Health and Nutrition Supplements

A health and nutrition supplement is anything that is intended to provide additional nutrients that may be missing from a diet.  Sometimes these essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, herbs and fatty acids are just not observed at levels needed for the body to function at an optimal state.  These supplements may be found in a range of substances from pills, to drinks to every day foods.

Types of supplements:

There are many types of supplements available, but below is a list of the most commonly used and their value.

Multivitamins:

Most healthy diets contain the essential vitamins needed in a diet, but taking an additional multivitamin can act as a buffer to help build your immune system.  It will help fill in the gaps when your diet falls short of your daily needs.  Please note most multivitamins are specific to age and sex as the needs are different.

Sports Nutrition Supplements:

These are found in a variety of formulas such as pills, drinks, bars and powders.  They typically contain protein and amino acids that are used to help build muscle and sustain energy for athletes.

B Vitamins:

Most B vitamins can be found in dark green vegetables, but for some people, particularly elderly ones, they are not absorbed as well so taking a supplement could be very helpful. These vitamins can help increase metabolism rate and maintain healthy skin and hair.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin:

These supplements are most known for their support of joint health and pain.  Many elder people will take these supplements to help with osteoarthritis pain, while athletes will take them to slow down joint destruction and pain associated with constant pounding on their bodies during exercises like running.

Fish Oils and Omega Fatty 3 acids:

Some research shows that these supplements can be  used as an anti-inflammatory and used to help reduce pain in arthritis patients.  Like Glucosamine and Chondroitin, athletes will use them for the same benefits.  There has also been some evidence regarding the benefits of supplementing omega-3 fatty acids and preventing cardiovascular diseases.

Choosing what supplement brands/dose

It is always important to first check with your physician before taking any supplements.  You can ask what ones would be most beneficial based on your personal and physical needs and deficiencies.  When choosing which brand or type to purchase, there is no tried and true way to select, however, there is plenty of research available online, or you can ask your local health food supplier.  Read all labels to know what is in the product you are selecting and it may also be helpful to choose reliable and reputable brands that have been in the industry long term.