What supplements should you be taking?


Aside from vitamins, foods like walnuts are rich in Omega3s. (Flickr Creative Commons/La Belle Lumiere)

Aside from vitamins, foods like walnuts are rich in Omega3s. (Flickr Creative Commons/La Belle Lumiere)

There’s a pretty good chance that everyone has taken or currently take vitamins to improve or maintain their health. There are so many out there, ranging from daily multivitamins to supplements with specific functions. The chewy multivitamins found at the drug store might taste good, but they might not provide everything the body needs. Yes, they may provide a general array of what the body should be taking in every day, but all bodies are different, which means they may not be providing what you personally need.

The best way for a doctor to tell what vitamins your body lacks is to run a blood test. This can show that you have anemia (iron deficient) or that you are deficient in omega 3s. Lacking in any area can cause a physical reaction that may not be immediately obvious. For example, if you have anemia, you’ll experience fatigue or have difficulty concentrating. You might have had this problem for so long that you assume it’s normal, which is why taking iron supplements can completely alter how you feel. Iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body and contains hemoglobin, which helps red blood cells transport blood to the rest of the body. It’s best to take iron supplements on an empty stomach so they can be absorbed quickly. Some foods that are rich in iron are red meat, spinach, kale, almonds and raisins.

Another supplement to incorporate into your daily routine is magnesium. It’s best to take it before bed because it aids in your sleep process by bringing balance and control to stress hormones. It helps calm down your nerves and even aids in muscle growth and bone strength.

Magnesium also reduces lactic acid, which produces post-workout pain. It can also be taken before or after a workout.

Many people have a Vitamin B12 deficiency. It plays a large role in nerve function, the formation of red blood cells and the production of DNA. Studies show that those who are vegetarian or vegan are more at risk of being B12 deficient. Depression, anxiety and mood swings are signs of deficiency. It can improve both your mood and immune system. You can take these at any time of day.

Omega 3 is a fatty acid with a wide range of benefits. It helps fight depression and anxiety, improve eye health, reduce symptoms of ADHD in young children, fight inflammation, improve mental disorders, improve sleep and may help prevent cancer.

Walnuts, spinach, fish, eggs, chia seeds, brussel sprouts and wild rice are all high in Omega 3s as well. So, if you want to boost your levels with something besides a vitamin, those foods can help.

There are many vitamins and supplements that our bodies need to function at their best level. Those mentioned above are just some that you might not know you need and might feel physical symptoms from lacking. It’s important to pay attention to the signs your body gives in regards to deficiencies. Most supplements can be found in any drug store or supermarket, making them easy to get. During college, we all get run down and lack sleep, so these can be beneficial and even help improve performance in school and enhance mood.

Tessa Pawlik is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at tessa.pawlik@uconn.edu.

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