We all know the importance of vitamins. We all took a nutrition or health class in elementary or high school, wherein we learned that vitamins and minerals are necessary for optimum health and that, ideally, we’d get these vitamins and minerals from our diets.
Unfortunately, getting all those vitamins and minerals isn’t as easy as just eating some fruits and vegetables every day and calling it done. That’s where vitamin and mineral supplements come in.
But, as is the case with all supplements, some vitamin supplements are a good idea, and some really aren’t. Which should you consider trying?
A Good Multivitamin
First and foremost, if you don’t currently take a multivitamin, you should. Multivitamins keep you covered with all the basic vitamins you need for a healthy life, just in case your diet isn’t quite what it should be (and none of us are exactly eating perfectly).
How can you pick a “good” multivitamin versus a sub-par multivitamin? Look for a multivitamin that contains the following:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B-12
While not all strictly “vitamins,” these are some nutrients that you may find it difficult to find in your average diet or that your body may not always produce due to certain illnesses or even something as simple as stress. These nutrients are crucial for things like a strong immune system, healthy bones, better sleep, increased energy, and more.
Vitamin B3 — sometimes simply called niacin — has been shown to help those with heart disease and in preventing stroke and heart attack, and as heart health is a growing concern for most of the population, it seems like everyone could probably use a little extra heart health.
Vitamin B3 is also sometimes touted as beneficial for those with high cholesterol, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and even just headaches.
While Vitamin C may help reduce your cold’s length, it won’t completely get rid of a cold all on its own. However, Vitamin C does help those who may suffer from a lack of lung health (like smokers).
It is possible to meet your body’s Vitamin C needs through a simple diet, but if you don’t regularly consume a lot of fruits and green vegetables, you may want to take a supplement.
Vitamin B6 can be a great vitamin to add to your diet if you know you need help getting better sleep, regulating your emotions, or losing weight, as it impacts all of the above. It also benefits your red blood cell count, immune system, and brain.
You can find Vitamin B6 in supplements, but if you want to try getting your Vitamin B6 from a food source first, look to baked potatoes, chicken, bananas, and chickpeas, for starters.
Vitamin A is sometimes referred to as beta-carotene or retinol, and it helps protect your skin, eyes, and immune system. A good rule of thumb for getting your Vitamin A? Just look at its other name, beta-carotene; if it looks like a carrot (aka, orange and a vegetable), there’s a good chance it’s going to give you some Vitamin A. Think carrots, of course, alongside sweet potatoes and pumpkin.
You can also get Vitamin A from a supplement.
Other Supplements Worth Considering
There are other non-vitamin supplements you may want to consider adding to your diet.
Melatonin helps with sleep and hormone balance. It can especially be helpful for women with worries surrounding their reproductive hormones (i.e., menstruation worries).
Prebiotics and probiotics can be helpful for those seeking to improve their gut health. Probiotics actively add good bacteria to your gut, while prebiotics feed the bacteria already there.
Fiber can also be useful, even if you don’t think you need a little bit of help in that area. Other than regulating when and how you go, fiber can also lower cholesterol and help you lose weight.
Before You Add a Vitamin or Supplement To Your Diet…
Before you go changing up your diet and adding a bunch of vitamins and supplements to your routine, though, it’s worth chatting with your doctor. Depending on your individual health needs, you may not want to use certain types of vitamins or supplements. Likewise, if you’re hoping a vitamin or supplement will help alleviate a concerning issue, you may want to discuss that issue with your doctor first to ensure that a larger, underlying cause isn’t to blame.