The nutritional supplement industry has exploded across the United States, and consumers are inundated with marketing that proclaims the power of the latest supplement. Complete grocery store aisles are filled with ways for you to improve your health, and even doctors are suggesting these supplements. The marketing is working, too, as the nutritional supplement industry was worth nearly $150 billion in 2021. That number is projected to grow to $240 billion by 2028.
Nutritional supplements are products that enhance or complete the nutrients we get from our diets. While some health experts argue that supplements are unnecessary and that a well-balanced diet provides sufficient nutrients, others believe that certain supplements can support overall health. Here are six nutritional supplements that can improve your health.
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that our bodies need but cannot produce on their own. They help improve brain function, heart health, and have been shown to help reduce inflammation. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help lower the risk of heart disease, improve brain health, and support joint health. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish like salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds. If you find it difficult to incorporate these foods into your diet, you may consider taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that helps our bodies absorb calcium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth. It also supports immune system function, muscle health, and mood regulation. The primary source of vitamin D is sunlight, but many people do not get enough exposure, especially during the winter months or for those who spend most of their time indoors. Therefore, it may be beneficial to take a vitamin D supplement to ensure adequate intake.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial to our digestive system. They help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, which is essential for proper digestion and immune function. Probiotics have been shown to improve digestion, boost the immune system, and even support mental health. You can find probiotics in fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi. However, if you struggle to include these foods in your diet, a probiotic supplement can be a convenient option.
Magnesium is a mineral that works with enzymes in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. The mineral works with our body to produce energy and improve muscle function, while helping maintain a healthy heart rhythm. Magnesium deficiency is common, and it can lead to symptoms like muscle weakness, fatigue, and poor sleep quality. Good dietary sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. If you struggle to meet your magnesium needs through diet alone, a magnesium supplement may be beneficial. As with most supplements, medical professionals do suggest that the daily dose be closely watched and consumers should not take more than suggested.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is well-known for its immune-boosting properties. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage and supports the production of collagen, which is essential for healthy skin, tendons, and blood vessels. While citrus fruits like oranges and strawberries are excellent sources of vitamin C, a supplement can provide additional support, especially during periods of increased immune system stress. Unlike some other supplements, vitamin C is considered one of the safest supplements to take.
6. B Vitamins
B vitamins, including B12, B6, and folic acid, are essential for energy production, brain function, and the formation of red blood cells. Because our brain and red blood cells control the entire body, these vitamins are critical to our overall health. While B vitamins can be found in foods like meat, fish, dairy products, and leafy green vegetables, some individuals may have a higher risk of deficiency. In such cases, a B vitamin supplement can help ensure optimal levels.
A well-balanced diet should always be the primary source of nutrients, but certain supplements can support overall health. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, probiotics, magnesium, vitamin C, and B vitamins are among the top nutritional supplements that may help improve your health. As with all things related to your health, it’s always best to talk with a doctor before adding supplements to your diet.