What Dietary Supplements Are Worth Taking?
Proper diet and exercise are the backbones of a healthy life. And admit it. Sometimes in our face-paced world, we don’t take good care of ourselves. It is too easy to think I will eat better tomorrow, or I’ll exercise next week. A few years of procrastination and health issue start creeping in.
The market seems flooded with dietary supplements making claims they benefit your health in numerous ways. Some examples include: Support your heart health. Increase your memory. Improve your immune system. And on and on.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements before marketing. How are you to know what supplements are worth your hard-earned money?
(The dietary supplement craze is booming. Are you contemplating entering this lucrative market with your supplement brand? If so, what supplements are worth manufacturing and marketing?)
What vitamins are worth taking?
Are you dealing with a hectic schedule? Or are you following an alternative diet (vegan)? Taking a good multi-vitamin/mineral makes sense to help fill nutrition gaps.
Besides taking a multi-vitamin, Nutritionist Dawn Lerman (MA, CHHC, LCAT) recommends the best supplements worth your money are Vitamin D, Calcium, B Vitamins, Magnesium, and Zinc.
Our skin manufactures Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, but this only works well if you live south of 34-degree latitude. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and hence strong bones. Vitamin D also plays a role in the immune system and energy level.
Food sources high in Vitamin D include fortified foods and fatty fish like salmon, anchovies, and sardines. Small doses of Vitamin D are found in egg yolk, mushrooms, beef liver, and cheese.
Bones and teeth are made of calcium. A lack of sufficient calcium puts individuals at risk for weak bones or osteoporosis, especially the elderly. Calcium is also part of the electrolyte balance required for proper hydration.
Food sources high in calcium include dairy, kale, broccoli, and fortified foods.
B Vitamins (Folic Acid & B12)
To prevent neural tube birth defects, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges all women of reproductive age to supplement a healthy diet with 400 mcg of folate acid (Vitamin B9).
Food sources high in folate acid include citrus fruits, melons, strawberries, bananas, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and peas.
Most food sources of Vitamin B12 are animal-based. Since B12 keeps blood and nerve cells healthy and manufactures DNA (genetic cell coding), vegans and vegetarians should take a daily supplement with 1-2 mcg. Besides other issues, a Vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to megaloblastic anemia, causing a person to feel tired or weak.
Food sources high in Vitamin B12 include dairy, meat, fish, eggs, and fortified foods.
Magnesium helps make bone, protein, and DNA. It regulates muscle and nerve functioning, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Magnesium may also help reduce stress and promote better sleep.
Food sources high in magnesium include food often left out of the American diet. These food sources include green leafy vegetables, soybeans, artichoke, winter squash, nuts, and seeds.
Zinc supports the immune system to fight off viral and bacterial infections. It is also required to form proteins and DNA, making it essential for wound healing. The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends consuming 8-12 mg of zinc daily.
The elderly and those dealing with stress may be zinc deficient, especially in the US. American our diets typically do not include foods high in zinc. Shelled seafood (oysters, crabs, lobster, etc.) contains high levels of zinc.
Other Supplements Worth Your Money
Depending on your diet, two other supplements may be worth the cost. These include fish oil and probiotics.
The American Heart Association recommends eating a serving of fish, preferably fatty fish, twice a week. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, herring, lake trout, mackerel, albacore tuna, and sardines can reduce the risk of stroke or heart disease. Are you getting two servings of fatty fish a week?
Omega 3 Fatty acids also help reduce joint inflammation and may help improve mood. If you don’t like fish, a fish oil supplement gives you the omega-3s you need without the fishy taste.
(I have found no fishy taste or after taste if I take my fish oil supplement before eating a meal. And no fishy burps either.)
The study of gut health and gut microbiome has increased in the last twenty years. Researchers are discovering a link between sufficient good bacteria in the intestines and obesity, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), depression, and immune functioning.
