I decided to do a list of health supplements as I have been taking them for years now and have really noticed a difference when I stop taking certain ones etc. For this reason, I really believe they do work and so I have compiled this list for you to decide which ones may benefit you. Whether its wanting to grow your hair and nails, achieve a better complexion or give yourself a health boost, there is a supplement that can most likely help. All of us are in need of different things, for instance, I don’t eat much seafood which is an essential part of the diet. Therefore, I take an Omega 3 supplement to give me the essential fatty acids that I don’t get enough of. I also eat flax seeds to make up for the lack of fatty acids such as Omega 3 in my diet. Basically, you can find the vitamins, minerals or oils you may be deficient in, in most cases, by eating an alternative food. However, this can sometimes be difficult to manage. An example of this, is when I was pregnant. I was taking a multi-vitamin tablet daily until I found out, then I needed to come off all my vitamins due to the doctors orders. I knew I was going to have a hard time eating as much iron as was expected due to being pregnant. You need way more iron than usual so without taking a supplement I was going to have to eat something like a steak and a whole bag of spinach daily! I tried my best to keep up with the high iron diet but it was tough going! In the end I needed to be prescribed iron tablets, which most women do when pregnant. Anyway, that is just an example of when it is required to supplement your food intake with a supplement. I just want to mention, before I go on, that you always need to consult your Doctor before commencing a course of supplements, whatever they are. All our bodies are different so it is best to be careful when taking anything you’re not used to.
Anyway, I don’t have the healthiest diet in the world, although I do try my best (most of the time!) so I do take a number of supplements, including my daily multi-vitamin. It says on the pack exactly what vitamins and minerals are included in the multivitamins, so you need to check that to see what percentage of each one is. If it says 100percent then you are getting your daily requirement of that vitamin or mineral, therefore you don’t need any more of that one. The thing with supplements is that, once your body has had its daily amount, any surplus just gets washed out of your system. So it is pointless to take more than the daily amount needed. So first thing I would do is check your multivitamin tablets and see if there is anything you want to supplement on top of that. You will probably be eating a fair amount of vitamins and minerals in your diet daily so no need to go crazy with that. The way I calculate it is, if I’m feeling like I need an energy boost or want to improve my skin and so on, I look at what I can supplement to boost that. I will break it down in the list as there are a fair few supplements that you won’t find in a multivitamin also.
These supplements can contain vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanicals as well as amino acids and some other substances. They can be taken in pill form, capsule, tablet or liquid and ingested by mouth. It is important to buy from a reputable brand or health store. Always read the label carefully and make sure to follow the instructions while checking the ingredients.
Here is a list I have made, in alphabetical order of the ones I have tried :
Acai – berry containing anti-oxidants. Neutralises free radicals. Excellent for heart health. Essential fatty acids. Aids digestion and contains amino acids. Energy boosting and a great source of vitamins and minerals. May help slow down the ageing process. Can be taken in powder form. Supports the immune system. More detail in my recent post here.
Aloe Vera – effective in treating various skin problems like psoriasis, dandruff, minor burns and sunburn. Can lower blood sugar and cholesterol. It is important to take this supplement carefully and consult your doctor before using. Some people are allergic. Can be used for constipation as it has a powerful laxative effect.
Vitamin A – helps maintain healthy skin, teeth and bones. Promotes better vision and maintains healthy soft and skeletal tissue. Maintains white blood cells and mucus membranes. Supports a healthy immune system and includes Beta-carotene which protects the cells from free radical damage.
Bilberry – improves vision, improves bad cholesterol, helps prevent cancers and lowers the risk of Alzheimers. Helps eliminate circulation problems. Decreases inflammation.
Biotin – a coenzyme and B vitamin. Can be used to improve skin, hair and nails. Supports cells and metabolism. It is unlikely to be deficient in it. Ask your Dr how much is safe to consume.
Vitamin B 1 – Thiamine found in yeast, cereals, beans, nuts and meat. Boosts the immune system, improves athletic performance and treats various health conditions. Can be used to help relieve stress, prevent memory loss, enhance positivity and increase learning abilities.
Vitamin B 2 – Riboflavin. Acts as an antioxidant and helps maintain healthy blood cells, boosts energy and improves metabolism. Helps prevent damage from free radicals and protects skin. Contributes to nerve, heart and blood health. Skin and eye health and reduces inflammation. Helps maintain hormonal function and a healthy digestive system.
