3 Supplements Everyone Should be Taking
From heart health to mental health and even digestive function, we’ve found a few supplements that everyone should be taking – including you!
1. Vitamin D Supplements
What is it? Where Can I Find It?
According to The Mayo Clinic, “Vitamin D” refers to two forms important in humans. One comes from plants, and one is made by human skin when it’s exposed to the sun. Here is a list of the top 10 foods highest in vitamin D. It includes fish, oysters, and fortified soy and dairy products. If you’re not getting enough vitamin D in your diet (or enough sun exposure), a supplement can help.
What Does it Do?
Vitamin D helps you maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphorous in the blood. It can help maintain strong bones and is a good defense against osteoporosis and high blood pressure, among other issues. Vitamin D deficiencies
Vitamin D can be found in most multivitamins at a rate of 50-100 International Units (IU). The recommended daily intake for those ages 1-70 is 600IU. Because Vitamin D is often taken to help combat deficiencies, there are different daily dose recommendations for different groups of people. For a full listing of these dosages, check here.
2. Fish Oil Supplements
What is it? Where Can I Find it?
As you might guess, fish oil is obtained from eating fish (or from taking supplements). The benefits from fish oil likely come from the presence of omega-3 fatty acids, which our bodies do not produce on their own. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation throughout the body, including in blood vessels and joints.
What does it do?
Those who want to reduce their risk of heart and blood problems might find fish oil helpful. There is evidence that the proper dosages can help lower risks of heart disease and stroke. And (maybe because of those omgea-3’s reducing inflammation), many women find that fish oil reduces pain during periods. Be careful, though: high doses of fish oil actually cause safety concerns, especially among those with certain conditions. For a full synopsis, check out this page from the MedLine Plus and the NIH.
Why is it Important?
Along with protein and carbohydrates, fats provide our bodies with the fuel they need. So the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements are helping fuel your body and keep it in balance!
3. Probiotic Supplement
What is it? Where can I find it?
Probiotics are actually live organisms (like bacteria or yeast) that, when ingested, are said to improve health. Does it seem strange to ingest bacteria to be healthy? Fear not! Your digestive system is home to more than 500 different types of bacteria, all of which work in harmony to keep us healthy and help us digest food. Probiotics can help maintain this healthy balance of bacteria or restore it when it’s a little off. They are found in cheeses and yogurts, or in supplements.
What does it do?
Ingesting probiotics can help restore the balance in your digestive system. Whether you’ve been sick, recently taken antibiotics (which can throw off your body’s natural balance of bacteria), or just want to give your immune system a boost, probiotics might be the right choice. Those with Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome might find relief from probiotics. The most practical use for probiotics? Treating diarrhea! For more information, see Harvard Medical School’s Family Health Guide.