Are supplements part of your daily routine? If they are, you’re not alone. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than half of all Americans take one or more supplements in their quest for better health. That’s because even if you have an ultra-healthy diet (and many people don’t), it’s difficult to get all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs for optimal health from food alone. So supplementing your diet is a good idea.
But going to a store or searching online for supplements can be confusing. There are a lot of choices out there, and not all supplements are created equal. So how do you know you’ll actually be getting the benefits of the supplements you take?
The answer is to do your homework and choose wisely. Here are five of the top supplements on the market today, and insights into what to look for on the label to ensure you’re getting the optimal benefit for your health.
High-potency multivitamin: Millions of people take multivitamins because there’s no simpler way to stay healthy and live better. But not just any multivitamin will do the job. The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) most multivitamins provide are only the minimal doses. To promote optimal health, a high-potency multivitamin should be part of everyone’s routine.
Curcumin/turmeric: Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years, and not just to give curry its yellow color. Turmeric helps inhibit inflammation and is a strong antioxidant, mostly due to the curcumin it contains. Scientists believe managing inflammation plays a key role in heart health, optimal cellular function, cognitive support and more. However, it would be difficult to get the optimal amount of curcumin per day simply by sprinkling turmeric on your food, so most people take a supplement. But be choosy about which you use, because absorption of this critical compound can be an issue. Super Bio-Curcumin by Life Extension is said to absorb up to seven times better than conventional supplements, providing protection against inflammatory factors for your body.
Fish oil: The EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil promote heart health, support cognitive health and inhibit inflammation, too. Make sure the supplement you choose is made with fresh, pure fish oil concentrate with 1,400 mg of EPA and 1,000 mg of DHA for optimal health benefits.
Coenzyme Q10: CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant that has been called the ultimate heart-friendly supplement. But look carefully when you’re choosing a supplement because there’s a slight difference in the type of CoQ10 out there, and it means a big difference for you. A traditional form of CoQ10, termed ubiquinone, is difficult for the body to absorb. Look for supplements with ubiquinol.
Probiotics: Probiotics seem to be everywhere these days, from the dairy aisle to grocery store shelves. They balance the ratio of good-to-bad bacteria in your intestines, and it’s not just about digestion. Probiotics help your overall health, including immune health, and are becoming necessary as the good bacteria are under siege from dietary and environmental changes in recent years. Look for supplements that only target the bad bacteria, leaving the good bacteria in your gut alone.
With any dietary supplement, it’s wise to talk with your healthcare provider about what you’re taking. And stick to the recommended dosage on the bottle.
Ed. Note: 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.