Everywhere we go, we are assaulted by claims of “Enriched with Vitamin C!”, “Added B vitamins!”, “More Vitamin A than the leading brand!”, and so on. We all know that vitamins and minerals are essential to the proper balance and function of our bodies, but which supplements are vital and necessary to our health and well being, and which might we avoid, lest we end up with an expensive bathroom trip? Here are my top five choices for essential supplements:
- Calcium – According to the National Institute of Health, the recommended total calcium intake is 1,000 mg a day for women between 25 and 50 years of age, 1,200 – 1,500 for pregnant or lactating women, and 1,500 mg per day for postmenopausal women. The average calcium consumption among North American women is currently only 600 mg per day. I take a calcium magnesium supplement and find that it really helps me with nighttime leg cramps.
- Fish Oil – fish are rich sources of Omega 3s, most especially EPA and DHA, highly specialized fats that cannot be made by our bodies in the levels we need. Taking these essential oils also has an added skin benefit, and because we all know that fish is brain food – well, the thought of improved brain function never fails to sway me. Make sure it’s an encapsulated version so as to avoid fish oil burps. (I take mine at night.)
- Vitamin D -The major biologic function of Vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. The FDA has increased the levels of Vitamin D recommended, and a low level of this important vitamin has been shown to affect mental stability.
- B Complex – The Vitamin B Complex is comprised of the essential B Vitamins – Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12 plus the vitamins Biotin, Choline and Inositol. Vitamin B Complex is needed for the proper functioning of almost every process in the body, including energy production, healthy digestion and great looking skin, hair and nails – a wonderful side benefit!
- Multi-Vitamin – My other choice would be a quality multi-vitamin, one balanced in the key nutrients and close to 100% of the RDA without going over with enormous numbers. Many of those high numbers are impressive, but they are often water soluble vitamins and can cause you to have nothing more than “expensive pee.”
What would you add or subtract?