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If you’ve ever found yourself in “supplement lingo” wondering which ones are actually worth the time (and daily commitment!) you’ve come to the right place. We’re talking about the best vitamins and supplements you can take that support your overall health. It can be information overload when it comes to sorting through recommendations and most of the time we’re still left asking “what are the most important supplements to take?”

The truth is the answer to this question totally depends on your body and your needs. Vitamins and supplements can be a great way to support healthy immune function and add micronutrients that you may be lacking from your diet. So which supplements should you be adding to your daily routine? We’ve put together a list of the top 9 supplements you should know about. Of course it is always a good idea to consult your doctor first to determine which supplements may be right for you.


1. B Complex

All of your B vitamins rolled up into one. B complex includes thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid, B-6, and B-12 which are all necessary to support cellular function and repair. They also help boost energy and memory. B-12 is especially important to supplement for people who are vegan or eat a primarily plant-based diet since meat is a main source of this vitamin. Look for the methylated forms which are more easily absorbed so your body can use them faster. 

2. Vitamin D3

Important for many health reasons, but most notably vitamin D3 supports a healthy immune system and strengthens bones & muscles. A main source of vitamin D is the sun, so not surprisingly many of us that live north of the equator are severely lacking this important vitamin. The recommended intake for healthy adults varies but is anywhere from 15 mcg-50 mcg (600 IU-2,000 IU) per day. Vitamin D levels are typically part of routine blood work at your annual check-up so your doctor will be able to tell you if you require higher levels of supplementation.  

3. Vitamin C

Also called ascorbic acid is a strong antioxidant that supports immune function. It also plays a vital role in collagen formation and helps to repair body tissues. We often hear about vitamin C when it comes to staying healthy and fighting off colds. While vitamin C may not prevent you from getting a cold, it has been shown to shorten or decrease the severity. This is because vitamin C is stored in immune cells and is quickly depleted during an infection, like the common cold. Adding a vitamin C supplement  can help restore your levels and support healthy immune function. 

 

4. Spirulina

This super-nutrient belongs to the blue-green algae family and is loaded with vitamins and minerals linked to numerous health benefits. Gram for gram spirulina may be one of the most nutritious foods on the planet! Just one tablespoon (7 grams) provides 4 grams of protein, omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids, and other important minerals like magnesium, potassium, and manganese. Thanks to the active component, phycocyanin, spirulina is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect against inflammation. You can find this in tablet or powder form. The powder form is best when mixed into a smoothie!

 

 

5. Probiotics

Keeping our gut happy has SO many more benefits than just improving digestion. Probiotics are a great way to keep your microbiome (aka your gut bacteria) happy so your entire body can reap the benefits. Gut health is linked to strong immune function, brain health, heart health, improved mood and healthy sleep. Probiotics contain live, good bacteria that help maintain a healthy balance of good vs bad bacteria in your body. They will commonly contain strains ofLactobacillus andBifidobacterium. Probiotic supplements come as capsules and vary in terms of storage requirements (ex. some require refrigeration while others are fine at room temp). 


6. Turmeric

Yes I’m talking about that bright yellow powder that you’ve probably seen in your spice cabinet before! Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is known to have potent anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes throughout India and Southeast Asia. Because of its strong anti inflammatory actions, turmeric may protect against heart disease and other inflammatory conditions. It has also been known for improving skin health, and has been studied for its role in anti aging.

Important: on its own, turmeric does not absorb well and you need to take it with black pepper to help increase the absorption. Look for supplements that already contain black pepper in their formulation. 


7. Lion’s Mane

A mushroom that supports brain health? Sign me up for that! Lion’s mane is an adaptogen which is a class of herbs that helps your body “adapt” to all kinds of stressors we face every single day. They have a protective effect while also supporting overall health, energy, and mood. Lion’s mane specifically has been studied for its role in improving cognitive function (goodbye brain fog), mood, and focus. It has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that neutralize free radicals, preventing them from damaging cells. You can find Lion’s Mane in capsules, but our favorite way to take it is to mix a tablespoon of the powder into a smoothie! 


8. Maca

Maca is a tuberous root that also has adaptogenic properties. It is known for being an energy powerhouse and contributes to overall wellbeing. What’s great about this herb is that while it does not contain any caffeine, it provides sustained energy without the  jitters or crash. By supporting energy levels throughout the day, it can also improve your overall mood. Sprinkle some maca powder in your favorite smoothie, oatmeal, or even coffee. Make sure to look for a gelatinized form which is more easily digested.  


9. Melatonin

A natural hormone produced by our bodies that plays a big role in our circadian rhythm (aka your internal clock that tells you when it’s time to go to sleep, wake up, and eat). Melatonin levels rise throughout the day, peaking at night to help us fall asleep. Unfortunately, this can easily be disturbed by a bunch of things we encounter every single day like stress and unnatural light (yet another reason to stop staring at your phone right before bed)! Taking melatonin can be useful to get your circadian rhythm back on track can promote consistent, quality sleep. Typical doses range from 1-3 mg and it’s important to note that you should take melatonin only when you’re ready for bed!

While there are a ton of options out there, the supplements you choose to take should be tailored specifically toyourneeds. Make sure to do your research and when in doubt work with your doctor to find out which ones are right for you based on your health goals! 

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