There’s so much info floating about the social universe about supplements, and detox teas, and nonsense that it makes my head hurt. While there are certainly supplements out there that promote health and longevity, it’s so hard to tell which those are because the space is so cluttered with things marketed as “healthy” but are really just like burning money (which I’m pretty sure is illegal… ?).
The good news, and I say this all the time, is that you can get most of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs from eating a diet filled with whole and unprocessed foods. There are, however, some things that are difficult to digest from our foods, and are not as easily absorbed by our bodies, so taking a supplement would actually be beneficial.
Magnesium is most-widely known for its benefits for increasing and maintaining bone density. It aids the body in calcium absorption and metabolism, and aids in the uptake of Vitamin D in the Kidneys.Without Magnesium in the body, too much calcium in the body can cause kidney stones. Properly supplementing Magnesium, and eating foods rich in Magnesium (dark, leafy greens) can also have a myriad of other benefits, including a lower risk of hypertension, migraines, and PMS symptoms. It has also been used in the athletic community to aid in recovery, reduce the effects of stress from training, and relax the muscles.
Vitamin D is essential for bone density and calcium absorption, as well as immune health. Vitamin D is essential to preventing osteoporosis, which is increasingly more important as we age. While you can absorb some vitamin D through sunlight exposure, you’d need to be fully exposed (aka in the nude) to really get the full benefits from the sun.
Fish Oil (Or Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
Fish Oil has become increasingly more popular because of a couple of ingredients that are found to be incredibly beneficial for the human body: EPA and DHA. These are Omega-3 fatty acids that are linked to improving joint health, lowering triglyceride levels, and a myriad of other benefits. Along with EPA and DHA, there is also ALA, which is found mostly in nuts and seeds. Omega-3s are crucial to our bodies because they balance out the high amount of Omega-6s that are produced after exercise, as well as found in some of the foods we eat. Omega-6s are inflammatory, while Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, so ideally you are balancing them out daily.
Probiotics are naturally found in certain foods, however some people find that they need a little more assistance in keeping their digestion regular, and their immunity in check. Your gut health is the most important factor in keeping the rest of your body healthy and your systems running in tip-top shape, so if you are going to start anywhere, a probiotic might be the way to go! Probiotics promote Gut health, which in turn allows you to better absorb nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from the foods you eat and any other supplements you take. If you do not have a healthy gut, then you are just wasting money on other supplements, because there is a high likelihood that you’re not getting anything out of them anyway!
Supplements can add up, and if you are on a budget, it’s better to focus on getting these micronutrients, vitamins and minerals from your food rather than buying cheap supplements. But if you have the means, and are already prioritizing whole, unprocessed foods in your diet, then adding in these supplements may be what your body needs to improve health markers, or just overall feel better. It’s also worth mentioning here that you shouldn’t introduce all of these at once. Try adding in Magnesium and Vitamin D together, or try adding in a Probiotic first, and see how you feel. Treat this as an experiment- keep as many variables controlled as possible. That way you can actually see if the changes you are introducing are actually making a difference, and what changes those were.
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