If you’ve ever asked yourself: “What supplements should I take?” as you’re walking down the multivitamin aisle at your local grocery store, overwhelmed by the endless rows of B vitamins, then this blog is for you.
Learn more about the benefits of supplements and which ones are right for your specific health needs and personal goals.
The Benefits of Supplements
Vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids—the list goes on. There are so many supplements you can take; how do you know which ones are right for you?
A healthy, well-balanced diet is the best way to get your daily dose of necessary vitamins and minerals, but sometimes it can be difficult to get all the essential nutrients your body needs. In these instances, supplements can provide an effective alternative and give your body the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs.
Some supplements are well researched and have a long-standing history, while others still require further study. It is important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed to the public. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements.
Supplements for Immunity
No one likes getting sick. Eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and staying hydrated are just a few key factors to a healthy immune system. Here are a few effective supplements to add to your daily routine that will help support your immune system.
One of the many benefits of selenium is that it helps to reduce inflammation, fight oxidative stress, and enhance immunity. Studies have also shown that increased blood levels of selenium correlate with enhanced immune response.
The “master antioxidant” glutathione is found in every cell in your body and is involved in hundreds of essential processes every day. Unfortunately, adding pure glutathione supplements into your routine doesn’t provide the same benefits as natural glutathione. It can, in fact, often have the reverse effect, shutting down natural glutathione production altogether. Additionally, our bodies don’t absorb glutathione very well, which means that even those supplements with triple-digit milligrams of glutathione aren’t as effective as you think.
Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is a vitamin well known for its immune support benefits. As an antioxidant, vitamin C fights off damaging free radicals in the body and can help reduce the symptoms and severity of the common cold. While our bodies do not produce vitamin C, it is easily sourced from food and supplements.
Supplements for Fitness
You’re putting in time and effort at the gym, adding on extra plates and running that extra mile.
You’re working hard towards your goals, and you want to make sure you’re supporting your body with all of the vitamins and minerals it needs.
A well-balanced diet can help supply your body with almost everything it needs to function effectively and efficiently, but if you’re on a limited diet, you might need to add a few supplements to give your body the extra boost it needs.
Losing weight is not an easy task. After you’ve tried balancing your diet and eating healthier, adding supplements to your daily routine could help you better stay on track to achieve your goals.
B vitamins are essential for a healthy metabolism. From thiamine to biotin, folate to riboflavin, B vitamins help your body metabolize carbs, fats, and proteins and turn them into energy.
One of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the US, low iron levels often result in decreased energy, reduced physical endurance, and general weakness.
Iron plays a critical role in helping your body generate energy from the food you eat, and it helps oxygenate the cells in your body, which, with muscles, helps them burn more fat.
Another mineral necessary in your body’s energy production, Magnesium helps control blood sugar levels, support nervous system function, maintain bone strength, and so much more.
Another common goal for exercising, gaining muscle occurs when you are consuming more protein than your muscles are breaking down, eating more calories than you burn, and when you are exercising your muscles in a challenging way.
Adding supplements to your diet may help you achieve your muscle gain goals.
A naturally occurring amino acid in the body, creatine supplies energy for muscles and other tissues, supporting exercise performance, improving muscle strength, and promoting muscle growth. An abundance of research and resources are available on creatine supplements.
A key factor in the muscle growth equation, ample protein is essential for gaining muscle.
While it’s possible to consume enough protein to support muscle growth, depending on your diet and goals, it can also be particularly difficult. Many people turn to protein supplementation—commonly made from whey, soy, or casein protein—to gain muscle.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are found in common, high-quality protein sources like eggs, meat, poultry, dairy, and fish. Research shows that BCAAs “have anabolic effects on protein metabolism by increasing the rate of protein synthesis and decreasing the rate of protein degradation in resting human muscle.”
Supplements for Energy
The best way to naturally keep your energy levels high is by eating a well-balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, and keeping your mind and body busy by exercising regularly. But, sometimes, your body needs a little extra boost.
Here are just a few of the energy-boosting supplements you can take to help support your energy levels.
Naturally found in animal-based products, vitamin B12 helps support healthy blood and nerve cells. A common deficiency in older adults, vegans, and vegetarians, a B12 deficiency can leave you feeling weak and tired, and therefore supplementing with B12 might give you the boost your body needs.
Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system, DNA production, cell growth, and more. Studies have shown that in elderly adults, supplementing with zinc significantly reduced fatigue.
Supplements for Diabetes
Managing blood glucose levels through a healthy diet and moderate exercise, and taking prescribed medications from a doctor, are crucial factors in diabetes treatment. There are also alternative approaches, including supplements, that can help reduce insulin resistance, control blood sugar levels, and potentially inhibit diabetes-related complications.
Talk to your doctor before using any supplements. Research for many supplements is still inconclusive and can interfere with other treatments and medications. Supplements should not be used to replace doctor-prescribed diabetes treatment.
An essential trace element, chromium, is used in the metabolism of carbohydrates. A deficiency in chromium can lead to high blood sugar levels, but there is also a risk that supplementing with chromium may lead to blood sugar levels going too low or potentially cause kidney damage.
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is a common deficiency in people with diabetes and has been linked to diabetes complications like heart disease and blood vessel damage.
One study found that “supplementation with lipid soluble vitamin B1 (benfotiamine) in diabetic rats could effectively block three major biochemical pathways of hyperglycemic damage.”
More research into benfotiamine supplementation in humans is still needed.
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a potent antioxidant that may help reduce oxidative stress, blood sugar levels, and insulin resistance. Additionally, ALA injections (only available in Europe) have been shown to reduce pain from diabetic neuropathy.
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