Whether they’re spilling out of your medicine cabinet or filling up your bathroom counter, Americans are a nation of supplement consumers. Some are looking to combat vitamin deficiency, others want to reduce their risk of disease.
Dietary supplements should never replace a nutrient-packed diet, but they can help you get closer to your nutrition goals and fill in any gaps that may be missing. Here are four that you should consider adding to your routine.
Biotin, also known as vitamin H and B7, is a water-soluble nutrient that helps your body turn food into energy. It also supports the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. You can find it in foods such as liver, cauliflower, whole grains, nuts, eggs, mushrooms, kale and other vegetables, soybeans, and salmon.
Biotin is essential for many body functions, including healthy hair and nails. It also plays a role in cell growth and in metabolizing amino acids and glucose.
A deficiency in this nutrient can lead to brittle nails and hair loss, so it’s important to get enough in your diet or through supplements. This nutrient can be found in a variety of forms, such as pills, gummies, liquids and quick-dissolve tablets. Talk to your doctor about the best supplement and dosage for your needs.
2. Krill Oil
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are well-known for heart health benefits, but krill oil has been shown to offer some additional advantages. One example is its high concentration of phospholipid-derived omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA. Another is its rich supply of the antioxidant astaxanthin.
Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, which can damage cells and lead to chronic disease, including heart disease and cancer. Krill oil contains the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin, which is 50 times more potent than vitamin E and 100 times more potent than lutein.
Research supports the use of krill oil to help reduce inflammation, improve eye health and cognitive function, boost energy levels, and promote healthy skin and hair. It also has potential for reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition that causes painful and swelling joints. Its antioxidant properties may also help prevent cell mutations and reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a specific type of polyunsaturated fat that’s essential for your body. They are found in oily fish and can also be found in plant-based foods, including walnuts, flaxseeds and hempseed oil. There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids: ALA, EPA and DHA.
The benefits of consuming omega-3’s are numerous. They can improve heart health, lower high triglycerides and reduce inflammation in the body. They are also linked to a decrease in the risk of mental illness or brain decline. Specifically, studies show that omega-3’s can help with depression and ADD/ADHD.
Other research shows that omega-3’s can aid in lowering blood pressure, increasing the absorption of calcium and supporting bone density. In addition, it can assist with decreasing inflammatory markers and reducing the risk of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS). More research is needed to determine if omega-3’s can prevent cancer or even kill cancer cells but one 2019 study showed promise in this area.
4. Vitamin D
Imagine trying to build your dream home without the screws, nails, caulk and glue. You could use the finest wood, granite and glass available but it will never hold up unless you have these essential building materials. Likewise, if you don’t get the right micronutrients your body won’t function as it should.
Vitamin D (also known as cholecalciferol) is made naturally in the skin when exposed to sunlight and also found in eggs, fish, fortified dairy products and some mushrooms. It promotes calcium absorption in the gut, which allows for normal mineralization of bones and prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
Clinical trials indicate that higher levels of serum 25(OH)D may reduce the incidence of cancer and reduce the risk of death from cancer in some populations .