Wellness

SPY Guide: 6 Natural Supplements You Should Be Taking Every Day

Best Supplement to Take
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* Even if you live a healthy lifestyle, it’s hard to get in all your nutrients through food alone
* Prescriptions, OTC drugs and free radical damage can deplete nutrients
* Here are the natural supplements you actually need to take

In an ideal world, we’d get all of our necessary daily vitamins and nutrients directly from the food we eat. But in this day and age–in most cases–this is entirely impossible. And it’s not just our busy schedules or specialized diets that are hindering our ability to get all of our nutrients each day—it’s also the drugs we take, the environments we live in, and a slew of other factors beyond our control. For instance, many common over-the-counter and prescription drugs actually deplete the nutrients we take in, making supplements necessary.

With new diet and nutritional trends (and miracle health potions in a capsule popping up each week), it’s hard to tell the difference between what our bodies and minds actually need to function at their best and what’s just a gimmick. It’s important to consider that the types of supplements you should be taking will be tailored to your personal health history and individual needs, but these six natural supplements should be taken daily by (almost) everyone.

1. Probiotics

We tend to think of bacteria as always being bad, but that’s not the case. There’s good guys and bad guys when it comes to our microbiome. You may have been advised to supplement with a probiotic prior to starting a course of antibiotics by your doctor, but you should actually be taking a probiotic (the good bacteria) supplement everyday. Probiotics help transport food through the gut. In addition to supporting proper digestion, gut function and immune function, recent studies have shown a possible connection between good bacteria and alleviating skin conditions like acne and eczema. The two most common probiotic species are Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. Look for one with live cultures that is composed of a variety of different strains for maximum efficacy. Take at night, without food. 

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2. Omega Fatty Acids

Just like bacteria, fat is not so black and white. Consuming essential fatty acids (the good fats) is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your health. Healthy fats come in three forms: Omega 3, Omega 6 and the lesser known Omega 9. Many omega fatty acid supplements contain only Omega-3–usually in the form of fish oil. If you’re not consuming olive oil, flax and cashews on a regular basis, you may want to incorporate Omegas 6 and 9, too.  In addition to its well-researched link to boosting cardiovascular health, there’s also some solid research connecting it to better cognition, brain function, accelerated dopamine production (which explains its ability to help those suffering from depression) and even helping improve your skin, hair and nails. Can be taken any time of day, with food. 

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3. Vitamin D-3

In addition to its lengthy list of benefits, Vitamin D is a critical supplement to take because it helps your body properly absorb other nutrients from both food and other supplements you ingest. Over 80% of Vitamin D comes from exposure to the sun. In this day in age, with UV avoidance/protection at an all time high, it’s pretty tough to get all the Vitamin D necessary to reap its benefits. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium–along with a wide range of other nutrients–and is well-known for its bone strengthening and immunity boosting benefits. More recent research indicates a likely connection between Vitamin D and reduced cancer risk, but Vitamin D has yielded the most convincing connection with the prevention of breast cancer. Because some studies have shown Vitamin D’s interference with sleep, you should take it in the morning with food. 

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4. Turmeric (Curcumin)

Despite the antioxidant’s newfound fame, there’s ample research that justifies its budding ubiquity in the anti-inflammatory market. Alternative medicine journals have long praised turmeric for digestive issues, wound care and prevention of liver and heart related diseases. Recent studies have shown that tumeric has anti-tumor properties. Please don’t go to your grocer’s spice section and pick the cheapest option. The stuff you cook with isn’t as potent. Another thing: turmeric is somewhat poorly absorbed. Biperine (an active compound found in pepper) has been proven to significantly aid in the body’s absorption of turmeric. Turmeric can be taken any time of day, with or without food. 

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5. Vitamin C

You know that Vitamin C is effective for treating and preventing the common cold, but what you may not know is that this antioxidant has a lot more to offer us than simply helping our immune systems stay strong during the flu season. In fact, it’s a multi-functional powerhouse of health boosting properties, and you should be taking it everyday–not just during the cold and flu season. Vitamin C is also a collagen conductor, which helps regenerate wounds by facilitating connective tissue turnover. That’s also why it’s a great topical anti-ager. More significantly, its a well-trusted physiological antioxidant, with strong support indicating a connection between its ability to fight free radical damage, prevent or improve certain cancers and ability to regenerate the production of other anti-oxidants in the body. Take in the morning with food.

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6. Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals, vital to a wide range of bodily functions. Yet studies indicate that over 48% of the U.S. population isn’t getting enough of it. Dubbed as the underrated “orphan nutrient” in comparison to other all-star minerals like calcium, magnesium plays a vital role in regulating heart function and blood pressure, as well as keeping our bones strong. Magnesium has also been touted as an anti-stress remedy and natural muscle relaxant for its calming effects on both the central nervous system and muscular system. Natural Vitality’s Natural Calm magnesium drink comes in an easy-to-drink powder formula, to be mixed in with water or tea for an extra calming effect. Take without food. 

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