Vitamin B 6 – Pyridoxine. Involved in the production of serotonin and norepinephrine that transmit signals to the brain. Also helps the formation of myelin – a protein layer around nerve cells. Deficiency can cause health problems affecting the nerves, skin, mucous membranes and circulatory system. Mild deficiency is common. Sources include cereal grains, legumes, veg, milk, cheese, eggs, fish, liver, meat and flour.
Vitamin B 12 – water soluble vitamin found in some foods. Required for proper red blood cell formation, cell formation, neurological function and DNA synthesis. Found in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products. Fortified breakfast cereals are a good choice. Deficiency side effects include – fatigue, muscle loss, pins and needles, memory loss, dizziness, paleness and anxiousness. Your eyes may be sensitive or eyesight diminished and a smooth red tongue are other deficiency symptoms to look out for.
Calcium – essential for bones and teeth. Known to decrease symptoms of PMS and can lower high blood pressure. If you don’t eat dairy, it might be worth supplementing.
Chromium – a mineral with ‘essential trace element’ as the body doesn’t need much. Can be used for PCOS, to improve blood sugar and taken for various health reasons aswell as a weight loss supplement and to improve athletic performance and increase energy.
Coenzyme Q10 (COQ10)– can be found in small amounts in meat and seafood. Used for various health conditions and also to treat hair loss, gain energy and strengthen the immune system.
Vitamin C – found in fresh fruit and veg, mainly citrus fruit. Can prevent the common cold, acne and other skin problems, gum disease and bronchitis. Helps iron absorption.
Dandelion – used for an upset stomach, joint pain, eczema, gallstones mainly. It increases urination and flushes toxins. Contains various high quality vitamins and minerals and can help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Can be eaten in salad or drank in teas aswell as taken in capsule form.
Vitamin D – helps regulate calcium and phosphate which the body needs to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Is created naturally in the body when exposed to sunlight. Other sources include oily fish, red meat, egg yolks and cereals. Babies need vitamin D supplement for the first year. If you’re not getting much sunshine, its advisable to supplement.
Evening Primrose Oil – used for various skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and eczema. Can treat arthritis and osteoporosis aswell as heart disease, cancers, high cholesterol, Alzheimers, alcoholism and schizophrenia. Can be used for chronic fatigue, asthma, nerve damage and many more health problems. Contains fatty acids. Taken in capsule form daily.
Vitamin E – dissolves in fat. Found in many foods. Can prevent cancer and treat diabetes. Supports the brain and nervous system. Can treat Alzheimers and Parkinsons, high blood pressure and PMS. Improves muscle tone, skin problems, ageing skin and slows down the process that damages cells.
Fenugreek – Can improve stomach disorders, anaemia, fever, loss of taste, inflammation, insomnia and respiratory disorder. Helps with reducing cholesterol, improves digestion, sore throat and diabetes. Helps post pregnancy lactation and can enhance breast size. Also used in various hair care applications. Taken in capsule form or eaten in food.
Fish Oil – found mainly in oily fish. Known as a ‘brain food’ it is linked to better brain function and has many health benefits including lowering the risk of heart disease and migraines.
Garlic – can lower cholesterol, prevent certain cancers, lower high blood pressure, deter insect bites and treat athletes foot. It works for stopping the insect bites for me!
Ginger – can treat an upset stomach, vomiting, nausea. Can help prevent sea-sickness and help with joint movement for rheumatoid arthritis.
Glucosamine – naturally occurring substance in the body involved in building tendons, ligaments, cartilage and the fluid that surrounds joints that cushions them. Provides minor pain relief and reduces the rate of collagen degradation.
Grape Seed extract – contains antioxidants, protects cells from damage, wound healing properties, reduces swelling caused by injury. Strong evidence that it is beneficial for cardiovascular conditions and poor circulation aswell as lowering high cholesterol.
Green Tea – dried Camelia sinensis plant leaves. It improves mental alertness and thinking. Can prevent various cancers. Improves metabolism. Lowers high cholesterol and can be used on the skin for improvement. The teabags can reduce puffiness and under-eye bags. A great detox product.
Iodine – needed by the thyroid gland to produce hormones. A deficiency can cause an enlarged thyroid, a swollen neck. It can also cause a woman to stop ovulating, leading to infertility and increase the chances of developing some cancers. Can be used as emergency treatment of radiation exposure.
