Vitamins & Supplements to Add to Your Day

Dec 30, 2022 Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Vitamins & Supplements to Add to Your Day

Quick Health Scoop

  • Vitamins and supplements are designed to supplement your diet and fill in nutritional gaps of essential nutrients you may not be getting from food alone
  • Taking a daily multivitamin provides key vitamins and minerals that are lacking in many American diets
  • Essential fatty acids, like Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and Omega-3s, like those found in fish oil may provide a wide range of health benefits including supporting the heart, eyes, brain, and mood
  • Both Vitamin C and Vitamin D play an important role in supporting the immune system
  • Magnesium is an important mineral that helps control muscle and nerve functioning, bone health, and helps to maintain heart functioning

When it comes to building a wellness routine, you’ll want to ensure you have adequate amounts of a variety of nutrients. The best way to get the recommended amounts of nutrients is to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. While this is ideal, it’s not always possible. Vitamins and supplements are designed to supplement your diet and fill in nutritional gaps when your diet may fall short of recommendations.

Read on to hear about our favorite lineup of vitamins and supplements to kick start your day and support your health and well-being for years to come.

Multivitamins

According to the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most American diets are not meeting intake recommendations for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.[1] As a result, most Americans are not getting the recommended amounts of essential vitamins and minerals from food alone. While multivitamins won’t replace a healthy, balanced diet, they can provide essential vitamins and minerals your body needs every day and help fill nutrient gaps missing from your diet. You can think of taking a daily multivitamin as a “nutrient insurance policy” by increasing your nutrient intake and giving you the confidence in knowing that you’re covering your basic nutritional needs even on days when you make less-than-healthy diet choices.

Try: Multi + Omega 3 Gummies

Omega-3s

Essential fatty acids, like the Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), must be consumed through food or supplements as they cannot be made in the body. While chia seeds, walnuts, and flaxseed are all good plant-based sources of ALA, these sources are usually missing from the average diet.

The Omega-3 fatty acids Eicosaentanoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexanoic acid (DHA) can be made in the body from ALA, although the conversion rate is very low, and consuming ALA should not be considered a substitute for EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are found in marine-based sources like algae, fatty fish and fish oil.

Omega-3s are incorporated into all cell membranes in the body, providing support for their structural integrity and fluidity, which is necessary for cells to function and communicate properly. These fatty acids are lacking in the average American diet. Most people do not consume the recommended two servings of seafood per week and are not meeting the dietary recommendations for EPA and DHA. National survey data shows that over 2/3 (68%) of adults do not consume enough EPA and DHA in their daily diet to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations.[2]

Years of scientific research has found that the Omega-3s EPA and DHA support a healthy heart. In fact, after reviewing scientific evidence on EPA and DHA and heart health, the FDA issued a Qualified Health Claim, stating, “Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Scientists continue to add to the extensive research on EPA and DHA – including the important roles of EPA and DHA in supporting brain, eye and mood health. EPA and DHA are found in large quantities in your brain and eyes and help neurons communicate and function effectively.

If you don’t consume the recommended 8 oz or two servings of fish per week, talk to your healthcare professional about adding an Omega-3 supplement to your daily routine.

Try: Fish Oil 1200 mg Softgels

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a critical role in supporting bone, teeth, muscle, and immune health.This important vitamin helps the body absorb Calcium and Phosphorus, two minerals that support bone growth. [3] Vitamin D also plays a key role in muscle health. [4]  

And while Vitamin C has gained a lot of attention as the ultimate immune system nutrient, Vitamin D also plays a vital role in maintaining healthy immune system functioning. You’ll find Vitamin D receptors on the majority of your immune system cells, where it can support the immune response and can help support  normal immune cell functioning. [5]

Getting adequate amounts of Vitamin D can be tricky. This is because very few foods naturally contain this nutrient. You’ll find some Vitamin D in fatty fish egg yolk, beef liver, and mushrooms grown under UV lights. Some foods like milk, orange juice, yogurt, cheese, and some breakfast cereal are fortified with Vitamin D.

Also known as the “sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D can be naturally produced when your skin is exposed to sunlight. However, unprotected sun exposure puts you at risk for various skin conditions. While the use of sunscreen can prevent skin damage, it also limits your body’s ability to convert the sun’s rays into Vitamin D within your skin. [6]

If you’re one of the 95% of Americans that don’t consume enough Vitamin D from your diet alone, you may consider talking with your healthcare provider about taking a vitamin D supplement to support your health and well-being. [7]

Try: Vitamin D3 5000 mg Softgels

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that plays many important roles in your body. One of its main functions is to act as a powerful antioxidant Your body also needs Vitamin C to make collagen, an important fibrous protein that supports many of your body systems including the nervous, circulatory, and immune systems.

