Why should you — an adult — care about supplements for adults?
It's a no-brainer, really.
As we age, our nutritional needs change. One key to staying healthy is providing your body with the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients it needs. Taking supplements may be part of your self-care plan to ensure you're supporting your long-term wellness.
What Are Supplements?
Supplements are substances intended to improve an individual's health and well-being. Among the most common types of supplements are:
Vitamins are essential for the body to function properly.
Minerals play a role in the body's biochemical processes.
Herbs can support illness prevention and healing.
Protein may assist with muscle building and recovery.
Supplements can be found in a variety of forms, including pills, powders, bars, and liquids. There are many types of supplements, both natural (often plant-based) and synthetic.
Why Take Supplements?
Most experts agree. It's best to satisfy your nutrient needs from OG sources — like food and sunshine.
But, frankly, it's often hard or impossible to get all the nutrients you need from your diet or environment. In this sitch, ya might have to lean in to supplements to fill in the gaps.
This becomes even more true if you have certain health conditions or follow restrictive eating plans.
Adults' Nutritional Needs
Your body changes over time. (If you wanna get technical about it, your entire body's worth of cells turns over every 80-100 days....). You know, life, with all its implications and impacts, happens yada yada yada. So, it's easy to see how this can lead to your nutritional needs evolving, too.
As adults, our bodies seek more than just the standard nutrients found in children's diets. Adults require key vitamins and minerals — that weren't as important to our bods when we were younger — to work well.
Additionally, adults need more protein than kids, since muscle mass declines with age. Some adults also require supplements of specific nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids or probiotics, to support their particular health needs.
Benefits of Vitamins & Supplements
There are a number of reasons to take a supplement, including to help:
Ensure you're getting all the nutrients you need
Plug holes in a less-than-perfect diet (🙋)
Facilitate healthy weight management
Improve general health and well-being
Reduce the risk of chronic diseases
Support vision, sleep, immune function
Increase physical or cognitive performance
Support a healthy pregnancy
Counteract side effects to certain medications and medical treatments
See? Supplements can be a valuable part of a healthy lifestyle!
Do Mineral & Vitamin Supplements Actually Work?
That's a hard "maybe" from us. Each supplement — substance, formulation, other ingredients, producer — is different. And each person is different. That's a whole lotta variables in play!
Setting that disclaimer aside for a moment, there is evidence that some supplements are effective. Of course, it depends on the particular supplement, scenario, and individual.
In general, though, it's reasonable to assume that some supplements will work better for some than others. For example, the best multivitamin for women over 70 is prob not an ideal match for a 30-year-old man. And those prenatal supplement pills prob won't make the list of "Best Multivitamin for Men Over 70" list this year. Similarly — as we alluded to above — your kiddos' gummy supplements might not tick all the vitamins-for-adults checkboxes.
It may take a bit of trial and error to discern if a given adult vitamin is tracking towards your health goals or not. But, over time you should be able to tell, and adjust your regimen accordingly.
Keeping a supplements journal — and logging how you feel and any changes to your health that you notice along the way — can be a great tool.
From A-Zinc, Some of the Best Supplements to Take
Wondering if you should be scouting out the best adult multivitamin or the best food supplement? Maybe you want to know what natural supplements to add to your routine for optimal [fill in the blank]....
Yah, there are myriad options and info to digest — so it can get confusing or overwhelming pretty quickly. While this is by no mean an exhaustive roundup of supplements for adults, it's a good starting point for your personal research.
Multivitamins. Multivitamin pills are a great way to make sure you're getting all of the nutrients your body needs. Just be sure to check the label to make sure it's appropriate for you since some multivitamins are designed for specific populations of adults (e.g., vegans, pregnant people, vitamins for seniors over 70, etc.). Learn more....
Calcium. A lack of calcium can lead to health problems, including osteoporosis, weak bones, and a higher risk of fractures. Learn more...
Copper. Copper is essential for the body to create red blood cells, use energy, and process foods. Learn more....
Iron. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency among adults over age 18 in the United States. Symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, irritability, and poor circulation. Learn more....
Magnesium. Magnesium is essential for more than 300 biochemical processes in the body. It helps to maintain muscle and nerve function, regulate blood sugar levels, and keep a healthy heart rhythm. Learn more....
Manganese. Manganese is essential for the body to make DNA, proteins, and other enzymes. It also helps to protect the heart and brain from damage. Learn more....
Omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for the body because they can help reduce inflammation, support cognitive health, and improve mood. Learn more....
Selenium. Selenium is important for the body to protect against cancer, maintain a healthy immune system, and regulate thyroid function. Learn more....
Vitamin D. You need vit D for healthy bones and teeth, to maintain a robust immune system, and to make vitamin D3 (which helps your body absorb other nutrients). Vitamin D deficiency is uber common. Learn more....
Zinc. Zinc is essential for the body's immune system, reproductive function, and growth and development. Adults who don't consume enough zinc can experience poor wound healing, impaired cognitive function, and a decreased resistance to infection. Learn more....
Is One a Day Good for You?
There's no pat answer for this common question either. And much of the answer is subjective or qualitative rather than quantitative.
In general, though, are multivitamins good? Are you consuming the best supplements blend possible if you're downing a single capsule?
Well, assuming you're taking quality products in the recommended ways, and don't have any health issues that would hinder the outcomes — chances are that a one-a-day mineral and vitamin supplement should be OK.
That's not to say you'll definitely find it to be effective. But the likelihood of it being harmful are probably low. Which leads us to....
Precautions for Using Supplements & Vitamins for Adults
Supplements are like anything else you consume — foods, drinks, pharmaceutical products. They create chemical reactions on or in your body. We expect these responses to be good and beneficial, to help us address some wellness objective (like alleviating hunger or curing an infection).
But sometimes things go sideways. And a side effect, adverse reaction, sensitivity, etc rears its little head. Approaching supplementation with care is always a smart idea — it can help you mitigate potential downsides.
Here are some recommended precautions to take when considering or using vitamins and supplements. Be sure to:
Speak with your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen. Some supplements can interact with medication, which can lead to adverse effects. Other times, there are certain health conditions that are contraindicated for a particular supplement.
Always buy high-quality products from a trustworthy and reputable supplements and vitamins supplier.
Check the ingredients list of any supplement before taking it. Many supplements contain ingredients that may not be safe for people with certain health conditions or allergies.
Store supplements in a cool, dry, dim place. Extreme heat/cold, moisture, and light exposure can damage supplements, making them less effective or cutting their shelflife short. It can also increase the risk of adverse effects.
Summing It Up: Adult Vitamins & Supplements
Adults have unique nutritional requirements. While it's best to meet those needs through your diet and environment, that's not always possible. Supplementation could be a way to help you bridge the gaps.
We've highlighted some essential vitamins and minerals you can consider. But, everyone's different — so be sure to consult with your doc before starting any kind of supplementation routine.
It may take some time and experimentation, but you should eventually be able to determine if the supplements you're using are effective.