Have you ever been standing in the grocery or drug store aisle trying to figure out what supplements to purchase? Have you ever said “do I really need anything or is it all a marketing gimmick and I don’t really need any of it?” The answer is Yes you need supplements and yes it is specific to your gender, age and health issues. The key is you need to know what you need, why you need it and when you need it. Here are 5 that I feel along with several health studies that are the most important in your diet and should be a staple.
Less than 1% of people get the essential vitamins from diet alone. That’s why you must take a multivitamin; it also helps prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, breast cancer and colon cancer.
- Look for 100% of the daily value of the 12 essential vitamins and minerals – like vitamins B, C, E and zinc. Only women who are menstruating need a multivitamin with iron. If you are post-menopausal you do not need a multivitamin that contains iron.
- More is not better – avoid “mega-doses.” You only need 100% daily value, not 500%.
- Take half in the morning and half at night to maximize absorption. You use a multivitamin’s various components during the chemical reactions that occur throughout your body. So, maintaining constant levels assures a steady supply of these vital nutrients
Calcium is a necessary supplement for strong, healthy muscles, bones and teeth. You need to take it in combination with magnesium (to prevent the negative side effects of calcium) and vitamin D (to help the body absorb calcium) in order to get the maximum benefit.
- Calcium (600 mg) with magnesium (400 mg) and vitamin D (1,000 IU)
- Take dose with a full glass of water, 2 hours after eating. Calcium can block the absorption of other supplements and prescriptions, so be sure to take it separately.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and is integral the health of your immune system, blood vessels, muscles and nervous systems. Most of us don’t get enough vitamin D from sunlight, especially if you live in a northern climate or are dark-skinned. Vitamin D may also play a role in preventing certain cancers, including colon, uterine, breast and endometrial cancers.
- 1,000 IU – this dose can be included in multivitamins, so make sure you read labels carefully.
- Vitamin D is fat soluble, so it works better when taken with a little fat. Try taking it at breakfast with milk or yogurt.
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids called DHA and EPA which are essential for optimal functioning of the heart and brain. They reduce arterial inflammation, which can lower your risk for a heart attack. Fish oil is also associated with a 32% reduced risk of breast cancer. While a controversial report this year indicated that fish oil supplements could be dangerous due to possible trace amounts of mercury and/or PCBs (cancer-causing chemicals found in fish swimming in polluted waters), this small amount is not enough to be a concern.
- Your daily dose must contain 600 mgs of the DHA omega-3 fatty acid.
- Take fish oil with breakfast to avoid “fishy burps,” a side-effect some report when fish oil is taken on an empty stomach.
- Many fish oils recommended refrigeration to keep them from spoiling. Check the label carefully.
Probiotics are essential to basic human nutrition. Probiotics are live microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) that are similar to the beneficial microorganisms naturally found in the human gut. These “good bacteria” are used to prevent and alleviate many different conditions, but particularly those that affect the gastrointestinal tract.
- One capsule with 10 billion colony-forming units (CFUs), preferably in the morning so it can aid your digestion throughout the day.there are millions of supplements on the market. Those mentioned in this article have been found to provide the most health benefit. Next month we will talk about supplements that can help you have a more efficient work out and recovery.