Additional nutrients from supplements can help some people meet their nutrition needs. Nutritional supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs, meal supplements, sports nutrition products, natural food supplements, and other related products used to boost the nutritional content of the diet.
Nutritional supplements are used for many purposes. They can be added to the diet to boost overall health and energy; to provide immune system support and reduce the risks of illness and age-related conditions; to improve performance in athletic and mental activities; and to support the healing process during illness and disease. However, most of these products are treated as food and not regulated as drugs are.
7 Essential Vitamins to a Healthy You
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, is found in some foods, added to others, available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines (such as antacids). Calcium is required for vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, intracellular signaling and hormonal secretion,
Take 600 mg of calcium with 400 mg of magnesium daily
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids (also known as n-3 fatty acids) are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential nutrients for health. We need omega-3 fatty acids for numerous normal body functions, such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain, and since our bodies cannot make omega-3 fats, we must get them through food.
Health benefits include protection against heart disease, stroke, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that includes vitamins D1, D2, and D3 . Vitamin D is not only very important for bone health but emerging clinical science is demonstrating its positive effects on multiple systems and organs of the body. Consequently, insufficient vitamin D levels are associated with several cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and autoimmune diseases. Insufficient vitamin D levels are also very common. Since many of us live in cool climates and work indoors, and because of the potential risks of skin damage and skin cancer, supplementing is perhaps the best choice for achieving adequate vitamin D levels.
The recommended form of vitamin D is vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. This is the natural form of vitamin D that your body makes from sunlight. I have so much love for Garden of Life Vitamin Code products and absolutely love the Raw D3 formula as it is vegetarian, gluten and dairy-free with no binders or fillers, and contains live probiotics and enzymes.
Vitamin B12 is unique in that it is made only by microorganisms. Because our produce is washed and often transported far before we eat it (soil contains B12-producing microorganisms), most of us are unable to get sufficient B12 from plant foods alone. B12 deficiency is common, especially in vegans who don’t supplement and in the elderly – our ability to absorb B12 decreases with age, and about 20% of adults over the age of 60 are either insufficient or deficient in vitamin B12. Supplementation with vitamin B12 is likely important for most people, and absolutely required for most vegans to achieve sufficient B12 levels.
There are two forms of vitamin K, K1 and K2. Vitamin K2 seems to be more important to supplement – vitamin K1 is abundant in leafy green vegetables, so those on a healthful diet would not need to supplement with K1; vitamin K2 is produced by microorganisms and is low in plant foods. Also, vitamin K2 supplementation may offer additional health benefits: Vitamin K2 supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of fracture, reduce bone loss, and increase bone mineral density in women with osteoporosis. In several studies, vitamin K2 intake was associated with reduced risk of heart disease or coronary artery calcification (an indicator of increased cardiovascular risk), whereas no such association was found for K1. The human body can synthesize some K2 from K1, and intestinal bacteria can produce some usable K2, but these are very small amounts.12 Therefore, it is likely important to supplement with K2.
Iodine is required by the body to make thyroid hormones. A recent study of vegans estimated that only about 40% of the daily requirement for iodine was commonly met on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Another study concluded that 80% of vegans, 25% of vegetarians, and 9% of conventional eaters are iodine-deficient. Most plant foods are low in iodine due to soil depletion. Kelp, a sea vegetable, is a good source of iodine, but is not commonly eaten on a regular basis and may actually provide excessive amounts of iodine. The chief source of iodine in the typical American diet is iodized salt. Since salt should be avoided for good health, it is important to supplement with iodine to maintain adequacy.
Zinc is essential for immune function, growth, and reproduction, and supports hundreds of chemical reactions. Zinc is abundant whole plant foods, but is not readily absorbed. Beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds contain zinc, but also contain substances that inhibit zinc absorption. A recent study of vegetarians found a high prevalence of zinc deficiency, and zinc requirements for those on a completely plant-based diet are estimated to be about 50% higher than the U.S. RDI. Zinc is especially important for men, because it is concentrated in the prostate and promotes death of cancer cells, possibly by suppressing the activity of inflammatory molecules. Long-term zinc supplementation is associated with reduced risk of advanced prostate cancer.