When in doubt about their health or diet, many people still turn to vitamins and supplements. While a taking multi-vitamin every day will most likely not hurt you, it is no substitute for a healthy diet and may not help you as much as you think. Many generic vitamin formulas will claim to have 100% or more of the daily value, but often these are not in a form or combination that can be fully absorbed by the body. So what are the best supplements to take? It will vary for each person and lifestyle, but here are some of the most helpful vitamins/supplements that you may not be getting enough of:
More and more research is showing that Vitamin D has a vast number of benefits, and that many of us aren’t getting enough of it. Vitamin D is important to bone health, cancer prevention, and is also important for mood support. When you look for a Vitamin D supplement, be sure to look for Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and take 2,000iu-5,000iu daily. (NOTE: if you get 10- 15 minutes of daily exposure to sun without sunscreen your body will absorb Vitamin D naturally.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
The three main omega 3 fatty acids (ALA, EPA, & DHA) are considered essential to our health, and the list of possible benefits is vast. From heart health, to brain health, to the prevention of inflammation, omega 3’s are hugely beneficial. There are a number of sources for Omega 3 fatty acids, but the best-studied and most effective form is fish oil. Look for a high quality fish oil formula that contains at least 500mg of both EPA and DHA and take it daily.
Calcium is important for bone health and so much more. It helps muscle function, regulates the heartbeat, and may help to protect against high blood pressure. There is also a growing body of research showing that there may be a correlation between increased calcium intake and weight loss. Look for a formula that contains calcium citrate or calcium phosphate, as these are more easily absorbed than calcium carbonate (often chosen because it is the least expensive).
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, and helps the body create collagen in bones, muscles, cartilage, and blood vessels. It also aids in the absorption or iron, and may help to support the immune system. There is some debate as to how much Vitamin C we should take daily, but most experts seem to agree that it is somewhere in the range of 100-500mg per day.
The average American intake of magnesium is far below the recommended in take level of 280mg/day (for females) and 350mg/day (for males). This mineral is essential for bone health, for muscle contraction, energy production, and is also an electrolyte. It has also been shown to help those who are having heart attacks, and to play a role in lowering blood pressure.