Approximately 76 percent of adults in the U.S. (that works out to over 170 million people) take some kind of dietary supplement.
Are you part of this group? Have you found yourself scratching your head and wondering whether or not these supplements are actually doing anything?
The good news is that supplements can do some pretty impressive things when you take them regularly. Listed below are nine noteworthy benefits of supplements to keep in mind.
1. Fill in the Gaps
In a perfect world, you’d get all of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need from food alone. We don’t live in a perfect world, though. We’re busy, for starters, and some of us have limited access to a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-dense food.
Supplements help us to fill in the gaps in our diet. If you’re not getting enough vitamin D or calcium, for example, you can avoid potential deficiencies (and the health problems they can cause) by taking a supplement.
2. Support Your Immune System
One of the most important supplement benefits to consider is the fact that certain supplements can support and strengthen your immune system. When your immune system is functioning properly, you’re less likely to develop infections and other health problems.
The following are some of the best supplements to include in your daily routine if immune health is a top priority for you:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
In addition to vitamins and minerals, some people also like to include herbal supplements in their regimen. They might take echinacea, bee propolis, or curcumin (to name a few) to reduce inflammation and give their immune systems an extra boost.
3. Improve Cognitive Health
Some supplements are great for your brain, too. Nootropics like caffeine and ginseng can help you to focus and think more clearly at work or school.
Other supplements help to reduce inflammation and provide your brain with extra nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil supplements), for instance, are excellent for brain health. They may even help to reduce your risk of developing dementia.
4. Improve Athletic Performance
Are you an athlete or avid gym-goer? If so, there are a few supplements that you may want to start using to improve your performance and support post-workout recovery.
The following are some of the best supplements for fitness enthusiasts:
- Protein Powder
- Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Supplements that support good sleep can also be great for athletes. When you get a sufficient amount of sleep each night, it’s easier for your body to produce the hormones needed for muscle repair and growth. Being well-rested also gives you the energy you need to perform your best the next day.
5. Improve Heart Health
Taking certain vitamin and mineral supplements regularly can help to reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Here are some of the best supplements for those who are concerned about their heart health:
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin K1
When you make an effort to get enough of these nutrients, you can reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, and keep your cardiovascular system working properly.
6. Reduce Cancer Risk
Vitamin supplementation (specifically, multivitamin supplementation), when paired with a healthy diet and exercise regimen, can help to reduce your total cancer risk.
One study followed 14,000 men aged 50 and up and found that those who took a daily multivitamin had a significantly lower risk of developing various types of cancer.
In addition to a multivitamin, some other supplements you might want to take include omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and curcumin.
7. Lots of Options
The great thing about supplements is that they come in all different forms. It doesn’t matter if you prefer swallowing pills, chewing gummies, or mixing a powder into a smoothie. There’s always an option out there that will work for you and your preferences.
8. Create Healthy Habits
When you add supplements to your daily routine, you set yourself up to create other healthy habits. In many cases, nutritional supplements can be a gateway to other health-promoting behaviors.
Let’s say you’ve gotten in the habit of taking a multivitamin every day. After doing this for a while, you might find that you’re more inclined to engage in other healthy practices, such as exercising or adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
9. Minimal Side Effects
In most cases, dietary supplements don’t come with many (if any) side effects. As long as you’re not taking more than is recommended on the product label, and you’re consulting with your doctor before adding a particular supplement to your routine, you likely won’t experience any significant side effects.
Tips for Choosing the Best Supplements
Supplements are safe for most people and offer a variety of health benefits. It’s important to note though, that not all of them are created equal.
Are you unsure of which types of supplements to take? Here are some considerations that will help you make the best decisions:
- Testing: Are the supplements third-party tested?
- Ingredients: Do they contain any ingredients that you are allergic or sensitive to?
- Certifications: Are they certified by any professional/medical associations?
- Serving Size: How much of each nutrient does a serving contain?
- Additives: Do they contain any fills or artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, etc.?
Don’t forget to read reviews, too. They provide a lot of extra information that you can use to narrow down your choices.
This Metagenics review, for example, points out the importance of ingredient transparency. It also breaks down the reasoning behind the supplement’s price point.
Enjoy the Benefits of Supplements Today
Now that you know more about the benefits of supplements, are you interested in adding some to your routine? Are you motivated to be more consistent with the ones you already take?
If so, keep the tips listed above in mind so you can choose the right supplements for your needs.
Do you need some advice on buying supplements or choosing the best supplements for you? Head over to the Health section of our site today for more helpful articles.