If you're looking to add supplements to your diet, make sure you're adding the most important ones first. Here are the 10 best vitamins to take every day.
In 2017, Americans spent over $36 billion on vitamins and supplements. Chances are you have a couple of dusty old bottles in your medicine cabinet -- maybe a multi-vitamin left over from a New Year's resolution, or some calcium that you never remember to take.
If you want to improve your health, it's worthwhile to do a little bit of research and determine which are the best vitamins to take. We've done some of that legwork for you!
Of course, eating a wholesome, balanced diet is the best way to get the nutrients your body needs -- but there are some vitamins that aren't easy to get in edible form. Vegetarians, for example, often don't get adequate amounts of Vitamin B12 or iron.
And let's be honest: even the healthiest among us don't always eat vitamin-rich foods.
Quick -- what food provides the most Vitamin C? If you answered "oranges," well, you're actually wrong. Despite their longtime association with C, these citrus fruits actually come in behind strawberries, brussel sprouts, red bell peppers, and broccoli.
To get the full antioxidant effect, however, you will want to take a supplement. That's largely because Vitamin C is water soluble, and cannot be stored by your body (as fat-soluble vitamins are).
Experts recommend a daily dose of no more than 2,000 milligrams per day. Taking too much Vitamin C can lead to gastric and digestive problems.
Most Americans get an adequate amount of iron in their diet, but if you are a woman, have ADHD, are on dialysis, or you are an athlete, you should look into supplementing your iron intake.
The recommended amount of iron for people in these categories varies, so make sure to discuss your iron levels with your doctor. Taking iron supplements with Vitamin C-containing foods or a C supplement can help your body absorb it better.
Vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the "sunshine vitamin," and it's true that exposure to the sun will help boost your D levels. People who don't get out into the sunshine often, African-American children, and girls of any race often require Vitamin D supplements.
The main function of Vitamin D is helping your body to absorb calcium and phosphorus. Unless it can do so, you're at risk for rickets, osteoporosis, and a host of other conditions.
Omega-3 fats are among the only ones that your body cannot produce. It can also be difficult to get enough Omega-3 fatty acids from food -- so unless you eat whopping amounts of mackerel, walnuts, or flaxseed, you may want to consider supplementing.
Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in preventing heart disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis, and many other diseases.
Like Vitamin C, these vitamins are water soluble and therefore cannot be stored by the human body. There are a total of eight B-complex vitamins, and they all perform different functions.
Deficiencies are most common when it comes to B-12 and folic acid. Pregnant women, in particular, require supplements of folic acid to promote the proper development of the unborn baby.
This mineral has gotten a lot of press lately. And there's good reason -- low magnesium levels have been linked to high blood pressure, as well as to greater risk of heart disease, some cancers, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
Anecdotal evidence from people who take magnesium supplements suggests that the mineral may help with anxiety, migraines, constipation, PMS, and many more issues. It's also touted as an energy booster. Of course, you should always consult with your physician before beginning a supplement regimen.
You're probably already aware that calcium helps give you strong bones and healthy teeth, and that dairy products are a good source of this nutrient. But calcium is worth a longer look.
There are essentially two types: calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Which you should take depends on your overall health and age, and on whether you generally take your supplements with or without food.
Many supplements provide calcium along with magnesium and/or Vitamin D. Before taking a standalone calcium supplement, check to make sure that it's not included in any of the other vitamins you take.
What we refer to as "Vitamin A" is actually a group of fat-soluble retinoids, including retinol and beta-carotene. Vitamin A helps the body's immune system stay strong and is a critical factor in cellular communication, but it's best known as being necessary for good vision.
Biotin is actually one of the B vitamins, but it's become popular as a standalone supplement. It is used to combat hair loss, brittle nails, nerve damage, dry and itchy skin, depression, and more.
If you choose to take a biotin supplement, be aware that it can actually interfere with some lab test results -- so make sure to let your healthcare providers know that you take biotin when any tests are ordered.
Vitamin E is itself an antioxidant, but it also plays an important role in keeping the body's organs healthy. It is used for an incredibly wide range of functions, including the prevention or treatment of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, cataracts, skin disorders, infertility, nerve damage due to chemotherapy, and asthma -- just to name a few!
Vitamin E is especially helpful for the skin when applied topically, but you can also take it internally as a supplement.
We hope that this information has been helpful. If you need to stock up on any of these supplements, check out these best selling products.
It's important to note that although these the best vitamins to take regardless of gender, age, and overall physical health, they may not be the best vitamins for you. Many factors, including preexisting conditions, race or ethnicity, lifestyle, and diet should also be taken into consideration.
Have questions? Want to share your experience with a particular vitamin, mineral, or other supplements? Feel free to leave a comment below!
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* This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice or medical care of qualified healthcare professionals. The material provided herein is for educational purposes only. Results may vary by individual. You may not experience the potential benefits described in this blog.