7 Best Supplements to Take for Overall Health: Top Recommendations!
In this article, I will give you information on the top supplements for health. Your health depends on making sure that you get all the nutrients that your body needs to be able to function at its best. Your nutrient intake affects everything, from your heart working correctly to being able to sleep well. A healthy diet with a lot of variety is an excellent start. Supplements are another important and necessary addition to your diet. Supplements will never be able to replace a healthy whole food diet, but they can help to prevent deficiencies.
Why Do We Need Supplements?
We cannot get whole nutrition from food because of depletion of soil, growing population, etc. Most diseases originate due to one or other vitamin or mineral deficiency. Another problem is that people who don't have access to many healthy foods and those that live busy lives especially out on the road can really struggle to eat healthily all of the time. At other times in life such as when children are growing, during pregnancy or breastfeeding or for those with food allergies, more nutrients are needed, and in the case of dietary restriction, replacement nutrients. Dr Mercola has this to say:
This is largely related to industrial based modern methods, which include reliance on synthetic fertilizers that radically decreases nutrient density, including valuable micronutrients that have long ago largely vanished from most of these soils. Furthermore, toxic agricultural chemicals, used in ever-increasing amounts, end up on and in your food. I believe a strong case can be made that many people—especially if you do not eat a diet of unprocessed, organically-raised foods—aresuffering from nutritional deficiencies of varying kinds and to varying degrees.
The Truth About Generic Multivitamins And Minerals
While generic multivitamins can be a good way to start if you don't know what exactly you are lacking, they can often do more harm than good. Cheap multivitamin supplements contain incorrect doses of vitamins and minerals. This results in overdosing on some and not getting enough of others. This can also hamper absorption. Unless the supplement is high quality, it can be a struggle to find a supplement that can truly combine everything you need in one tablet.
Your supplement should be particular to your needs. Get yourself tested to see what nutrients you are missing. Speaking to your doctor can also help determine how much you need since, in addition to pregnancy and breastfeeding, people who are athletes, ill or overweight may need more or less of some nutrients. Any of the medications that you are on will also need to be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure that there are no interactions between the medication and the supplements. Unlike these generic multivitamin and mineral manufacturers would have us all believe, there isn't a one size fits all solution for everyone.
Top Supplements For Overall Health
My recommendations are a good starting point for the beginners. The dosages I recommend may differ from the RDA values as the RDA is only the minimum requirement. My dosages are the doses you need to be at the top of your game.
1. Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2
Vitamin D is a nutrient that so many people are deficient in despite how freely available is. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc. It helps to strengthen your bones and your immune system, and helps with fertility too and reduces inflammation. Because it's important for bone health, it's important to make sure that you get enough during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Your baby will also benefit from a vitamin D supplement according to recommendations from your paediatrician. Signs of a vitamin D deficiency:
- Sweating head
- Bone pain
- Slow healing of wounds
Test: The 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test done by your doctor
Dose: 1,000 IU for every 25 pounds of body weight Form: D3
Time to Take: Morning
- Sunlight: 1000-10 000 IU. Just 15 minutes (depending on how dark your skin is) of sunlight on your skin with no sunscreen can provide you with enough vitamin D. Those with darker skin might need 15-30 minutes.
- Egg yolks: 41 IU per egg
- Fatty fish: 148-904 IU per 84 g
Vitamin K2 plays a role in strengthening your bones and protecting your heart. There are two forms of vitamin K: vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is the nutrient that ensures calcium is absorbed by your bones and teeth and not soft tissues like your heart and arteries and both K1 and K2 makes sure your blood clots correctly. K1 only has a lifespan of 3-4 hours in our bodies, so there is no real benefit and our bodies absorb very little of it from our food anyway. K1 doesn't get converted into K2 by our bodies, unlike the animals who eat grass.
Vegans and vegetarians who don't consume enough raw milk and other raw dairy products will be deficient as will others who consume too little of this food or poor quality dairy and meat. There are two types of vitamin K2: MK-,4 and MK-7. Both are important though we need more of MK-4. A great supplement for this is Bone Restore by Life Extension. In addition to vitamins K2 and D3, it contains calcium, zinc, manganese, and magnesium too.
Great companies know the importance of K2, so you would never see a bone supplement without K2.
Test: Rarely done but the most accurate test is enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA).
Dose: 2000 mcg. 100 mcg of that should be MK-7 Form: MK-4 and MK-7
Time to Take: Morning with vitamin D
- Grass-fed meat: 3 mcg per 100 g
- Raw dairy products: 1-2 mcg per 100 g
- Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and miso: 0.4-2 mcg per 100 g
Both vitamin D and K are fat-soluble meaning that they need fat to be properly absorbed and used in your body. So taking them with a healthy breakfast containing good fats is best.
