Most Healthy Supplements to Take, According to Experts
Everyone has a different idea of what optimal health is and while the path to achieve health goals varies from person to person, one thing millions have in common is taking a daily supplements. With countless options to choose from it can be challenging to determine which ones are right for you. Eat This, Not That Health spoke with family practitioner, Dr. Janice Johnston, MD, Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder at Redirect Health who shares the top five healthiest supplements to take and why. As always, please consult with your physician for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Vitamin D, But Only if You Have a Deficiency
Dr. Johnston tells us, "Vitamin D is a crucial, anti-inflammatory vitamin that supports many important functions in our bodies. It regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which encourages healthy immune function. It's also vital for maintaining healthy bones, muscle function, and brain activity. While sunlight is a great source of vitamin D, taking vitamin D supplements is also important for those who don't get much sun exposure, as vitamin D is not naturally found in many foods. If you suspect you aren't getting much sunlight or vitamin D, a simple blood test can be used to determine levels of this vitamin in your body, and a doctor can assess when supplements might be right for you. Since vitamin D is fat-soluble, it is possible to take too much, leading to calcium buildup in your blood, causing frequent urination and nausea or vomiting. It is recommended to take 600 IUs of vitamin D daily, increasing to 800 IUs after the age of 70. However, in patients experiencing a vitamin D deficiency, higher doses and even prescription strength doses may be recommended by a doctor."
"Fish oil is taken from the tissue of oily fishes such as tuna or herring and is used as a dietary supplement that can be taken to provide your body with a healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids," says Dr. Johnston. "These fatty acids are used for a variety of benefits, including supporting a healthy heart through reduced blood pressure, improving your cholesterol, and more. Because Omega-3 fatty acids help support better blood flow in the brain, fish oil has also been known to help with memory and mental health issues such as postpartum depression, PTSD, and dementia. It is recommended by the WHO to eat one to two servings of fish a week in order to get the proper amount of omega-3s, so for people who don't eat fish, or aren't able to consume enough per week, fish oil supplements are a great way to still get omega-3s in our systems and support healthy functioning."
Dr. Johnston explains, "B-complex supplements usually pack all eight B vitamins into one pill. This includes B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B4 (pantothenic acid), B5 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), and B12 (cobalamin). Our bodies do not store B vitamins, which means your diet needs to supplement B vitamins daily. This is usually achieved by anyone eating a well-balanced diet, but some people may need more B vitamins than others, including people who are pregnant, older adults, those with certain autoimmune diseases, and vegans or vegetarians. In these cases, taking a B-complex supplement can greatly improve your body's levels. Benefits of taking B-complex supplements can also include reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as supporting proper brain and nerve function. Vitamin B is water soluble, and therefore it is hard to overconsume, however, recommended daily doses vary by each B vitamin and can differ based on gender."
Dr. Johnston shares, "Turmeric is a common household spice used in many recipes, especially in India, where the spice plays a culturally significant role in foods and traditional ceremonies. You may be familiar with turmeric as the spice in the kitchen that seems to dye everything it touches yellow, which is a result of turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin is used as a dietary supplement to help treat a wide array of conditions, from allergies, digestive issues, depression, and more. Its anti-inflammatory properties have also been proven to help against Alzheimer's and cancer, as well as help improve heart health. There is not a current consensus on how much turmeric to take, but without further research on the long-term effects, taking high doses is not recommended. Currently, the WHO states that taking 1.4 milligrams of turmeric per pound of body weight is a good standard for daily consumption."
Multivitamins, Although Getting Nutrients From Food is Best
According to Dr. Johnston, "Multivitamins are a dietary supplement that consists of a variety of vitamins and minerals to help give your body a broader range of necessary nutrients. Multivitamins are produced by many different companies and can vary in their ingredients, but a good multivitamin will contain essential ingredients such as vitamin D, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, folate, and vitamin B-12. Multivitamins are usually taken to help fill gaps in your nutrition and are an easy way of giving your body a wider variety of minerals and vitamins in one pill or gummy. Taking a multivitamin daily can help improve your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase energy levels, and can even help with short-term memory function. Multivitamins are usually packaged as one-a-day pills or gummies that can be taken daily, usually with food to help absorption. It is important to note that multivitamins should not be taken as a substitute to eating a balanced diet and exercise but instead as a way to help fill in some of the gaps that can be missed in our day-to-day meals."