Americans are some of the most overfed and yet undernourished people on the planet, and it shows.
The United States ranks 40th in the developed world for life expectancy even though we spend far more per person on health care than any other country. A new study from the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine says that the life-expectancy gap between the US and other developed countries is only getting larger.
Proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle play an important role in helping prevent many major diseases, like heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. However, getting the adequate nutrition in our diets can be a challenge...even if you eat all organic foods!!
Let’s take a look:
•Our bodies cannot produce many of the nutrients we need, so they must be found in the food we eat and the supplements we take every day. Additionally, if the food we are eating is lacking nutrients, then supplementing can really be beneficial in staying healthy.
•Most people say that they eat well, but research shows that 80 percent of Americans are not eating enough servings of fruits and vegetables.i We are also not getting enough Omega- 3 oils (EPA/DHA), antioxidants, B vitamins or a host of other nutrients our bodies need.
•The nutritional content of our food has changed. A 2004 study of common crops showed a decline in the nutrient content between 6 and 38 percent over the past 50 years.ii
•The amount of processed food that we eat has been on a steady climb ever since the invention of the refrigerator. Today, most of us eat more processed food than non-processed food. Convenience has become more prized than quality.
•Our high stress and fast paced lives increases our needs for nutrients, especially the B vitamins.
•The world is a much more toxic place than it used to be. Our bodies are exposed to more pollutants and under more oxidative stress than ever before. We need optimum nutrition in order to help our bodies battle these stresses.
None of us are perfect, there are days when you might eat well, but then days when you don’t. A multivitamin, along with other key nutritional supplements can be the insurance policy you are looking for to fill in those nutritional gaps that may leave us vulnerable.
We created this list of the top supplements you should take every day in order to maximize your overall health.
The first place you should start is with a multivitamin. This lays the foundation and gives your body the basic nutrition it needs. But you don’t want to stop at only a multivitamin because your body could use so much more.
Omega-3 fatty acids (such as EPA and DHA) have been shown to help lower triglycerides, stroke and heart disease risk, help with blood pressure, and have also been shown to be helpful in dealing with rheumatoid arthritis, depression, asthma, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.i
Most of us don’t get nearly enough vitamin C in our diet. Vitamin C is essential for collagen production, wound healing, the absorption of iron, and our immune system. Since vitamin C is rapidly used in the body, look for a sustained-release form.ii
Vitamin D is essential for calcium metabolism; if you want healthy bones you need vitamin D. Vitamin D also supports our immune system and having optimum blood levels of Vitamin D may be helpful in cardiovascular health and may reduce your risk of certain cancers, and even depression.iii
The B vitamins help regulate carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. They help with DNA synthesis and repair, help to lower homocysteine, and are helpful for functions from stress management to energy metabolism.iv
Vitamin K is not as well known as other nutrients, but it is essential to our health and generally lacking in our diet because we don’t eat enough green leafy vegetables. Vitamin K is essential for bone mineralization, normal blood clotting, and wound healing.v
Most people know that calcium is important for bones and osteoporosis is a major concern with our aging society, but calcium is also helpful for maintaining normal blood pressure, and may play a role in weight loss.vi
Antioxidants are essential for protecting our bodies against free-radical damage–which may be one of the reasons why we age. The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables; look for supplements containing vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zinc, and selenium.vii
While not a nutrient, probiotics make our list because they are essential for proper digestive functioning. Probiotics are microorganisms that support the normal functioning of the whole digestive tract and may reduce the tendencies many have for constipation and diarrhea. They also help with excessive gas and even conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.viii
These vitamin-like compounds found in food are great antioxidants.ix They also support a strong immune system and help maintain overall wellness and long-term health of the eyes, heart, skin and lungs.
I only use the Shaklee brand supplements because they are the best and most trusted brand out there. I have been using Shaklee’s supplements for past 2 years. They are the only supplements that I will give Liam (and Hazel will get them too once she is old enough). I highly recommended them to anyone looking for natural product that actually works.
|i||Fetterman JW Jr, Zdanowicz MM. Therapeutic potential of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in disease. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2009 Jul 1;66(13):1169-79. PMID: 19535655.|
|ii||Deruelle F, Baron B. Vitamin C: is supplementation necessary for optimal health? J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Dec;14(10):1291-8. PMID: 19032072.|
|iii||Marcinowska-Suchowierska E, Walicka M, Tałałaj M, Horst-Sikorska W,et al. Vitamin D supplementation in adults-guidelines. Endokrynol Pol. 2010 Nov-Dec;61(6):723-9. PMID:21104649.|
|iv||Thompson J. Vitamins and minerals 4: overview of folate and the B vitamins. Community Pract. 2006 Jun;79(6):197-8. PMID: 16780289.|
|v||Iwamoto J, Sato Y, Takeda T, Matsumoto H. High-dose vitamin K supplementation reduces fracture incidence in postmenopausal women: a review of the literature. Nutr Res. 2009 Apr;29(4):221-8. PMID: 19410972.|
|vi||Shahar DR, Schwarzfuchs D, Fraser D, et al. Dairy calcium intake, serum vitamin D, and successful weight loss. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Nov;92(5):1017-22. PMID: 20810979.|
|vii||Fusco D, Colloca G, Lo Monaco MR, Cesari M. Effects of antioxidant supplementation on the aging process. Clin Interv Aging. 2007;2(3):377-87. PMID: 18044188.|
|viii||Veerappan GR, Betteridge J, Young PE. Probiotics for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2012 Aug;14(4):324-33. PubMed PMID: 22581276.|
|ix||Khachik F, Beecher GR, Smith JC Jr. Lutein, lycopene, and their oxidative metabolites in chemoprevention of cancer. J Cell Biochem Suppl. 1995;22:236-46.PMID: 8538204.|
|i||Krebs-Smith SM, Guenther PM, Subar AF, Kirkpatrick SI, Dodd KW. Americans do not meet federal dietary recommendations. J Nutr. 2010;140:1832–1838.|
|ii||Davis DR, Epp MD, Riordan HD. Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Dec;23(6):669-82. PMID: 15637215.|