Ask the Dietitian – Your Most-Asked Supplement Questions Answered
Written by: Ryah Nabielski, MS, RDN
Welcome to another edition of Ask the Dietitian. In today’s article, we’ll cover some of the most frequently asked nutrition and supplement questions from Twenty2 Nutrition customers.
- Is it normal to feel bloated after starting probiotics?
- What are the benefits of omega-3 fats in triglyceride form?
- When can a multivitamin also be a prenatal? How does a multivitamin or prenatal support fertility?
- Is there cholesterol in collagen-egg protein?
Let’s dive in!
Q: Is it normal to feel bloated after starting probiotics?
A: Your gut microbiome is composed of trillions of microorganisms that respond quickly to what you eat and drink, your stress levels, and many other factors. Probiotic supplements offer a convenient and safe way to support gut health, even for kids and during pregnancy and lactation.
It is common for there to be a period of adjustment when beginning a probiotic supplement. The same applies to other gut support, such as increasing dietary fiber or starting prebiotic supplements. (Note: prebiotics are the food supply for probiotics).
If you experience bloating with a probiotic, start with a smaller dose and slowly work up to the total amount, as tolerated.
A full dose of the Twenty2 Nutrition Probiotic is three capsules. However, you can begin with one capsule. When you tolerate one capsule without symptoms, increase to two and finally to three. You can also open the capsules and use partial capsules if you need a slower approach. Just add the probiotic powder to a bite of food or a smoothie. In addition, instead of taking the full dose at once, divide the three capsules between three daily meals if that feels better for you.
As your body adapts to the probiotic, you’ll likely notice the bloating and any other GI symptoms dissipate. If not, please work with your doctor or dietitian for guidance.
For more information, please read:
Q: What are the benefits of omega-3 fats in triglyceride form?
A: The answer to this question requires a simple chemistry lesson. Triglycerides are composed of a glycerol molecule with three fatty acids attached. Fatty acids include the long-chain omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, and the other fats in the diet.
Triglycerides are the primary form of fats in fish and other natural foods. Like fish and animals, the human body stores and transports fat as triglycerides. When your doctor orders a lipid panel, it measures the triglyceride levels in your blood.
The fish oil extracted from fish is only about 20% EPA and DHA. Supplements are much more concentrated.
Fish oils undergo a process called esterification to remove impurities and toxins and concentrate the omega-3s. During esterification, the triglyceride bonds are broken and attached to an alcohol molecule called ethyl ester. Ethyl esters are synthetic and don’t exist in nature. They may be harder to digest, absorb, and utilize than triglycerides.
You’ll find many lower-quality fish oil supplements in the ethyl ester form. The good news is there is a process to remove the alcohol from the fish oil and reattach the fatty acids to glycerol forming triglycerides again. This process is expensive (which is why some companies skip it), but it allows for high-quality, concentrated, and clean fish oil in the optimal form. It’s what you’ll find with Twenty2 Nutrition Omega 3 Fish Oil.
For more on omega-3s, please read:
Q: When can a multivitamin also be a prenatal? How does a multivitamin or prenatal support fertility?
A: The difference between a multivitamin and a prenatal vitamin can be confusing. However, a prenatal vitamin is essentially a multivitamin. For women, a prenatal supplement often includes a higher dose of iron and folate, two nutrients required in higher amounts during pregnancy. For men, a men’s multivitamin and a men’s prenatal are often similar.
Of course, some multivitamins (and prenatal vitamins) are better than others in terms of the nutrients they contain, quality, purity, nutrient forms, and dosages. So, it may be more accurate to say that a complete, high-quality multivitamin may double as a prenatal.
A prenatal isn’t just for pregnancy. Taking a multivitamin or prenatal before conception helps improve the overall nutrient status and the health of both parents, especially when it’s added to an overall healthy lifestyle. Micronutrients in a multivitamin/prenatal support many facets of fertility, such as genetic expression (epigenetics), egg and sperm quality, metabolic health, and more.
Twenty2 Nutrition offers a comprehensive Women’s Multivitamin and Men’s Multivitamin. Both formulas are intended for adults and may have additional benefits when used during the preconception period. Women will also find additional benefits during pregnancy and lactation. If you don’t intend to have kids, a multivitamin is still an excellent idea to help fill micronutrient gaps and support overall wellness.
For more information about fertility and prenatal nutrition, please read:
- All You Need to Know About Prenatal Nutrition
- How to Support Men’s Health
- Preconception Health and Fertility for Men
Q: Is there cholesterol in collagen-egg protein?
A: Yes. Each serving of Twenty2 Nutrition Collagen-Egg Protein contains 10 grams of whole egg powder, containing 160 milligrams of cholesterol.
Many egg protein supplements only contain egg white, but the yolk is where you’ll find most of the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds). The egg white and yolk contain protein, and the yolk contains some fat. A whole egg is like nature’s multivitamin! It contains:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B9 (folate)
- Vitamin B12
- Antimicrobial compounds, including avidin
- Antioxidants, including beta-carotene and other carotenoids
- Immune-supportive molecules, such as lysosome
- And more!
If you compare the nutrients in an egg to what you find in a multivitamin, there is a lot of overlap. It’s estimated two eggs contain about 10-30 percent of a person’s daily vitamin requirements.
Despite the incredible nutrient density of eggs, many people fear eating them because of the dietary cholesterol they contain. However, new science shows that dietary cholesterol has little effect on blood cholesterol levels for most people. And blood cholesterol levels are just one small piece of a complex puzzle that drives heart disease.
A large 2020 trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no significant associations between egg intake, blood lipids, mortality, or major cardiovascular events, like heart attack or stroke. (The study is linked below as reference #6 if you’d like to read it).
As a dietitian with over 14 years of clinical experience, I feel confident recommending high-quality eggs (such as pasture-raised) to my clients when it’s a good fit. If you are a hyper-responder to dietary cholesterol, have an egg allergy or sensitivity, or choose to avoid eggs for another reason (like following a vegan diet), please work with your doctor or dietitian for alternatives.
For more information on protein needs and collagen protein, the other half of the collagen-egg duo, please read:
If you have more questions, reach out, and we’ll cover them in the next edition of Ask the Dietitian!
This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider before beginning a new supplement, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, take medication, or have a medical condition.
Ryah Nabielski, MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian, functional nutritionist, writer, and recipe creator. Ryah helps clients use a natural, food-as-medicine approach to improve fertility, pregnancy, hormone balance, autoimmunity, and discover a healthy relationship with food and body. Learn more about Ryah and her private practice at econutrition.co.