Let me start out by saying that every person has different needs based on their genetic makeup and diet so it’s important to know what vitamin deficiencies you have before starting a daily regimen. Surprisingly, there is such a thing as overdoing it with vitamins! The best thing to do is to go to your doctor to find out what you are lacking and then create a mix of supplements and vitamins that work best for your body.
Because we all have different deficiencies, a multi-vitamin isn’t a great option because they try to be a “one-size-fits-all” solution and that’s just not how our bodies work. By taking a multi-vitamin, you’ll end up overdoing it on some vitamins while still have deficiencies with others.
That said, let’s talk about some of the most common supplements and vitamins that can really make a big impact on your daily life and overall health.
Probiotics & Prebiotics:
A daily probiotic/prebiotic is hands-down my favorite supplement. There is nothing worse than dealing with digestional discomfort. Many of us suffer from bloating, going to the bathroom too much or not enough, and just general pain in our stomachs. There are different reasons for these issues – ranging from overdoing it on antibiotics to simply having an unbalanced fiber intake to having food sensitivities – but a good-quality probiotic can make a world of difference by fixing your gut bacteria. The best probiotics are ones that still have live cultures. These ones are typically found refrigerated either in pill form. The other way they’re refrigerated? As pickles! That’s right – eating pickled vegetables (that have to stay refrigerated) is a great source of probiotics. Other natural food sources of probiotics are: yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh. Now you’re probably wondering what the heck is a prEbiotic. A prebiotic is the food for a probiotic, which means having prebiotics helps your probiotics to work better for you. Like probiotics, you can find a prebiotic pill, but there are also foods you can incorporate into your daily diet instead. These include: raw chicory root, raw or cooked onions, raw Jerusalem artichokes, raw garlic, raw dandelion greens, raw leeks, raw asparagus, and bananas.
Fish oil is another one of my favorites that I will never give up. Fish oil is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, which can also be found in oily fish like salmon. Unless you’re eating a lot of omega-3 fatty acids in your food, a great way to get a lot of health benefits is to pop a fish oil pill every day. Some of the benefits of fish oil are: lowered risk of heart disease, improved mental health and cognitive functioning, supports eye health and vision as you age, and reduces inflammation.
I started taking vitamin D3 a couple of years ago because I was told it can help with the “winter blues”, otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you spend a lot of time outdoors in warmer climates, chances are you get enough vitamin D from the sun. But a lot of us spend most of our time indoors and/or live in climates that are not sunny and warm year-round. So, if you don’t get a lot of sun exposure, taking vitamin D every day can have a lot of benefits. These benefits include: reduces depression; promotes bone health by aiding in the absorption of calcium; lowers blood pressure; aids in weight-loss; and reduces the risk of diabetes, heart attacks, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
Calcium is extremely important for your health and best way to get it is definitely through your diet. Unfortunately, most people suffer from calcium deficiencies so a calcium supplement could be the way to go if your diet doesn’t include a lot of dairy, leafy greens, and beans. The benefits of calcium include: bone, heart, muscle, and nerve health and possibly protecting against cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Another popular choice for a daily vitamin is vitamin E. It can be found in certain plant foods, but if you have a deficiency then a daily supplement may be the way to go. The benefits of vitamin E are seemingly endless, but they include: balanced cholesterol, disease prevention, skin repair, thicker hair, balanced hormones, improved PMS symptoms, improved vision, brain health such as helping those with Alzheimer’s, and improved physical endurance and muscle strength.
The last vitamin we’ll discuss is vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant. There are two main sources of vitamin A, which are active vitamin A – found in animal product – and beta carotene – found in colorful fruits and vegetables. You want to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin A either from your diet or a supplement because there are so many great benefits, including: eye health, immune support, reduced inflammation, skin health and cell growth, and cancer prevention.
These were just a few of the many vitamins and supplements that can help you feel – and even look – better and there are many more! Again, the best way to know what you need is to go to your doctor and get tested for deficiencies. I hope learning about all of the benefits mentioned above inspires you to take more control over your health!
Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy You,