What I like about taking supplements is that it’s a low-risk, non-invasive option anyone can try that can be extremely effective. I regularly recommend supplements to my patients and we often see that by adding supplements and making some changes to their diet, many of the symptoms they had that brought them to see me in the first place disappear.
Remember that supplements – as the name implies – are intended to supplement your diet, not be the main source of your nutrients. Take a look at your diet first and ensure you’re eating healthfully if you want to notice the full effects of any supplements you decide to take.
With that said, here are the best supplements I’ve found to boost overall health.
Next time you see the doctor, have your vitamin D levels checked. Ideally, I like D3 levels to be between 50-75, and certainly no lower than 30. You may find that you are one of the millions who aren’t getting enough vitamin D. Part of the reason may be due to less sun exposure, which actually creates vitamin D in the skin, over concerns of skin cancer or simply because the sun’s rays aren’t strong enough in winter in most parts of the country to create that chemical reaction in the skin. Vitamin D is crucial in order for hormones to function properly and is also important in supporting healthy thyroid function and repairing a leaky gut, which is why it tops the list.
Part of the reason vitamin D is so important is that calcium needs vitamin D in order to do its job. In addition to being important for healthy bones and teeth, calcium is critical for functioning nerve impulses, regulating the heartbeat, helping muscles contract, and more. Supplementing with calcium is even more important for post-menopausal women, as the rate of bone loss, which starts around 35, accelerates in the 5-10 years after menopause.
Like calcium, magnesium is critical for muscle and nerve function, and also plays an important role in regulating blood pressure, blood sugar, and much more. You’ll often see magnesium and calcium in the same supplement, occasionally with vitamin D3 included, too. Since calcium and magnesium compete for absorption, try taking these separately from one another for better results.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The incredibly powerful omega-3 fatty acids – believed to reduce inflammation, help brain function, improve cardiovascular health, and more – are famously found in fish. The trouble is, they’re only found in large quantities in wild-caught oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, which most people don’t eat in sufficient quantities to get adequate omega-3s. That’s where supplementation comes in. Be choosy about your omega-3 supplements, as there are many out there and they’re not all created equal. Look for one with EPA and DHA, sub-types of omega-3s.
Quality, Not Quantity
It’s easy to get carried away with supplements because they’re so convenient and they all make such incredible claims. But I recommend starting with the best supplements you could benefit most from, which may include the four I’ve discussed above. Don’t forget that supplements are just one part of self-care which should also include regular exercise, restful sleep, healthful foods, stress reduction, and fun.