Taking daily supplements can have health benefits including protecting against heart disease and strokes, as well as fighting bone loss. Medical experts say these five vitamins and minerals benefit the body and mind.
“For years, doctors have known that people who eat fish regularly enjoy some protection against heart disease and stroke,” say the experts at Harvard Medical School. “For people [at risk for] cardiovascular disease who don’t eat fish regularly, taking a fish oil supplement is reasonable.”
“People who are low in magnesium tend to have higher depression,” points out Kara Burnstine, a nutrition educator at Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami. Chronically low levels can also increase your chances of having heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. So if you’re not getting enough magnesium from greens, nuts or beans, a supplement can help.
“Vitamin B-12 is important for brain cell communication. Cells need it to function,” says Dr. Nakeisha Rodgers, geriatrician and author of Secrets of Sassy, Savvy Seniors. And while B-12 is present in foods of animal origin — including fish, meat, poultry and eggs — if you’re not getting enough or follow a vegetarian diet, a supplement could be the way to go.
“Too many Americans fall short of getting the amount of calcium they need every day, and that can lead to bone loss, low bone density and even broken bones,” explains the Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation. “The amount you need from a supplement depends on how much you get from food [such as milk, yogurt and cheese].”
“People get vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. But if they spend more time indoors, they may need to take a supplement,” say the folks at UnitedHealthcare. The body needs vitamin D not only to absorb calcium from the foods you eat, but also to help strengthen muscles, control infection and reduce inflammation.