101 Supplement Guide – Which Ones to Choose?

 In nutrition&supplements

There is one question that’s hanging in our head all the time: are multivitamins good for you? Many people don’t take enough of minerals and vitamins by food, thinking that a supplement can help with boosting the nutritional lack. But there is a limited evidence that a daily cocktail of the essential vitamins and minerals actually deliver what you expect. Three new studies found that a daily multivitamin didn’t ward off heart problems, memory loss, as well as extend life span. Besides, they found out that multivitamin and mineral supplements have effect as a placebo.

Then, how to know which are the best supplements for the brain and its functions, as well as heart conditions? How to prevent pain in bones, muscles, and joints, so as diseases and disorders of the eye?


Niacin is vitamin B3, which is involved in carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It is proven that it is more important to have a higher HDL cholesterol, than a lower LDL cholesterol. Niacin may help us to achieve that, and so prevent heart disease. Boosting HDL cholesterol facilitates the transport of a cholesterol and triglycerides, so they can be extracted out of a body. Niacin is also a vasodilator that causes blood vessels to increase in diameter. There is some evidence that it might help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, and osteoarthritis, too. The side effects can be flushing and diarrhea if you get it in high doses. So, get the recommendation from your doctor.

Niacin is a water-soluble B vitamin. The best sources for it are the meat of salmon, turkey, beef and pork, as well as peanuts and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin D

 Another vitamin, which may determine your risk of a heart attack, is D vitamin. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and so it saves bones and joints from osteoporosis and arthritis. The combination of a vitamin D and Calcium is good for preventing hypocalcemic tetany. So, vitamin D participates in muscles health. Vitamin D might also play some role in the prevention and the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis. New research from the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London revealed an impact of the vitamin D on an eye health problems by improving the vision and reducing the retinal inflammation, but it stated that it may even help in preventing age-related macular degeneration. Sources of the vitamin D in food are a fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, as well as fish liver oils.  Also, vitamin D gets synthesized in the skin under the influence of a sunlight. So, if you don’t get much sun, take this vitamin by a supplement.


Calcium is a crucial mineral in a human body due to participation in many processes of the metabolism. It is important for an optimal bone health, muscle contraction, as well as brain function. Calcium is a natural tranquilizer, too. So if you need a mild remedy in order to sleep better, drink a glass of milk before going to bed.

A 2013 study from the National Institutes of Health found out that calcium in supplements could make fatty plaques in your arteries. But calcium from food sources isn’t worrisome. Most people don’t need to take calcium supplements. But if you are among those who should, consult your doctor for the proper quantity and the sources you should be using.

Food sources of calcium are milk, cheese, and yogurt, as well as leafy, green vegetables. Sardines and salmon also contain a significant amount of calcium. As a chemical supplement, calcium gets absorbed the best when taken as a form of citrate or aspartate salts with a little of vitamin C taken between meals or at bedtime.


Magnesium is a mineral, which works synergistically with calcium in almost every metabolic function so they should usually be taken together. Magnesium is absorbed best when taken as gluconate salt. You can find plenty of magnesium in squash seeds, dark leafy greens, beans, and lentils, as well as dark chocolate and dried figs.

Of the chemical preparations, calcium is absorbed best when taken as aspartate or citrate salts, while magnesium as a gluconate salt, or in form of chelate. If you want to improve memory and attention, as well as avoid lack of focus and insomnia, you should take supplements of magnesium. It is also advised for relieving symptoms of diseases of the heart and blood vessels including chest pain, irregular heartbeat or a higher blood pressure, as well as high levels of LDL and stroke. Magnesium levels in the body have been correlated to osteoporosis and arthritis, muscular strength, as well as diabetes.

Vitamin C

 The most popular vitamin is most certainly vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed for the growth and repair of the bones and joints, as well as blood vessels and muscles.  A regular absorption of calcium and magnesium isn’t possible without vitamin C, so as for a proper glucose pathway. Free radicals may have an impact on a cancer development, heart diseases, and arthritis. But vitamin C is one of the most important antioxidants where it blocks some of the damage caused by free radicals. It also helps your immune system during a cold, an inflammatory process, an increased muscular effort, and it has a role in a better eyesight. It also helps with mental fatigue and headache.

Your body doesn’t make vitamin C on its own. So you have to take it by food or supplement. One cup of strawberries or pineapple will be enough for your daily intake. But, it certainly isn’t the only vitamin C during the day. All fresh fruits and veggies contain enough amount of this vitamin and you can’t lack it. The surplus will be easily excreted from your body through urine.

Coenzyme Q10

 Coenzyme Q10 may increase heart contractility by assisting in making the energy in mitochondria. It also protects the LDL cholesterol, which has a role in atherosclerosis, from oxidizing and turning into a plaque. So, it is an important factor in preventing a heart attack by oxidative stress in the heart muscle. Coenzyme Q10 may also have a positive impact on a muscle breakdown and pain, as well as diabetes, treatment for the Parkinson’s disease and in preventing migraines.

The human body makes it naturally, but as you get older, in much smaller quantity. Therefore, you may take preventive doses from 30-100 mg per day, while therapeutic ones are greater than 100 mg per day. Meat and offals are the main source of Q10 in food, as well as the sea fish and milk products.

Omega-3 Acid

 The omega-3 acid may also prevent heart attack, and it has been shown to decrease the risk of a coronary artery disease related death. Therefore, it improves the heart rhythm and prevents a formation of a plaque inside the arteries. The impact on a healthy brain function is significant, too. Omega-3 acid improves learning and attention and helps with depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Many studies showed benefits of omega-3 acid to a chronic eye disease and bone and joint diseases, too.

The main sources of omega-3 acid are fatty sea fish and krill oil, but you can find it in chia seeds, walnuts, and cold pressured vegetable oils, too. So, if you’re serving a fish meal twice a week, you may intake enough omega-3 acid to improve your health or if you are not eating enough fish, try the supplements in a dosage of 1,000 mg daily.


 The mix of these supplements may have a potent effect on many of the risk factors for diseases of your heart, brain, muscle, eyes and joints. But, taking supplements is uninspiring and sterile, and it isn’t natural. An overall healthy diet and regular physical activity can help prevent chronic diseases much better than supplements, while you may enjoy a variety of food and active life.

Aleksandra C.
Medical student, freelancer, fitness enthusiastic.
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