Vitamin supplements promise to offer better immunity, increased health benefits and glowing skin, but do they actually help? The answer is yes… sometimes. We spoke to an expert to find out the best supplements you may need (especially during the coronavirus pandemic), and which you shouldn’t rush to stock up on.
What vitamins should I take daily?
In theory, you should be able to get all the vitamins you need from a healthy, balanced diet. That said, between our modern lifestyle and lockdown, for many people it is not always possible to maintain the types of habits you need to ensure you're getting all the nutrients you need.
Plus, due to certain circumstances your doctor may want you to take supplements. For example, it is recommended that women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant should take a 400 microgram folic acid supplement every day until they are 12 weeks pregnant.
Vitamins D, B12 and C, as well as prebiotics, iron and magnesium are the most common supplements geared toward boosting your health. However, in recent times there's a whole new trend with some new and increasingly popular options to consider adding to your regimen, including NAD+, MCT Oil and CBD.
Each supplement helps in a different way, so you'll want to take your needs, health challenges and lifestyle into consideration.
What ingredients should a multivitamin contain?
Because it is possible to have too much of certain vitamins and minerals, or for high amounts to interact negatively with medication, the best multivitamins contain vitamins and minerals at levels close to the Daily Values or Recommended Dietary Allowances.
Should you take a multivitamin? "There are potential benefits and there are no known risks at this time," noted associate professor of epidemiology Dr. Howard Sesso from the Harvard School of Public Health. "It is worth considering a multivitamin as part of a healthy lifestyle."
Vitafusion Multivite Gummy Vitamins For Adults, £17.95, Amazon
From vitamin D, which you may need because of spending too much time indoors, to magnesium to help you sleep and NAD+ for fatigue, discover the best supplements to take to help you stay as healthy as possible.
There’s no denying our lack of sunlight in the UK, and this could mean many of us have low levels of vitamin D – particularly when we're stuck indoors during lockdown. Tom Jenane, Nutrition & Fitness Expert for Nature’s Health Box told HELLO!: "The sun may cause havoc to our skin, but it is also our main source of Vitamin D. We tend not to get out enough to gain our recommended intake of Vitamin D, especially during the winter months, which can increase the importance of supplementing.
"I’m personally quite a big fan of the vitamin sprays, as they are highly convenient to take first thing in the morning alongside breakfast ."
Better You Dlux daily vitamin D oral spray, £7.95, Amazon
Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D 2000 IU Extra Strength, £8.50, Boots
Innermost's Focus capsules contain research-backed ingredient choline, proven to fast-track cognitive performance while reducing mental fatigue at the same time. Pop one a day to put paid to concentration struggles.
Focus capsules x 30, £18.95, Innermost
"Much has been made of the gut brain axis over the past few years, as we begin to understand more about the connection between our gut and how we feel emotionally," says Tom. "This has also fortunately led to more people investing in both probiotics and prebiotics, which can also help you to keep your immune system healthy.
"On top of this, you might want to take some added zinc in order to further support your immune system."
Healthspan Easyfibre Inulin prebiotic soluble fibre, £12.95, Healthspan
Pregnant women are often advised to take iron supplements, and they can also be helpful for some others. Vegetarians and vegans may benefit, as the richest sources of iron are meat and seafood.
Those who have heavy periods may also benefit from increasing their iron levels with supplements.
Spatone Daily Iron Shots liquid iron supplement, £9.81, Amazon
NAD+ is a critical coenzyme found in every cell in your body, and it’s involved in hundreds of important metabolic processes. It helps to jumpstart the energy that is then used for every single thing we do, so supplements that include NAD+ are especially good for helping with fatigue.
Tru Niagen NAD+ in 300 mg capsules, £39.95, Superdrug
"If you have trouble sleeping at night, you may find your consumption of magnesium is falling short," says Tom. "If so, before supplementing, I’d recommend adding more spinach, avocado, bananas, broccoli, kidney beans and cabbage to your diet. If you still need to supplement on top, then the Higher Nature magnesium capsules are very highly rated."
Higher Nature effervescent magnesium tablets, £8.18, Amazon
There's no denying that we all need vitamin C, but where we get it from should ideally be the food we consume. Orange, kiwi, broccoli, kale, cauliflower and more are all high in the vitamin, but in desperate times you could tun to a supplement to top up your intake.
Healthspan Vitamin C gummies, £6.95, Amazon
According to Tom, protein shakes are one thing you really don’t need, and there are better alternatives, such as MCT oil. “I would certainly avoid most pre-workout shakes,” he says. “They tend to have a number of ingredients which aren’t great for your body and are often high in sugar. You should try to avoid any that contain Acesulfame Potassium, DMAA, yohimbe or excessive amounts of caffeine. One alternative is to make a bulletproof coffee, or simply just supplementing with MCT oil." MCT, which stands for medium-chain triglyceride, is an essential fatty acid found in foods such as coconut oil which has been linked to health benefits including weight loss and boosting metabolism.
Nature's Aid 100% Pure MCT Oil, £18.99, Holland & Barrett
Your energy levels might feel low from being indoors all day during the coronavirus pandemic, but a deficiency in B12 could also be playing a part. It's found in a lot of foods including meat, eggs and milk products, but can also be upped through nutritional yeast which, handily, also doubles up as a cheesy-tasting topping for salads and vegetables.
Engevita nutritional yeast flakes with added B12, £3.49, Holland & Barrett
Incite Nutrition easy-to-swallow vitamin B12 tablets, £9.99, Amazon
Chances are coronavirus has brought about one of the following: aches and pains from new home workouts, anxiety or sleep disruption. Whichever it is, Pure Sport CBD is the answer. It's an Olympic Standard Certified brand, offering cannabinoid (that's cannabis without the bad bits to you and I) in oil form from entirely natural ingredients that will leave you feeling light as a feather both physically and mentally. Try the 2000mg product for 20 per cent active CBD fused with MCT oil to boost effectiveness.
2000mg CBD oil, £102.99, Pure Sport CBD
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