Most adults are deficient in this mineral that is so necessary for each and every cell in our bodies to function at their best. Over 300 enzymatic processes in our bodies need magnesium to occur. The proper digestion of food, transportation of important nutrients like calcium and potassium, and normal heart rhythms are all dependent on magnesium. Magnesium helps to:
- Prevent diabetes: Insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation are improved when you get enough magnesium. This is also helpful for those who already have diabetes.
- Prevent and ease headaches and migraines: People who take a magnesium supplement have fewer migraines, in fact, the occurrence of migraines are reduced by 41.6%. Magnesium increased blood circulation and helps the neurotransmitters and hormones responsible for pain relief to function correctly.
- Regulate blood pressure: Because magnesium helps with heart rhythms and to keep the heart muscle healthy, it helps the heart to pump more efficiently and lowers high blood pressure.
- Reduce fatigue and improve sleep: Magnesium helps your cells to use energy efficiently from the digested food. This makes you more energetic. Magnesium also has a calming effect on the muscles and it helps the neurotransmitter GABA work properly. GABA is important for sleep and reducing anxiety.
- Relieve constipation: Magnesium makes sure that your stools have enough water in them so that they are easily removed from your system.
A deficiency in magnesium can cause anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, muscle cramps and muscle weakness.
Test: There are 3 tests, Magnesium EXA Test is the most accurate. The others are the Magnesium serum test and the Magnesium RBC Test
Dose: 500-800mg a day Form: Any magnesium salt ending in "ate" excluding magnesium stearate, asperate and oxide.
Time to Take: Before bedtime natural calm
- Spinach: 157 mg per cup (cooked)
- Chard: 154 mg per cup (cooked)
- Pumpkin seeds: 92 mg per cup (soaked)
3. Methyl B-12 and Methyl Folate
Vitamin B12 is important for making sure that your food is metabolized correctly, making sure that your nervous system is healthy, creating red blood cells, detoxing your body and keeping your mind sharp. Those who eat animal products are usually not deficient, but those on a vegan or a vegetarian diet often are because of the lack of animal products. If you drink excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol, take antacids, or have a digestive disorder, there is also a good chance that you are deficient.
Early symptoms of a B12 deficiency include:
- Anaemia or fatigue
- Violent behaviour or depression
- Constipation and/or loss of appetite
- PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
B12 isn't made by plants unlike in the animals' digestive systems. So if you are vegetarian and especially vegan, and the replacement foods you consume are not fortified with it, you will need to take a supplement.
Test: The tests aren't always accurate, but can be helpful if you have symptoms. The tests used are blood tests, urine tests or the Shilling tests.
Dose: 5 mg capsule, spray or lozenge per day, injection 1000-2000 mcg as directed by a doctor.
Form: Methylcobalamin or hydroxocobalamin. Using it in combination with folate (MTHF or folinic acid, never folic acid) is recommended or get it in a B vitamin complex.
Time to Take: With food
- Beef liver: 66 mcg per 75 g
- Clams: 14.6 mcg per 75 g
- Lamb: 2.7 mcg per 84 g
All B vitamins are water-soluble meaning they need water to be absorbed and used in your body. So drink enough water throughout the day. Read more here about vitamin B12.
4. Iodine and Selenium
According to the WHO, 72% of the world is deficient in iodine. In fact, it's third most common deficiency after magnesium and vitamin D. In many developing countries where the deficiency is more severe, the signs are obvious with many developing goitres, which looks like a bulge in the throat.
But in developed countries, people are often unaware that they have a deficiency. Iodine is necessary for good thyroid function. Among other things, your thyroid controls your metabolism. Those not getting enough iodine often struggle with their weight. No matter what they eat or how much they exercise they just can't lose weight.
Other symptoms include:
- Feeling tired all the time
- Feeling cold more easily
- Dry skin and hair loss
If you are experiencing these symptoms or some of them, go get tested at the doctor for hypothyroidism. If you have it, you will be given medication to help.
Test: There are 4 types, urine test, blood test, iodine patch test and the most accurate, the iodine loading test.
Dose: 150-1000 mcg per day Form: Potassium iodine capsules or kelp powder
Time to Take: Once a day with food
- Dry kelp and seaweed: Anything from 19 to 2984 mcg per sheet
- Cod: 99 mcg per 84 g
- Raw yoghurt: 75 mcg per cup
If the thyroid medication isn't working, it could be that you have a selenium deficiency. Selenium helps to convert the hormones in the thyroid medication into a form that the body can use, T3 and T4. T3 and T4 are thyroid hormones that the body uses to keep your body healthy and your metabolism running. Selenium is just as essential for good thyroid function as iodine.
