Dietary requirements, allergies, intolerances, illnesses and other factors can prevent us from getting optimum nutrients and vitamins from food alone. That’s why millions of people all over the world take supplements each day, whether they are recommended by a doctor to treat a deficiency, or just to ensure people get enough of what their diet lacks.
In this article, we’ll give a list of popular recommended supplements to top up your diet and ensure you’re getting the correct dosage of some important nutrients.
Most supplements can be taken harmlessly with no side effects, but you should always thoroughly check labels and get proper medical advice if you’re unsure. For instance, St John’s Wort is widely considered an herbal remedy for depression but can actually decrease the effectivity of contraceptive pills.
For insight into your personal needs, consult with a doctor or nutritionist. Especially if you have a condition that restricts your diet, or you simply want to check that a particular supplement won’t affect any medication you take.
Probiotics are live bacteria usually taken in tablet or powder form as supplements for a healthy digestion and immune system. It helps ‘good’ gut bacteria flourish, which in turn helps your immune system to kill bad bacteria that could make you sick.
Prebiotics basically enable the full effect of probiotics to take hold – think of it like a fertilizer enabling garden plants to properly grow. Find the best prebiotic supplement by visiting chemists, health stores or online.
Multivitamins are a great solution for busy people. Simply pop one tablet that contains a cocktail of essential vitamins and nutrients! Most multivitamins contain things necessary for everybody, like vitamins A, E, C, K; folic acid; calcium; phosphorous; magnesium; iron; iodine; and plenty more.
Vitamin C is necessary to get through food sources or supplements each day because it can’t be stored in the human body. It’s an antioxidant which increases the volume of iron we can absorb from foods – therefore those with iron deficiency or anaemia should get lots of vitamin C too. It is easily found in fresh vegetables, citrus fruits or supplements, which you can buy cheaply in supermarkets.
Vitamin D is necessary for the body to absorb calcium and phosphate for healthy bones. Supplements help to ensure you get enough daily vitamin D, but you can get it in your diet by eating lots of fatty fish, red meat and eggs. (Vegetarians and vegans therefore should invest in supplements.)
Vitamin B12 facilitates the proper functioning of the nervous system and is involved in the creation of blood cells. It’s vital that everyone gets enough B12.
Though it is usually found in meat and animal products like chicken, milk and eggs – this is another essential supplement for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Iron is especially vital for women and pregnant women. It is involved in the transportation of oxygen around the body in the blood, which is needed to create energy.
If you experience fatigue, you could be lacking iron or suffering from anaemia. Iron supplements are helpful to top up your blood iron, but you could also eat a diet full of spinach, broccoli, nuts, seeds, brown rice, dried fruit and red meat.
Zinc is said to regulate immune function, have effects on memory and learning ability, and help wounds heal quickly. It’s possible to get too much zinc, so it is mostly included in multivitamins rather than a supplement on its own.
Calcium is important for healthy bones. Since it is most prevalent in dairy products, vegans or just those who don’t eat much dairy should consider taking a supplement, or a multivitamin containing calcium.
Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil contains plenty of omega-3, vitamin A and vitamin D. It can help with skin diseases, like eczema and rashes, and can help reduce inflammation of the joints and arthritis.
Eating a diet full of fresh foods is essential for good overall health. Though if your diet restricts you from getting some of these necessary vitamins, supplements are a helpful and convenient way to replace them. Ask a doctor’s advice for help with balancing your diet, or you’re experiencing any symptoms associated with lack of vitamins.