The 5 Best Supplements Under $10, According to a Pharmacist – Eat This Not That
If you find the vitamin and supplement selection in your dizzying physical or online pharmacy, you are not alone. There are so many different options, from many different manufacturers, and often multiple compounds are combined in different ways for specific benefits ranging from brain health to joint health. How do you know which supplements are right for you – and which are worth it?
While many specialty supplements can cost upwards of $50 per bottle, there are plenty that offer potential benefits at much lower prices. The top five supplements under $10 that I recommend are:
- A multivitamin
- Vitamin D
- fish oil
- A probiotic
Here’s what each of them can do for you, and how to know if you want to supplement your diet with them. Read on to learn more and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs you’ve already had COVID.
Your body needs a range of vitamins and minerals to perform all sorts of functions, from keeping your bones strong, to activating muscles, to producing enzymes and hormones, to optimal functioning of your heart and brain.
These essential substances are things that our body cannot make on its own, so we have to get them from the food we eat. There are 13 essential vitamins: A, C, D, E, K and eight different B vitamins including thiamin, riboflavin, B6, B12 and folate (or folic acid). There are a number of minerals which are also essential for health. Some vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium, we need a lot of them to stay healthy. Some we only need small amounts of – like iodine and fluoride – and some we’re probably getting too much of, like sodium.
The best way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs is to eat a wide variety of foods. But not everyone gets everything they need in their diet. This may be due to dietary restrictions; for example, vegetarians might struggle to get enough iron. Age can also be a factor, with some older people needing more B12 and calcium.
Though there is no proof that multivitamins can have major impacts on important health outcomes like preventing heart disease or cancer, they pack many important nutrients we need in just one pill. This makes it an easy and convenient way to get a extra boost vitamins and minerals lacking in our diet. Be sure to talk to your doctor about which multivitamin would be best for you, as they contain different amounts and combinations of nutrients.
Vitamin D is one of the most difficult vitamins to consume because it is not easily found in food. In fact, our body can make vitamin D, but it can only do so by using the power of the sun. When sunlight hits your skin, it sets off a chain reaction that creates an active form of vitamin D that your body uses to help absorb calcium. This makes vitamin D an important element for maintaining healthy and strong bones.
But because so many of us spend so much time indoors — in our offices, our homes, our cars — we don’t get as much sun as we do. But that doesn’t mean you have to ditch the sunscreen or lie in the sun. In fact, a recent study found that even when people use sunscreen regularly, it doesn’t stop their bodies from making vitamin D. But since it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone – your choices are primarily salmon, tuna, cod liver oil, beef liver, egg yolks, and fortified juices and cereals – you may want to take a vitamin D supplement. Your doctor can determine if you have low vitamin D levels and recommend the dosage that is right for you. Most will suggest you choose pills that offer vitamin D3a form that is easy for your body to implement.
If you search for magnesium pills, you will likely get a host of indigestion-related results. Yes, magnesium is common in antacids and laxative treatments, but that’s not the kind we’re talking about here. Magnesium is one of those essential minerals that your body needs. It works with more than 300 enzymes in the body to perform a wide range of functions, including regulating heart rate and blood sugar, and building protein and DNA.
Although magnesium is found in many foods, especially nuts, seeds and leafy greens, many Americans don’t get enough of it. Research suggests that people who get adequate amounts of magnesium may be at lower risk for heart problems and type 2 diabetes. Magnesium supplements may also help people with migraines, and they may support bone health in older and postmenopausal women . There are several types of magnesium supplements, which vary in how much magnesium they contain, what other compounds they are combined with, and what form they take (like a pill versus a liquid). which can impact how your body absorbs the mineral. To learn more about all the options available and which ones might be right for you, check out this guide to magnesium supplements.
Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, and that’s what you get when you take fish oil supplements. Omega-3s are often found in fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel) and are good for heart health. Getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids from the diet is related to a lower risk of heart disease and death from heart disease. Omega-3s can keep arteries clear, improve cholesterol levels and help prevent blood clots that lead to stroke. It’s best to get omega-3s from the foods you eat (especially fatty fish), but fish oil supplements are a low-risk way to boost your intake. There is also some evidence that taking fish oil supplements can help reduce pain and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. The main downside is that fish oil pills can sometimes cause burping and bad breath.
If someone tells you to ingest 1 billion to 100 billion bacteria a day, that might sound strange, but it can actually be very good for you. In fact, there are far more bacteria than are living in your body right now. Most are good bacteria, which help your body digest the food you eat, while some can be outside invaders that can make you sick. Maintaining this balance is important, and probiotics are one way to help maintain levels of good bacteria while helping to keep bad bacteria populations from spiraling out of control.
Probiotics are microorganisms (bacteria and also yeasts) that help your body maintain this important balance. Probiotics are often found in foods that have been fermented, such as yogurt, which is why some yogurts are marketed as good for gut health. But you can also take probiotic supplements, which usually contain Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. These supplements can be helpful in treating or preventing diarrhea, which can sometimes be caused by an imbalance of microbes in your gut. Probiotics might also be useful for people with complex gastrointestinal issues, such as ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
And since science is revealing more and more ways that gut health affects other parts of our health, including our immune system and our mental health, it’s possible that ingesting a billion insects could have many advantages. And don’t worry, as strange as it may sound, it’s safe to take probiotics because they’re made up of organisms that already live inside of us. Just be sure to talk to your doctor if you have a weakened immune system. And check the bottle for storage instructions – some bacteria will die if not refrigerated. And to protect your life and the lives of others, do not visit any of these 35 places where you are most likely to catch COVID.
Shaili GandhiPharmD and Vice President of Pharmacy at SingleCare.