The Best Supplements for Every Health Goal

Want to improve your well-being this year? You’re not alone. In a survey of more than 500 American adults, 66 percent reported that they’re currently pursuing a health-related goal. Whether your goal is better gut health or more mental acuity (or something else!), certain supplements can provide a boost in the right direction.

Goal: better overall health

Standout supplement: vitamin D

While there’s no denying the popularity of a quality multivitamin to support overall well-being, research shows that vitamin D supplementation may be most important of all. An essential nutrient, vitamin D supports calcium absorption, which leads to the formation and maintenance of strong bones. Many people don’t get enough vitamin D, especially in winter, so it’s a smart supplement to add to your routine.

Goal: improved gut health

Standout supplements: probiotics and psyllium husk

When it comes to supplements that can have a big impact on your gut health, consider the classics: probiotics and psyllium husk. Both are particularly effective when taken to relieve painful symptoms of gastrointestinal distress such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.

A source of both soluble and insoluble fibre, psyllium husk is particularly well-known for its ability to gently relieve constipation. Always take psyllium husk with a cup of water, gradually increasing the dose to prevent stomach pain.

Goal: less stress

Standout supplements: fish oil and vitamin B

Over time, prolonged exposure to stress can affect your body as well as your mind. Fish oil that contains both DHA and EPA (two types of omega-3 fatty acids) has been shown to improve symptoms of depression when combined with other therapies and can help protect against the effects of cardiovascular stress.

Vitamin B is another powerful supplement for supporting brain health. In fact, research shows that this essential nutrient not only benefits your mood, but also improves your physiological response to stress.

Goal: fitness gains

Standout supplement: creatine

Interested in making bigger fitness gains? Check out creatine, an amino acid found in muscles and in the brain. Not only does creatine help increase muscle size and overall strength, but it also supports your body in working harder at the gym with more noticeable results. Studies show that creatine can also reduce dehydration and muscle cramping, thereby lowering your risk of injury.

Goal: enhanced focus

Standout supplement: L-theanine

In a world full of distractions, sometimes it takes a helping hand to get focused. Enter L-theanine, a brain-boosting amino acid that’s naturally found in green tea and some mushrooms. As a supplement, L-theanine circulates nerve impulses throughout the brain and is thought to affect mood-regulating neurotransmitters like GABA, dopamine, and serotonin. Some research suggests that L-theanine supplements can help support memory and cognition and even improve attention and focus.

Goal: stronger immune system

Standout supplement: zinc

Having a well-functioning immune system is integral to overall health. Not only does a healthy immune system fight against illness, but it also allows you to recover more efficiently if you do become sick.

Zinc is an effective supplement for supporting immune health. Studies show that zinc can reduce the duration of a cold by a day or two and can help reduce the total number of respiratory infections.

Goal: strong bones

Standout supplement: calcium

With osteoporosis affecting more than 10 million Americans, supplements that promote bone health are more important than ever. No matter what stage of life you’re in, supplementing with calcium is an easy way to improve bone density and growth. One study found that taking calcium supplements between the ages of 20 and 35 could potentially prevent osteoporosis later in life.

You’ll find that many calcium tablets are supplemented with vitamin D—this is because calcium only becomes bioavailable when vitamin D is also present.

Goal: glowing skin

Standout supplements: EGCG and collagen

There’s no denying the impact that diet, sleep, and genetics have on the appearance of your skin.

However, supplements can also play an important supporting role in the look and feel of your skin. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a polyphenol with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that’s found in green tea. As a supplement, there is modest evidence showing that EGCG can help with adult acne.

Collagen is a type of protein that is naturally produced in the body but is negatively affected by sun damage, smoking, and alcohol consumption. One large study found that collagen supplements improved signs of aging skin, dryness, and firmness.

Goal: healthy vision

Standout supplements: lutein and zeaxanthin

Keep your eyes on lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that can be found in parts of the eye, including in the lens, retina, and macula. Studies have shown that supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin is a safe and effective way to protect yourself from macular degeneration and vision impairment.

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