Supplements: What Should You Take and Do They Really Work?
As teenagers, our body goes through a lot of changes, and it is important to ensure that we get all the necessary nutrients to support growth and development. While a balanced diet is essential for overall health, sometimes it may be necessary to take supplements to ensure that you are meeting your nutritional needs.
*It is important to note that while some supplements are beneficial, moderation is key, so do not overdo anything and only take what works for you and your body!*
As we grow, our bodies require a variety of vitamins and minerals to support healthy hormones and brain development. While we can obtain many of these nutrients from hydration, movement, and a balanced diet, it still may be difficult to absorb all of the vitamins we need. A multivitamin can help fill the gaps and ensure that we are not lacking on anything that could impact our growth. According to Health CHOC, our bodies don't make the vitamins necessary for a normal metabolism, so a multivitamin gummy or tablet is the easiest way to fix this problem.
I personally take the Salaam Nutritionals Gummy Multivitamin, and it works wonders! I find that popping a small gummy before I head out the door to school is the easiest way to make sure I take my vitamin everyday and it also tastes great!
2. Omega-3 fatty acids/DHA:
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health and development. They can be found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines. However, many teenagers and even adults may not consume enough of these foods (I personally am not the biggest fan of sardines), making it necessary to take supplements. Omega-3 supplements can also be beneficial for those who do not eat fish or follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.
3. Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is essential for strong bones and teeth. It is produced by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Now, the best way to get your daily does of Vitamin D is to soak in the sunshine for about 25 minutes everyday. However, many teenagers may not get enough sunlight due to indoor activities, the use of sunscreen, and a 7 hour school day. Vitamin D supplements can help ensure that you are meeting your daily requirements.
I recommend increasing your sun exposure before taking a supplement because it may not be necessary if you just absorb natural sunlight. However, if you feel a constant state of fatigue, drowsiness, or bone pain, switch to a Vitamin D gummy/tablet.
Iron is important for the production of red blood cells and the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states, "Teenage girls, in particular, may be at risk of iron deficiency due to menstruation or anemia." I personally deal with an iron deficiency, so making sure that I take my iron tablet daily helps a lot with focus, cramps, and dizziness. A holistic approach to iron can also simply be upping your intake of red meat, leafy greens, and nuts.
Again, it is important to remember that supplements are not a substitute for a balanced diet! It is always best to get your nutrients from whole foods whenever possible. Additionally, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, as some may interact with medications or have unwanted side effects.
Overall, finding out what vitamins and minerals your body lacks and incorporating the right supplements is important to make sure that you stay on the right to track to healthy growth and development! Furthermore, shifting your vitamin taking from a task to a fun routine in the morning will make it easier to follow everyday and more enjoyable for your body!