Do you want to lose weight quickly?
Are you sleepy?
Is your hair kind of gross?
Try a supplement!
There are hundreds of them.
Surely one of them can help you.
Right? Well, maybe not.
Supplements are a multi-billion dollar business. Unlike prescription drugs, the US government doesn’t regulate manufacturer claims about what supplements “could” do for you or how well they do it. It only steps in when they may be harmful.
Many supplements include vitamins or minerals that are meant to enhance you in some way or make up for a deficiency in your body. And yes, there’s other supplement products including herbals, protein supplements and enzymes – but let’s focus on vitamins and minerals in multivitamins, the best vitamin supplements out there, for now.
Your body needs these molecules and elements to survive, but can’t make them on its own, so you’ve got to get them from food. Supplements are meant to, well, supplement what you might be missing from your diet.
Doctors and scientists agree you can’t miss out on these 13 vitamins.
Here is a list of the best vitamins
What it does: maintains healthy teeth and bones, monitors the state of the mucous membranes and skin.
Vitamin B1 (T
What it does: it turns carbohydrates into energy and also helps regulate the function of the heart and nerve cells.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
What it does: promotes the production of red blood cells, helps other B vitamins to do their job.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
What it does: maintains healthy skin and nervous system, reduces cholesterol levels.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic A
What it does: it metabolizes food, helps produce hormones and “good” cholesterol.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
What it does: helps create red blood cells, supports brain function, optimizes protein intake.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
What it does: it metabolizes protein and carbohydrates, helps produce “good” cholesterol and hormones.
What it does: it is important for the metabolism, in general, helps to form red blood cells and supports the normal functioning of the nervous system.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
What it does: antioxidant, promotes healthy teeth and gums, helps the absorption of iron, accelerates the processes of regeneration.
What it does: helps the body absorb calcium.
What it does: An antioxidant, helps produce red blood cells and use vitamin K effectively.
What it does: helps to coagulate blood, promotes bone health.
What it does: interacts with vitamin B21 in the production of red blood cells, which are necessary for the formation of the structure of DNA (for this reason, pregnant women often take folate).
You also need minerals, which are elements like iron, potassium, or magnesium.
Best vitamin supplements for weight loss
Many people get enough vitamins and minerals from their diets, but certain groups of people can benefit from supplements.
For example, if you’ve got a
A doctor can diagnose that kind of deficiency and recommend what to take and how much. And certain kinds of supplements, like vitamin D and folic Acid, can help new and expecting mothers reduce the risk of birth defects and low-birth weight babies.
You get way more nutritional bang-for-your-buck from food, since you’re getting more than just vitamins and minerals.
You’re also gobbling up beneficial plant compounds called phytochemicals, fiber and other good stuff that you don’t get from supplements.
Some researchers still recommend taking a multivitamin as insurance against lapses in our diet.
But there’s not a whole lot of evidence that show benefits of taking vitamins and minerals.
Study after study has shown that vitamin and mineral supplements, especially “one a day” multivitamins, aren’t worth it.
One analysis of randomized controlled trials – the gold standard of scientific studies – looked at 90 people and found that a multivitamin or multi mineral didn’t change their risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease or early death.”
Quick fun fact, vitamin C is not the end all be all for colds that you might think it is.
Yes, vitamin C plays a role in your immune system.
But taking more than 10% of the daily recommended dose is not going to ward off a cold.
It’s just going to make your pee more orange.
So there’s very little evidence that taking vitamin supplements will make you healthier, or smarter, or more beautiful.
In some cases, taking too much can be harmful.
One study found that more than 20 people go to the ER each year from an overdose, allergic reaction or other adverse effects related to supplements.
Investigations have also found that some supplements don’t even contain any of the vitamins or minerals they claim to!
A few have shown to be effective, but many more show no evidence of improving health.
Again, most of the health claims from supplement makers simply aren’t supported by scientific evidence.
Fish oil, whose omega-3 fatty acids are supposed to ensure heart health, and choline, which people take in the hope it will ward off dementia, are both short on evidence of benefits when taken as a supplement.
So should YOU take supplements?
There is some disagreement here.
Some experts say you should take multivitamins as nutritional insurance, while some say they’re a waste of money for people who get all or most of their nutrients from a balanced diet.
For others with serious nutrient deficiencies or restricted diets, they can help when taken under medical supervision.
But everybody agrees that even if you take a multivitamin, it won’t help if you’re eating a pizza-based diet.
The ideal route to getting your vitamins and minerals is through good food, NOT through supplements.
According to the University of California’s Berkeley Wellness program, “If multivitamins have an effect – good or bad – it is likely to be small.”
Ask your doctor, do your own research and stay skeptical.
However …, just because a supplement doesn’t give the benefits it claims doesn’t mean that little pill can’t help.
Best vitamin supplement brands
- Nature Made