The Best Dietary Supplements on the Shelf

Dietary supplements are manufactured to supplement an existing diet, by definition. Dietary supplements are not a replacement for food, although they may b…

Sometimes, less is more. This is very true for the best dietary supplements.

Walking into a nutritional supplement store or the vitamin aisle at the supermarket can be overwhelming these days, with entire shelves filled with variations of one vitamin, or five types of this mineral and 10 of that… and don’t get me started on the fitness gurus and their late night infomercials!

When all the noise settles down you’ll find yourself asking which vitamins, minerals, herbs and hormones does your body really need? That’s a great question! Which dietary supplements are the best?

The United States dietary supplement industry is a big business, with sales ranging in the $20-25 billion each year. Even though the FDA has a definition for dietary supplements, a definition alone will not determine what’s best for you. You have to understand what you’re trying to achieve and which ingredients will help you achieve those results.

Dietary supplements are manufactured to supplement an existing diet, by definition. Dietary supplements are not a replacement for food, although they may be marketed as such.

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) acknowledges that some people benefit from nutritional supplements. An illness, a pregnancy, and even extreme exercise and stress can rob your body of the nutrients. The best dietary supplements will help you to replace those nutrients and feed your cells.

The best Dietary Supplements are like “insurance” and should not regularly replace meals. However, of course there are those who cannot eat solid meals because of illness or injury. In those cases, powdered and liquid dietary supplements, such as Ensure, are ideal because they offer the calories and vitamins needed to maintain health.

Sports nutrition supplements are often used by athletes to improve performance, lose weight and gain muscle tone. There is evidence of a slight advantage for those who take these products when training.

Strong bones are important. This is why calcium is a safe and often used supplement. Calcium is found naturally in many foods such as milk, soybeans, fish, and broccoli. Still, some people just don’t eat enough of these foods to get adequate amounts of calcium.

Since many people eschew dairy because they feel it is fattening, or they have allergies, it’s especially important to get adequate amounts to help bones, skin and the entire muscular system stay supple.

Vitamin B is next in line for the best dietary supplements. These are absorbed less as you get older, so be aware of that. The B Vitamins include: B12, B6, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin and thiamin. As with calcium, B vitamins can be found in dark greens, orange juice, grains and more.

Vitamin C is on the top of the list. Some argue that you don’t need a nutritional supplement of Vitamin C; however, since it’s a water soluble vitamin, your body still may not get all it needs. Healthy skin loves Vitamin C; your immune system loves Vitamin C. Most people include plenty of this to give themselves some healthy insurance. Other than that, you’re most likely covered by your diet. Eating plenty of the right foods can give you all the vitamins you need — if they are grown in soil that is healthy.

Now let’s talk about Vitamin D. If you get at least 15 minutes a day of sunshine, you’re in the clear with Vitamin D. Liquid vitamin D is an easy solution. If you work indoors, or live in an area where the sun doesn’t shine (too often), a dietary supplement of vitamin can give your immune system a healthy boost. Yes, the sun will give you all you need. However, Vitamin D is very important to your immune system and to having healthy bones and muscles. Taking a dietary supplement that includes this simple vitamin is a good idea. Good health needs the right amount of Vitamin D.

Most importantly… work with your doctor. You medicine, prescriptions, and the best dietary supplements should work hand in hand. Most vitamins and minerals are safe. However, some of the non-water soluble minerals and vitamins can have negative reactions if you get too much.