In the September issue of Whole Living magazine, I found a quick article on five key supplements that most women can benefit from. However, I think both women and men can benefit from these! I happen to agree completely with the five they chose, and I think it’s a good reminder for all of us on what we may be deficient in, and why it’s important to supplement in certain areas.
I’ve talked about vitamin D before here. It’s SO important, and there are constantly new studies coming out linking low vitamin D levels to higher cancer rates and increased heart attack risk. Even if you think you’re getting enough from the sun, you may not be. To prove my point, I take vitamin D supplements and I live in a state that boasts of sunshine over 300 days per year! I got my levels tested a few months ago and while they were in the “acceptable” range, they were on the lower end. Lluckily I have a doctor who believes as strongly in vitamin D as I do, so she immediately gave me supplements. I strongly encourage people to get their vitamin D levels tested, and when you compare your level to the “optimal” range, aim for the high end. The more the better! If you live in a climate with longer winters, supplementing with vitamin D3 is absolutely crucial.
Many people are able to obtain enough calcium from whole foods. Despite what you may think (due to huge marketing efforts), dairy is not the only source of calcium. In fact, leafy greens have just as much calcium as cow’s milk! Other great sources include sesame seeds (more calcium than milk), blackstrap molasses and yogurt. Calcium is important for healthy bones. If supplementing with calcium, make sure you buy the form calcium citrate because it best delivers the minerals to the body.
Magnesium helps to regulate our neurotransmitters and support mental health. Some doctors even prescribe magnesium supplements for those suffering from insomnia, claiming it’s a natural anti-anxiety mineral. For those with muscle spasms or pain, magnesium helps to relax the muscles. It’s good to take with an evening meal, because it does help people fall asleep more peacefully.
Vitamin B is necessary for strong immunity. Whole food sources of B-vitamins include leafy greens and meat. If someone is deficient in B-vitamins, they may start to feel depressed, fatigued or just down. B-vitamins help enhance mood and boost energy, and for this reason are best when taken in the morning. This way they’ll provide energy for your day without disrupting bedtime!
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
I’ve talked about fish oil before as well, but again it’s good to reinforce the importance of fatty acids in the diet. Don’t worry, they WILL NOT make you fat! They actually lower triglycerides and reduce inflammation, which is the cause of many health issues. And, since our brain is made up of mostly fat, they support brain health as well. Omega-3s can be taken in the form of capsules or actual fish oil. I recommend the capsules… trust me, drinking straight fish oil is not fun!
As always, I recommend talking to your doctor before starting supplements. They can test your levels and help you determine which supplements you’d benefit from.