I’ve shared many times here about the power of supplements. I’ve shared The 6 Supplements I Take to Support My Thyroid, The One Supplement I’ve Taken Every Day for 991 Days, and The Shot I Start Every Morning With.
I’ve talked a lot about how I’ve used targeted supplements to support specific areas of my body as I fight autoimmune diseases and chronic illness.
But a lot of you still ask me:
“Hey, I don’t suffer from thyroid issues or an autoimmune disease, but I’m still looking to support my body. What supplements should I take?”
This post is for you.
These are the 5 vitamins and supplements I believe all people should consider adding to their routine. The 5 best supplements to take for overall health.
1 // Vitamin D
I know I blew your minds in this post when I shared that Vitamin D is in fact not a vitamin but a hormone. And research shows nearly 90% of Americans are deficient in it! Ninety freakin’ percent, y’all! That’s a lot. Which is why it’s at the top of my list for supplements I recommend all people consider.
Why this “vitamin” is so important: It works on cell receptors and sends messages to our genes, which is why it has a vital role in a range of things like normal cell regulation, immune system modulation, maintaining a positive mood, and building bones. *
And the problem: it’s almost entirely absent from our food supply and we don’t get enough sun exposure (the way our body is able to create a usable form of it).
And the other problem is: the government’s recommendation of how much we need is way too low. They say we need 200 – 600 IU a day because that’s the level that prevents rickets. But the levels we need for optimal function are up to 25x that. 1
As I’ve mentioned, Vitamin D is fat-soluble, which means instead of simply peeing out any extra you don’t need, it gets stored in your body. So you can overdo it. I recommend getting your levels checked to confirm you’re not overdosing, but I’ve found supplementing with 5,000 IU (to 10,000 IU in winter months) a day + some healthy sun exposure keeps me in optimal range.
And make sure you find a D-3 as it’s the only active form and many supplements instead just have D or D-2.
2 // Probiotics
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve praised the power of probiotics on this blog, so it should be no surprise this one is at the top of the list.
Did you know: You have more bacteria cells in your gut than you have of your own cells in your whole body? Come on, you can’t tell me that’s anything short of amazing.
And every single one of those bacteria cells helps support your body in its own digestion and processing of nutrients and creation of neurotransmitters. * Well, every single one of the healthy bacteria cells. Unfortunately there can be an imbalance of healthy vs. unhealthy (read more about that on this post), which is why it’s so important we support our bodies in supplying the healthy.
There are many factors that play into the health of our gut flora, so having a healthy gut is not as simple as supplementing with a good quality probiotic, but it’s a really important place to start.
3 // B Complex
B vitamins are a group of 8 water-soluble vitamins: B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid) , B6, B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), and B12. B4, B8, B10 and B11 do not exist.
Each of the 8 has its own functional responsibility in the body, but in general the B vitamins are critical in the process of methylation: a biochemical transfer of 1 carbon and 3 hydrogen atoms (CH3) from one place to another. * It sounds simple enough, but this process happens millions of times every second in our body’s cells and it’s critical for functions like detoxification, neurotransmitter production, hormone metabolism, fat metabolism, cellular energy, liver function, and DNA production. * Casual.
Because of this, poor methylation has been shown to put you at higher risk for conditions such as cancer, depression, mood and behavioral disorders, osteoporosis, diabetes, cervical dysplasia, dementia and stroke. 2
Having adequate levels of B12, B6, B2 and folate has been proven to be supportive in these processes, and supplementing with a high quality B-complex is a great way to ensure that. *
Note: If you’re like me with an MTHFR gene mutation, welcome to the club of poor-methylators. We have a genetic disadvantage to not do this process as well as others (some of us at only 10% of normal), and our bodies have difficulty converting B vitamins into the active form our body can actually use. Make sure you choose a pre-methylated B complex. 3
4 // Fish Oil
Our bodies are amazing and they’re able to synthesize many of the fats we need. But, they can’t make omega-3 fatty acids. We need to get those from outside sources, and fish oil is a concentrated source of those long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids we need.
The unfortunate truth is that most of us are getting way too many omega-6 fats (found in soybean, corn, and sunflower oils) and not nearly enough omega-3 fats (found in salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts).
Studies have shown that supplementing with fish oil may support focus and attention, positive mood, healthy joints, and healthy skin. It may also help maintain a healthy body weight, normal pregnancy, and increased energy. 4 * And it’s famous for its effects on brain health as these fatty acids are essential for brain function. *
(Fun fact: I actually did my entire senior honors research thesis in nutrition school on the benefits of fish oil on depression in college students.)
Make sure you choose a quality supplement that has high standards for mercury testing as that’s a major issue with farmed fish.
MY FAVORITES: NOW Ultra Omega-3 Fish Softgels (tested to be free from potentially harmful levels of contaminants such as PCBs, dioxins, mercury and other heavy metals)
5 // Multivitamin
I know, there’s a lot of hate for multis. Many nutritionists will tell you they’re a waste because you should be able to get all your nutrients from food.
And while I agree (I will always be a proponent of getting our nutrients from food first), the truth is the vast majority of us just don’t get what we need from our diets. Even those of us that eat really quality, healthy, well-rounded, plant-rich diets are often lacking in necessary vitamins and nutrients because of this sad fact: The quality of our soil sucks. Generations ago, our fruits and vegetables had much higher levels of nutrients, but modern farming techniques have completely depleted much of our soil system.
Because of that, I think a high-quality, food-sourced multivitamin can be really helpful in filling the gaps that we unfortunately have because of our food system.
SHOP THE POST
Hear me say: No little tablet (even one full of amazing things) can keep you healthy on its own. Supplements can never outweigh poor diet and lifestyle factors. But, they can be a very critical step in supporting our bodies for high-level functioning and optimal health. *
Here’s to fueling ourselves well. Here’s to supporting our bodies’ millions of functions. Here’s to showing up for our brightest lives!
Huge thank you to NOW for sponsoring this post. It’s such a joy to share my favorite brands with y’all and it’s because of brands like these that I’m able to create this extensive content for you. As always, all opinions are my own. And a gift to you, use code “MOLLIE10” for 10% off their site!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease.