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10 Popular Health Supplements Explained

eberhartexaminer profile picture
March 14, 2014 · 1.8k Views

Vitamins are essential to daily living – they’re what keep your body growing strong and healthy and your mind sharp and happy. Here are 10 supplements you may want to start including in your diet.

1. B Vitamins

These are some of the most important supplements you can take to improve all sorts of bodily functions such as digestion, brain function, your immune system, your heart, and for boosted energy. Whether you’ve been tired, sick or generally feeling down, B-12 is the most common vitamin and can be found for less than $10 a jar at your local drugstore or supermarket.

2. Calcium

Calcium—needed for bone and muscle development—can be found in many foods, and yet many Americans don’t have enough of this vitamin in their diets. Dairy products are the best way to get calcium (milk, cheese, yogurt), but you can also eat raisins, beans and fish. Calcium citrate or lactate are the supplements most commonly taken for a calcium boost.

3. Fish Oil

So named because this type of supplement comes from cold-water fish (eat some flounder, salmon, or herring at least once a week to get your fish oil fix), what you’re really getting is omega-3 fatty acids that benefit your heart, joints, digestion, all-around blood flow, and more. Omega-3 is considered an essential fatty acid—something that our bodies don’t produce on our own but that is necessary for us to be fully healthy. Pick up a bottle of fish oil from any major drug retailer, also for around $10.

4. Folic Acid

Often used by pregnant women to help prevent children born with disorders, folic acid is also useful for both genders in prevention of Alzheimer’s and heart disease. Pick this up from your drug store for less than $5.

5. Iron

Iron is necessary for sending oxygen to various parts of the body including your brain, heart, and other organs – if you bruise easily, this might be a sign that you need more iron. Iron supplements are commonly found for cheap from most major retailers.

6. Vitamin C

If you hate taking pills, vitamin C (which keeps your immune system running smoothly) is an easy one to get by simply eating healthy. Many fruits and vegetables include this important vitamin already – grapefruit, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, and oranges. If you’re feeling really adventurous, the Kakadu plum and the camu camu plant, native to Australia and Peru respectively, hold the highest concentration of the vitamin. Vitamins at retail price are generally around $25, but you can find sales, especially in the winter.

7. Vitamin D

Remember when mom told you to go play outside? Well, she was on to something. Spending time outdoors gives you more access to those brilliant rays of sunshine, which provides the body with vitamin D, something that helps you grow strong bones and helps keep your breasts and colon healthy as well. If you stay inside much of the time, you should consider taking vitamin D pills, which can be found at your local drug store for around $10.

8. Zinc

More useful for the body’s growth into adulthood, this is not necessary for adults to take as a daily supplement, but does help growing teens. It helps the immune system but otherwise is not essential.

9. CoEnzyme Q-10

Harder to pronounce and remember than most other supplements, this nutrient is needed for cell growth, useful for heart health and energy production. The older you grow, the less Q-10 your body supplies naturally, so you’ll probably want to stop by a health shop specifically dedicated to vitamins and nutrients to find it.

10. Glucosamine

Taken by individuals who experience joint pain, this supplement has received mixed reviews from doctors who don’t always agree on how effective the vitamin is. It is often combined with other supplements like chondroitin or even pain relievers for maximum effectiveness. A bottle of glucosamine is around $12.

Not all of these are daily supplements and you should consult with a doctor before committing to any specific vitamin or nutrient.

eberhartexaminer profile picture
Jennifer Eberhart is a freelance writer currently living in New York City. She is a regular contributor to the Arts column on Examiner.com. Jennifer enjoys traveling, reading, art, religion and video. She has a master's in art history and is attempting to make it to all the museums in New York City - a much harder task than it sounds!

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