While Vitamin C has many important functions, it is probably best known for its role in helping to support your immune system. [8] Vitamin C helps support the functioning of the cells within your immune system. Additionally, the antioxidant activity of Vitamin C can help support immune cells by neutralizing free radicals.[9]

Since your body doesn’t store Vitamin C, you’ll need to resupply it daily by eating a wide variety of Vitamin C-rich foods. You probably know that citrus fruits are chock full of Vitamin C but this important nutrient can also be found in other fruits and vegetables. For example, berries, kiwifruit, tomatoes, potatoes, green and red bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli are all rich in Vitamin C.

While a Vitamin C deficiency is rare in the U.S., you may be surprised to know that nearly half of U.S. adults and 85% of smokers are not getting enough daily Vitamin C through their diet. [10] Therefore, you may consider Vitamin C supplementation as part of your wellness routine to give your immune system a hand.

Try: Vitamin C 250 mg Gummies

Magnesium

Magnesium, the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, is responsible for a variety of important functions. It helps control muscle and nerve functioning, supports bone health, converts food into cellular energy, and helps to maintain heart functioning.

You’ll find the majority of the Magnesium in your bones and teeth while the rest remains in your blood, cells, and tissues.

Magnesium can be found in a wide variety of foods including many fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, dairy, and whole grains. Despite Magnesium’s abundance in a variety of foods, according to research, more than half (54%) of the U.S. population consumes less than the required amount of Magnesium from food. [7]

If you’re not eating a varied diet that contains magnesium-rich foods, you may want to speak with your healthcare provider about the potential benefits of Magnesium supplementation for you.

Try: Magnesium Citrate Gummies

The Bottom Line

If you’re like most busy people, eating a wide variety of whole, nutritious foods every day can be a challenge. Vitamins and supplements are a nice way to fill in any nutritional gaps you may have when your diet is less than ideal.

Furthermore, vitamins and supplements can provide a variety of benefits to support your health and well-being. Before taking vitamins or supplements, it’s best to check with your healthcare provider to ensure they are right for you.

 Learn More About Vitamins and Supplements

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† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


References

  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.
  2. Devarshi, P., et al. "Nutrient Gaps in US Adults by Age and Gender: Vitamin A, D, E, K, C, Magnesium, Calcium, Choline and Dietary Fiber." Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 120.9 (2020): A27.
  3. Bikle DD. Vitamin D and bone. Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2012 Jun;10(2):151-9. doi: 10.1007/s11914-012-0098-z. PMID: 22544628; PMCID: PMC3688475.
  4. Ceglia L, Harris SS. Vitamin D and its role in skeletal muscle. Calcif Tissue Int. 2013 Feb;92(2):151-62. doi: 10.1007/s00223-012-9645-y. Epub 2012 Sep 12. PMID: 22968766.
  5. Martens PJ, Gysemans C, Verstuyf A, Mathieu AC. Vitamin D's Effect on Immune Function. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 28;12(5):1248. doi: 10.3390/nu12051248. PMID: 32353972; PMCID: PMC7281985.
  6. Skin Cancer Foundation. “Sun Protection and Vitamin D.” May 14, 2018. Accessed on: December 9, 2022. https://www.skincancer.org/blog/sun-protection-and-vitamin-d/
  7. Reider CA, Chung RY, Devarshi PP, Grant RW, Hazels Mitmesser S. Inadequacy of Immune Health Nutrients: Intakes in US Adults, the 2005-2016 NHANES. Nutrients. 2020;12(6):1735.
  8. Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 3;9(11):1211. doi: 10.3390/nu9111211. PMID: 29099763; PMCID: PMC5707683.
  9. National Institutes of health. “Vitamin C: Fact Sheet for Consumers.” 2019. Accessed on: December 9, 2022. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/
  10. Blumberg, J. B., et al. "Impact of Frequency of Multi-Vitamin/Multi-Mineral Supplement Intake on Nutritional Adequacy and Nutrient Deficiencies in U.S. Adults." Nutrients 9.8 (2017)

Authors

Emily Hirsch, MS, RD

NatureMade Contributor

Emily has over a decade of experience in the field of nutrition. In her writing, she strives to bring lackluster research on health and nutrition topics to life. She loves writing about GI health and women’s issues. Find her at www.southcharlottenutrition.com

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Sandra Zagorin, MS, RD

Science and Health Educator

As a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Sandra educates healthcare professionals and consumers on nutrition, supplements, and related health concerns. Prior to joining Pharmavite, Sandra worked as a clinical dietitian at University of Chicago Medicine in the inpatient and outpatient settings. Sandra received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science, with minors in Spanish and Chemistry from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. She earned her Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from RUSH University in Chicago, IL. As part of her Master’s program, Sandra performed research on physical activity participation and correlates in urban Hispanic women.

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