Although I don’t recommend exclusively relying on supplements for your overall health, there are an abundance of supportive supplements you can take to enhance your health and well-being. According to a nutrition survey, up to 80% of adults in the United States regularly take oral supplements. However, while some may prove beneficial in the right population and dosage, evidence on the effects of many supplements is sparse. Oftentimes, it is challenging for physicians, let alone consumers, to obtain extensive knowledge of supplements’ ingredients, safety, efficacy, and potential interactions.
It is important to remember, that oral supplementation should always be targeted for relevant needs. Get your blood levels checked on the following and supplement in case of deficits.
Iron is an essential mineral and can be naturally found in legumes, oats, broccoli, seeds and meat. It is an important component of hemoglobin, the red blood cells’ protein carrying oxygen. Iron deficiency is most common in women and in people following an unbalanced vegan/vegetarian diet. It can lead to anemia with signs of fatigue, pale skin, headaches, and shortness of breath. Iron uptake may be improved in combination with vitamin C, while milk/caffeine and calcium supplements may lower its absorption.
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids, which cannot be synthesized by the human organism and therefore need to be obtained through the diet. Sources include legumes, lentils, lupins, algae, nuts, seeds and fish. They exert anti-inflammatory effects in countless signaling pathways. Deficits may correlate with reduced cardiovascular health, inflammatory skin diseases and reduced cognitive status.
Selenium is a mineraloid and component of the amino acid selenocysteine. Deficits are common due to selenium-poor soils. Target levels are recommended to improve fertility and combat heavy metal intoxication.
Vitamin B12/cobalamin is an essential vitamin naturally found in nutritional yeast and animal products. It is essential for amino acid metabolism. Deficits are especially seen in people following a strict vegan/vegetarian diet and may present as a feeling of weakness, tiredness, and confusion. Uptake is compromised when suffering from chronic atrophic gastritis.
During exposure to sunlight, the skin absorbs UV-B radiation and converts it to Vitamin D, which is important to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus. As most people do not meet the minimum requirement due to limited sun exposure, supplementation is crucial, especially between October and April. Many organs and tissues have receptors for vitamin D, hence why it is essential for our overall well-being beyond bone, teeth, and muscle health.
Zinc is an essential trace element, unexchangeable in many enzymatic reactions with anti-inflammatory properties. Deficits are common and may present as recurrent skin inflammation and reduced wound healing.
Always speak with a trusted practitioner before supplementing to identify your body’s unique needs.
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