3 Supplements You Should Be Taking
Knowing what daily vitamins to take can be a minefield. With so much information and advice, it can be hard to find out what’s best.
Ideally, we should be able to get all of our daily nutritional needs from our diet, but the reality is many of us fall short, meaning we need to supplement what we’re missing out on. And while supplements should never be a replacement for a balanced, healthy diet, topping up your intake with a handful of essential vitamins and minerals every day, is no bad thing. Daily supplements can also play an important role for those with dietary requirements which may mean they don’t get enough nutrients in their diet, or for some high-risk groups, including those with a compromised gut, a diagnosed deficiency or a disease such as osteoporosis. Read on to discover which ones should make the grade in your daily line up.
While most of us should be able to get our recommended dose of vitamin D from the sunlight, the reality is that many of us don’t. Reasons for this deficiency range from a lack of sun during most of the year, desk-bound jobs that mean access to daylight is restricted and even the application of sunscreen, which actually blocks vitamin D synthesis in the skin.
Vitamin D is primarily found in fortified cereals, oily fish and eggs and helps the body to absorb calcium and promote healthy bone growth. It also helps improve brain development and function and ensures your intestine absorbs vital nutrients, plus it helps regulate the immune system. While the average person should aim for between 400-800 IU each day, adults who are deficient can take between 1500-2000 IU to get back to healthy levels.
Magnesium is a mineral that supports over 300 different bodily processes and is found primarily in the food we eat. It helps to maintain proper nerve function, regulate blood sugar levels and support the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism.
While most of our magnesium intake comes from plants via the food we eat (leafy greens and legumes are great sources), modern agricultural methods and processed foods, caffeine and alcohol mean the amount of magnesium we get and the rate at which we can absorb it is reduced. When it comes to how much you should be getting each day, aim for between 310mg and 420mg so look for supplements that contain at least 15% of elemental magnesium (around 57mg) alongside a healthy diet.
The impact of the gut on our overall health is something that experts are continuing to study, but what’s not in dispute is that it’s a highly important part of our bodies which, when healthy, contributes to effective digestion, a strong immune system, optimum heart and brain health, improved mood and healthy sleep habits. Thanks to many elements of modern life, including high stress levels, poor sleep, medication and a diet high in processed food, alcohol and caffeine, most of us suffer from less than optimal gut health.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria while prebiotics are the food that feed healthy gut bacteria. While fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut are great sources of probiotics, it’s easy to get everything you need from a good quality supplement. Look out for a good balance of multiple strains of bacteria for maximum efficacy and a high CFU (that’s colony forming units) 89like those included in Workshop’s Probiotic + Prebiotic.