Test: Selenium blood test
Dose: 150-300 mcg maximum per day. Choose the lowest dose available.
Form: High-quality organic selenium only
Time to Take: Once a day with food
- Brazil nuts: 544 mcg per 28 g (6-8 nuts)
- Yellowfin tuna: 92 mg per 84 g
- Grass-fed beef: 33 mcg per 84 g
Supplement For Brain Health And To Fight Inflammation
5. Omega 3 - Krill Oil (EPA/DHA)
Omega 3 fatty acids are incredibly important for brain health. Omega 3 is so powerful that it helps treat depression better than antidepressants do. In addition to brain health, it's necessary for good eye health and hormone balancing too and it also gets rid of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the cause of all diseases. Many people are deficient either because they don't eat enough of the foods that contain omega 3 or because their ratio of omega 6 to 3 is too high. Omega 6 is in so many different foods from plant oils to baked goods and it's easy to get too much. Excess omega 6 reduces the amount of omega 3 in your body.
There are 3 types of omega 3. EPA and DHA which come from animal products and ALA which comes from plant foods. The body does convert ALA into DHA, but only around 8% of ALA is actually converted. This means that many vegans and vegetarians are deficient. There are supplements that are vegan and vegetarian-friendly. They may be more expensive, but worth it. A deficiency in omega 3 often causes symptoms like dry skin, a chicken skin effect especially on the back of the arms, mood swings, and poor memory.
Test: Omega 3 blood test.
Dose: 1000 mg per day
Form: Krill oil, a good quality supplement will come in dark capsules to protect it from oxidation.
Time to Take: With meals
- Walnuts: 2664 mg per 1/4 cup
- Wild-caught salmon: 1716 mg per 84 g
- Herring: 1884 mg per 84
Supplements For Immunity
6. Zinc and Copper
Zinc and copper are both necessary to strengthen your immune system. Zinc also helps to regulate your moods and produce energy. Copper is good for your heart, veins, and arteries. It's best to take them together because they enhance each other and produce the antioxidant copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD). Zinc needs to be consumed every day because the body doesn't store it.
What's more, is that iron supplements can deplete zinc, so if you are on an iron supplement, get your zinc levels tested. Too much zinc will deplete copper which is another reason they should be taken together. Zinc can shorten the duration and severity of your colds and flu if you take it as soon as you notice the symptoms. There is no need to suffer. Read more here: https://www.palaknotes.com/3-quick-natural-home-remedies-cold-flu/ Symptoms of deficiency can include frequent colds and flu, fatigue, slow healing wounds and digestive problems.
Dose: 15mg zinc orotate and 1-2mg copper orotate per day
Time to Take: Between meals and supplements containing iron and calcium since these minerals hamper the absorption of zinc
- Grass-fed lamb: 6.7 mg per 84 g
- Grass-fed beef: 4.5 mg per 100 g
- Cocoa powder: 1.9 mg per 28 g
- Beef liver: 14 mg copper per 84 g
- Mushrooms: 0.43 mg copper per cup
- Turnip greens: 0.36 mg copper per cup
7. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is almost in each and every cold and flu remedy. Not only does it boost your immune system but it's great for your skin and bones too. Vitamin C is critical for the formation of collagen and connective tissue. This helps with your skin elasticity and makes your bones, joints, and tendons healthy. It's also necessary for the production of a very powerful antioxidant called glutathione.
Vitamin C is one of the first nutrients to be destroyed during the cooking process, it doesn't handle the heat and long cooking durations very well. So, unfortunately, many people are deficient. This is why it's important to supplement your vitamin C intake. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, so, be sure to take it with water to ensure that it's absorbed and used in your body.
Dose: 500 mg Form: Ascorbic Acid, time-released
Time to Take: Morning and evening, but not directly after a workout
Recommended brand: Solaray
- Red pepper (Raw): 190 mg per cup
- Broccoli (Raw): 81.2 mg per cup. Never eat broccoli raw. Steam for a few minutes first.
- Lemons: 30.7 per 1 small lemon
- The nutrient content of our food has decreased due to degraded soil quality and incorrect storage.
- Many people are deficient because of dietary restrictions, poor dietary choices and busy lifestyles.
- Demand for certain nutrients increases during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and ageing.
- The top supplements for general health are Vitamin K2, D3 and B12, magnesium, iodine, and selenium.
- The best supplement for brain health and inflammation is omega 3.
- The best supplements for immunity are zinc, copper and vitamin C.