Dietary supplements include ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes. Dietary supplements are marketed in forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, powders, and liquids. The trick is knowing which supplements can actually help you stay healthy—and which are likely doing nothing at all.
Some supplements can help assure that you get enough of the vital substances the body needs to function; others may help reduce the risk of disease. But supplements should not replace complete meals which are necessary for a healthful diet – so, be sure you eat a variety of foods as well.
Many supplements contain active ingredients that have strong biological effects in the body. This could make them unsafe in some situations and hurt or complicate your health. For example, the following actions could lead to harmful – even life-threatening – consequences.
- Combining supplements
- Using supplements with medicines (whether prescription or over-the-counter)
- Substituting supplements for prescription medicines
- Taking too much of some supplements, such as vitamin A, vitamin D, or iron
We are all unique individuals and biochemically different, the answer to which supplements should you take is not so black and white. I do believe that everyone should be taking supplements of some sort, but the best supplement regimen for you may be different than what’s best for your mother, father, sister or brother. That being said, here are a few essential supplements that I recommend for everyone to take.
Known as the sunshine vitamin, since you can get it from its rays—aids your body in absorbing calcium. It also helps reduce inflammation, improve mood, and boost immune function. Many people are lacking in Vitamin D. In particular, those in the northern part of the U.S. don’t get enough sunlight for their bodies to produce enough vitamin D naturally.
We now know that nearly 80% of your immune system is located in your gut and up to 95% of your serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood) is produced in your gut. This means that if the balance of bacteria in your gut is thrown off, it can lead to a whole host of problems, including autoimmunity, depression, anxiety, and leaky gut to name a few. Taking a probiotic every day can help keep your microbiome in balance, which promotes a healthy GI tract, relieves digestive discomfort, promotes a normal bowel pattern, and supports overall wellness.
Vitamin C is probably the most widely used single vitamin. It's known as an antioxidant, and is often recommended as a remedy for the common cold. There is even research to suggest that it may have cancer preventing properties due to its ability to aid the body in fighting off malicious cells.
Fish oil is rich in the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are vital to good health. They support your body’s ability to prevent chronic diseases and help protect it against inflammation. They also promote a stronger immune system; cardiovascular, joint and vision health; strengthen skin, hair, and nails; and enhance nutrient absorption, metabolic function as well as attention, mood and memory skills. In short, fish oil is seriously good stuff, but as with Vitamin D, you can’t make your own omega-3 fatty acids, so you’ve got to get it from outside sources. Fatty fish and fish oil supplements are your best sources.
We have a huge need for protective, health-supporting nutrients to help us combat the daily issues of living in a polluted world. Think of a multivitamin as a little insurance policy to help protect your body against the vitamin and mineral shortfalls that can occur even in diets that are rich in healthy foods. By gifting your body with a multivitamin, you’ll also be optimizing cellular function, which helps make all your systems work consistently at their peak, instead of sputtering through the day.
A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!