I started taking vitamins and supplements several years ago after I had my fourth baby. It's really hard to know which ones to take, but after reading up on it, it becomes clear that we just can't get the nutrients we need by eating a regular diet, even a really healthy one. Going on and off of my supplements through the years, I can say for sure that I feel and look healthier when I am taking them daily. After a lot of research, here is a list of the ones I feel cover all the bases.
Lysine: An essential Amino Acid thought to help the body produce infection-fighting antibodies, enzymes, hormones, and body tissues. Proponents claim that lysine supplements can also boost the immune system, as well as aid in muscle repair. A noticeable benefit for me personally is that I no longer get painful cold sores...and I used to have them constantly.
Multivitamin: We live in a stressed out, germ-infested, polluted world. We need to take extra measures to make sure we are getting the nutrients our bodies need. As mentioned above, healthy diets can be lacking in important vitamins. A daily whole food based multivitamin will optimize cellular function and keep your body running like a well-oiled machine throughout the day. There is no doubt that when I forget to take mine, I can feel it head to toe. I take one that is specifically designed for women over 40. It addresses all sorts of stuff that is related to my gender and age, so I don't have to think about it.
Vitamin D3: It's impossible to get the Vitamin D we need from food, so unless you're out in the sun a ton, which is not ideal for your skin, you need a good supplement. Vitamin D plays a key role in disease prevention by creating hundreds of important enzymes and proteins, promoting stronger muscles and protecting bones. It also builds up the immune system and acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body. Neglecting to take sufficient amounts of Vitamin D can leave you vulnerable to heart disease, cancer and diabetes. I never skip a day.
Fish Oil: This is my number one supplement and I cannot be without it. I don't eat any seafood, so I definitely need to get my essential omega-3 fatty acids from another source. My kids get a daily dose as well. Never mind how strong and gorgeous your skin, hair and nails will be, fish oil is just an all-around key to wellness. It helps fight inflammation and chronic disease, while promoting good cardiovascular, joint and vision health. It helps your body absorb nutrients more effectively and enhances metabolic function. It even helps improve attention, mood and memory.
Probiotics: I introduced a daily Probiotic drink into my diet relatively recently. Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in our guts. They help keep us in good health, by aiding in digestion and boosting our immune systems. They produce key nutrients and limit yeast and unhealthy bacteria growth. A poor diet, stress, pollution and antibiotics can all destroy the healthy bacteria we need, so you really should be taking a daily Probiotic to insure you are staying in the right zone. I take Inner-Eco every day, which I buy in the refrigerated section on the vitamin aisle at Whole Foods. I give it to my kids and sneak it into the dog bowl on occasion. Great stuff...you'll feel and see a marked improvement in your skin health too.
Acetyl Glutathione: Glutathione kind of reminds me of C-Firma, but for the inside of your body. Both are very powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals. Glutathione also regulates our metabolism and plays an important role in proper mitochondrial function and energy production. Chronic illness, toxins, stress and aging not only deplete stores of our body's supply of glutathione, but also can keep us from producing as much. A lack of it is directly related to almost every aging function in our body.
CoQ10: An extremely powerful antioxidant that offers benefits no matter who you are. It has anti-aging properties, increases energy and can lead to improved cardiovascular and cellular health. I read recently that if you have a pronounced vertical crease going from the bottom of your ear opening down to the tip of your lobe, that it's a tell-tale sign of heart troubles later on. Of course, I have the line. No clue if it is a wrinkle from my heavy earrings or some scary foreshadowing, but it's one of the reasons I take this supplement daily just to be on the safe side.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid: The amount we naturally produce on our own decreases with age. To get more of it, take a supplement and eat your broccoli, red meat and collard greens because it's important stuff. It's another strong antioxidant needed to fight inflammation, balance blood-sugar and protect collagen (we love that about it), thus helping us maintain healthy skin. It also boosts the effectiveness of other antioxidants in the body, promotes nerve health and detoxifies. I didn't need convincing when I read about what it does for our body.
Astaxanthin: Often referred to as the "king of the carotenoids," Astaxanthin is naturally-occurring and can be found in algae, shrimp, lobster, crab and salmon. Carotenoids are pigment colors that occur in nature and support good health. Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant with broad health implications and unlike other antioxidants, never becomes pro-oxidant in the body. It is beneficial in fighting inflammation and fatigue, supports eye health, cleans up the cells and provides skin and sunscreen protection. You can find it in our Umbra Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30 sunscreen.
B Complex: Helping break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates in our bodies, B Complex helps with everything from our heart and immune system all the way to our mood, stress-levels and even chronic headaches. It even seems to help around that time of the month (when nothing else seems to.) B Vitamins are like busy bees, involved in all of our body's daily operations, so it's something you don't want to skip. When our bodies are depleted, you'll know it because you just won't feel as well.
Wishing all of you good health and wellness!
p.s. Whole foods can be very expensive and you'll be surprised how much money you can save by shopping for supplements online. Just make sure it is always from a trusted source...