Perhaps you are looking for more energy for your exercise or a boost to your immune system. It might just be a little more ‘juice’ to make it to Friday! All of us have different health goals, but we all need a solid foundation on which to build. Yours and mine should include the basic nutrients that allow our body chemistry to function properly. The following are 4 must have supplements that should top your list:
There are about 30 vitamins and minerals that are considered essential. A good multivitamin will contain some amount of most or all of these. Men, post-menopausal women and those with hemochromatosis should usually avoid multis with iron, however.1
You might be thinking that you don’t really need a multivitamin and on paper this is likely true. After all, shouldn’t we get ‘all we need’ in our food? In a perfect world, yes, but we don’t live in a perfect world, nor do we always make perfect choices. Getting all the vitamins and minerals every day in the amounts we need is just not practical. And that is precisely why a multivitamin should be your starting point. The fact is, there will be gaps in your nutrition and a multi helps fill them.
There’s a good chance you have no idea what nicotinamide riboside (NR) actually is, but it tops the list of must have supplements. Think niacin, an essential B-vitamin that is also in your multivitamin. However, NR is a type of niacin that serves as a precursor to a molecule known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) while other forms of niacin are not. NR is easily converted into NAD+ by your body and is found in all 4 trillion of your cells. It produces energy for the cell by converting food into energy that cells use to do their job. Think of NAD+ as fuel for cells in much the same way that gasoline fuels your car. No fuel; no energy. And no energy; no function. Bad fuel; poor function. Some things that cells do that are of greatest importance, which of course require NAD+, include:
Fixing damaged DNA2
DNA that is damaged and NOT repaired may result in poor function at best and cancer at worst. This is one of the most important functions of the cell. It ‘reads’ DNA and creates a protein according to what the DNA tells it to do. But if the DNA is damaged and not repaired, the message is wrong, leading to an incorrectly formed protein that won’t do any good, but might do some bad!
Repair of cells2
Think of a cell as analogous to your home. It is constantly requiring maintenance, repair and sometimes renovations. Cells are no different, and if energy is limited, it won’t be able to repair as quickly as it is being damaged. Over time, this results in disease.
Metabolism within cells3
Metabolism is a fancy term for all the chemical interactions that happen in a cell. It includes repair, production of proteins, intake of nutrients, expulsion of wastes and so on. None of this is possible without cellular energy.
There is pretty much no one that wouldn’t benefit from a vitamin D supplement. Over the past decades we have learned how helpful this vitamin really is. In many ways it ‘does it all.’ It is essential to proper immune health, brain function, heart performance, muscle operation and even your emotional state.4,5,6,7,8
As many people know, we produce vitamin D when our skin contacts UV light. That means the less sun you get, the less vitamin D you get. This can be a serious problem for folks that can’t or don’t spend much time in the sun. But it isn’t only that, it is really about the amount of bare skin you have exposed. Just sitting under an umbrella all day at the beach will do very little for your vitamin D levels. In short, pretty much everyone needs to supplement with vitamin D.
There have been a lot of changes in the perception of fats over the decades, and that by the nutritional sciences. As it turns out, there are not really ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats as many of us have been taught. But there are some ‘really good’ fats and having more of these in your diet than the others means better health. These ‘really good’ fats are known as omega 3-fatty acids, most of which are essential, meaning our body doesn’t make them. The most important ones are DHA and EPA. Both are must have supplements, and most frequently exist together in pills.
If you eat a lot of fatty fish, you might be good but most of us don’t. Thus, taking a fish oil supplement, which contains BOTH EPA and DHA is very important because, like vitamin D, the benefits are numerous, which is why it is one of the must have supplements. And perhaps more importantly, NOT having enough DHA and EPA can lead to numerous problems. Here are just a few of the benefits of fish oil:
Strong cardiovascular system9
Helps manage weight13
Better insulin response14