At the risk of putting a dampener on things, we first have to accept that it’s impossible to create one single supplement that’s better than all the rest, one which on its own, is able to ensure good health and is suitable for all needs and situations.
The reality is that dietary supplements are designed to respond to a variety of problems:
There is one supplement, however, that we can agree deserves top billing. Let’s remember that, in order for all our systems to function well (the digestive, nervous, cardiovascular, and neuromuscular systems, cognitive function, metabolism, etc), our bodies need a daily supply of vitamins, minerals and trace-elements (1) :
These are known as micronutrients and phytonutrients (when they come from plants), as opposed to macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates and proteins) which provide calories and, therefore, energy.
For a good intake of these micronutrients, we need to eat ahealthy, varied and balanced diet, with sufficient fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, oily fish and other seafood, oilseeds, whole grains, etc.
To ensure a stable intake, many people choose to take a multivitamin supplement rich in minerals, trace-elements and phytonutrients especially antioxidants, such as Daily 3®, which combines 42 exceptional ingredients.
In short then, if you could only keep one single supplement, it would have to be Daily 3®.
It’s also possible to devise your own synergistic formula, in line with your particular requirements and desires, by ‘hand-picking’ what you need from among the best health-promoting supplements.
Essential for certain structural functions in the body, omega-3 fatty acids offer a number of benefits (2):
These are found in oily fish and other marine-source foods, as well as in nut and rapeseed oils, watercress, cabbage and spinach, etc. But the industrialisation of modern food has completely distorted the balance of omega-3/omega-6 to the point where we now consume 10-20 times more omega-6 than omega-3, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) recommending a ratio of no more than 5:1 (3).
That’s why omega-3 supplements (such as Super Omega 3, Super EPA, Super DHA and Krill Oil) are some of the best formulations for maintaining good health.
Highly-popular for some years now, probiotics are defined by the WHO and FAO as “live microorganisms which, when consumed in sufficient quantities, produce a health benefit for the host”.
In fact, the rise in probiotics’ popularity was sparked by discoveries relating to the importance of the gut microbiota (or intestinal flora) for our immune system, mental health, etc.
Probiotics are dietary supplements made from the same bacterial strains as those that populate our gut microbiota (4).
That’s why many individuals keen to maintain their health take probiotic supplements such as Probio Forte or Full Spectrum Probiotic Formula, both of which are probiotic formulations containing several strains of ‘good’ bacteria.
It’s a vitamin in which deficiency is particularly common in Western countries: vitamin D. A hormone essential for maintaining the balance between calcium and phosphate ions in the form of crystals, in the bones and dissolved in the blood, vitamin D:
The body thus needs vitamin D in order to function properly and an adequate intake is essential to maintain good health.
Yet in Europe, for example, more than half of people aged over 60 are lacking in vitamin D. In countries such as France, as much as 80% of the population are vitamin D-deficient, and worldwide, more than a billion people are affected.
In short then, vitamin D is one of the best supplements to take to maintain good health (try, for example, Vitamin D3 5000 IU).
A health secret from the beehive containing more than 300 invaluable compounds such as vitamins, essential oils, flavonoids, and minerals, propolis is one of the most important and popular substances that we get from bees. There’s no doubt it’s widely considered to be one of the best dietary supplements around (a popular choice is green propolis). It’s also frequently recommended by naturopaths (5).
Loss of appetite, calorie deficit, impaired body functions, increased oxidative reactions, bone fragility, joint strain, etc: many health problems are associated with aging, but the fact is they are not inevitable. There are a number of supplements that can help you to age better and in some cases, combat the aging process.
So, in addition to those previously-mentioned, supplements which are particularly suitable for seniors are synergistic formulations that:
Pregnancy is a challenging period for the body: the pregnant woman’s metabolism is disrupted by hormones and the fetus requires adequate nourishment for healthy development.
Which is why it’s always best to consult your doctor before starting any supplementation during pregnancy. However, in general terms, the best supplements for pregnant women are folic acid, also known as vitamin B9 (for example SuperFolate) and vitamin D (see above) (8-9).
As is the case for pregnant women, nursing mothers should also be sure to seek medical advice before taking supplements. This is to ensure any micronutrients they wish to take are at appropriate doses which will not adversely affect their baby’s health.
That said, these are generally the best supplements for breastfeeding mothers:
Significant mineral loss through sweating, increased demand for adenosine triphosphate (ATP – energy for cells) to support sustained, intensive exercise, the need to stimulate muscle anabolism, etc: sportspeople have greater and more specific requirements than other individuals.
In addition to minerals such as zinc, magnesium and selenium, carnitine, arginine and glutamine, which boost hormones, muscle function and metabolism, there’s no doubt that the best supplements for sportspeople and for muscle-building are:
While they represent only a tiny part our nutritional needs, micronutrients are central to vital functions. What do they do and where are they found?
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