fewer autoimmune diseases, less diabetes and cardiovascular disease, decreased obesity, and less frequent infections.

Recommended Dosing:

  • Adults: 5+ different probiotic strains, 5 billion organisms
  • Children: 1/2 – 1 of the adult dose, depending on size and medical conditions

Fish Oil/Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Fish oil is anti-inflammatory, supports cardiovascular health, and provides healthy fats from which our cell walls can be created. It contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahenaenoic acid (DHA), which are considered essential fatty acids because the body needs them and is unable to make them. It is essential that we get these fats via our food or via supplementation. Fish and fish oil are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. I generally recommend fish oil/krill oil/cod liver oil over flax seed oil or other omega 3-6-9 combinations because we eat enough foods that are high in omega-6 and omega-9 on a daily basis. We generally get insufficient amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. In high doses, omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, whereas high doses of omega-6 and omega-9 are pro-inflammatory. In addition to this, omega-3 fatty acids compete with omega-6 and omega-9 for absorption, so it generally is not a good idea to supplement with a combination. Fish oil is best taken with food.

Recommended Dosing:

  • Adults 1000 – 2000 mg per day
  • Children 300 – 600 mg for every 40 lbs of body weight

The Core Four is part of most initial office visits with Dr. Dickerson. Addressing the root cause of health concerns is innate to the care that she provides. To schedule an office visit with Dr. Dickerson to discuss your foundational health, please call Boise Natural Health Clinic at (208)338-0405.