Back in 1994 40% of Americans took vitamins supplements, a number that grew to over 50% by 2006, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This could be attributed to the increased awareness that processed foods we eat offer inadequate nutrition over the years.
“Which vitamins are important?” This is an important question to ask when deciding which supplements to take.
Vitamin B12 helps keep the nerve cells healthy, and also aids in making DNA. Some people are believed to be naturally less able to absorb B vitamins from foods, which can lead to deficiencies. Deficiencies can also occur for those that have restricted diets in which they must avoid certain foods. You can take a specific B vitamin regimen, but in most cases a multivitamin is fine, as most of them contain B vitamins.
Those that eat plenty of leafy vegetables probably get enough of Calcium. Otherwise, 500mg per day is said to be a sufficient supplement. It’s important to note, doctors say, not to view Calcium supplements as a replacement for Calcium-rich foods. Calcium helps with bone health, but there is another vitamin that is arguably more important, because it regulates how the body uses Calcium.
Found in fatty fish, meats, and soy, Vitamin D aids in the absorption of Calcium. According to Dr. Maroon, 50-60% of Americans are Vitamin D deficient. The need for supplementation in this area is strong; most people should take at least 800IU per day of it.
Vitamin D has also has been linked to having beneficial effects related to depression and mood, and even weight loss. According to WebMD, low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to depression, so it stands to reason that a healthy supplementation of this vitamin can be useful for anyone.
Found in citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetables, Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant for the body’s cells. This protects them from free radicals, which can happen when cells convert what we eat into energy. It’s important to note that Vitamin C is water soluble, and ends up going through the body fairly quickly. Any Vitamin C your body can’t use during that time is excreted as waste, so taking large doses of Vitamin C in one serving isn’t that useful. Rather than taking over 1000mg at once, taking 500mg three times per day in the event of a cold is better.
While Melatonin itself is not a sleep aide, it can help balance the sleeping and waking cycle. Sleep discorders affect over 50 million Americans.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland to regular the circadian rhythm. When you’re in the dark, your body starts producing it. Because of this, being in bright lights during the night can throw off melatonin production, which can negatively affect the quality of your sleep. Taking low doses of melatonin, such as 1-2mg, can help restore this balance and get you a steadier night’s sleep.
This is an important fatty acid in which just about everyone could use a boost. Fish oil can help with everything from cardiovascular health to reducing inflammation (which can help with arthritis). Cold water fish, like salmon, sardines, anchovies, or herring are rich in this. Fish oil is also said to have beneficial affects on the brain, even improving memory relative to those with a deficiency.