Iron – an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen through the body. An important component of haemoglobin in red blood cells carries oxygen from the lungs through he body. Deficiency can result in extreme tiredness, anaemia, brain function, the immune system can be weakened. Deficiency in pregnant women can result in a baby born too early or being smaller than normal. Also necessary to maintain healthy cells, skin, hair and nails. Dosages vary for everyone.
Kava – the kava plant extract can be used orally to calm anxiety, stress, restlessness and insomnia. Traditionally prepared as tea. Can be found in capsule form also. Avoid alcohol and driving.
Vitamin K – helps prevent blood clotting, can be found in leafy greens, veg, meats, cheese and eggs. Beans and soy beans, strawberries and spinach are good to eat. It can interfere with some drugs when taken in supplement form and you should only take it if your health care provider advises you. It is unusual to be deficient.
Licorice Root – can be taken for digestive complaints such as stomach ulcers, heartburn, colic, chronic gastritis and infections caused by bacteria or viruses.
Magnesium – a mineral important for bone structure. It is found in high fibre foods. Increases energy. Lowers high blood pressure. Taken when there is a deficiency. Reduces heartburn.
Milk Thistle – milky sap from the plant leaves are used to treat liver problems, treats diabetes and is effective for heartburn. I used to take this when I was younger as I drank alcohol frequently.
Melatonin – a hormone made by the pineal gland in the brain. Helps control sleep cycles. Can affect your driving ability and interfere with other medications.
Multivitamin – useful if you have a poor diet or are at risk of deficiency. I definitely benefit from taking one and I notice the difference in my general health.
Niacin – a form of vitamin B3. Can be used for acne, headaches, digestion, lowers blood pressure and promotes relaxation. Taken when there is a deficiency and for abnormal blood fats.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids – cod liver oil is a good provider. Used to treat various conditions and used as a supplement for oily fish for better mental alertness and brain function.
Probiotics – live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health and digestive system. The good bacteria keep your gut healthy. Helps balance the bacteria in your body.
Riboflavin – vitamin B2 acts as an antioxidant and helps digest and extract energy from the food you eat. Can help prevent cervical cancer and migraines. Also used to reduce acne, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle cramps and blood disorders. Can be used to treat eye conditions. Maintains healthy hair, skin and nails. Improves memory loss and treats a variety of health conditions.
Saw Palmetto – can encourage hair growth, increase breast size and prevent blood loss after surgery. Can reduce the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
Selenium – a mineral found in soil, water and some foods. Important for proper body function. Treats various health conditions. Can be used to treat sepsis and high cholesterol.
Tea – Green tea supplements are full of antioxidants – without the taste, if you happen to dislike it. See more about the benefits in my recent post Tea and the Health Benefits
Thiamin – involved in many body functions such as nervous system and muscle function, the flow of electrolytes to nerve and muscle cells, digestion and carbohydrate metabolism.
Turmeric – containing curcumin, it is used for a wide variety of health issues. It can also be used for headaches, bronchitis, fever, itchy skin, depression, diabetes, worms, kidney problems, sprains, bites, gum disease. The list goes on. A great supplement if you dislike the taste of turmeric. I took a teaspoon or so a day but the taste was too overpowering so I chose a supplement for that reason.
Zinc – a mineral with ‘trace element’ due to only needing a small amount in the body. It is important not to overdose on it. Can improve athletic performance, be applied to the skin for various conditions including acne. Treats eye irritation and improves nutrition in people recovering from burns. Taken when there is a deficiency.
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Most of these are indeed available through your diet so these are only to be taken if you are not getting the required daily amount in food. Check out my recent blog post called “Eat and Drink your way to Clear Skin”.
I hope this list will benefit you so do save it for later in case you ever need to refer to it! I myself was completely overwhelmed with the many and varied supplements out there and their exact uses so that is why I wrote the post. I only mention the ones I have tried in the past but there are a lot more other ones, depending on your needs. Make sure to consult your doctor if you have any concerns and do be cautious when considering beginning a course of supplements, therefore ask your healthcare practitioner.
Do you take any supplements? Let me know in the comments below as I am interested in hearing your views and how well they work for you.
Thanks for reading 😉
Back next Wednesday, as always, with a blog post that means a lot to me so stay tuned!