So, you’re looking to better your body, waistline, and your health. You may be asking: which are the best, most effective, and most beneficial supplements? With so many vitamins and over-hyped supplements everywhere, it may be hard to know what, or if any, to spend your hard earned money on. As to what to invest in, the answer could depend on dietary habits, your lifestyle and even where you live. We are going to save you a ton of time sifting through all the confusion and luring marketing to get right to the top 4 must have supplement you can’t go wrong with investing in.
Must Have Supplement #1 – Multivitamin:
A good quality multivitamin makes the top of the list here. It is hard to argue that most Americans are well fed, but under nourished. All you have to do is look around and check the statistics of our health. In a nutshell, we are overweight and sick with many different forms of disease much due to the body’s inability to fight off infection and carcinogens around us. To briefly elaborate, many of us without truly and fully realizing it, are consuming a lot of manufactured foods and not enough natural “real” foods which are high in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and phytonutrients.
There has been the argument that multivitamins are a waste of money, and in some cases this may be true. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. Look for a good whole food cultured multivitamin to invest in. This will have natural based antioxidants, better absorbed minerals, organic herbs and vegetable extracts. This will NOT have synthetic antioxidants, aluminums, dyes, titanium dioxide or any other related fillers. If you are spending $4-$7 a day insuring your automobile, you may want to consider spending .25-.65 cents a day insuring your overall health with a good quality multivitamin.
Must Have Supplement #2 – Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency could easily make the top of this list for many and has become a world-wide epidemic. So many people do not even come close to getting the required amount that the body needs, much due to lack of sunshine exposure and diet. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D and foods that are fortified with vitamin D are often inadequate to satisfy either a child’s or an adult’s vitamin D requirements. A lack of this “sunshine vitamin” has been associated with increased risk of infectious diseases, cancers, hypertension, osteoporosis, hormone imbalances and autoimmune disease.
When investing in Vitamin D, look for D3 (aka cholecalciferol).
Must Have Supplement #3 – Fish Oil
It is critically important for many to improve their consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. These type of fats come in different forms: ALA, EPA and DHA. The latter two are found in fish and crustaceans such as krill and serve to support many functions and organs within the body. These are also the more beneficial forms. Inflammatory diseases and concerns run ramped in today’s world. This may be due to people consuming an imbalance of too many pro-inflammatory saturated, omega-6 and 9 fats, and even worse, hydrogenated fats which come from manufactured and man-made foods. In addition to this, it is all too common that we don’t consume enough omega-3’s, which are anti-inflammatory.
Aside from reducing inflammation in the body, these fats help support healthy cholesterol, brain health, skin, eyes and heart health just to name a few! When investing here, look for a product that has at least 600mg of EPA/DHA per capsule. You should also be looking for a dark bottle, never anything that has been sitting in a window or exposed to heat. Also, check the expiration date as you want something that is fresh. A good quality fish oil supplement will not have any strong rancid smells either. Generally speaking, chews, “gummies” and gel packs are over-priced and under deliver on potency and quality. Reach for soft gel capsules or liquid forms.
Must Have Supplement #4 – Vitamin C
Vitamin C may not sound like a flashy must have here, but aside from being well known as an antioxidant, it not only offers cellular protection and immune support, but provides a lot of support for our adrenal glands as well. Given the stress loads, lack of sleep and elevated cortisol levels many deal with, vitamin C is key player in supporting our adrenal glands. Vitamin C also helps the body deal with physical stresses such as ingestion of heavy metals, cigarette smoking and immune impairment. With a diet that may not provide quite enough to match our bodies ever so demanding needs, it is a great investment to make at a very reasonable cost.
Some of the better forms of vitamin C are less acidic “buffered” forms or what is listed as calcium ascorbic versus regular, more common, ascorbic acid. Look for one that has added bioflavonoids, which enhances its effectiveness.
Putting It All into Play
In summary, good supplements are often just as important as smart nutrition. Eating the right amounts of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) are important just like getting enough micro nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are. All play many important roles in the body and it is important to incorporate the right ones for you. This list here is a foundational one for the vast majority of us that you can’t go wrong with. As always, consult your physician first before starting any nutritional or supplement program.
Best in health and wellness,
Roger Bowman, CPT