Probiotics feed beneficial gut bacteria. According to Kathleen Tabb, a registered digestive dietitian, probiotic supplementation helps some people. People suffering from IBS, frequent upset stomach (bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea), an autoimmune disease, food intolerances, or eating high-sugar diets may benefit from probiotic supplementation.
Tabb also suggests short-term use of probiotic supplements when taking an antibiotic to treat a bacterial infection. (Along with killing the bacteria responsible for an infection, antibiotics also kill off beneficial gut bacteria.)
Fermented foods are high in probiotics. These include yogurt (Greek), Keifer, sauerkraut, and kombucha. Some foods are probiotic fortified.
The FDA regulates dietary supplements through current good manufacturing practices (GMP). However, supplements do not require FDA approval before marketing. Therefore, the supplement quality and integrity are in the hands of the manufacturer and brand owner. The FDA investigates supplements based on public health emergencies and complaints.
Some types of dietary supplements are worth buying. But, how do you know if a supplement or a supplement brand is of high quality?
Check the supplement label for manufacturer and product quality certifications. Certified organic, kosher, or halal means the manufacturer has stringent testing, processing, and documentation in place. Third-party GMP certification adds another level of product quality assurance.
Third-party GMP certification from companies like National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), Underwriters Laboratory (UL), or Consumer Lab proves a manufacturing company follows GMP regulations. These certifications require in-house audits and third-party laboratory testing.
Origin Nutraceutical Supplement Manufacturer
Origin Nutraceutical operates under NSF GMP certification to responsibly and sustainably manufacture the highest quality supplements. Origin also maintains organic, kosher, and halal certifications.
Supplements are not Intended to Cure Diseases
By law, dietary supplements making structure or function claims must be accompanied by a statement notifying consumers it has not been evaluated by the FDA. And that the product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Always consult a medical professional about the best supplements to support your unique body. Laboratory blood tests pinpoint missing nutrients to determine appropriate supplementation.
By: Jae O. Haroldsen
The content of Origin Nutraceutical’s website is for information only, not advice or guarantee of outcome. Information is gathered and shared from reputable sources; however, Origin Nutraceutical is not responsible for errors or omissions in reporting or explanation. No individuals, including those taking Origin Nutraceutical products, should use the information, resources or tools contained within to self-diagnosis or self-treat any health-related condition. Origin Nutraceutical gives no assurance or warranty regarding the accuracy, timeliness or applicability of the content.
“Vitamin D Consumer Fact Sheet.” NIH 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/
“Calcium Consumer Fact Sheet.” NIH. 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/
Hewlings, Susan J, and Douglas S Kalman. “Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health.” Foods (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 6,10 92. 22 Oct. 2017, doi:10.3390/foods6100092
“What You Need to Know.” NIH. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WYNTK-Consumer/
Kassel, Gabrielle. “According to Nutritionist, These are the 7 Ingredients Your Multivitamin Should Have.” Healthline. 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/best-vitamins-to-take-daily
“Folic Acid Helps Prevent Serious Birth Defects of the Brain and Spine.” CDC. 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/features/folic-acid-helps-prevent-some-birth-defects.html
“Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet for Consumers. NIH. 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/pdf/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer.pdf
“Magnesium Consumer Fact Sheet.” NIH. 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/
“Zinc Consumer Fact Sheet.” NIH. 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/
“Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.” American Heart Association. 2017. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/fish-and-omega-3-fatty-acids
Savage, Eliza. “The 8 Best Fish Oil Supplements of 2021. According to a Dietitian.” Very Well Fit. 2021. https://www.verywellfit.com/best-fish-oil-supplements-4165827
Tabb, Kathleen. “Should I Take Probiotics? Digestive Dietitian Weighs In.” Rebecca Bitzer and Associates. https://rbitzer.com/should-i-take-probiotics/
Dix, Megan. “What’s an Unhealthy Gut? How Gut Health Affects You.” Healthline. 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/gut-health
“Questions and Answers on Dietary Supplements.” FDA. 2019. https://www.fda.gov/food/information-consumers-using-dietary-supplements/questions-and-answers-dietary-supplements