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Top 5 Supplements for Better Health

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David is an army-trained biomedical scientific officer, writer, and lifelong health and fitness enthusiast.

In addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, there are several daily supplements that can help you maintain your overall health.

In addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, there are several daily supplements that can help you maintain your overall health.

The Top 5 Supplements

If you want to live a long life and stay in great health, you need to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need on a daily basis. But it’s very difficult to get them all from our diet these days, so we need to look to proven supplements to make up for the shortfall.

However, there are hundreds of different supplements on the market today, so how do we know which of them are worth taking? Well, here are the top five supplements you can take to ensure you stay in the best of health for as long as possible.

  1. Multivitamins
  2. Omega-3 Fish Oil
  3. Probiotics
  4. Vitamin D
  5. Coenzyme Q10

1. Multivitamins

The food we eat these days is not what it used to be, so it's extremely difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals we need each day, even if we try to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Therefore, taking a good quality multivitamin supplement is of utmost importance.

A good multivitamin should contain the full range of vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients in sufficient quantity and in a highly bioavailable form to ensure maximum benefit. Multivitamins made from whole food sources, such as those supplied by MegaFood or Garden of Life, are best, but there are a number of other good brands on the market as well.

2. Omega-3 Fish Oil

This arguably should be in the number one position since we do not get nearly enough omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. We do, however, get plenty of omega-6s, and this imbalance contributes to increased inflammation in our bodies, which leads to poor health and disease.

Omega-3s are essential nutrients that have numerous benefits. For instance, they improve cardiovascular health, brain and central nervous system function, skin tone and quality, and joint condition. They also promote faster healing and recovery from exercise, and they help to reduce inflammation in the body.

It’s important to get a good quality brand that is free from heavy metals and other environmental toxins, as well as providing omega-3s with high bioavailability and potency.

The best one I have found is Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega. This is a high-quality product that is extremely pure and potent. It is derived from wild-caught fish and comes in the natural triglyceride form, which can be absorbed a lot more easily than the synthetic ethyl ester form. In addition, you won't get those fishy burps that you often get with cheap omega-3 supplements.

3. Probiotics

Good health starts in the intestines, and good intestinal health helps maintain the health of the entire body. That’s why a good probiotic supplement comes in at number three on my list of the top five supplements.

Probiotics, or "friendly bacteria," are essential for proper intestinal function and good digestive health. They also play an important part in supporting our immune system, helping to keep harmful bacteria and yeasts in check. Our modern diet, lifestyle, and environment tend to deplete us of these vital organisms, however, hence supplementation becomes necessary.

For the best results, choose a brand that contains at least five billion colony forming units (CFU) per capsule. It should also contain a variety of effective strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, and Bifidobacterium bifidum. And it should use a delivery system that ensures a high percentage of the bacteria will reach your intestines alive.

Dr. Marco Ferrucci talks about three of the most important nutritional supplements that everyone should take

4. Vitamin D

If you don't get out in the sun on a regular basis, chances are, you are vitamin D deficient. This vital nutrient (which is not really a vitamin but a hormone precursor) is essential for strong bones, a healthy immune system, and normal cell function. In larger doses, it helps protect against heart disease and various types of cancer, and there is also evidence to suggest it can help fight type 2 diabetes, arthritis, cognitive decline, and depression.

If you are taking a multivitamin that contains at least 1000 IU of vitamin D3, you probably won't need to take any extra. Otherwise, take 1000–3000 IU per day, either in the morning or early afternoon, as taking vitamin D later in the day may interfere with sleep patterns.

5. Coenzyme Q10.

Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) is essential for the production of energy in the mitochondria of our cells, and as such, acts as a potent, energy-enhancing supplement. It is also a powerful antioxidant and helps to recycle other antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, so that they can continue to be active.

On top of this, coenzyme Q10 assists in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. It helps reduce inflammation in the body, and it increases fat-burning during exercise. It is also useful in the treatment of various diseases, such as heart disease, Parkinson’s, diabetes, periodontal disease, and several others.

Although coenzyme Q10 is found in a number of foods, it is only present in very small amounts. We also manufacture it in our bodies naturally, but our ability to do this decreases with age, and tissue levels drop off rapidly. This makes it an essential supplement—especially for anyone over 40.

For the best results, you need to take at least 100 mg per day in a softgel form since these are much better absorbed than the powdered form (hard capsules).

Final Thoughts

Although supplements cannot take the place of a healthy and balanced diet (that should always come first), these are the top five supplements you should take each day to help ensure you stay in the best possible health.

References

Multivitamins

Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?

Omega 3's

Historical overview of n-3 fatty acids and coronary heart disease

Fish consumption and blood lipids in three ethnic groups of Québec (Canada)

Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases

Healing fats of the skin: the structural and immunologic roles of the ω-6 and ω-3 fatty acids

Probiotics

Live probiotics protect intestinal epithelial cells from the effects of infection with enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (EIEC)

Potential uses of probiotics in clinical practice

Probiotics and medical nutrition therapy

Vitamin D

Vitamin D and Health

Coenzyme Q10

The effect of coenzyme Q10 on morbidity and mortality in chronic heart failure: results from Q-SYMBIO: a randomized double-blind trial

Effects of coenzyme Q10 in early Parkinson disease: evidence of slowing of the functional decline

Novel CoQ10 antidiabetic mechanisms underlie its positive effect: modulation of insulin and adiponectine receptors, Tyrosine kinase, PI3K, glucose transporters, sRAGE and visfatin in insulin resistant/diabetic rats

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

David (author) from Birmingham, UK on June 28, 2013:

Yes, cod liver oil is a great supplement. Glad you liked the hub peachpurple.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on June 28, 2013:

I take cod liver oil every day and probiotic 3 days once. There are so many more health supplement in store. Great hub with full details. Voted up

David (author) from Birmingham, UK on June 28, 2013:

Thanks Jabelufiroz; glad you liked it.

Firoz from India on June 27, 2013:

Good article. Voted up.

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