Did you know that more than three in four people in the United States take one or more types of supplements? Better overall health and wellbeing, in turn, is one of the top reasons they take such products.
Fortunately, there’s evidence that specific dietary supplements can benefit some people. For instance, they can fill in nutritional insufficiencies or deficiencies. They may also help individuals whose bodies have difficulties absorbing nutrients.
However, it’s vital to note that supplements can also put you at risk of excessive intake. For that reason, you’d want to know first what nutrients you lack so that you know which supplements to take.
To that end, we created this guide on the most common forms of supplements. Read on to discover what they are, the ingredients they contain, and how they may help.
In the US alone, dietary supplement sales totaled $55.75 billion in 2020. That’s a massive increase from the previous year’s total sales of $48.67 billion. Vitamin supplements, in turn, had the most significant contribution to that growth.
Vitamins, after all, are critical to the body’s daily functions, including cellular processes. These include cell growth, reproduction, and energy processing. Some also help the body absorb and use other nutrients more effectively.
There are 13 essential vitamins that the body needs to function correctly. These include vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the eight B vitamins that make up the vitamin B complex.
Most of those vitamins are available as stand-alone supplements. That means the products contain only specific vitamins. That makes them a good choice for people with particular nutrient inadequacies.
For example, suppose you’re part of the 41% of US adults with vitamin D deficiency. If that’s the sole nutrient you lack, then a vitamin D supplement may be the only supplement you need. You may not have to take a multivitamin, as doing so may put you at risk of nutritional excess.
On the other hand, if you lack more than one vitamin, a multivitamin may be a better choice. These supplements contain more than one vitamin, and, sometimes, minerals and even herbs.
Those extra ingredients can interact with some drugs, though. So, if you’re on any medication, be sure to talk to your doctor before you take multivitamins.
There are 15 essential minerals. Seven are macrominerals, while six are trace minerals.
The body needs higher amounts of macrominerals, including calcium and magnesium. While trace minerals like iron and copper are just as crucial, you only need them in smaller doses.
Either way, essential minerals play many roles in the health and function of your organs. For instance, they are necessary to keep the bones, brain, heart, and muscles healthy. They also help the body make enzymes and hormones.
So, it’s not surprising that a lack of minerals can result in fatigue, weak bones, or poor immunity.
Unfortunately, many people in the US don’t get enough minerals from their food. For example, more than half of people in the US don’t meet the daily requirement for magnesium. That’s on top of the 44.1% who also fail to reach their daily calcium intake needs.
If you’re one of those individuals, consider taking mineral or multimineral supplements. For instance, you can take a magnesium supplement if you’re short on magnesium. If you lack more than one mineral, though, it might be better to go with a multimineral supplement.
Herbals and Botanicals
There are 50,000 to 80,000 flowering plants used for medicinal purposes worldwide. Herbal and botanical supplements use many of those plants as their main ingredients.
Many people take herbals and botanicals as natural home remedies for health woes. For example, some people with depression use supplements with St. John’s wort. Others may use products with lavender to help with anxiety or sleep.
Just remember that it’s illegal for supplement manufacturers to make health claims. So, it’s best to avoid products that still tout to treat health conditions. Aside from breaking the law, the claims they make are most likely unfounded.
Sports Nutrition Supplements
Sports supplements are dietary supplements often used to improve exercise and athletic performance. For example, some people take them to improve endurance or aid in muscle building. Others use them to reduce the odds of training injuries or help them recover after workouts.
Creatine, protein, and caffeine supplements are some of the most popular sports supplements. However, there are also specialty products that contain a mix of those ingredients. You can find them online at GNC.com, Bodybuilding.com, or Wilsonsupplements.
Weight Loss Supplements
Weight loss supplements are dietary supplements purported to promote weight loss. For example, some manufacturers claim that their products can help reduce appetite. Others say that their supplements can help increase metabolism.
Either way, weight loss supplements are popular; this segment alone was worth $6.5 billion in 2020. However, experts say that many don’t cause the dramatic weight loss they claim.
Of course, it’s up to you if you still want to try supplements for weight loss. Just be sure not to rely on them alone; it’s always best to exercise often and eat healthier meals. Lastly, don’t forget to talk to your physician before taking these products.
Specialty supplements are dietary supplements used for specific health concerns.
For example, some people take fiber supplements to help lower blood pressure. Others use them to help stabilize their blood sugar levels.
Probiotics are another example of specialty supplements. According to experts, these friendly bacteria may improve gut, heart, and skin health. They also have properties that may boost immune and oral health.
Talk to Your Doc Before Using These Types of Supplements
There you have it, your ultimate guide on the types of supplements you can get today. Now, you know that some of them, particularly vitamins and minerals, may benefit you. However, it’s still best to talk to your doctor first before taking any of them.
That way, your physician can help determine which nutrients you need. From there, they can help you choose the best supplements for your needs.
Ready for more tips on how to achieve optimal health and wellbeing? Feel free to read our other guides then!